The purpose of marriage is more than God bringing a man and a woman together to rule – the purpose of marriage is to bring a man and a woman together to relate sexually.
Back to Genesis. Let’s look at the flesh! The women is taken from the flesh of the man (2:21), to become flesh of his flesh (2:23) and to then join together as one flesh (2:24), naked and not ashamed (2:25) – this is sexual and deeply relational.
There is indeed great joy in the marriage relationship, and wonderful happiness in romantic and erotic love that it can bring. A theme that runs right through the Bible.You see it is with Isaac and Rebekah in little verses like Genesis 24:67 which talks about how Isaac loved Rebekah and so is comforted after the death of his mother. You see it in the patient love story of Jacob and Rachel in Genesis 29. You see it reflected in the story of Ruth and Boaz in the Book of Ruth.
You find a sense of it in verses like Proverbs 30:18-19:
Three things are too wonderful for me; four I do not understand: the way of an eagle in the sky, the way of a serpent on a rock, the way of a ship on the high seas, and the way of a man with a virgin.(Prov 30:18-19)
And then of course there is Song of Songs – full of sexual ideas and imagery.
I have often wondering why there was not more sex in the Bible?! To be honest it’s a question I asked more before getting married than now and at times when I struggled sexually as a younger man.The whole question of sex and romantic love seemed to be so much more important to me than it did to the Bible.
If this idea of marriage as relationship, and marriage as sexual and of us being created in the image of God from the opening chapters of the Bible – wouldn’t you expect to read far more about it than we in fact do? Yet you can read huge slabs of Old Testament, and the Gospels and Acts, and almost all of Romans, and more, without finding reference to the idea of romantic love, sex, and intimacy in the context of the marriage relationship!
If marriage is at the heart of being in the image of God, why isn’t there more sex? Not to mention what we do with things like the singleness of the Lord Jesus, and the likely singleness of Paul and in fact the whole category of singleness.
Can I suggest, the Bible doesn’t spend more time on sex because sex is not the be- all and end-all of marriage. It is certainly a fantastic and fundamentally important part of marriage but it has a purpose.
God’s command to Be fruitful and multiply and fill all the earth (1:28)
As we come upon Adam in Genesis 2 with that command of God ringing in our ears, we see him beginning the work of ruling, but note this: we see him also totally unable to fulfill the command to be fruitful and multiply.
There is a tension set up by the text itself that, unless we have read ahead or made some good guesses, it is simply unclear what will happen next.
Who is going to help the man be fruitful and multiply as animal after animal is presented yet ‘there was not found a helper fit for him. (1:18)’
Woman was created – because how else will the command to be fruitful and multiply be fulfilled?
Sex is really very important, and the idea of sex is to serve a more important purpose, which is the fulfilling of the marriage relationship, and that in turn is set up by God in order to fulfill his commandment.
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