By Clifton Angel
What guides your marriage? What directs the decisions you make as husband and wife? What is your standard for right and wrong, which you can then pass down to your children? The first marriage was not perfect, nor easy; yet, it was guided by God. Truly, the guidance of God has been seen in the previous sections of this study; however, consider how that God guided Adam and Eve by His standard. At Genesis 2:15–17, we read:
And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
How were these principles relayed to Eve? Was she present when God gave the initial instruction to Adam? Did God remind Adam at a later time when she was present, which would provide the information for her? Did Adam inform her of God’s guidance, as any godly husband would do for his wife (cf. Ephesians 5:25–27)? Either way, we do know Eve was guided in the same; for, she later says to the serpent: “We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die” (Genesis 3:2–3).
God’s initial commandment was simply: “thou shalt not eat of it;” however, Eve had an additional principle included with her response to the serpent: “God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it” (Genesis 3:3). Was this a contradiction? In short, No. Reasonable inferences include: (1) Eve revealed further details that had not been revealed by Moses’ writing of Genesis 2:17; or, (2) Adam and Eve restricted themselves out of godly wisdom, that they might not be tempted to eat of the forbidden fruit. Binding on others where God does not bind can be dangerous and sinful; however, it is not sinful for one to restrict himself out of godly wisdom to prevent temptation of sin. Many try to get as close to sin as they can without “technically” sinning, and in so doing, they may make unwise decisions which eventually lead to sin.
We know Adam and Eve went on to give into temptation and sin, despite knowing better. However, God did not leave them there. He essentially came and took them by the hand (3:8–9), guided them with discipline, further informed them of the consequences of their sins (3:9–13, 16–21), and punitively and mercifully removed them from the physical tree of life (3:22–24).
The first marriage was guided by God, and it was blessed by God. Let us consider a few of their abundance of blessings.
They were given numerous resources (see Genesis 2:8–17). They were given responsibility: “And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it” (Genesis 2:15). We could consider also the responsibility that was given to Adam to name the animals in preparation for the creation of and reception of his bride (see Genesis 2:19–20). We could consider the responsibility given to Eve to be Adam’s helper (Genesis 2:18). Furthermore, they were given a relationship, which has been the foundation of every study concerning the first marriage:
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 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 unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (Genesis 2:18, 23–24).
A fourth blessing—which the worldly do not understand—was repercussions. God mandated consequences for sins (Genesis 2:17; 3:1–24; 4:1–16). Many claim such negates God’s love, but that is because they do not know God. The closer we get to God and His Word, the more we understand that being held accountable for our actions is for our own good. Our final consideration of their blessings will be the revival given them. We touched on this point when we considered God’s guidance; however, consider further how that God came “to seek and to save that which was lost” (Genesis 3:8–9; cf. Luke 19:10). God gave them the scheme of redemption (Genesis 3:15). He set a precedence for the foreshadowing sacrifices of animals (Genesis 3:21; cf. Hebrews 10:1–5). Therein, He also provided a sufficient covering for them. Fast-forward to after they lost Abel, and Cain was expelled—God revived the first marriage with the blessing of Seth: “And Adam knew his wife again; and she bare a son, and called his name Seth: For God, said she, hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew” (Genesis 4:25).
May these truths bless your marriage and glorify our God.
- Clifton Angel preaches for the Coldwater Church of Christ in Coldwater, MS. He may be contacted through that congregation's website: http://www.coldwatercofc.com/