Implications of the Biblical Theology of Human Creation
I. Scripture defines for us the nature of right relationships with God and others.
A. God is in perfect relationship with himself as Trinity.
1. “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’” - Genesis 1:26 (This and all other biblical quotations are from the ESV.)
2. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.” - John 1:1-2
B. God creates human beings for relationship.
1. “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” - Genesis 1:27
2. “Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” - Genesis 2:23
3. “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.” - First Corinthians 12:12-13
C. Right relationships depend upon covenants: personal, perpetual promises.
1. God relates to his creation, and especially human beings, through covenants.
a. “Behold, I establish my covenant with you and your offspring after you, and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the livestock, and every beast of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark; it is for every beast of the earth.” - Genesis 9:9-10
b. “And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you.” - Genesis 17:7
2. God’s covenants are the basis for all human covenantal relationships.
a. “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.” - Exodus 20:12
b. “You shall not wrong a sojourner or oppress him, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.” - Exodus 22:21
3. Covenants are lived out through love.
a. “For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed,but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you.” - Isaiah 54:10
b. “And he [Jesus] said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.’” - Matthew 22:37-40
II. Scriptural teaching on relationship should change our thinking, our decisions, and our actions. The following points represent only the beginning of such changes, which should embrace every aspect of our lives.
A. We are called to faithful covenantal living every hour of every day, in every relationship.
1. In whatever relationships God has placed us, we are to practice love and honor.
2. Such covenant faithfulness will bring abundant living: joy and peace from God himself.
Note that all of this applies to every person of every age. One does not have to wait until marriage in order to enjoy the blessings of covenant relationships, and one does not lose the blessings of covenant relationships when no longer married. How much more is it true, then, that a person does not have to have physical sexual relations in order to enjoy a blessed life!
For this reason, John Calvin sees this text as having a broader application to all human relations:
“God did not want to create the woman from the earth, but he took her from Adam’s very substance so that there would be a holy union among the human race and that that might be like a mutual bond of love and that each individual might know he was connected to his neighbours, since all derive from one single person. And since the human race is from one single man, it is made one by the women.“...since we are all formed in the likeness of Adam and begotten of his seed, we must be truly one, and everyone must individually recognize his own flesh and bones, his own substance, in his neighbours. Now let us note that if we are not united in true harmony to serve one another, we are not only guilty, but in the light of the fact that we cannot take advantage of what God has ordained for our well-being, we are also convicted of shameful ingratitude.“‘It is not good that the man should be alone,’ There we have God joining us together, and yet each of us wishes to withdraw from others and be content with himself.” - John Calvin, sermon on Genesis Two
a. In specific application, human sexual relationships are to be lived out covenantally.
a. God created human sexuality. “...male and female he created them. ...And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.” - Genesis 1:27c, 31a
a. Sexuality is of the essence of our being.
b. Sexuality is not merely physical.
c. Sexuality is very good.
b. God created marriage as the covenantal context for the physical expression of human sexual relations. “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor…” - First Thessalonians 4:3-4
Note that marriage is not a contract, for it is not a merely human construct.
a. God willed that marriage, like natural human sexual intercourse, can happen only between one man and one woman.
b. Marriage, like every other human relationship, is a source of joy only to the extent that it is a loving covenantal relationship between husband and wife, and because it is a covenant, it is not to be broken.
c. Marriage as covenant forms the unique context for human procreation. Children are to be born and nurtured by father and mother, with the aid of the larger covenantal contexts of extended family, both biological and spiritual.
Note that this gives the Church a responsibility for the affirmation and encouragement of biblical marriage among its members, through both positive and negative means. This will serve as a model for the community, which, through the agency of human government, likewise bears responsibility for safeguarding marriage as a social covenant.
I. God’s grace extends to us forgiveness for our sins and the strength to love and honor him through godly relationships.
“Now may our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you, and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.” - 1 Thessalonians 3:11-13 ESV
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.” - Ephesians 1:3-10 ESV
“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” - Philippians 2:12-13 ESV