Dictionary.com defines supernatural in the adjective form as “of, relating to, or being above or beyond what is natural; unexplainable by natural law or phenomena; abnormal.” As a noun it is defined as “direct influence or action of a deity on earthly affairs.”
You’ve probably never thought about marriage in these terms, but perhaps you should. The very institution of marriage was designed by God, as can be seen in Genesis 2. In this familiar chapter we see that God determined that it was not good for man to be alone, so he created woman to be his helper. Looking back on the definition shown above, it seems clear that this was direct action of a deity on earthly affairs. So there’s no question that the first marriage was in fact supernatural.
“But what about today?”, you may ask. If you keep reading in Genesis you will see in verse 24 “This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.” This verse can’t be taken as purely contextual, since clearly Adam had no earthly mother or father. Rather, in this passage God is describing His ongoing intent for the institution of marriage.
Nowhere else in the Bible is any relationship described in this manner. Two completely independent beings uniting into one. Other translations use the term “one flesh”. That doesn’t just happen randomly, nor does it happen naturally. It happens through the direct action of a deity (God) on earthly affairs.
I’ve heard many theologians assert that is the act of sexual relations that cause the two individuals to become one flesh. I remember a youth pastor once that gave a demonstration to illustrate this point. He took two different colored Legos and put them together, then pulled them apart. He said this was a common form of coming together as people then separating, something we all do with multiple people everyday. However, he said that when sex occurs, things change dramatically. He went on to put a drop of superglue on the two bricks then defied anyone to separate them. He contended that this was the equivalent of becoming one flesh. He said in our fallen world, people will break apart what was intended to be together forever. He then took a screwdriver and forced the two bricks apart. Though they could be physically separated, each piece retained fragments of the other brick that had broken off.
I loved this illustration, but I don’t completely agree with it. While I agree that sex is a powerful force, and you may leave a piece of yourself behind with each partner you have, I don’t think every copulating couple becomes one through divine intervention. Rather, I believe this intervention takes place when a couple forms a covenant relationship with God and with each other.
The reality is, in our culture we seem hesitant to do this. Taking this approach would require that we cede control to God, allowing Him to intervene. I’ve read varying statistics, but most studies show that well over half of all first time married couples in our culture were living together at the time of their marriage. Reasons cited vary but typically include wanting to “test-drive” the relationship before committing to marriage, or waiting to save up money for a big wedding. I’m not going to condemn these couples. While it may be a sin to live together outside of marriage, it’s not unforgivable, nor is it worse than any other sin that we commit in our fallen natures. But is God going to reach down in these situations, bless the couple and take action to merge the two into one?
Our culture has clearly redefined marriage from God’s original intent. Divorce is common. Common-law marriages are recognized. Homosexuals can marry. It is not my intent to deny the right of any two people in love to live together and share benefits. But if you believe God truly designed the concept of marriage, it makes sense that He could establish the boundaries around it. He designed it as a committed relationship between one man and one woman with God as the focal point. Relationships outside of this should be considered civil unions, and enjoy all of the legal and societal benefits that come with that. But to expect God’s blessing or direct action in these variations from His plan is not realistic.
Maybe you didn’t create a covenant with God when you got married. Maybe you lived together for years prior to tying the knot. Does that mean you’re unable to receive God’s blessing? It’s never too late to bring Him in to the relationship. If you make an intentional commitment to Him and ask for His ongoing blessing, you will receive it. The couple who agrees to do it “God’s way” and creates a covenant relationship in the process can count on the promise that He will make them into one flesh. And what God has brought together, let no man separate.