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"I Now Pronounce You Man And Wife"

 

 

And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him....  And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;  And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman and brought her unto the man.  And Adam 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.  Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they shall be one flesh...  And Adam knew his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the Lord. (Genesis 2: 18; 21-24; 4:1).

 

Amazing!  God creates a man from which came another being (a woman) who, as Henry Campbell Black said in his dictionary, had the "...the peculiarities of structure and function that distinguish [that] character as being...a female."  Then, from that union, from these two fully mature humans, there comes forth another creature-a miniature man.  What a surprise for Eve: "I have gotten a man!"

 

Now, notice: in the very beginning three persons come into being: a man and a woman (both fully mature) and, in due time, a second "man" (a child).  Regarding the first two we turn once more to Blackís Law Dictionary and read: "Wife. A woman united to a man by marriage; a woman who has a husband living and undivorced.  The correlative term is "husband."  From Black again we read:

 

Marriage. Legal union of one man and one woman as husband and wife.  Singer v. Hara, 11 Wash.App. 247, 522 P.2d 1187,

 

Marriage, as distinguished from the agreement to marry and from the act of becoming married, is the legal status, condition, or relation of one man and one woman united in law for life,.. for the discharge to each other and the community of the duties legally incumbent on those whose association is founded on the distinction of sex. (Italics and bold mine, ed.)

 

According to law, marriage consists of two people: a man and a woman.  However, we have not yet addressed that which "completes" a marriage.  For that we turn again to Black: "Consummation. The completion of a thing; the completion of a marriage by cohabitation (ie. Sexual intercourse) between spouses.  (Spouse. Oneís husband or wife...)."  (Words in parentheses Blackís)

 

Strange, thatís exactly what occurred between Adam and Eve as we read from Genesis 4:1-"And Adam knew his wife; and she conceived" with the surprising result that a second man came into existence-the person who could be involved in another marriage.  Webster tells us the word marriage comes from the word meaning husband.  This new man grows, matures and marries and the cycle begins all over again.  Thatís the how the world was "filled" or populated.  Arenít our Creatorís plans marvelous?  Isnít it a good thing those first two were capable of procreating?  What would not have happened if they had both been men???  Or women????

 

But, did this continue?  When men and women were born, did they continue to marry, create homes, and bear children?  The answer is so obvious that even asking it seems foolish.  Where would you or I be if it hadnít?  It seems to me that, in his Divine Providence, Jehovah had laid some pretty good plans.  So who are we to change that?   Evidently it wasnít.  A second question arises, however.  Just how does one "marry"?  We certainly donít read of a wedding for Adam and Eve.  How about others in the Biblical history of the world?  The first few couples who became man and wife simply became man and wife!  No courtships are described, no one seems to have "married them," no wedding ceremonies are recorded.  Perhaps they werenít necessary.  Perhaps they simply werenít recorded.  We do know that certain important ones were successful-Adam and Eve had a long marriage-over a couple hundred years!  Noah and his wife lived a very adventurous life together for at least a hundred and twenty years.  Then thereís Abraham and Sarah they had been married many years before Isaac was born and Isaac was 67 when Sarah died.

 

But weddings did take place.  We read about them in both the Old and New Testaments.  And they were always between a man and a woman (another rather obvious point).  (In fact, a "marriage" between two of the same sex seems rather pointless, doesnít it?)

 

How have marriage practices developed since the beginning of the Christian era?   Certainly with joy and celebration.  We read of the "Marriage Supper of the Lamb," (Rev.19:9) and that "both Jesus was called and his disciples, to [a] marriage.  And when they wanted wine" Jesus supplied it.  We know the bride and groom dressed especially well for their wedding and there were many guests.  Not much different from today-except a license has become a requirement!  (Is that necessary?)  Stepping forward a few hundred years we land on the American continent where we can read the history of the Pilgrims about which Bradford tells us:

 

May 12 was the first marriage in this place (the marriage was that of Edward Winslow, whose first wife died in the great sickness, to Susannah, widow of William White, another victim of the first winter.) which, according to the laudable custom of the Low Countries, in which they had lived, was thought most requisite to be performed by the magistrate, as being a civil thing, upon which many questions about inheritances do depend, with other things most proper to their cognizance and most consonant to the Scriptures (Ruth iv) and nowhere found in the Gospel to be laid on the ministers as a part of their office.

 

This decree or law about marriage was published by the States of the Low Countries Anno 1590.  That those of any religion (after lawful and open publication) coming before the magistrates in the Town, or State house, were to be orderly (by them) married one to another"-Petit's History, fol. 1029.

 

And this practice hath continued amongst not only them, but hath been followed by all the famous churches of Christ in these parts to this time-Anno 1646.

 

Notes:

 

"And Boaz said unto the elders, and unto all the people, Ye are witnesses this day, that I have bought all that was Elimelechís.  Moreover Ruth the Moabitess,..have I purchased to be my wife....And all the people that were in the gate, and the elders said, We are witnesses. The Lord make the woman that is come into thine house like Rachel and like Leah which two did build the house of Israel...."  (Ruth 4: 9-11).

 

All references to "Black" are from: "Blackís Law Dictionary-6th Edition; Centennial Edition" (1891-1991) Originally compiled as "Blackís law Dictionary" by Henry Campbell Black (1850-1927), including:

"Sex. The sum of the peculiarities of structure and function that distinguish the character of being male or female." 


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