As the Church was finalizing the canon of the Scriptures in the third century, there were some theologians of the time who argued against the inclusion of Old Testament because the image of God they saw was angry and vengeful. A complete reading of the Old Testament, of course, shows a God who, like the image of God revealed in Jesus, is a God of mercy, love and compassion.[[In-content Ad]]
There is no greater sense anywhere in the Old Testament of the depth of God’s love than that which we see in the First Reading, the story of the creation of Adam and Eve. While we are all so willing to dismiss the story as a mere fable, there is actually a great deal that we learn from the account about ourselves, about God and about the relationship between God and ourselves.
In short, the story can be summed in one simple word: intimacy.
God, having literally played in the mud, fashioned the man in the dirt and then breathed into that clay mold the very breath of life. By animating the clay with his own breath God shares the depth of his life with the clay. As anyone who has ever thrown clay knows, the fingerprints and imagination of the potter are all over every object which he or she throws.
The same is true with us. As the object of God’s creation, God’s hand prints and design are all over us. Jesus reminds us that God knows every hair on our heads.
The depth of the intimacy that we have with God is the same sense of intimacy which God intends for us to share with one another. However; God does not lay out a randomness of intimacy for us, but because God has inscribed within us this desire for intimacy and union, we are to become one with one making us one together.
For this reason, with Judaism marriage – Kiddushin – is the intended way of life. The way that God created us and brings us into relationship with himself and with each other.
It is significant, then, that the ritual of marriage in Judaism takes on and reflects the covenant between God and Israel. It is a binding agreement tied to The Law and that carries with it an important social dimension.
The laws of Kiddushin were well in place in Judaism before the time of Jesus. As with all of the Laws of Moses, Jesus elevates the law of marriage to another level in his teaching.
The Jews allow for divorce in certain circumstances. It is not something that they would do easily because it is the breaking of an agreement, carries important societal ramifications and is a rejection of what God intended for these two people.
Jesus calls us to a deeper sense of the covenantal relationship.
As we engage in serious political discourse as to the nature of marriage as codified in civil law, we cannot abandon the meaning of marriage as presented to us from the very beginning of the human race. The complementarity of male and female, each with their own distinct gifts and nature, come together in a covenant of intimacy. This complementarity reflects the intimacy between God and humanity, each with their own distinct gifts and nature.
Sustained commitment of intimacy between a man and a woman is not easy; it is a challenge and often a difficult road. Similarly, our relationship with God can endure many peaks and valleys. We are called to maintain with radical testimony, the integrity and meaning of both our religious faith and human nature as both are challenged in a secularized world.