The Man and the Woman
May 12th, 1963 @ 8:15 AM
THE MAN AND THE WOMAN
Dr. W. A. Criswell
5-12-63 8:15 a.m.
On the radio you are sharing with us the services of the First Baptist Church in Dallas. Now the sermon this morning concerns our family life. The title of the message is The Man and the Woman. The first Sunday in May is baby day; the second Sunday in May is Mother’s Day. Sometimes I do not preach any special sermon at all; preaching through the Bible I just go right on without stopping. Sometimes I will choose one Sunday or the second Sunday to deliver a message concerning the home and family life of our people according to the Word of God. Sometimes I preach both Sundays on that interesting and always needfully pertinent subject. So this year I have chosen today, at the 8:15 hour, at the 10:50 o’clock hour, to preach a sermon on the family according to the Word of the Lord; and the early morning message, this one is entitled The Man and the Woman. Now if you’d like to take your Bible, we can follow the message easily. Turn to Genesis chapter 2. Genesis, the beginning, Genesis chapter 2; and we are going to read at verse 18:
And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.
Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field,
And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and He took,
[Genesis 2:18-19, 21]
Now isn’t this one of the strangest translations in all the Word of God? The Hebrew says, "And He took out of his side, and closed up the flesh thereof; and out of the side which the Lord God had taken from man, made He a woman, and brought her unto the man" [Genesis 2:22]. Now you have it translated here, "He took a rib." Where somebody got the idea of a rib I have no conception of an idea. That’s one of the strangest turns of translation I have ever seen in my life. You wouldn’t say "the rib of the ark"; the Bible will say "the side of the ark." You don’t say "the rib of the church"; you say "the side of the church." You don’t say "the rib of the house"; you say "the side of the house." Well, it’s just the same common ordinary Hebrew word here for "side."
God took out of the side of Adam and closed up the place. And with that, what He took out of the side of Adam, made He a woman, and brought her unto the man.
And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called isha, because she was taken out of ish.
"Ish", man, "isha", woman.
Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
Now I have a very pointed outline, which usually I try to cover up when I speak; but I have a very pointed outline in the message this morning. We’re going to talk first about the divine intention. Then we’re going to talk about the sacred intimacy. Then we’re going to talk about the new entity. Then we’re going to talk about the way of entreaty and intercession. These four things, I hope, I hope; usually I get through talking about one of them, but this morning we’re going to try to mention all four of them.
Now the first one, the divine intention – now look at the text: "And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help" [Genesis 2:18], then you have it translated "meet for him." That’s a beautiful Old English way of saying it. "I will make him an help suited for him." The Hebrew is, "answering to him." "I will make him an help," and some translate it, "like himself, answering to himself, somebody like himself." Now, in the twentieth verse, "But for Adam there was not found an help," then you have the same word, "meet for him"; in the King James Version, "suited for him, answering to him, like himself." So the Lord God took out of the side of Adam, and out of the side of Adam created He the woman, and brought her to the man; bone of his bones, flesh of his flesh, created to be a help suited for him. Now that is not forgotten in the Word of the Lord.
For example, in the eleventh chapter – now if you can’t turn to these passages fast, why, you can’t turn to them as rapidly as I’ll go through them; but if you can, why, you just turn right to them. In the eleventh chapter of 1 Corinthians, beginning at the seventh verse, Paul discusses this passage that I have just read, the creation of the woman and the man. "For a man," he says, "is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of the man. For the man is not of the woman, but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man" [1 Corinthians 11:7-9]. Then lest somebody who is a male exalt himself over much and be tyrannous and bigoted and cruel, why, Paul says, "Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord. For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; [but] all things of God" [1 Corinthians 11:11-12]. But the first passage he discusses is very pertinent, talking about this thing that we’ve read in Genesis. "The man is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man."
