Genesis 1 and Opposites

What are male and female in Genesis 1? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Some people now are asking about my view of divorce and remarriage in the Bible. In order to explain that, I think we also have to look at marriage in the Bible. What is it and what is it for? For that, let’s just start at the very beginning with Genesis 1.

If you’re wondering here whether we’re going to discuss the age of the Earth or if evolution was a part of the plan, you’re going to be disappointed. Whichever the true view is in this, I fear that too often we get caught up in the hows instead of the why and read Genesis in a way it wasn’t meant to be read. It’s my hope that whatever view you take on the how of creation, my look at the why will be able to resonate with you.

Something you notice in Genesis 1 is that there are opposites and these opposites are usually separated. Light and darkness and different waters are opposite. Those things which are opposed are divided.

This seems to happen fairly consistently even if the word divided or separated isn’t used. There is one great exception. This is when man and woman are created and these are not separated.

Man and woman are when the text turns truly poetic as this is the peak of the creation of God. Now I am sure some people who are not Christians are saying “Well here is where Genesis 1 and 2 contradict since in 1 they are created together and in 2 at different times!” I hear that, but that is not going to be my focus today.

Now in my view of this, humanity is created in the image of God in that they are meant to be the idol of God, which will represent God in the temple He has built, which is the entire cosmos. Man is meant to rule over the creation on behalf of God. We are to be the stewards making sure everything is kept in good order.

Yet here, you have two that can be considered opposites, but there is no separation mentioned. These two are to work together. God could have created one gender if He wanted to, but He didn’t. He made two and He made them to work together.

Also note something for those who think the Bible is misogynistic. In this passage, men and women are both in the image of God. There is no distinction in this. Man is not made largely in the image and woman has a pale reflection of that. Both of them are in the image of God. It’s really hard to think of a higher way to lift up women than to say they are fully in the image of God.

This also helps explain how we can all be equally human. If you were to point to our genetics and say that based on that we’re all equally human, well aside from identical twins, we have different genes. Our bodies are designed differently. Our brains can work differently. Even within the same sex, there are vast differences between us.

So what do we all have equally? The image of God. We all carry that. Every man is to treat his neighbor well because his neighbor is a fellow image-bearer.

Next time we do this, we’ll look some at Genesis 2 where we will interact more with the idea of male and female and how they come together. I also have some specific thoughts on female beauty in Genesis 2 that may surprise some of you. I know I got surprised with my final conclusion when I took a deeper look at that topic, but that is for another time.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

On Separation

What about separation in marriage? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

After writing on divorce yesterday, an appreciative reader asked my thoughts on separation. Now as I said, I think on some level divorce is always an evil even when it should be done. It’s an evil that someone did something to break a promise before God and man and someone can often be an innocent victim of that.

Sometimes though, a couple might just need some time apart. Even healthy couples need some time apart for each one to focus on some of their own hobbies, interests, and development. I love having my Mrs. around, but there can be times when she’s away with a friend and I do some of the things I like to do that she doesn’t really care for.

I was asked to share the thoughts from Scripture on separation. I really don’t think that category existed in the ancient world. I could be wrong about that, but I haven’t seen anything on that. Also, Scripture tells us how to do marriage and the purpose of marriage, but it really doesn’t tell us about marital counseling.

So what are some guidelines I would do?

If this is done, I think the goal should be to try to save the marriage and not to end it. Christians are to focus on redemption. In that case then, let it be that you will spend time working on your own problems in the marriage, even if you’re just hypothetically 1% of the problem. It’s easy to focus on what your spouse needs to do, at least in your eyes, but you have no control over that. You do have control over yourself.

As a Christian, pray for them and for your marriage and to go back to the first point, ask that you would be shown what you’re doing wrong in the situation. We all have sinful tendencies in us that need to be improved. We all have areas where we are less than perfect people.

I’d advise you to stay faithful in a separation as well. Don’t be dating other people and definitely not having sex with other people. If you’re a Christian, this will reflect badly on you. If the marriage doesn’t work out sadly, there is time for that later.

There are times that separation can be needed. Definitely go with separation if there is abuse going on that puts someone in danger, be it you or children. It is imperative that the spouse get therapy and take steps to show that they are serious about recovery, such as a 12-step program in Celebrate Recovery.

Another example could be pornography. Since this is normally a problem for men, though women can have it too, this might be a case where a wife is justified in saying no to bedroom privileges. Again, I always think that is a drastic step, but a wife needs to show how hurtful pornography is to her.

Definitely any couple undergoing separation needs to undergo marriage counseling together. Many a pastor is trained to some degree in marriage counseling, though they could recommend a specialist as well. My wife is a catechumen in the Orthodox Church and her mentor has informed me that all priests in that church are trained in marriage counseling as well, which I highly admire. This is also why I think those who lead a church should strive for higher education.

Divorce is always a tragedy and while separation can be sad, hopefully, it can lead to healing. Our Christian culture needs to do a better job upholding the sacredness of sex and marriage today. If short-term suffering can lead to long-term joy, it could be the answer.

In Christ,
Nick Peters