Marriage: A Portrait Of The Gospel From The Beginning -- By: Dale Johnson

Journal: Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood
Volume: JBMW 021:1 (Spring 2016)
Article: Marriage: A Portrait Of The Gospel From The Beginning
Author: Dale Johnson


Marriage:
A Portrait Of The Gospel From The Beginning

Dale Johnson

Assistant Professor of Biblical Counseling
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
Fort Worth, Texas

The dismal state of marriage in the United States is a well-documented reality. The growing trends in marital and related statistics cause concern on many levels. Sociologically, the strength of a nation depends, to a large degree, on the strength of its families.1 Theologically, those who fear God recognize that the divide between God’s design of the institution and its current form is troubling. A tumultuous cultural wind necessitates the Christian to anchor in the past and fix his eyes upon the future, as a lighthouse, in order to remain steadfast in truth and practice. The apostle Paul does exactly this in his explanation of marriage in Ephesians 5.

Paul is forward in his thinking about marriage in the Kingdom, but his progressive focus is not severed from the past. The apostle typically viewed everything through eyes fixed on the gospel, but this time he adds creation and eschatology as vantage points. This essay will utilize the apostle’s appeal to creation and consummation within Ephesians 5:31-32 to demonstrate that marriages, from the beginning, were to portray the grand story of the gospel from creation design to eschatological union.

In Paul’s urge for husbands to love like Christ, he concludes the section by anchoring his paradigm within the metanarrative of God’s redemption. First, Paul tied his view of marriage in verse 31 to creation by quoting Genesis 2:24. Second, he carried the thought through to consummation in Ephesians 5:32. These pillars, at both ends of time, are to serve as guides for understanding the intimate marital union.

Creation And Consummation

Give And Take

God presented the first bride to her husband. In Genesis 2:22, the Lord God made the woman from the rib of the man and “brought her to the man.” Immediately following the man’s naming of the woman as his very bone and flesh, God established the principle of man leaving and cleaving to his wife in order to form a one-flesh union. Before considering the elements of the marriage union involved in the leave and cleave principle, one must also acknowledge God’s presentation of woman to the man.

In the Genesis...

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