“For this cause…”
Before looking in detail at Genesis 1 and 2, it should be noted that the Lord Jesus Christ himself clearly accepted these two chapters as being complementary, historical accounts of the same creative work of God. When challenged by the Pharisees on the subject of divorce, the Lord responded by saying: “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?” (Matt 19:4-5). The Master here constructs a three-part compound quotation, in which he pieces together aspects of Genesis 1 and 2, as the table below demonstrates:
|Matthew 19||Genesis 1 and 2|
|Matthew 19:4 “at the beginning”||Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning…”|
|Matthew 19:4 “male and female”||Genesis 1:27 “in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”|
|Matthew 19:5 “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?”||Genesis 2:24 “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”|
The Lord quotes Genesis 1:1,27 and 2:24 as a composite quotation, and by doing so he establishes the fact that “at the beginning” God made both male and female, and intended that through marriage they should become “one flesh”. The Master did not regard Genesis 1 and 2 as separate, contradictory “stories”. He clearly believed that the events recorded were real, and this is a vital point. The Lord is teaching us that the very principles of marriage stem from a real historical event. “For this cause” – because of this real historical event of the creation of man and woman – marriage exists. It is impossible to separate the moral teaching of Jesus on the sanctity of marriage from the history on which it is based. The two either stand or fall together.
On the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ, then, we have a very good, biblical reason to view Genesis 1 and 2 as two complementary accounts of the same historical event. The Lord believed these chapters should sit side by side as one narrative and so should we2.