In the Book of Genesis, the creation of man is only complete when he is created as male and female—two beings sharing one human nature, one life, but distinguished by their masculinity and femininity. When men and women were created, God declared them to be “very good” (Gen. 1:31). Adam and Eve were also “very good” in each other’s eyes. The woman is for the man, and the man is for the woman.
In one way, Adam was no longer alone after the creation of Eve. But in another way, his solitude as a human being was confirmed in Eve. Adam and Eve were both alone—unique among the animals, unique in their personal relationship to the Creator. Because Adam and Eve shared in this solitude—as all human beings do—they were capable of a deep relationship with each other.
Adam had a personal relationship with God, but he couldn’t have a personal relationship with an animal. When God brought Eve to him, he knew right away that here was another body—another person—he could commune with. Together, Adam and Eve became a “communion of persons.”
Because we transcend the physical world—being created in the image of God—we are all capable of forming this kind of deep communion with our fellow human beings. It is part of what makes us distinctively human. Living in community, we form bonds and help each other. We live for each other’s sake—not just our own.
What enables people to live in communion? Our common human nature, our sharing of the divine image, our free will, and our bodies.
The first creation account tells us that God created man in his own image, as male and female. In the second account, the creation of man isn’t complete until he exists as male and female—as a communion of persons. From this, we can see that man shares the “image and likeness” not only as an individual human being, but also as a communion of persons.
Adam mirrored the image of God not so much in his solitude, before Eve was created, as after, when he and Eve formed a communion of persons. From the beginning, Adam and Eve reflected God’s image through their love for each other. In this way, they mirrored the glory of the divine communion of persons—the Holy Trinity. And on this union of man and woman, God bestowed the blessing of fertility.
As Jesus’ answer to the Pharisee’s question about divorce shows, we cannot understand sexual ethics apart from the truth that the one-flesh union is a sign of God’s love. To the extent that they live together in love, man and woman become a picture of the inner life of God. This might be the most amazing thing that we can say about marriage. From the beginning, the male and female bodies were created to form a deep unity.
Originally posted 2019-05-21 12:26:10.