I find it helpful to think in paradigms, particularly in terms of the biblical sequence creation-fall-redemption-recreation. The glorious vision of the recreation of marriage under and in Christ has expanded my small thoughts on the entire issue, to help lift my eyes off the everyday pettiness and look at my marriage through the lens of the powerful cosmic-sized gospel.
The Creation and Fall of Marriage
From the creation of elementary particles ex nihilo (Genesis 1:1–3), to Adam's first breath and subsequently to the creation of Eve from Adam's flesh (Genesis 2:21–22), God has given us a fitted creation. A proton is made up of three quarks — two ‘up’ quarks and one ‘down’ quark. A neutron is also made of three quarks — two ‘down’ quarks and one 'up' quark. Protons and neutrons come together with electrons and make up the nuclei of what we know as atoms.
Atoms form bonds and we end up with molecules and so on and so forth — we have a fittedness embedded within the very creation until we get to Adam and Eve in Genesis 2. The Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him” (Genesis 2:18). God forms Eve out of Adam and brings her to the man. Adam says, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.” They fit.
This fittedness breaks down at the Fall, and from it all manner of heartache, evil, and hardships abound.
“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ — by grace you have been saved — and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:4–6).
In his article “Marriage in the Cosmic Plan of God,” Tony Reinke sets up four theological pillars showing how Christ aims to restore first creation patterns and relational harmony. On this restoration he says, “when sinners repent, they are restored to God, they become citizens of the new aeon, they are given the Holy Spirit, and they willingly take their place in the Church (the Second Eve), which in turn is submitted to Christ (the Second Adam).”
Ephesians 5 sets up an analogy between wives and the church. Several times in Ephesians we are told that Christ is the head of the church. As the Church (global), we are all together the wife of Christ. And we all, men and women, are to submit to him. Terms of the Second Eve (Church) and the Second Adam (Christ) fit.
Follow Ephesians from beginning to end and you see the mystery of the gospel revealed and the glorious vision of unity and fittedness within marriage and within the Body of Christ. Although we press with anticipation toward that eschaton, we live in “the already and not yet.” We live in the inaugurated new creation, and here we are are in the process of becoming restored — as individuals and as a Body. We can think of ourselves as the Second Eve to our Second Adam. One consequence of this is that in Christ my husband and I are re-fitted back to each other by the example of Christ and the Church.
We Are the Second Eve
For most of my married life I labored under the idea that I am just like my mother Eve. Thoughts of the curse poisoned how I thought of myself and how I related to my husband. As the light of the gospel has crept into my heart, it has allowed me to see myself through Jesus' eyes as he sees his Church instead of how the post-Fall Adam must have seen “the woman whom God gave to be with him,” Eve (Genesis 3:12).
We are women of the resurrection. Instead of being in bondage to the fall of the first Eve, let us through the power of the Holy Spirit, who is making all things new, start living as the Second Eve.
This post is part of a larger study of marriage in light of Christ’s finished work. For related resources see —
- Gloria Furman, blog post, “A Wife’s Submission in the Cosmic Plan of Christ”
- Tony Reinke, blog post, “Marriage in the Cosmic Plan of God”
- Tony Reinke, article (PDF), “Marriage in the Cosmic Plan of God,” The Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (Fall, 2012)
- Authors on the Line, podcast, “Marriage on the Cosmic Stage: An Interview with Bible Scholar G. K. Beale”