God made marriage to reflect the holy, eternal, loving, intimate, joyful, and sacrificial love He has always cherished among the members of the Godhead. In that sense, marriage is not about you but is certainly for you. God has invited you to participate in and imitate His triune love. Perhaps this is why Scripture calls marriage the “mystery of the Gospel” because, unlike any other human relationship or institution, it most clearly and most beautifully pictures the divine.
Recently I remembered why I had stopped noticing the sounds of war during my deployment in Operation Iraqi Freedom. When we first entered the country, every cell in my body was on heightened alert. My adrenaline was constantly pumping. Every staccatoed rat-tat-tat from a distant AK-47 was enough to make my hair stand on end. Every civilian standing in the crowd could be a suicide bomber. Every vehicle could deliver the IED that would send me home looking forever like Lieutenant Dan. And with every mortar round fired, the reality of going home in a box and my mother receiving a triangle-folded American flag pressed upon my mind. Yet, as the deployment wore on, these sounds melded into a strange kind of normalcy for me.
For instance, every morning around 3 AM, the reverberating rumbles of incoming mortar rounds would agitate the little mud brick house we lived in. Those first nights in theater, I awoke in a great alarm from every blast, alert and ready for combat, frantically putting on my equipment for readiness and protection. But, once I realized that Iraqis with Mortar rounds could not hit the proverbial sand when falling off the fictional camel, I eventually learned to sleep right through the explosions as if nothing strange was happening around me.
The thunderous eruptions, once jarring to me, became the ethereal drum tap in the desert’s lullaby. Time, like an ancient spell, wove its enchantment upon my senses, leaving me unconscious of my surroundings, which is what I believe has happened to the modern church.
In his timeless malice, Satan has assailed the sacred bond of marriage for so long that the sounds and signs of warfare upon her have faded into the cacophony of noises we have become accustomed to. While we have grown numb to the relentless onslaught at the devil’s hand, divorce, infidelity, and broken homes have become the tapestry woven into the threads of our society.
For this reason, it is incumbent upon us to wake from our slumber, recognize the war, and cling to the weapons of warfare our compassionate General has assigned us. For all who call themselves Christians, it is time to rekindle our love for the hallowed Word. As followers of Christ, we must valiantly thwart the adversary’s advances on marriage in general, and our marriages in particular, by embracing God’s designs for us, our marriages, our children, and our homes that are revealed in Holy Scripture.
Today, we begin our series on marriage by traveling back to the genesis of it, seeking solace in the profound wisdom spoken by our God in His Word. In this collection of essays on the topic of marriage, we will lean into what Scripture teaches and glean from our Maker’s timeless intention for marriage that will ever illuminate our path. Today, we begin by speaking about the design of marriage from the first Biblical text on marriage found in Genesis 1:26-28.
26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” – Genesis 1:26-28
The Trinitarian Design of Marriage
The Bible describes the creation of man in marital language. For instance, God did not merely create two distinctly gendered individuals, calling them “very good” in their disconnectedness, but a pair of people who would become one flesh together. In the same way that shoes come in twos and socks come in pairs, God made man as a male and female unit that would join together to become one very glorious thing, which of course, was the “very good” part.
In this, we must also notice that the creation of man was a trinitarian event. God does not create the first domestic community without blueprints. Instead, he patterns it off the divine community that has existed forever. At the height of the creation enterprise, God speaks, saying, “Let Us make mankind in Our image” When God does this, it not only serves as proof for the triunity within the Godhead but the kind of intimacy God intends to be present in the marriage.
The Trinitarian Community
For all eternity, members of the Godhead, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit exist in perfect harmony and self-giving love, an exquisite dance of divine affection. This celestial community lives in exquisite blissful intimacy, lavishly pouring out fragrant love upon one another, heralding each other’s praises in melodious harmonies that echoed across the unformed realms, holding nothing back from one another across eons of affectionate fellowship.
In the embrace of the Father, love emanates as an eternal wellspring, an outpouring of perfect affection towards the Son and the Spirit. The Father’s love, boundless and unchanging, encapsulates the essence of nurturing care and tender compassion. It is a love that delights in the Son’s obedience and wholeheartedly affirms His eternal Sonship, a love that seeks to glorify and honor the Son above all.
The Son, in response, reciprocates this love with perfect devotion and filial obedience. His passion for the Father is marked by complete surrender and an unwavering desire to fulfill the Father’s will. It is a love that willingly steps into the realm of humanity, taking upon Himself the weight of the world’s sin, offering Himself as the perfect sacrifice—a demonstration of love that knows no bounds.
The Holy Spirit, the breath and life within the Trinity, embodies the love that flows between the Father and the Son. It is a love that unites, empowers, and guides. The Spirit’s love is like a gentle wind, constantly moving and animating the divine dance. It is a love that testifies to the unity and oneness of the Godhead, bringing forth the fruit of love in the hearts of believers.
Together, the love within the Trinity is a symphony of self-giving, perfect love. It is a love that transcends time and space, existing in timeless eternity. It is a love that invites us to behold the divine dance and participate in its harmonious rhythms. Through the love of the Trinity, we catch a glimpse of the infinite depth of love and are invited to enter into a transformative relationship with the Triune God, where we, too, can experience the boundless love that unites Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This, of course, is best pictured in human marriage.
As many scholars and authors attest, when our triune God patterned man according to His image, He was undoubtedly creating individuals with a rational and creative capacity to think, feel, love, and do.