Genesis 2:18-25 The Ordinance of Marriage -- By: Ligon Duncan

Journal: Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood
Volume: JBMW 08:1 (Spring 2003)
Article: Genesis 2:18-25 The Ordinance of Marriage
Author: Ligon Duncan


Genesis 2:18-25
The Ordinance of Marriage

Ligon Duncan

Senior Minister
First Presbyterian Church,
Jackson, Mississippi

Editor’s Note: The following sermon was preached by Ligon Duncan at First Presbyterian Church in Jackson, Mississippi on June 21, 1998.

I would invite you to turn with me to Genesis, chapter 2. We have, for the last few weeks, been looking at the creation ordinances as they are recorded in chapters 1 and 2. We have outlined those ordinances in four parts. We have said that there are many legitimate ways to number the creation ordinances. Sometimes you hear three names. John Murray finds seven in his great book, Principles of Conduct. We have numbered them for the sake of convenience here, one through four. First of all, in Gen 1:28 the ordinance of procreation. Then again, in Gen 1:28, the ordinance of labor. Then in Gen 2:3, we see the ordinance of the Sabbath. Finally, in Gen 2:24 especially, but throughout this passage, we see the ordinance of marriage.

Last week we looked at the original relationship between God and Adam and Eve in paradise and said that that relationship, which our Confession refers to as both a Covenant of Works and a Covenant of Life, was filled with both privileges and obligations. Those privileges are apparent as you scan Gen 2:4–14. You look at the description in the first verses of that section of the original state of the creation, and then you look at the perfection of the world in which man was placed, and the blessings which God heaped upon man, and you see the privileges with which God endowed man in that original relationship.

Then in the second half of that passage, especially in verses 15 through 17, you see some of the obligations set forth that God gave to Adam. In paradise, God entered into a special relationship with Adam. He spells out the nature of that relationship. There are certain things that Adam is required to do and certain positive obligations entailed in his being in this relationship with God, and there are certain things which he is to refrain from doing; in particular, the eating of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. We talked a little about the importance of that Covenant of Creation or that Covenant of Life, or that Covenant of Works.

Genesis 2:18...
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