Grace describes the life of a believer who securely basks in God’s ceaseless loving-kindness –who doesn’t feel the need to conceal even his darkest ways –who knows that everything taking place in this life is for his good and for all other believers too.
This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. (John 17:5)
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. We love, because He first loved us. (1 John 4:18-19)
Attaining that life of grace depends on comprehending the depths of His love –beyond merely echoing memorized verses. The allegory of marriage offers a marvelous exploration into those depths.
You might be asking “Where’s there mention of marriage being a allegory?” In Paul concluded his description of the marriage between an adoring husband and his lovely wife saying that he was actually (allegorically) speaking about Christ and His bride.
With that understanding, we know that Jesus cherishes and nurtures us and He presents us to Himself as absolutely flawless. We are His perfect bride.
The otherwise brief account of marriage in Genesis begins with “Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him’” (Genesis 2:18).
Adam’s plight touches on Jesus’ situation. They each lived in the perfect place (Adam in the garden; Jesus in heaven) and each reigned over his kingdom (Adam over all the animals; Jesus over every living creature). And each longed for someone who was like-minded, like-bodied and like-hearted to share it all with –because there was none.
To fulfill Adam’s desire, a part of him was sliced off.
The man said, “This is now bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.” For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. (Genesis 2:23-24)
She wasn’t made only from some of his body, but from some of his entire being –both flesh and bone (motivationally and bodily). Woman means “from man” –Eve was a suitable helper for Adam. She wasn’t the same as him but they would share the goal of forming a new life.
To fulfill His own desire, “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness’” (from ).
At least allegorically, God sliced off a part of Himself (both His image and His likeness –His form and His character) to make mankind. We have some of God’s characteristics –e.g., the desire to create and rule –to love and be loved. We’re not nearly the same as Him but we share the goal of a new life together.
This slicing off is nicely explained through His design of childbirth. While still in the womb, a child is sustained by mom’s life –by her digestion, breathing, waste elimination and immune system. Literally, the child’s life is totally dependent on her –on her blood.
At birth the blood-connection is broken and the child, as it’s weened, must begin learning what it needs for life. That comes partly from observing others –but mostly it’s through trials and attempts at solutions. Although mother and child begin very much alike … as time passes their differences become more and more evident.
That’s what happened with Eve –she became independent from Adam. And it’s what happened with mankind –we’ve become independent from God.
Paul continued relating the marriage allegory in. There he says that Adam was made first –and then Eve. It was she who rebelled –not him. That rebellion is characterized by her eating the fruit from the tree of death –usurping God’s authority as Judge over what’s good and what’s evil.
Try putting yourself in Adam’s position. Eve had weighed and accepted her consequences –becoming the grand authority was worth separation from God and ejection from the garden. There she was standing before her devoted husband … wanting him, almost taunting him, to eat some of the deadly fruit that she had eaten.
He had two options. He could remain there in his kingdom with all of its goodness … yet separated from the one who was formed just for him –the love of his life. Or he could join with her in spite of all her misdeeds, protect her when she would allow it and suffer the supreme consequences for her. He chose the latter: dying because of her … over living alone without her.
Then the punishments were pronounced. Adam would work the ground with thorns and weeds fighting against him … and he would die. Eve would envy his position and have trouble in childbirth (from).
Here’s where the allegory shines through –and ties the two husbands together.
Jesus left his home just as we’re told a husband must do: “For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.” (Ephesians 5:31 quotes this verse in Genesis to confirm that the allegory is about Him.)
He pursued us even though our ways are horrific: “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
The allegory also sheds light on a curious statement in Romans chapter five. In speaking of Eve bringing sin into the world and sin resulting in death, Paul relates that death reigned from the time of Adam until Moses. His point is that the Law revealed our need to be reconciled to God through the death of a perfect living being.
… death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come. (from Romans 5:14)
According to that verse, Adam committed an offense –and yet He was a type (a perfect earthly resemblance) of Christ. What offense, transgression or sin do they have in common?
They did whatever was necessary to be joined with their brides.
There’s nothing recorded to indicate that Adam was angry with Eve. He would have been justified –after all, she made his life’s work cruel and caused his death. And when Jesus was on the cross He responded in the same way toward us –saying to His Father “forgive them for they don’t know what they’re doing.” That’s proof of a faithful husband’s love.
Both Adam and Jesus chose dying to be with their brides over living alone without them.
One more thing about the punishments (in Genesis chapter three). Only the man was told that he had to die –she wasn’t. It’s hinting about the second death –spiritual death. Only Jesus had to die … and He did it so that we don’t have to.
That First Timothy passage ends by saying that women (referring to mankind) will be saved through childbirth (once they recognize their need for Him). In that life-giving event a child is covered in its mother’s blood and water. It depicts believers being protected forever by His blood and being eternally cleansed by His living water. Both flowed from His side at the cross.
In His conversation with Nicodemus, Jesus said …
Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God. (from John 3:3)
Yes, I’m describing what takes place with each of us individually. Some fall in love with the One who gave His life for them and they accept His marriage proposal. Like an engagement ring, He puts His Holy Spirit within us as His promise of eternal life with Him. Now we’re waiting for the celebration in heaven.
And there are some who refuse His proposal. He knew that’s what would happen from the start. Yet, it’s all worth it to Him –to have His perfect, eternal helpmate.