The Splendor of Marriage -- By: Roger R. Nicole

Journal: Priscilla Papers
Volume: PP 23:3 (Summer 2009)
Article: The Splendor of Marriage
Author: Roger R. Nicole

The Splendor of Marriage

Roger Nicole

ROGER NICOLE taught theology at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (1945-1986) and Reformed Theological Seminary (1989-2000). His publications include Standing Forth (2002) and Our Sovereign Saviour (2002). He is one of the founding members of Christians for Biblical Equality. A biography of Dr. Nicole by David Bailey is titled Speaking the Truth in Love: The Life and Legacy of Roger Nicole (Vestavia Hills, Ala.: Solid Ground Christian Books, 2006).

The greatness of marriage is surely evident by its chronological place in the divine plan of creation, its crucial importance in the permanency and development of the human race, and the pivotal place of the great statement of Genesis 2:24:

A man will leave his father and mother and be united with his wife, and they will become one flesh. (TNIV)

This pronouncement is not merely a part of the biblical narrative; Jesus presented it as a statement of God himself: “. . . the Creator . . . said” (Matt. 19:4-5). Paul emphasizes that “our bodies are members of Christ himself” (1 Cor. 6:15-16) and that sexual intercourse, even when thought to be a “casual incident,” involves the unity spoken of in “the two will become one flesh.” When discussing the nature and obligation of Christian marriage, Paul also quotes this passage (Eph. 5:31) and adds:

This is a great mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. (Eph. 5:32)

As it is proper for any plan of a purposing being, what is at the end is really the aim from the start of the whole approach. Thus, while sexual reproduction is perceived as a major method of the reproduction of life, its presence in plants and animals is only a step in the supreme significance of human marriage in God’s counsel, which is the culmination of the whole process of divine creation.

Already in the Old Testament, the union in human marriage is illustrative of the relation of God to his people Israel. This is strikingly exhibited in the whole book of Hosea and may be found in other prophetic writings: Isaiah 1:21, 62:5; Micah 1:7; Jeremiah 2:20-25, 3:1-3, 6-10, 13:25-27; Ezekiel 16:15-43, 23:1-49. John the Baptist called Jesus “the bridegroom” (John 3:29), an expression...

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