09: Marriage: A Gift from Eden – Thought Starters
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[Thought questions for Marriage: A gift from Eden February 27, 2013]

Image © Darrel Tank from GoodSalt.com

Image © Darrel Tank from GoodSalt.com

1. Marriage in Eden. Can you imagine a more ideal setting for a young couple to establish their home than the Garden of Eden? Where did the floral arrangements come from? Who presided over the wedding ceremony? Who pronounced Adam and Eve husband and wife? Do you think there might have been music? Can you think of more than one way that this ceremony might have offered an eternal blessing to the two? How are God’s principles of love and happiness in marriage related?

2. Not so good. Was any aspect of the Garden of Eden flawed after Creation but before God created Eve? Was everything perfect when Adam was the only human being on earth? How do you think Adam first recognized his “aloneness” and began to long for a companion? Was it something he said? something he saw? Do you think God planned from the beginning to create a life partner for Adam? Or was that an afterthought when He saw how disappointed Adam was? What did the highly unusual method for creating Eve give Adam as a lesson to carry us through the millennia?

3. Adam’s companion. What is the primary difference between a companion and a pet? Of the two, what did Adam need more? How much more? What lesson about the origins of mankind did the Creator share with us when he chose a rib of Adam for making Eve? Did Adam immediately fall in love with Eve when God presented her to him? Did Adam like what he saw? Did he consider Eve to be his equal? How much did Adam’s love for the most beautiful creature God created have to do with his choice to disobey God? Does God want us to love Him even more than our husband? or wife?

4. Ideal marriage. When you were married (if you ever were), did you believe that, under God, this marriage would last forever? As you took the wedding vows, did you determine in your heart to be the perfect husband? or wife? What challenges did the evil one put in your path to make your marriage more difficult than you could have imagined? Your lesson emphasizes the importance of unity in an ideal marriage. Is unity in the marriage relationship always good? What if both husband and wife are determined to cause trouble? Should husband and wife respect and honor each other equally?

5. Sexuality. What does the sexual relationship in marriage between two committed Christians reveal about God’s love for us? Is it wrong to think of sex as anything but a means through which children can be born? Why? When young bodies first feel the stir of sex, why do so many of them fall into a lust-driven relationship before they’re ready to establish a family? When a husband or wife has both opportunity and desire, why is it that so often this person wanders away from a relationship established by God? Does God provide testosterone? Does He want His people to experience joy in sex? Why are we, even as Adventists, so tempted to thwart God’s plan for a sexually pure life?

6. Marriage as a metaphor for the church. Are you comfortable thinking of yourself as married to the church? Why or why not? Have you noticed the way Old Testament prophets described the sinful lives of the children of Israel as adultery? What should we tell our youngsters when we want them to be friends with age mates from Christian homes but still to be loving and kind to those from other kinds of homes? Can the church provide a setting where this problem can be solved or lessened? In what ways does the church of God represent His bride? How important should a longing for deep friendship and fellowship with Jesus our Saviour be to us in these final days?

7. Evolution and marriage. Many animals are monogamous (same partner through life) but most mate with the season. Can you see how easy it is for a person who believes we evolved through millions of years to conclude that marriage is not really part of our survival mechanism and therefore is not absolutely necessary?

8. The virtuous wife. Proverbs 31 includes a vivid thumbnail sketch of the virtuous woman. Why isn’t there a similar thumbnail sketch of a model husband? Or is there?

9. The unmarried. With such a strong motif throughout Scripture of marriage as a symbol of the Christian life, do you think God has a special place in His heart for the unmarried? What might that be?

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09: Marriage: A Gift from Eden – Thought Starters — 7 Comments

  1. Joyce, I appreciate your weekly posts. I can see how they can be a real benefit to teachers that may have trouble facilitating a Sabbath School discussion. At least your questions give them a jumping off place to start a meaningful discussion.

    As for this week's discussion questions - wow! The subject of marriage for me is a difficult one since I have been single all my life and section 9 especially gives me something to think about.

    For married people who pity the unmarried and would like to play cupid I think Jesus had an important statement He made:

    For there are eunuchs who were born thus from their mother's womb, and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He who is able to accept it, let him accept it (Matt. 19:12 NKJV).

    In other words there are various reasons why a person chooses to remain single and I believe in most cases it is best to leave it alone and not judge the situation. That being said I do believe that married life has many advantages. As God said, "It is not good that man should be alone" (Gen. 2:18 NKJV) and I believe He said that for many reasons.

    Single people tend to be more self-centered. It doesn't have to be that way but I think it usually is and that is not good. For instance I am very introverted so socializing is difficult for me. Whatever service I render it is usually at a distance. I do enjoy supporting things financially whenever possible but as a sinner I tend to fail even at that.

    What married life does is to force a person to consider someone outside of himself. It has a tendency to set a habit of service in one's life but also has benefits in more ways than just that obvious one. Paul told the Philippians:

    Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross (Phil. 2:5-8 NKJV)

    In doing that with respect to his or her family a "type" of God is established in that the parents can begin to appreciate God's care and love for the church (section 6) which is something that more often than not goes right over the head of single people. It's not that a single person can't understand love but rather that a family teaches things about love relationships, especially God's, that is difficult to teach otherwise. The intimacy between a husband and a wife is not experienced by a single person even when a couple are living together (shacking up). There is a special commitment involved when two people get married while simply living together doesn't have that to the depth marriage does. In the case of shacking up their relationship remains more of a casual friendship that can be broken at any time while marriage involves a deep commitment over time.

    In my opinion the metaphor or type of marriage to Christ probably answers a lot of the questions one could ask concerning what happened on the sixth day of creation and why God set up heterosexual relationships.

    The controversy got started because of a misunderstanding concerning God's character. So God instituted marriage in order to help us to understand Him better providing, of course, that it doesn't become a social disaster. I believe that is one of the big reasons why Satan targets the family to the extent he does because it is one of the ways the controversy is settled.

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    • Interesting. I approached this week's topic with a fair share of trepidation because I, too, have never married. What do I know about marriage? Only that as I have observed many marriages through the years, I find it a beautiful experience to know someone who seems to come from a harmonious and balanced marriage experience. God knew what was for our greatest happiness when He established the family for us.

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    • Tyler, I appreciate your openness and thoughtfulness. Certainly there are challenges in every social situation. God gives opportunities that differ from person to person. Since you are single and so was Jesus, your opportunities are in some ways more like Christ's than they would be for someone married. Christ was totally devoted to the work of God, and so may be today's singles, as we read in 1 Corinthians 7:32, "But I want you to be without care. He who is unmarried cares for the things of the Lord -- how he may please the Lord." May God bless you as you continue to serve Him.

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  2. Hi Joyce!

    Your blog and presentation of our Sabbath School Lesson discussion is superb! Keep up the good work! Your questions ignite the flame of deeper study in the Holy Scriptures.

    More power to your blog and ministry!

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  3. Praise the Lord that the questions have been helpful to you. That's their only purpose, as you put it, to "ignite the flame of deeper study in the Holy Scriptures."

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  4. my comment is on companion for adam,God took something out of adam,made it into something more precious

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  5. Marriage is only for couple but not for the youth.
    God made man and he knew that man can not live alone so he made for him his helper.

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