According to Scripture, every aspect of our universe came bounding out of the perfect will of God in an outpouring of energy, beauty, and the substantial, concrete things that make up our Reality. God is so powerful that all He had to do was speak and His will was set in motion. The natural world is a revealing and breathtaking revelation of the character and brilliance of our Almighty Lord. The more we learn about the natural order of our world, from the genius of a human cell to the majestic wonder of the cosmos, the more stunning this revelation becomes. God set this magnificent universe into motion, and He said that it was good.
We know this to be true because it resonates in our souls. All we have to do is watch the sun setting on a sparkling sea, a falling star gliding across an inky black sky, or a soft rain falling on a field of lush, green grass in spring to know that whatever troubles are raging in this life, the natural world is profoundly right, pure, and good. These good things are evidence of God’s ongoing grace in spite of the sins that humanity has brought into our world…and they are the promise of a new world to come.
When God had finished speaking the abundance of the world into place, He began to create the beings for which He had created everything else. They were to be given an unspeakably great honor, the privilege of being made in the very image of God. This first man and woman were then commanded to be fruitful and fill up the world with their children…the offspring that would bear the same image and the same task of acting as God’s stewards over the earth. And this incredible process, the bringing of children into the world, God blessed, conferring upon it His empowering favor and grace.
The story of how God created the entire universe is told to us in Genesis 1. In the second chapter of Genesis, the story slows down. It focuses on the details of the story of how God created the first humans. For the first part of that story, see Story 7. God came to earth and formed the first man with His own hands from the dust of the earth. He put the first man in a vast, beautiful Garden where there was two trees. The first was the Tree of Life, and the second was the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. God told the first man that out of all the other trees in the Garden, he was never to eat from that tree. He was never meant to be exposed to the wages of evil, or even the knowledge of it.
Then the Lord said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” And God began to bring all the animals that walk on the earth and birds that fill the air to the first man. God had named the stars and sky and the day and night, and He would rule over them for all time. Now God gave the man the role of naming all the animals. Man would serve God by ruling over them. There is power in the giving of a name.
The man named the birds and the livestock and all the creatures that roam in the wild. Imagine the parade! What an astonishing wonder as the tiger, the bear and the parrots of the trees came before the first man. What a regal and delightful position to rule over such fascinating and wonderful creatures!
Yet as delicate or fearsome or fascinating as each new creature was, it was clear that none of them could be a true companion for this man. None of them were a true match for the one who was made in the image of God. How lonely the man must have become as each creature came and went. None of them seemed to fit! What was this ache…this longing for something more?
The Lord already knew this was going to happen, and He already had a plan. For you see, God knew that it was important for the man to learn that he was lonely. It was important for him to understand just how much he needed the gift that God was about to give him. God was creating a hunger in the man as he waited for the gift so that when he received it, he would overflow with gratefulness and appreciation for her.
The Lord put the first man into to a deep sleep. Then He did an operation. He opened up the man’s chest, took out one of his ribs and closed his body up again. Then God used the rib to form another creature, crafting a wonder of great and powerful beauty. She was the final creation that God made in all of the universe, the sparkling crown, and her ravishing grace would awaken a special vibrancy of life in the heart of the first man. The Lord made a woman, a bride, and brought her to the first man. When the man saw her, his response was immediate. There was no questioning, no doubting, no fear. He declared:
“‘This is now bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called ‘woman,’
for she was taken out of man.’”
The man named her “woman.” Her name came from his name. He gave her his own name, showing the deep and permanent connection between himself and his wife. It was an unbreakable gift. They were named for their bond of love and commitment to each other.
Through the blessings of marriage, this man and woman became one soul, and their love and devotion to each other was a basic part of their ability to bless the world.
Then the Bible said, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” Now, why would God say that? The first humans didn’t have a mom or dad. They were the first mom and dad of every human to come. But God was preparing for their relationship to be His example of the primary, central relationship in human life.
The love between a mother or father and their child is terribly important, but the relationship of marriage has a special position in God’s ordained plan for the human race.
Just as God creates each new person, when a man and a woman marry, God transforms each of them to become a new creation together. They are one. They are one flesh. Their love for each other is designed to especially reflect the image of God in ways no other relationship can. Through their love for one another, God would create new lives, new souls bearing the image of God. As parents, it was their role to raise children in the strength of the Lord so they would grow and become wonderful companions to the person God made for them. The bonds of marriage and the sacred importance of the love between a man and his wife are embedded in the structure of the universe.
This amazing gift, this exalted, sacred miracle and treasure was meant not only for the first man and the first woman. This gift of creation would work in their descendants as the Lord brought each bride to her husband. The vibrancy of the love we so often see between a groom and his bride are delights that call us back to the Garden of Eden, reminding us of the perfect wonder and pleasure that God offered to humanity at the dawn of creation. The first husband and the first bride joined together in perfect unity; there was no shame or embarrassment between them. They were completely pure in the delight of their nakedness as they gave their love to one another before God in their Garden Temple.