On the sixth day of creation “God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”
These things are said of no other creature. Man took shape in God’s hands in the way clay is shaped by a potter’s hands. The prophet Isaiah said, “But now, O Lord, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand” (Isaiah 64:8).
God gave life to all of the other creatures, but God breathed life into the clay He shaped into the body of a man. Man “became a living soul” capable of thinking and reasoning, suitable to have dominion over all the other creatures God made.
Adam, the first man, was put in the garden of Eden to work as the garden’s caretaker, and God told Adam to name the animals to distinguish one from the other. God commanded Adam to not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, teaching Adam that while he was superior to other creatures on earth, he always remained subject to the Creator.
Adam saw other creatures had their companions because God had made them male and female to reproduce, but for Adam there was no companion. Fully aware Adam was alone, God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.”
God knew Adam needed a person of intelligence with whom he could communicate. The man needed someone to help him not only work, but someone with whom he would develop morally and spiritually. Together they could fulfill the potential for which God intended for humanity.
While Adam was in a deep sleep, God took one of his ribs and made a woman. It seems God made the woman while Adam was asleep, and then presented her to the man when he had fully awaked from the deep sleep.
I think this is the perfect picture of a wedding. The bride is escorted down the aisle by her father who presents her to the groom just as God presented the woman to Adam. Matthew Henry pointed out there is great significance in the woman being taken from the man’s side when he said, “Women were created from the rib of man to be beside him, not from his head to top him, nor from his feet to be trampled by him, but from under his arm to be protected by him, near to his heart to be loved by him.”
At this first marriage, Adam said, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” He promised himself to his wife. Each of them assumed responsibility for the other and to have a love for one another greater than their love for anyone else. Finally, they pledged themselves to an intimate sexual relationship solely within the confines of marriage.
They had, at least for a short time, a perfect marriage. Scripture tells us, “they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.” In other words, there was open and honest communication. There were no secrets and no ill motives. They did not put up a wall between themselves, nor was there a wall between this first couple and God.
God is love and He is a God of order. It was God’s plan that marriage would be between a man and woman, and Scripture states plainly that is His will.
The Sunday school lesson is written by Ed Wilcox, pastor of Centerville Baptist Church. He can be reached at [email protected]