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Warning! What you're about to read may startle you. With the help of God's Word, I'm about to explode some of the traditions and religious myths you may have picked up about marriage over the years.

But if you'll keep an open mind, you'll come away with some truths about marriage that will bring you into more blessing and happiness than you ever dreamed possible.

To find those truths, we need to go all the way back to the beginning, to the very first marriage on earth. We find it, of course, in Genesis 1:26-27:
And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over...all the earth...So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
Most of us have read that passage many times and we think we understand it. But a quick word study reveals that much of the truth in it has been lost.

For instance, the word translated "make" in verse 26 ("let us make man in our image") is the Hebrew word asah. It literally means "to make something from material that already exists" or "to mold with the hands."

The Bible uses that word there because verse 26 is referring to the construction of Adam's body. God made that body with the dust of the earth (something that already existed.)

But the scripture uses a completely different word in the next verse where it says God "created" man in his own image. The Hebrew word translated "created" is bara. It means to make something from a substance that has never existed before.

Now ask yourself—what parts of man were made out of something that never existed before?

His spirit and soul.

Verse 27 is referring to the creation of man's soul and spirit. With that in mind, let's look at it again: "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them."

Notice that last phrase, "male and female created he them" occurs only there in verse 27, where the scripture refers to the creation of the soul and spirit. Verse 26, which refers to the creation of bodies, doesn't say anything about the male and female.

What am I saying? Just this: When God first created man, He created one body—not two. That one body housed all the emotional, spiritual, and intellectual characteristics of both male and female.

We see confirmation of this idea in Genesis 5:1-2:
In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him; male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created.
This verse clearly states that when God made the first man, he made him "male and female" and called their name Adam.

God made the first man complete. Every attribute and component of humanity was placed in Adam. It was that complete man, possessing the attributes of both male and female, that was "in the image and likeness of God." It was that complete man that God gave "dominion" over the earth (Gen. 1:27-28).

I know this may seem quite bizarre to many of you reading this right now. But if you are going to understand God's divine plan for marriage, you're going to have to get rid of those religious traditions and ideas you've carried since childhood. We were told cute little creation stories that weren't grounded in the reality of God's Word.

"And the Two Shall Become One Flesh..."
At this point, you may be asking yourself, "If all this is true and God had such a perfect creation all in one package at the start, why did He separate woman from man?"

That's a good question. You'll find the answer in Genesis 2:18: "The Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone...."

Most people think this verse says that God suddenly woke up, discovered Adam was all by himself and decided to make him a companion. That sounds very sweet but it is just plain wrong.

Adam wasn't all by himself. He had the fellowship of God. So what the Bible is telling us here is Adam had fallen out of that fellowship. Yes, even before he sinned, Adam had lost his intimacy with his heavenly Father. He must have, otherwise he would not have been alone.

How can I be so sure? Look at John 8 and you'll see. There, Jesus says, "...I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me...the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him" (vv. 16,29).

The reason Jesus was not alone was that he has a relationship with the Father. God was His companion. Adam was originally designed to share that same kind of divine companionship, but something went wrong.

Even before the Fall had taken place—even before Adam had eaten of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil—he stopped doing the things that pleased the Father. Thus, he was alone.

Rather than leave man in that isolated state, Genesis 2:21-22, tells us, "...the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam and he slept; and he took one of his ribs, closed up the flesh instead thereof; and the rib, which the Lord God had taken from the man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man."

The word "made" that is used here to describe the creation of Eve isn't like either of the other two Hebrew words we've seen. The word here is banah. It means "skillfully or artistically formed." That says something wonderful about you ladies, doesn't it?

Woman is twice removed from the dust of the earth—doubly refined.

But note that the word bara, for creation of soul and spirit, isn't used for Eve. God had already created the female personality. It was housed in the body called Adam. God simply extracted that personality and put it in the new body He had formed from Adam's rib.

God's separation of woman out of man created an unprecedented situation. For the first time in creation, a being was incomplete.

Although both man and woman were separate and distinct entities, neither one was completely "in the image and likeness of God" any longer. Neither one of them alone was able to walk in the dominion over the earth God had originally granted them.

But God's intention was not for them to remain in that state of incompletion. That's why He decreed: "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh" (Gen. 2:24).

God created holy matrimony. He joined man and a woman together by the miracle-working power of the Holy Spirit, transforming them once more into the image and likeness of God and creating the completion that entitled them to dominion over the earth.

Once you understand that, you'll see why marriage is so vital to God's plan for mankind. You'll also understand why Satan is so determined to destroy it.

When a man and a woman marry, a new creature comes into existence—a being that never existed before. That's what the Bible means by "one flesh." It is referring to the restoration of the completeness of Adam's original state—a state in which all of the elements that constitute "male" and "female" were housed in one body.

Which Way to the Tree of Life?
We've already seen that one reason God separated woman from man was because it was not good for Man to be alone. But there was also another reason.

In Genesis 2:16-17 we read: "And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat...."

Notice God encouraged Adam to eat of all the other trees of the garden. One of those trees was the Tree of Life.

