[Thought questions for Marriage: A gift from Eden February 27, 2013]
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?