This Beautiful Inheritance: The Purpose of Heterosexual Marriage

Friday, April 5, 2013

The Purpose of Heterosexual Marriage

With the recent debate over same-sex marriage, I felt compelled to write a post to shed some light on part of the issue I feel many Christians are missing....

This post is not meant to start a debate, sound holier-than-thou, or single out a group of people. I simply hope to clarify to Christians WHY it is that God designed marriage for a man and a woman.

God didn't call homosexuality a sin (Rom. 1:21-32; 1 Cor. 6:9-11) because He likes to make life hard or because He's narrow-minded. No. God, instead, had already designed the most beautiful, intricate, creative plan for loving relationships at the beginning of time -- marriage. He made it for a man and a woman, and He made it that way for a purpose.

"So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them." Gen. 1:27

God created man and woman -- as a unit -- to reflect His image and character. It takes both the man and woman together to reflect the full character of God to the world. Godly men reflect God's masculine qualities -- strength, provision, headship -- and Godly women reflect His more feminine qualities -- they are nurturing, comforting, caring. Without both genders in the relationship, the relationship cannot fully reflect the character of God. It cannot fully show the world who God is. Now, does every Christian heterosexual marriage perfectly reflect God's character? Of course not. But that is our purpose and should be our goal.

credit: Matt Terry
"At last!" the man exclaimed. "This one is bone from my bone, and flesh from my flesh! She will be called 'woman,' because she was taken from 'man.'" This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one. Gen. 2:23-24

In the new testament, we see how marriage is also meant to reflect Christ and the church. As Christians, we are called "the Bride of Christ" for that very reason.

"For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church. As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything." Eph. 5:22-24.

"As the scriptures say, 'A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.' This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one. So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband."

credit: Matt Terry
Without a man and woman united in marriage, who will be the head? Who will reflect Christ and who will represent the church? Both genders are essential together to show the world what the unbreakable, complementary relationship between Christ and the church looks like.

Obviously, this is not meant to be an exhaustive post on this subject. There are many more passages of scripture we could look at that underscore God's purposes for heterosexual marriage. God is so creative in His design of it that it takes much study to fully grasp. But my point is this: if we claim the name of Christ, it is foolish to say that God's definition of marriage doesn't matter. His plan and purposes for marriage are deep and to cast them off as unimportant or out of date is basically claiming we know better than He does. And I can't imagine anyone wanting to go there.

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