Marriage in Genesis 2
by Rod Jackson

All verses are quoted from the NASB anything in [square brackets] is added by me for clarity.

When Adam and Eve were created perfectly God gave them what I am calling a "law of marriage" -

"The man 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.' For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh." Genesis 2:23 & 24

We can derive certain taboos from this law of marriage. Jesus gives us the first one and that will be the basis for the others that we derive from it.

1) No Divorce

"For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh." Genesis 2:24

In the Gospels we read -

"Some Pharisees came to Jesus, testing Him and asking, `Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason at all?' And He answered and said, `Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE, and said, FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.' " Matthew 19:3-6

Notice that Jesus quotes from both Genesis 1:27 and our law of marriage - Genesis 2:24. But I want you to notice when Jesus quotes from Genesis 2:24 it is not a word-for-word quote but as is typical of the Jews is a quote for meaning. For He says "the two" whereas Genesis 2:24 says "they". In other words Jesus has assumed that we cannot add more to Genesis 2:24 than what is written. So it is like if the word "only" was added to Genesis 2:24 such that it would read - "For this reason only a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined only to his wife; and only they shall become one flesh." The two is logically equivalent to the "they", which is "a man" and "a woman" but not any woman "his wife" so the married couple. In the parallel account we read -

"Some Pharisees came up to Jesus, testing Him, and began to question Him whether it was lawful for a man to divorce a wife. And He answered and said to them, `What did Moses command you?' They said, `Moses permitted a man TO WRITE A CERTIFICATE OF DIVORCE AND SEND her AWAY.' But Jesus said to them, `Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment. But from the beginning of creation, God MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE. FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH; so they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.' In the house the disciples began questioning Him [Jesus] about this again. And He said to them, `Whoever divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her; and if she herself divorces her husband and marries another man, she is committing adultery.' " Mark 10:2-12

Jesus can argue from the law of marriage that divorce is wrong because He uses an enthymematic argument. That is, He uses a hidden premise (the word "only' in this case). So then since it is valid to do this with the law of marriage we can conclude that divorce is wrong because the two become one, we know this "becoming one" is at least from having sex (cf. 1 Corinthians 6:16, Ephesians 5:31). But should (in a healthy marriage) be more than merely that. Later the Law of Moses agreed with this law of marraige when it said -

You shall not have intercourse with your neighborís wife, to be defiled with her. Leviticus 18:20

For our purposes all we need notice is that it is valid to insert the word "only" into Genesis 2:24, because of this we can also enthymematically derive the following -

2) No Polygamy

"For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh." Genesis 2:24

As we have seen it is only two, who become one, not three or more... Also we have seen that having multiple sexual partners actually breaks the original union {as is called adultery, as discussed in 1) above}. Later the Law of Moses confirms this when he wrote -

"He shall not multiply wives for himself, or else his heart will turn away;" Deuteronomy 17:17a

And we read about the wickedness of man increasing in Genesis 4 culminating with Lamech who -

"Lamech took to himself two wives: the name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other, Zillah." Genesis 4:19

Lamech lived before the Law of Moses was given, however because the Law of Marriage was already given he has done a wicked and evil thing here. We can also enthymematically derive the following -

3) No Homosexuality

"For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh." Genesis 2:24

When I was younger and I heard arguments like "God created Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve" I used to think that it was a weak argument and that it needed to be supported by other scripture verse such as -

"You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination." Leviticus 18:22

"If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death. Their bloodguiltiness is upon them." Leviticus 20:13

"For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error." Romans 1:26-27

And verses like them (cf. 1 Timothy 1:10 & 1 Corinthians 6:9) needed to be used in conjunction with the above statement (about Adam and Steve). However I no longer think that way. The Law of Marriage is sufficient to refute homosexuality. Consider this -

"... but where there is no law, there also is no violation." Romans 4:15b

We read about God destroying Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 19. However the Law of Moses comes 621 years after Sodom was destroyed. But since there is no violation of law when there is no Law (Romans 4:15b) this means that God destroyed Sodom because they were in violation of an already existent law! This is the law of marriage that we are reading about in Genesis 2:24. We can also enthymematically derive the following -

4) No Beastiality

"For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh." Genesis 2:24

Again it is a man and a woman not man and a beast or an animal and a woman. Again the Law of Moses which came 621 years later clarifies by saying -

"Also you shall not have intercourse with any animal to be defiled with it, nor shall any woman stand before an animal to mate with it; it is a perversion." Leviticus 18:23

