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One Flesh

aymon de albatrus
slave of Christ

“And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made He a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This [is] now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” (Gen 2:22-24)

“And He answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that He which made [them] at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” (Mat 19:4-6)

“And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh.” (Mar 10:8)

“Or do you not know that he being joined to a harlot is one body? For He says, "the two [shall be] into one flesh." (1Co 6:16)

“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.” (Eph 5:31)


The account of the making of the first human beings in Genesis is that God created Adam (the man) out of dust in the image of God and gave him life through the breath of God. Then God had Adam name all the animals but a suitable help meet for him was not found amongst them, so God put Adam to sleep and extracted from him one of his ribs. From this rib God formed (in a way cloned) Eve and presented her to Adam as his suitable help meet. Gen 2:18-21.

Adam knew that, either by witnessing or by divine revelation, for he exclaimed: “And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” (Gen 2:23) and he called her wo-man, which means “from man”. Further down Adam states that “they shall be one flesh” which indeed it was true for in fact Eve was of the same flesh of Adam being extracted from him. Jesus himself confirm this state of things between husband and wife as if they were so closely related between each other as Adam and Eve, i.e. “one flesh” (Mar 10:8) and no man is to separate whom God has joined together, “put asunder”.

So the relationship of marriage between a man and a woman is in ‘the flesh’ which means that at death this relationship is broken for the departed one is no more “in the flesh” and therefore the surviving partner can remarry, but in the Lord: “For the woman which has an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he lives; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband lives, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.” (Rom 7:2-3)

To be noted that the primary reason of marriage is to produce children and since in Heaven no children are produced, then there is no need of marriage: “For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.” (Mat 22:30) It follows then that people married on earth in the flesh, are no more married in Heaven. An interesting thought comes to mind here: are there sexes in Heaven? The question is asked because sex is an integral part in producing children which is not required in Heaven? To be sure nobody knows, nevertheless we can speculate that the peculiar attributes of maleness and femaleness must be in some way retained for we see even in newborn babies innate behavioural characteristics differences between boys and girls, so these differences are engrained in their makeup. Can a man think as a woman in Heaven and vice versa?  Methinks not.

In marriage the man is to leave his father house to be joined to his wife and form a new family providing a new home for himself and his wife. He shall cleave unto his wife with cordial affections, taking care of her, nourishing and cherishing her, providing all things comfortable for the family, continuing to live with her, and not depart from her as long as they live, as if she were his own flesh Eph 5:28,29. The union by marriage between man and wife is to be very close practically glued together, and becoming as if they were but one as if they were “one flesh” as stated by Christ Himself (Mat 19:5). 

The union between husband and wife is so close as if they are but one person, one soul, one flesh and which is to be protected against polygamy, unlawful divorces, and all uncleanness, and adultery. Only one man and one woman, being joined in lawful wedlock, have a right of copulation with each other in order to produce legitimate offspring partaking of the same one flesh, as children do of their parents

Man and wife are entirely and inseparably united whilst in the flesh, and shall have as intimate and universal communion as if they were one person, one soul, one body. From this we understand the sinfulness of divorces, and polygamy, however God might upon a particular reason for a time dispense with His own institution, or remit the punishment due to the violators of it for He is Sovereign over His creation, as He did with David and others.

The union between husband and his virgin wife is cemented and sealed by the breaking of the hymen and the spilling of the blood which makes them one in the flesh thus sealing the marriage covenant, for it is clear that the two become one in the flesh by the act of copulation. That is, man and wife shall only have carnal knowledge by copulating with each other with inference to the place where both of them make one flesh (foetus) which is equally done by unlawful copulation with an harlot as with a man’s own wife, as the Apostle says: “What? know you not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, said He, shall be one flesh.” (1Co 6:16).

IN SUMMARY

The term “one flesh” comes from the Genesis account of the creation of Eve describing the process by which God created Eve from a rib taken from Adam’s side as he slept. Adam recognized that Eve was part of him, thus they were indeed “one flesh.” The term “one flesh” means that just as our bodies are one whole entity and cannot be divided into pieces and still be a whole, so God intended it to be with the marriage relationship. There are no longer two entities (two individuals), but now there is one entity (a married couple).

The new unity takes precedence over all previous and future relationships (Gen 2:24). Some marriage partners continue to place greater weight upon ties with parents than with the new partner. This is a recipe for disaster in the marriage and is a perversion of God’s original intention of “leaving and cleaving.” A similar problem can develop when a spouse begins to draw closer to a child to meet emotional needs rather than to his or her partner.

