Of all celebrations known to man, none is as joyous as a wedding. Who among us cannot help but be captivated when the bridal procession begins? The married guests find their hearts taken on a journey backward in time to the day their vows were spoken. Singles start dreaming of what their special day might be like. Little girls stare wide-eyed at the beautiful bride arrayed in white. And little boys smile, knowing that the cake is now much closer at hand. Everybody is nervous, yes, but the excitement of the day wins out against the stress and strife of preparation.
Preparation! I wonder if anyone has ever worked out the man-hour ratio of wedding preparation to actual ceremony time. It has to be over 100 to 1! For a traditional wedding, the mother and bride typically plan for months in advance. The shower must be scheduled and the couple registered in the major department stores so people will know what to buy. Plate patterns and flatware must be chosen so the couple can have something to fill that china cabinet they won’t be able to afford for another ten years. Guest lists, color schemes, and menus have to be compiled. And a date, oh yes, we cannot forget to pick a date! Call the church, call the parson—do you have any weekends free in June? For his part, the groom is finding rings and figuring out the getaway plan. And then there’s that little matter of securing an abode where they can start their new lives together. All of this for a ceremony that often lasts for only an hour.
But, oh, what an hour! At the close of the ceremony, the young couple’s lives have been transformed. They entered the church as individuals; they leave as a union. God stands over them as the guardian of their covenant and pity to the man who should reach out his hand to cleave them asunder! Their act of love binds not only them, but their entire families as well. All of society views them differently: their parents, their friends, their church, even the state. Each now has moral, legal, and emotional claim over the other. They no longer belong to themselves. They have literally given their lives to one another. They have become one flesh.
31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.
32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
“And they shall be one flesh.” The Lord spoke this over Adam, male and female—four thousand years before Paul penned Ephesians—on what we would call Friday (probably in the late afternoon, but don’t ask me what month it was!). The serpent hadn’t wiled his way into the woods of the garden yet. The woman hadn’t had her first bite of forbidden fruit. Treason hadn’t entered Adam’s heart, and all was well with the world. Even so, His declaration concerned Christ and the Church. None of the events that transpired shortly thereafter surprised Him. Before He formed, made, and created man He knew what He would have to do to keep him for eternity. He had made a covenant with Himself and sealed it in blood. These creatures would never be lost to Him like the damned of the cherubim. Satan may fall, but man He would redeem.
Their Name Was Adam
In most Western cultures, the woman takes on the surname of her husband; the two share one name. This custom is very ancient, dating back to the birth of our race.
1 This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him;
2 Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created.
In the day they were created, He blessed them and called their name Adam. Eve was the name Adam chose for the woman after he became a fallen creature. God named her Adam. And she, like the man, was created in the image of God. She is no less a reflector of His goodness and glory than man is. I am very aware of the fact that the preponderance of Scripture paints God in a patriarchal and masculine light. He (third person masculine singular pronoun) has chosen to reveal Himself to us as a male figure. After all, it was the Father who sent the Son by way of His Spirit. But all three use feminine metaphors of themselves as well. The Holy Spirit stirred up Israel in Egypt as an eagle stirs up her nest. Jesus longed to gather Jerusalem to Him as a hen gathers her chicks. The Father holds His own to His heart closer than a mother her suckling child and comforts them as a mother would. There are things about God that we will never know except in the face of a woman.
Where was the woman before she was made? As we are in Christ, she was in Adam.