Now you could just talk about that a long time; the woman is the glory of the man. We have so many things to say that I just make this one comment: you can easily see that in how most any man will act concerning his wife. If he is affluent and wealthy, you will not find his affluence and his wealth expressed in himself, usually not; but you will find it expressed in his wife. The way he’ll dress her up, the way he’ll buy her diamond broaches and diamond rings and golden slippers, and if he has two cars the chances are he’ll drive an old jalopy but he’ll get a gold plated Cadillac for her. Now that’s just human nature, human nature. A man will express all of the fine things that he has in his life in his wife; he’ll bestow on her all of these things. And usually most any man will do his best to place her in as fine a home as he possibly can buy. Now that is the, that is the human illustration of this passage in the Bible, that the glory of the man is the woman. He rejoices in her, he boasts in her, he’s proud in her, he’s grateful to God for her, and he will express that gladness and that glory in his wife, in the woman.
All right, another thing about this passage, speaking of the divine intention; that pleases God for the man to be that way. All right, this pleases God for the woman to be this way – as it pleases God for the man to rejoice in the woman, so it pleases God for the woman to be a help suited for the man. "For," says the Word of God, "the man was not created for the woman; but the woman was created for the man" [1 Corinthians 11:9], and it is a delight to God when the woman fulfills that divine intention of helping her husband. And if you have a normal woman in a normal relationship anywhere in this life, you will find that God-given anxiety and ambition and desire, motivating and moving everything that she does, wanting to help her husband.
I took out of the Reader’s Digest, I cut out of the Reader’s Digest this article on "Nine Words That Can Stop Juvenile Delinquency." And the judge is an illustrious and world-famed jurist, barrister, in the highest court in Brooklyn. And the article begins with, "Every criminal court judge in the country is sickeningly aware of the terrible fact of the rise of juvenile crime." And then he says, "It seems to me that there is some deep down simple reason for what is happening in the vast increase of crime among teenagers." Then after the discussion in the article, he says, "I’ve found the nine word principle that I think can do more for us than all the committees and ordinances and multi-million dollar programs"; then his nine words are: "Put father back at the head of the family." Now that’s his great sentence. Then he continues, "When I was sixteen years old and my father told me to be at home at a certain hour, I got home!" Then he says, "Every time mother overrules father, she undermines the foundation on which the child stands." Well, this is that article out of the Reader’s Digest.
In the intention of God, the woman was made to help the man. And in the family life, when the woman does not do that, and she overrules the words of the father, she undermines and grinds away the foundation upon which the child stands. Do you notice that? "On which the child stands," for he must be brought up to respect and to honor his father. Isn’t that correct? "Honor thy father and thy mother" [Exodus 20:12]. And anything that ever happens in the family whereby the mother or the wife undermines the prestige and the dignity of the husband and father, she is thereby undermining the foundation upon which the child stands. Now I grant you that lots of times it is difficult for a wife and a mother to uphold the dignity of her husband if he’s drunk, if he’s cruel, if he’s merciless, if he’s indifferent, if he’s uncaring; of course those things are fine. But I tell you something finer: it is still great to see a wife and a mother who’s cursed with a husband like that still strive to create in the hearts of her children love and respect for their father. That’s one of the finest things you’ll ever see in your life; and I see it all the time. To my sorrow, in tears, I look upon it; but it’s a great thing; the nobility of a wife struggling to keep the image of the child’s father unsullied and noble and worthy.
Well, we must hasten. That is a little word concerning the divine intention. Now, my second word speaking of this text of the man and the woman, concerns the sacred intimacy. It says here that the Lord made the woman and brought her to the man, and God said, Therefore shall "he leave father and mother, and cleave unto his wife" [Genesis 2:24]. And the Lord had said in the first chapter, "So God created man in His own image; in the image of God created He them, male and female created He them," [Genesis 1:27] male and female. And the man clave unto his wife; this is the divine and holy and sacred intimacy. Now if you’d like to follow another passage in Genesis, I’m going to read out of Genesis 24, and the last verses of Genesis 24:
And Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the eventide: and he lifted up his eyes, and saw, and, behold, the camels were coming.
And Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac, she lighted off the camel.
For she had said unto the servant, What man is this that walketh in the field to meet me? And the servant said, It is my master,
This is my master: therefore she took a veil and covered herself.
And the servant told Isaac all things he had done.
And Isaac brought her to his mother Sarah’s tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her,
Why, that’s one of the most beautiful and sacred and holy of all of the convocation of words you’ll find in the Book. "And Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her: and Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death."
Now, I’m going to speak as rapidly as I can here of two things about that sacred and divine intimacy. First, there is a physical basis for marriage; and second, there is a spiritual basis for marriage. Now, the physical basis for marriage is like God created a man and a woman, the male and the female, as God says. And when that is violated, you come into the most abominable of all of the deviations of human nature. Now Paul speaks of that deviation as he describes the deterioration, the corruption, of the civilization in the Roman Empire, in the first chapter of the Book of Romans, which is never read in public. In the first chapter of the Book of Romans, Paul writes:
Wherefore God gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves.
God gave them up to those vile affections: for their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
And men also leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lusts one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet.
[Romans 1:24, 26-27]
In God’s sight, the turning aside from the divine intention and the holy and sacred intimacy of the man and his wife, of the male and the female, and when two women or two men are together in those affections, God is repelled. And if you are normal, if you are a normal man, or if you are a normal woman, the most impossible, distasteful conception that could ever be brought before you is that conception there. There is a physical basis for marriage between the man and the woman, the man and his wife.
Now may I say a word about that? Now this is caustic I know, and critical, but I have never changed in the years of my life about this observation. All that a boy or a girl, all that a young man or a young woman needs to know about that physical basis of marriage is, when time comes for you to marry, go see a doctor and talk to him. Once in a while I have a couple come to see me, but I tell them, "I think it is much better if you will go see a physician, and let him talk to you about your marriage, all the things that enter into its cleanliness, and all the things that enter into its intimacies, you talk to your physician, and then that’s enough." And now this is my caustic and honest appraisal: to me, these sex conferences that they have among young people are nothing but low down, dirty, curiosity sessions, even though they are conducted in the pulpit by a minister of the gospel of Christ. That’s exactly what I think about them. I thought that about them when I attended them as a boy. I thought that about them when I attended them as a young man. I thought that when I attended them as a young minister of the gospel; and now after these years and years I still say it’s an instrument of cheap, cheap curiosity. It’s announced, you know, greatly announced, "Now I’m going to talk about all these things," so all the young people come there, and they get excited listening to that guy up there in the pulpit, or that guy in the conference room, as he’s talking about all of these things about sex, and we all get stirred up and all this, that, and the other. Why man, it’s as good as any burlesque show you ever went to in your life; and it is as exciting and it has the same effect as any follies brassiere, is that what they call that thing that you ever went into in your life. If that’s what you are interested in, brother, one of these sex conferences in the church will sure do it for you. You don’t need any of that. You don’t need any of that, none at all, none at all. All you need to know is what a physician can tell you when time comes for you to marry; and the rest of that you ought to wait, just wait, just wait, just wait. That’s all you need to know; that’s all you need to know. You don’t need to know anything else, that’s all. And when the physician talks to you and explains these things to you, it’ll help make a happy marriage. And by all means go to your physician, always, always. Go to him, talk to him, and let him talk to you, and it’ll be a great blessing in your life.