Emotionally, spiritually, intellectually, financially, and in every other way, the couple is to become one. Even as one part of the body cares for the other body parts (the stomach digests food for the body, the brain directs the body for the good of the whole, the hands work for the sake of the body, etc.), so each partner in the marriage is to care for the other. Each partner is no longer to see money earned as “my” money; but rather as “our” money. Eph 5:22-33 and Proverbs 31:10-31 give the application of this “oneness” to the role of the husband and the role of the wife, respectively.

Physically, they become one flesh in the act of copulation, and the result of that one flesh is found in the children that their union produces; these children now possess a special genetic makeup, specific to their union. Even in the sexual aspect of their relationship, a husband and wife are not to consider their bodies as their own but as belonging to their partner (1Co 7:3-5). Nor are they to focus on their own pleasure but rather the giving of pleasure to their spouse.

This oneness and desire to benefit each other is not automatic, especially after mankind’s fall into sin. The man, in Gen 2:24 , is told to “cleave” to his wife. This word has two ideas behind it. One is to be “glued” to his wife, a picture of how tight the marriage bond is to be. The other aspect is to “pursue hard after” the wife. This “pursuing hard after” is to go beyond the courtship leading to marriage, and is to continue throughout the marriage. However the fleshly tendency is to “do what feels good to me” rather than to consider what will benefit the spouse. And this self-centeredness is the rut that marriages commonly fall into once the “honeymoon is over.” Instead of each spouse dwelling upon how his or her own needs are not being met, he or she is to remain focused on meeting the needs of the spouse.

However, as nice as it may be for two people to live together meeting each other’s needs, God has a higher calling for the marriage. Even as they were to be serving Christ with their lives before marriage (Rom 12:1-2), now they are to serve Christ together as a unit and raise their children to serve God (1Co 7:29-34; Mal 2:15; Eph 6:4). Aquila and Priscilla in Acts 18, would be good examples of this. As a couple pursues serving Christ together, the joy which the Spirit gives will fill their marriage (Gal 5:22-23). In the Garden of Eden, there were three present (Adam, Eve, and God), and there was joy. So, if God is central in a marriage today, there also will be joy. Without God, a true and full oneness is not possible.

Concerning the continuation of earthly marriages in Heaven may be desirable, especially when a couple is happily married, but it is only a romantic fantasy which is altogether unsupported by the Bible. There are some Christian offshoots that support that, but they are saying that contrary to our Lord’s statement: “For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.” (Mat 22:30)

God created woman and marriage for the earthly happiness and contentment of the man He created in the Garden of Eden.  The purpose of marriage has a twofold aspect:

  1. It was made for the benefit of the man so he would not be alone Gen 2:18, and
  2. For the procreation of mankind Gen 1:28; 9:1

These purposes are not needed in Heaven for all happiness will be in the presence of Christ and there will be no human procreation.

Moreover there is no Bible evidence, not one shred, to suggest that marriage survives the grave. 

Besides what Jesus promised to His people is that in heaven we shall have something which is far better than any sense of contentment (including marriage) we are capable of enjoying on this earth.

However rewarding your marriage on earth may have been, it cannot be compared with the heavenly family of God who will be your eternal companions and family in glory.  The intimacy, the honesty, and the sense of deep comforting fulfilment which rise from a godly marriage on earth are simply tiny example of the greater sense of all those emotions, and more, in the world to come.  In that family there will be no empty chairs, no visits to cemeteries, and no black sheep.  All the heavenly family will be present and just as contented with that wondrous world as you will be, for all will admire the Father who is head of the family more than any other being who will be there (Eph 3:14,15). 

There may be no marriages in eternity, but all of the blessings which God put in this heavenly relationship, and countless more, will be enjoyed without measure in that glory world. 

CONCLUSION

Marriage on earth was instituted by God for practical purposes and has to be a very close relationship as to appear the man and wife are inseparably “one flesh”, for this reason God says that He hates divorce: "For I hate divorce, says the LORD the God of Israel, and covering one’s garment with violence, says the LORD of hosts. So take heed to yourselves and do not be faithless."” (Mal 2:16)

Nevertheless independently how close the marriage relationship is on earth, it ends at death for the purpose of its institution is then fulfilled and terminated.

Let us therefore praise our munificent God for He has provided marriage for our comforts as we travel through this valley of tears and sorrows. AMEN