Genesis 2:18-24


They will become one.




You have to say that God likes the number one.  He made light on day number one.  He made all the other days dependent on the first day, the ONE.  He does this in mathematics too.  He is ONE.  Hear O Israel, the Lord our God is One.  Every Jew knows the passage.  There is only One God.  He is the ONE.  


God made all things.  Everything that he made was good.  Mathematics was one of those things God made.  And in God’s mathematics when he talks about himself, 1 + 1 + 1 = 1.  (One Father, One Son, One Holy Spirit = ONE GOD)  And when he talks about man and woman and marriage, the equation is: 1 + 1 = 1.  (One Man + One Woman = One Marriage.)  For God, three number ones and then ONE; for man, two number ones and then ONE.  In fact, there is something about the number 1 that God likes.  He uses it all the time.  You could say it is his favorite number:  He is the one true God.  He wants marriage to be one.  He wants his people to live in oneness…unity.  He has one people.  He has one way.  He has one mind about saving us.  There is one Church.  One heaven.  There is One Son.  There is One Holy Spirit.  There is One Father.  There is One God.  There is one body and one Spirit---just as you were called to one hope when you were called---one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.  Ephesians 4:4


Yet God who saw just one Adam in the Creation (short of his 1 + 1 = 1) also did say, “It is not good for the man to be alone (one).”  Man was lonely, a word which also has the number one in it, by the way, just like the word alone does.  The whole becomes now greater than the sum of the parts.  Man in marriage becomes the “impossible” new unit of two disparate parts that now form a new unity and oneness.  One!  It was the way God made it right away in the beginning.  It was his number.  It was his institution and creation.  He saw that it was very good.  He loved marriage.  He loved this work with the number one.


God’s One is a strong number.  “So they are no longer two but one.”  (Mark 10:8) There is help here in this number one and support here and aid here.  There is a fortress here in God’s One.  This number found in marriage is something that God unites and fortifies.  He surely makes the means for this to be.  “What God has joined together, let man not put apart.”  So divorce goes against God’s number ONE.  He made two one; he does not want one made into two again.  


God’s One is a happy number.  There is no happier number than one. This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.  Adam was at one with marriage.  There was and is companionship here.  Adam doesn’t have to be lonely or alone any more.  Oneness is happy.  Unity is happy.  Being at one with this one and closer than bone and flesh…this is a happy thing and a good thing.  God surely thought so.  And man and woman who know marriage as God planned it to be know it to be so too.  


One is a whole number.  One can’t be a fraction.  God doesn’t deal in fractions.  Love the Lord your God completely…with one heart, one soul, one mind.  Praise him with one voice.  There aren’t fractions with one.  One is one.  There aren’t percentages with one.  So much mine; so much yours.  The only fraction possible with one is one over one.  But the bottom side of the fraction is identical to the one on the top side of the fraction.  One isn’t in a superior position over the other.  The other is not in an inferior position to the counterpart.  Man isn’t of greater numerical value and honor than woman in marriage.  So when it comes down to it, you and I can’t look at the other and say, “It’s your fault.”   You are the only one in marriage that you have to worry about.  You are the only one to blame when it goes hard or bad.  You are the one who is responsible for it staying together.  You are the one who with the other one makes God’s one!


One is the only number that when you divide it by itself you still have one.  One is the only number that when you multiply it by itself, you still have only one.  (In marriage every problem and trouble and grief can be divided by two and every joy and blessing multiplied by two!)  In marriage, you aren’t a fraction.  You aren’t one divided by two…1/2.  You are still one.  God allows you to remain your one.  You don’t lose your identity.  You gain the bigger one!  And if you believe that the Lord God is the architect of marriage, then you have to believe that he made you to fit his equation.  He made Rebeccah to the one for Isaac.  Sarah was the one for Isaac.  And for Jacob their were two but it never really worked…his marriage didn’t.  It never was right.  There wasn’t unity in it.  There was disunity and discord and heartbreak.


One is the only one.  There is only one marriage for you. Until death you do part.  There is only one institution of marriage.  Just like the number one.  It doesn’t need to be reinvented.  The two will become one.  For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.


Our faith is much more like mathematics than it is like, say, philosophy.  It doesn’t have theorems.  It deals with facts.  It deals with things that when put together always work the way they work.  Either you have an equation that works or one that doesn’t work.  And if it doesn’t work, it isn’t true to numbers and facts.  You need to throw it away.  Marriage works.  It is God’s equation.  It has his number one in it: 1 + 1 = 1


You can’t read this section of Scripture from Genesis 2 and not be impressed by God’s number one.  You can’t read from the book of Mark, chapter 10, and not be impressed by God’s number one.  One is what marriage is all about.  But God had something in mind with One that transcends marriage.  He is thinking about us and our marriage with him.  One is there too.  One is especially there. This God who likes One so much makes it possible for us to be One with him.  The God who makes the impossible happen in marriage makes the impossible happen with us and him too.  He makes the equation one.  He marries us.  He makes us a new unit with him.  God is the Bridegroom.  We are his Bride.  We are married.  One God + one people = One Marriage.

The word atonement is the word which describes this love of God for the number one.  You can see the number one in the word.  It is a contrived word that means “at – one – ment.”  What was separate and broken and lost and apart becomes now one again.  Jesus saw that it was so when he died for us.  He had grounds for divorce when he died there that day.  But instead of divorce, he loved us and kept us and made us forever his own.


Our God in heaven wants us to be “at one” with him forever.  He has started the process already.  Through baptism we have been brought to him.  In the Lord’s Supper he reassures and reaffirms his vow to love us and forgive us.  Immanuel is his name…God with us.  And this God with us says, “I want to be one with you…I want you to be one with me.”  There is that wonderful equation again.  There is that wonderful equation still.  


You can’t improve on unity.  It’s there.  It’s right.  It’s the right answer.  It doesn’t need anything else.  There is no way to make the number one better.  One is where it needs to be.  You don’t have to reinvent it.


There is the marriage supper of the Lamb that Jesus spoke about just before he died.  There is the promise of the coming unity and oneness.  I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.  And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them.  They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.  He will wipe every tear from their eyes.  There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”  Revelation 21:3ff.  


Welcome order of One!  Amen.