Now we must hasten. I have a little word here about the spiritual basis for marriage. Ultimately and finally, whether a marriage succeeds or not and whether it’s happy or not, does not depend upon the physical basis for the building of the home. You just remember: any kind of a physical muscle will soon tire, and the titillations of the flesh are for the moment, and they acquiesce, they quiesce, they die, they are for a moment. The great and ultimate and final basis for a blessed home and a beautiful marriage lie in spiritual concepts and in spiritual worlds. Now here are two things about a marriage that ought always to be remembered by young people who seek to build a home. One is this: by all means, if possible, by all means, if possible, marry in the circle of your church, of your faith, of your communion; do it if you can, if you can, do it. You love the Lord, you love the church, you love His people. When you cross over you fall into difficulties that I am not able to resolve. I pray and I work and I counsel, and I try and I do my best, but mostly without effect and without success. Don’t cross over, don’t do it, don’t do it. Marry if at all possible; fall in love if at all possible with somebody who can share with you a common faith. "This is my Lord, this is my church, these are my people." Do it. Do it.
All right a second thing about the spiritual basis of marriage: if at all possible, see if you can’t marry someone with whom you have many, many common interests. If an old boy loves to shoot and to hunt and to be an outdoor sportsman, and there he is with the men, and he’s out there with his pals, and he’s out there, and he’s always out there, if that’s the kind of a man he is, and you are the kind of a girl or the kind of a woman and you love things that are inside, and you love poetry, and you love music, and you love opera, and you love the symphony, I have a little, I have a little word for you: you,well, I don’t need to say it, do I? Oh my! Oh my! You’re going to be the loneliest girl that anybody ever knew in this life, because when you’re married it’s pretty hard to go to the opera and the symphony and the poetry club by yourself, and your husband’s always out there with his pals. Infinitely better; infinitely better, try to fall in love with people with whom you have beautiful and common interests. Now if she loves to hoop and to hunt and to go out, that’s great, that’s great, she’ll get her some blue jeans, she’ll develop a swarthy skin like an old western cowpoke, she’ll be out there just going at it, that’s fine. That’s fine. But be sure to marry someone like that if you’re that way. One of the finest things in this earth is to see people together who enjoy the same thing, and they have great and common interests. Well, we’re getting bogged down now, don’t have but a few minutes, I’ve got two more, two more.
The first one was the divine intention of this woman to help the man; then the second was that divine sacredness, that intimacy, God made them that way, the man and the woman, the male and the female. Now the third is the new entity, the new entity. Now you look at it: Adam said, "This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife; and they shall be one flesh." This is the new entity. Well, love your in-laws, love and honor your parents, but goodbye, goodbye, goodbye. There never was a ‘four walls" made to house two families, never, never. Whenever you do that, somebody’s going to have a broken heart. If at all possible, if at all possible, if at all possible, live to yourself, and honor your father and honor your mother, and love your in-laws, and pat them on the back, and tell them goodbye. And you go over here and live to yourself. Live to yourself, and don’t ever take your problems to your in-laws or to your parents; keep them to yourself, and solve them right there to yourself. This is a new entity. "Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave unto his wife; and they shall be one flesh" [Genesis 2:23-24]; and you have a new little economic unit.
And whenever you don’t solve your economic problems, when you overspend, you’re headed for the rocks, you’re headed for trouble. It is a marvelous thing to see a couple skimp and save and sacrifice, but live within their income; it’s a marvelous thing to behold it. And you’ll be happy if you will, no matter what sacrifice it takes to do it. If you make twenty-five dollars a week, you live on twenty-four dollars and seventy-five cents. Always live underneath that income, always, always; and you’ll be a happy couple. Because happiness doesn’t depend on how much we can splurge and how much we can spend, but happiness depends upon a common sharing that is able to see these blessednesses that enter into the relationships of ordinary life.
