Posted by: thaishin | October 10, 2010

One Flesh

Taken from the blog lighbreak:

http://lightbreak.wordpress.com

 

A friend of mine recently began studying what the Bible has to say about loneliness, and I have to say that the fruits of her studies are totally thought-provoking.  Actually, after I learned she was doing the study, I sent her some materials on the subject, including some I serendipitously came across just recently.  (Coincidence?  I think not.)  Reading her thoughts along with the materials I’ve collected, as well as my previous musings on the subject, have led me to a deeper understanding and appreciation of marriage than ever before.  The most fascinating insight so far is this.

I’ve often thought the love between a man and a woman is described as a romantic love (eros) as distinguished from the love between relatives/friends (philos) and unconditional love (agape).  Certainly, eros has its place in a marriage.  But there is a different kind of love involved I think, one unique to the bond between husband and wife.  To understand what that love is, we need to go back to Genesis 2.  This was before the Fall.  Adam was still in perfect relationship with God.  And yet, he was lonely.

What was the source of that loneliness?  It was not the fault of sin that Adam was lonely, for sin had not yet infected creation.  The loneliness likely stemmed from the fact that Adam was the only human being on the planet.  Now, keep in mind that up until the creation of Eve, Adam knew nothing different.  The idea that a female version of his kind exists never crossed his mind.  You can’t miss what doesn’t exist.  Still, the sense that something was missing was evident.  “It is not good for the man to be alone,” God said.  Genesis 2:18.  Something like a woman should exist.

The Bible is oblique about why Adam would even know to feel lonely, but one could speculate.  As a creation of God, Adam was a finite being.  And as we acknowledged, he was the only finite being of his kind, meaning the only one made in the image of God.  To be made in the image of God is a beautiful thing, yet awful in the absence of companionship.  For God is relational, and so man is inherently relational.  But if one is the only finite being made in the image of God, with whom else could one relate?  Not the other creations of God.  As Donald Miller points out in Searching For God Knows What, the loneliness Adam felt was probably amplified by his God-given task of naming the animals.  The more Adam carried out the task–and it was a job that must have taken a very long time to complete–the more he realized there is no other creature like himself.  He could not relate to a zebra or a tiger.  He was the only one of his kind.  How horribly lonely that is.  Not even an untarnished relationship with God could fill that void, for God is not of Adam’s kind; unlike Adam, He is infinite.

Adam’s loneliness was shattered when God created Eve.  Until now, I failed to realize the gravity of Adam’s reaction upon seeing Eve for the first time.  Adam said:

This is now bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called “woman,”
for she was taken out of man.

Genesis 2:23.  Oh what a bittersweet moment!  How poignant is Adam’s reaction!  “Bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.”  The loneliness stretching for years, maybe decades, came to a halt.  Here at last was a creature like himself.  Adam gave this creature her name–Woman–which in the Hebrew sounds like the word for “man.”  Finally, Adam had a fitting companion, one who could understand him.  She was capable of relating to him like no other creature could.  After all, she was formed out of his very essence, and like him, a finite being created in the image of God.  They were united as “one flesh,” as the Bible says (Genesis 2:24), and that’s quite literally what they were.

What the Woman (only after the fall was she named Eve, by the way) made possible was relationship.  This is what Adam so longed for.  Consider the possibilities that relationship brings.  Adam could begin to discover himself by relating to the Woman because she was a reflection of him.  He could see things about himself in her that he never would have noticed in his lonely state.  Perhaps most importantly, the interaction between Adam and his wife would allow them a glimpse of how God loves.  We know God is love.  God expresses His love relationally.  Indeed, the act of Creation was an expression of God’s love, and its result was a creation with whom God could relate.  In the give-and-take of relationship, Adam and his wife would learn what love is.  And together, embarked on the same journey, they would discover the depths of God’s love.

How does this apply to modern-day relationships?  Not much has changed.  Men and women still need each other, and here’s why.  Humans have a basic need to be understood.  We need a counterpart who can say with absolute sincerity, “I understand you; I know what makes you tick, because the stuff you’re made of is also in me.”  You can add romance and physical attraction into the mix, but the deepest need satisfied by the marital relationship is reassurance that there is someone out there like us who understands us and yet loves us.