"If there is a man who lies with an animal, he shall surely be put to death; you shall also kill the animal. If there is a woman who approaches any animal to mate with it, you shall kill the woman and the animal; they shall surely be put to death. Their bloodguiltiness is upon them." Leviticus 20:15-16

"Whoever lies with an animal shall surely be put to death." Exodus 22:19

"ĎCursed is he who lies with any animal.í And all the people shall say, ĎAmen.í " Deuteronomy 27:21

5) No parent/child incest (brother/sister incest ok)

"For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh." Genesis 2:24

Abraham married his half-sister (Genesis 20:12) Sarai and is never rebuked for this. This is because in our law of marriage there is no command refusing brother and sister incest. This was necessary in the beginning because Adam marries Eve, but then who do their children marry? They can only marry each other. Today if a brother has sex with his sister then there is a high probability that their children will be born with defects. This has to do with them having similar DNA and similar mutations in their DNA. Because Adam and Eve had perfect DNA with no mutations it is not a problem for them or their children. However as time passed more mutations arose in the DNA (due to pregnant women doing drugs etc) so it became necessary for God to ban this type of relationship too. The Law of Moses which came 2666 years after Creation says -

"The nakedness of your sister, either your fatherís daughter or your motherís daughter, whether born at home or born outside, their nakedness you shall not uncover." Leviticus 18:9

"The nakedness of your fatherís wifeís daughter, born to your father, she is your sister, you shall not uncover her nakedness." Leviticus 18:11

"If there is a man who takes his sister, his fatherís daughter or his motherís daughter, so that he sees her nakedness and she sees his nakedness, it is a disgrace; and they shall be cut off in the sight of the sons of their people. He has uncovered his sisterís nakedness; he bears his guilt." Leviticus 20:17

"ĎCursed is he who lies with his sister, the daughter of his father or of his mother.í And all the people shall say, ĎAmen.í " Deuteronomy 27:22

So the Law of Moses forbids brother/sister incest but the initial Law of marriage did not. However the Law of marriage, which came 2666 years before the Law of Moses, already forbid parent/child type incest. Because they are to "leave their father and mother" to get married. Clearly if you marry your mother or father you have not left them. The Law of Moses also forbid this type of incest -

"You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father, that is, the nakedness of your mother. She is your mother; you are not to uncover her nakedness. 8 You shall not uncover the nakedness of your fatherís wife; it is your fatherís nakedness." Leviticus 18:7-8

"If there is a man who lies with his fatherís wife, he has uncovered his fatherís nakedness; both of them shall surely be put to death, their bloodguiltiness is upon them." Leviticus 20:11

"A man shall not take his fatherís wife so that he will not uncover his fatherís skirt." Deuteronomy 22:30

"ĎCursed is he who lies with his fatherís wife, because he has uncovered his fatherís skirt.í And all the people shall say, ĎAmen.í " Deuteronomy 27:20

" ĎCursed is he who lies with his mother-in-law.í And all the people shall say, ĎAmen.í " Deuteronomy 27:23

So since parent/child incest has always been wrong, when we read about Lot's daughters -

"Then the firstborn [daughter of Lot] said to the younger [daughter of Lot], `Our father [Lot] is old, and there is not a man on earth to come in to us after the manner of the earth. Come, let us make our father drink wine, and let us lie with him that we may preserve our family through our father.' So they made their father drink wine that night, and the firstborn went in and lay with her father; and he did not know when she lay down or when she arose. On the following day, the firstborn said to the younger, `Behold, I lay last night with my father; let us make him drink wine tonight also; then you go in and lie with him, that we may preserve our family through our father.' So they made their father drink wine that night also, and the younger arose and lay with him; and he did not know when she lay down or when she arose. Thus both the daughters of Lot were with child by their father. The firstborn bore a son, and called his name Moab; he is the father of the Moabites to this day. As for the younger, she also bore a son, and called his name Ben-ammi; he is the father of the sons of Ammon to this day." Genesis 19:31-38

They clearly know they are doing the wrong thing or they would not have got their father so drunk that he didn't remember anything the next day. It was, of course, wrong for Lot to let himself get drunk too. But for our study this parent child type incest was already banned by the law of marriage that God gave to Adam and Eve when they were perfect (and if the law was needed for perfect beings, then think how much more is needed for imperfect beings).

Similarly in the New Testament we read -

"It is actually reported that there is immorality among you, and immorality of such a kind as does not exist even among the Gentiles, that someone has his fatherís wife." 1 Corinthians 5:1

Paul is so shocked at this he says even non-Christians are not performing such immoral acts! Clearly any fulfillment of Mosaic Law does not remove this prior existing law of marriage.


Back to Home Page