One of our men said down here at a banquet something that sure did tickle me: he was talking about a couple that got along so beautifully and so well, oh it was just magnificent to look upon them. So somebody asked him the secret of their success in marriage and their happiness in the home. "Why," he said, "it’s very simple." He said, "When we married we agreed that I would solve all the big problems, and she would solve all the little problems." And he said, "It’s worked out like that ever since. I have solved all the big problems; they’re all turned to me. War, and peace, and the federal debt, and the United Nations, and the bills before Congress, all the big problems are given to me to solve." And then he said, "All the little problems are given to her to solve: how we spend my salary, and where we’re going, and how we’re going to raise our children, and what we’re going to do with them. Why, she solves all the little ones, and everything gets along just fine." That’s all right, that’s all right, if it’ll work. That’s all right. Just do it; however you work it out, do it. That is a new entity. When you marry, there is a new creation: They shall no longer be two, but one, facing not double barreled all the answers and the problems that arise, but together. That’s the divine intention.
Now – ooh! I’ve got about one minute or so. This fourth one: the way of intercession and entreaty. No matter who we are, we’re going into the valleys, going into the valleys. And God knew that. "And when He drove out the man, He placed at the east of the garden of Eden cherubim, and the sword, the shekinah glory of God," some do not translate that sword at all, but, "the shekinah glory of God, the burning flaming of God, keeping the way of the tree of life, keeping the way," do you notice what it says? "Keeping the way of the tree of life" [Genesis 3:24]. Apparently what God did was this: when He drove out the man and the woman from the garden of Eden, He placed an altar there. Cherubim are always symbols of God’s grace, God’s mercy, God’s invitation, God’s love; always cherubim the symbols of God’s presence and God’s forgiveness. And there east of Eden He built an altar; and the man could come back and find the way back to the tree of life and to the answer to all of the problem and hunger and thirst of his soul and his life and his house and his home. And now, that’s this little word of the way of entreaty and of intercession. Sickness is coming; it’s coming. Age is coming; it’s coming. Death is coming; it’s coming. Sorrows are coming; they’re coming. And sometimes they come by troops and companies. And disappointments are coming, and heartaches are coming, and failures are coming; all of these things are coming.
Well, how do you meet them? In anger and in bitterness and in frustration and in despair? Oh no! Not if you know God; not if you know the Lord. You’re going to meet them in the power, and the unction, and the presence, and the wisdom, and the help, and the assurance, and the succor, and the refuge of the holy and divine One to whom you have committed your life, and your soul, and your house, and your home, and your children, and all that you have, and are. Oh, and how blessed to see it.
I read this – and then I have to close. I read this: the little child, the only child died; and the husband went to the doctor and said, "Doctor, if you don’t mind, you’re our personal friend, my little wife, oh, is so broken, she’s so broken. Now I want you to come with me, and I want you to, I want you to comfort her and say words of encouragement to her, and help me that she may have strength to bear up under this great, great sorrow. Now you come, doctor, and be with me, and help me talk to my little wife, so grieved and so broken."
So the doctor said, "Why certainly, why certainly." So the husband and the doctor went to the home. And when they entered the house they heard somebody talking; they heard somebody talking. And they stopped at the door. And you know what they were hearing? Down on her knees was that little wife, who was so in the solicitous love and care of her big husband, there was that little wife, and she was down on her knees, and she was praying, "Now, dear Lord, bless my husband, because this will break his heart, and this will crush his life, and he needs God’s help. O Lord, remember him and bless him and give him strength." Why, what an amazing thing. Here he so solicitous for her, and she finding such ableness and adequacy and strength in the Lord, down on her knees, praying that God would help him through this deep and dark valley of bereavement and sorrow. That’s just as it ought to be, just as it ought to be: our strength and our answers ultimately are to come from God. And the Lord hallow and sanctify the house you build, the home in which you live, the couple who together you share your life in the Lord.
Oh, there’s so much I wanted to say this morning! We’ve gone way over the time already. The church bids you welcome, you. Christ bids you come, you. And the doors of grace and mercy are wide open, come, make it now, make it now. Would you? Would you? To give your heart to Jesus, come. To put your life in the church, come. A couple you; one somebody you; a family, you, "Pastor, this is my wife, these are our children, all of us are coming." As the Spirit of the Lord shall open the door and lead in the way, would you make it now? Would you make it now, while we stand and while we sing?