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Mystery Of Marriage-by James Hamilton Jr.

Mystery Of Marriage-by James Hamilton Jr.

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Published by Rodi Si Avram
Southern Seminary’s Jim Hamilton has posted online his excellent essay, The Mystery of Marriage, from For the Fame of God’s Name: Essays in Honor of John Piper.
Southern Seminary’s Jim Hamilton has posted online his excellent essay, The Mystery of Marriage, from For the Fame of God’s Name: Essays in Honor of John Piper.

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Published by: Rodi Si Avram on Oct 13, 2010
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te mysery of marriage 
 James M. Hamilton Jr.
arriage holds a unique place in all the Bible: what else joins
two image bearers together as one, serves as a key concept for
understanding the relationship between Yahweh and Israel,
and then between Christ and the church, and consequently affords to every
married couple the opportunity to live out the gospel? God sets himself on
display in marriage, which means that God shows his glory in marriage.Thus, the thesis o this essay is that
marriage exists as a unique displayof God’s glory
In order to establish and exposit this thesis we will loo
frst at the way that marriage joins two persons in the lieness o Godas one. From there the second section explores the way that Yahweh’s
relationship to Israel is treated as a marriage, and the third section o this
I am humbled to have this opportunity to honor John Piper. The Lord has used him mightily in my lie,mainly as I have listened to recorded sermons and addresses across the years. In this preaching, the Lord
has used John Piper to herald again and again the infnite glory o God in Christ. I cannot adequately
than him or showing me such glory, but I can join him in praising this glorious God, this worthy Savior,
and this powerul Spirit, three persons, ever one God, worthy o all praise. And praise be to God or
 John Piper! I am also grateul to write on the topic o marriage in honor o Piper, since his chapter onmarriage in
Desiring God 
provided a ey insight I have pursued in my own marriage and announced atevery wedding at which it has been my privilege to spea: love sees its joy in the joy o the beloved. “Thereason there is so much misery in marriage is not that husbands and wives see their own pleasure, butthat they do not see it in the pleasure o their spouses.” John Piper,
Desiring God 
, 2d ed. (Sisters, OR:Multnomah, 1996), 175–76. See also John Piper,
This Momentary Marriage: A Parable of Permanence
 (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2009).
JP FameBook.indd 2537/12/10 8:14:21 PM
 Jaes m. hailon Jr.
essay will examine the way that marriage exists to portray the relationship
between Christ and the church. The fnal section will loo at marriagesas minidramas o the gospel.
The current that lows through the our sections o this essay is con-
stant: the energy all comes from God’s intention to display his glory. God’s
character is displayed by his image bearers, and this display is augmentedwhen two become one. God’s character is displayed in his relations withIsrael, where he shows himsel to be just and merciul, a aithul husband
to a wayward wife. And God’s character is displayed as Christ weds himself 
to the church, laying down his lie to present her to himsel as a spotlessbride. That bride will one day descend rom heaven, and the Lamb willbe the lamp, radiating glory, giving light to his beloved.
Adam and Eve: Two Become One
God built the universe as a realm in which he would commune with hisimage-bearing lieness. The world was designed as a cosmic temple
inthe sense that the universe was intended as a place or God to be nown,
worshiped, and served. There are many indications that the tabernacle
and temple were symbolic microcosms o the universe, and several state-ments in the Bible imply as much. For instance, the ar o the covenantwithin the Holy o Holies is reerred to as God’s “ootstool” (1 Chron.
28:2; Pss. 99:5; 132:7). This imagery suggests that the Holy o Holiesis part o God’s throne room.
This means that when Yahweh declares
through Isaiah,
Heaven is my throne,and the earth is my ootstool, (Isa. 66:1)
the earth is seen to be pictured as Yahweh’s cosmic temple.It seems, then, that when he made the world, Yahweh built a cosmic
temple into which he placed his image and lieness. This next point is
so basic that it is easy to move past without relection, but it needs to be
asserted: Yahweh’s image and likeness manifest Yahweh’s glory. What other
god has created the cosmos as a theater or the display o his majesty?
For a wider discussion o marriage in the Old Testament, see Paul R. House,
Old Testament Theology
(Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1998), 466–69. For a broader discussion o marriage that taes upthe issues o divorce, qualifcations or elders, and children, see Thomas R. Schreiner,
New Testament 
Theology: Magnifying God in Christ 
(Grand Rapids: Baer, 2008), 776–86.
See esp. G. k. Beale,
The Temple and the Church’s Mission: A Biblical Theology of the Dwelling Placeof God 
(Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2004).
See urther J. M. Hamilton, “Divine Presence,”
Dictionary of the Old Testament: Wisdom, Poetry and Writings
, ed. Tremper Longman III and Peter Enns (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2008), 117–18.
JP FameBook.indd 2547/12/10 8:14:21 PM
te mysery of marriage 
What other god has created human beings as those who represent him,embodying aspects o who he is? Not only has no other god created any-thing lie the world we inhabit, or anything lie us as human beings, butno other god has created anything at all. The creation o human beings inthe image and lieness o God is an astonishing display o sill, wisdom,power, engineering ability, and material mastery. To tae one example o God’s creative prowess, what other substance is both as resilient and aslight as bone, which even grows bac together when broen? And bonesare not even unique to human beings.What is so glorious about human beings? What does it mean that theyare in the image and lieness o God? Peter Gentry has argued that imageand lieness have to do with worship and relationship—worship to Godand relationship to other humans and the rest o creation.
Humanity isunique in its ability to worship God: what other species devises musicalinstruments, melodic tunes, and rhythmic poetry to sing the praise o itsCreator? And humans are unique in their ability to relate to other humanbeings: what other species has anything lie marriage? Humans display
the glory o God in all the ways they exercise intelligence, spirituality,
sensitivity, and morality, especially as they worship God and relate to other
human beings. Marriage, however, is a unique display o God’s glory.God put the man in the garden to wor and eep it (Gen. 2:15); thenhe made the woman to help the man (2:18). It was the Lord himsel whobrought the woman to the man (2:22), lie a ather waling his daugh-ter down the aisle. The man then poetically sang his solidarity with andauthority over the woman:
This at last is bone o my bonesand lesh o my lesh;she shall be called Woman,because she was taen out o Man. (2:23)
The statement o solidarity is in the irst clause, stressing that the man
and woman are made of the same substance and thus equal before God.
The statement of authority comes in the second, when the man announces
what the woman will be called, just as God had earlier announced that
the light would be called day (Gen. 1:5). In the garden, then—before sin,
beore the curse, beore the expulsion rom God’s presence in Eden—there was a harmonious union that wored itsel out in dierent roles:
Peter J. Gentry, “kingdom through Covenant: Humanity as the Divine Image,”
Southern Baptist Journal of Theology
12, no. 1 (2008): 28–30.
JP FameBook.indd 2557/12/10 8:14:21 PM

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