The Tree of Life throughout the Word of God is a type or symbol of Jesus Christ. It's a type of the divine nature. We are told in the New Covenant to become partakers of the divine nature. And eating of the Tree of Life was the way Adam was to have partaken in the divine nature. But he didn't do it. How do we know?

We know because after the Fall, God said, "Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil; and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever..." (Gen. 3:22).

Obviously, Adam had not yet partaken of the Tree of Life. His failure to do so shows us one of the most basic reasons God created woman. He created her to point her man toward the Tree of Life.

Adam alone didn't take enough interest in the Tree of Life (spiritual things) to make the walk to the center of the garden where the tree was. The same is true today. In their natural state, left to their own devices, men are not likely to pursue the things of God. Generally they need the outside influence or encouragement of women.

Now, I'm not saying men are spiritual lunkheads who can never hear the voice of God (although some of you wives may think so). I'm simply saying that God created the male to be concerned with certain types of practical things essential to the success of God's new creation.

God gave the male a drive to produce and reproduce, to provide for and protect his family. He placed these drives deep inside him so this new creation called Mankind would thrive and prosper. The pitfall is that in pursuit of those things, a man can lose his sensitivity to spiritual things. His wife, however, is designed to help him avoid that pitfall.

A man who doesn't understand this principle often ends up resenting his wife's preoccupation with the things of God. "Who does she think she is, anyway?" he'll grumble. "Miss Super-spiritual?"

He may even try to compete with her. Many times, for example, the wife gets saved first and starts moving on with God so quickly that the husband is left behind to "eat her dust" (spiritually speaking, of course).

Then he hears he's supposed to be the head of the household. Since he's already irritated about her jumping out ahead, the next time she comes to tell him she's heard from God, he just shuts her down.

"I'm the head of this house!" he'll say. "If God needs to tell us something, He can tell me." (The odds are, God did try to tell him but he wasn't listening as intently as his wife was.)

Men, get smart! When you start to slip into that kind of resentment, stop and remember why God created your wife. He created her because you need help getting to the Tree of Life. So start listening to her.

Now ladies, that doesn't give you license to nag your husband about spiritual things. That's the surest way I know to send him in the other direction. Don't nag. Pray for your man. Believe God where he's concerned. Encourage him. Exhort him.

First Peter 3:1 says you can win your husband without saying a word. In other words, you can point him toward the Tree of Life without nagging. I know, because my wife did it for me.

When we first went into the ministry, I felt like a duck out of water. I had no Bible college, no theology degree, nothing. I felt tremendously insecure. But my wife encouraged and exhorted me. She never magnified my obvious shortcomings. She never told me how unspiritual I was. She prayed for me and believed God would continue the work He had begun in me.

Whatever fruit my ministry has borne to this point is attributable to her. I know there's still a lot of room for improvement in me, but she's working on it. And she'll get me there.

Deception Protection
Before all you wives go charging full speed ahead pulling your husband along behind you, let me warn you of something. You have a weakness. Because of your spiritual sensitivity, ladies, you're also much more likely to be deceived.

Yes, the very same receptiveness that makes you so open to the things of God, makes you an easier target for the devil's lies. That was demonstrated at the Fall.

Paul tells us Eve was deceived by the serpent, but Adam was not. Adam knew exactly what he was doing. He simply chose to follow his woman rather than obey God. Don't get the wrong idea. Women aren't easily deceived about just anything. It's in spiritual things that they are vulnerable.

You can see evidence of that vulnerability in many churches today. Most of the time when a group of intercessors, for example, get off into some kind of weird teachings and activities, you'll generally find women at the center of it. I don't say that to demean women in any way. I just say it to encourage them to beware and keep in balance.

With that in mind, ladies, when you feel God has spoken to you about something, go to your husband. Ask him to pray about it with you. He may come to you a few days later and say, "Honey, I've taken this matter to the Lord and I believe you're wrong. I believe to do that thing would be a trap, so we're going to do something else instead."

When that happens, support him in the decision he has made. Remember that God has given him to you as an anchor to keep you from getting drawn off course.

The sum of what I'm saying is this: Husbands, you need to understand that without your wife, you're incomplete. Without her, your chances of getting to the Tree of Life are greatly diminished. You need to involve her in the decisions you make, and you must respect and acknowledge her spiritual sensitivity.

Wives, you must realize that your husband is the one who keeps you from falling into deception and who complements you in every way. So when he makes a decision—even if you disagree—you need to respect it.

Having that kind of mutual appreciation operating in a marriage—each partner knowing that he or she is incomplete without the other—guarantees you a happy and fulfilling relationship.

When you understand the divine differences between you and honor them in that way, you're on track for tremendous success in marriage.

Source: Heirs Together by Mac Hammond
Excerpt permission granted by Living Word International

Author Biography

Mac Hammond
Web site: Mac Hammond
Mac Hammond is senior pastor of Living Word Christian Center, a large and growing church in Brooklyn Park (a suburb of Minneapolis), Minnesota. He is the host of the Winner’s Way broadcast and author of several internationally distributed books. Mac is broadly acclaimed for his ability to apply the principles of the Bible to practical situations and the challenges of daily living.

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