We are made for community. We are not designed to be a group of ‘individuals’ but rather as a “persons-in-community”. The Genesis story presents God as one who seeks to find “a helper fit for him” (Gen 2:18) because “ it is not good that the man should be alone” (Gen 2:18). God himself assumes responsibility for finding “a helper comparable to him” (Gen 2:18).
God takes one of Adam’s ribs, makes the woman and brings her to the man (Gen 2:22). Adam recognises that Eve is a ‘perfect fit’ [” At last, here is one of my own kind” (Gen 2: 23)] and his interconnectedness with her [ Bone taken from my bone and flesh from my flesh (Gen 2:23)]
Adam and Eve don’t just live together in the Garden but they share a “committed relationship” with each other. Eve is Adam’s wife. Adam is to “hold fast to his wife and “become one flesh” (Gen 2:24).
The Genesis story is about how Adam and Ever were both “each for the other” and “for God”. Love needs intimacy, passion and above all commitment (Sternberg’s triangular theory of love). Intimacy and passion remain ‘real’, ‘excellent’ and ’delightful’ only with commitment. Intimacy and passion become ‘gratification’, ‘demand’ and ‘self-seeking’ when taken out of the boundaries of marriage.
We are called to nurture a healthy relationships that is built on love, companionship and a sense of belonging. Adam and Eve’s ‘knowing’ brings the gift of Cain (Gen 4:1).
Marriage is not merely for ‘love’ but also to nurture family. Intimacy comes with the responsibility to ‘birth’, ‘raise’ and ‘care’. The family becomes a microcosm of the community. We belong to each other. Our identity is ‘in-relation-to-the-other’. The reference to the genealogical record “Adam fathered Seth who fathered, who fathered…” (Gen 4: 3f) is a reminder that ‘fathering’ provides ‘identity’ , ‘sense of belonging’ and ‘meaning’.
We are called to ‘recognise’, ‘relate’ and cherish relationships within family. The family is to abound with love, care and commitment.
Picture Credits: http://www.freebibleimages.org