One Flesh

Genesis 2:24 (ESV) … “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”


Adam didn’t speak the words recorded in verses 24–25. They are God’s reflection on the event and His enunciation of the principle of marital unity declared by Adam. Woman is one with man both in origin (she came from man) and in marriage. In the sexual union and in their children, the man and woman are “one flesh.” Marriage is a civil relationship, regulated by law, and should be a spiritual relationship and a heart relationship, governed by the Word of God and motivated by love. But marriage is basically a physical relationship. The man and the woman are not primarily “one spirit” or “one heart,” as essential as those things are, but “one flesh.” Hence, the importance of “leaving” the former family and “cleaving” to one’s mate (Eph. 5:30–31), the forming of a new relationship that must be nurtured and protected.


The phrase “one flesh” implies that anything that breaks the physical bond in marriage can also break the marriage itself. One such thing is death; for when one mate dies, the other mate is free to remarry because the marriage bond has been broken (Rom. 7:1–3; 1 Cor. 7:8–9; 1 Tim. 5:14). In Matthew 19:1–9, Jesus teaches that adultery can also break the marriage bond. Under the Old Testament Law, anybody who committed adultery was stoned to death (Deut. 22:22–24; John 8:3–7), thus leaving the innocent mate free to remarry; but this law wasn’t given to the New Testament church. It appears that divorce in the New Testament is the equivalent of death in the Old Testament and that the innocent party is free to remarry. However, sins against the marriage bond can be forgiven and couples can exercise forgiveness and make a new beginning in the Lord.


We live in a world created by God, we are creatures made in the image of God, and we enjoy multiplied blessings from the hand of God. How tragic that so many people leave God out of their lives and become confused wanderers in a unfriendly world, when they could be children of God in their Father’s world.[1]




[1] Wiersbe, W. W. (1998). Be basic (p. 45). Chariot Victor Pub.

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