Marriage–the union of finites in communion with the Infinite.  How beautiful.

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Responses

  1. I must agree with all your comments relating to the “one flesh” thing.
    However there is so much sin in our world the beauty of marriage has slipped greatly down hill. When men & women use and abuse drugs and drink the term “love” does not mean very much.

    Unless God is in the center of a marriage where sin is rampant love between the two will hardly hold the marriage together.

    I have known several beautiful women in my days who were so ugly inside. This was because of the filthy words which came from their mouths and the terrible things they did.

    Some people are better off to be loney than to experience the problems of marriage when this marriage has slipped away from the protection of God. I myself experienced this “sadness” in my first marriage when my wife of 22 years pulled away. Thanks & God bless!

  2. Hi bro,
    Here’d my take on the subject. To understand what loneliness and marriages means we have to go back to the very beginning.
    I think what we should first ask is why did God create the earth, the universe and especially us humans? Lets look back to Genesis. In Gen.1:26, God created Man (Adam). last after he had created everthing! Why is that? Lets read Gen. 1: 26, God says, Let us make man in our likeness. Let them rule over the fish in the water. Let them rule over the livestock and over the earth. Let them rule over all the creatures that moves along the ground. Think about this, God already knew that he’s going to create Man that is why he says “Let them rule…” three times! Emphasis on “them”. God knew he is going to create a Man And a Woman. This was before he created Man! Lets read Gen.1:27, So God created man in his own likeness. He created him in the likeness of God. He created them as male and female. Now the last statement confirms that God already knew he need to create a female for Adam. The reason I think is that (Gen.2:15) The Lord God put the man in the Garden of Eden. He put him there to work its ground and to take care of it. God also knew that Adam cannot work alone otherwise all the works cannot be completed! Read Gen.2:18, God says, The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.” Now when God says” It is not good for the man to be alone, I think God knew that Adam needs someone to talk with and discuss things with because he is the caretaker of the Garden of Eden! And also God knew that only with Eve, the human race can populate the earth! Then God says, I will make a helper who is just right for him. Now here God use the word “helper” and “just right for him” You must remember that this is before the Fall! God intention is that Eve is going to be Adam’s helper and is right for him, could mean that she is a perfect “soulmate” who will not just be his companion but his friend, wife and lover and the mother of his children. Read Gen.1:28, “Have children and increase your numbers. Fill the earth and bring it under your control. Now this was said after God had created both Adam and Eve.
    God is Love, he knew that only love can control all existence on this earth! Without Eve, God knew that there wouldn’t be any children.
    What does this tells us? The whole passages (Genesis 1 and 2) describe God’s perfect love. No one, absolutely no one should be lonely as long as we have God and put our trust and faith in Him. If anyone decided to be lonely, that is his/her choice. For also in Jesus Christ, we made God’s love our most important part of our lives, through Jesus, we were to love our neighbours, so there is no reason that anyone should be lonely. For without God’s love there is no neighbourly love, no brotherly love and especially no family love! Any love beyond this is not love but love that is always on the brink of collapse and destruction because it’s foundation is based on lust and greed. It is with deception and lies, judgemental, unreasonable demands, neglects and misunderstandings etc. In God, we only need one thing, God’s love. For without God’s love, there is no Man and Woman love.
    God has made each one of us perfect but because of the (Fall) sin, we today are constantly falling out with God. Fortunately for us His love is infinte, he gave us his son, Jesus Christ, the ultimate love sacrifice! God has saved us from ourselves. Our human understanding of what love is actually beyond us. What we often percieved as love is call lust love and greed love. God’s love is pure and holy, there is no lust or greed. Just as God has made us perfect, he also made each one of us a perfect partner. For those who have found their partner, God bless both of you. For those who are still searching, pray and ask God to guide your partner to you. With God’s grace, love and mercy, you will find each other. Amen.

  3. Hi Harry,

    Thanks for your comments but I think we can still be lonely even if we put our faith and trust in Him. This is because of our finite nature.

    Thanks Robert for your comments


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