In the introduction, I noted that this quarter’s lessons should not be viewed as a marriage manual. Instead, we will look at life lessons which can be learned by looking at the stories of various couples in the Old Testament, beginning with Adam and Eve. Hopefully, this approach will be helpful for all, regardless of whether they are single or married.
1. The Image of God (Gen 1:26-28)
In Genesis 1, God creates “man in his own image.” The word usually translated “man” in Gen 1:26-27 is not used to exclude women, but to refer to humankind, both male and female. This is clear from the end of verse 27 and numerous other OT passages. God then gives the first humans several tasks: to be fruitful, fill the earth, subdue it, and “rule over” the living creatures.
- What does it mean to be created in the image of God? Do men and women look like God? (And if so, does one gender more closely resemble God?) In what ways is God masculine and feminine? Or, is this a statement about how humans are to function in the world–or even something else?
- We should notice that in the beginning, God gives the first man and woman joint rulership over the other creatures. Adam and Eve are co-rulers over creation. Was one gender created with better “rulership” skills–even before the fall?
2. Loneliness and Wholeness (Genesis 2:18-25)
In the face of his good creation, God declares something “not good”–the fact that the man is alone. God then creates a Eve from Adam’s rib.
- Is it really true that being alone is bad? The apostle Paul say that “those who marry will face many troubles in this life, and I want to spare you this” (1 Cor 7:28). Later, he suggests that marriage distracts a person from the Lord’s affairs and leads one to focus on the “affairs of this world” (1 Cor 7:32-35). So, which is best–remaining single or getting married? What does the example of Jesus suggest?
- To remedy Adam’s aloneness, God says, “I will make a helper suitable for him.” This text has been used by some to show that a woman was created as a servant to her master, man. Is this so? The fact that this same word, “helper,” is elsewhere used of God may be important to consider. Is a helper superior or inferior to the one needing help?
- Some have read Genesis 2 and suggested that Eve was created almost as an afterthought by God. Why might God have waited to create Eve? Is it significant that, for a time, Adam experienced life without Eve?
- Genesis 2:24 says, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” Some have emphasized this call to “leave” parents when a couple is married. Is this a merely cultural convention? Is this a call for geographic distancing?
3. The Fall and The Curses (Genesis 3:1-16)
- Following the fall, some suggest that Adam and Eve were cursed. Look carefully at the text. What were the two “things” which God explicitly cursed?