November 8, 2015
By John Ulrich, Senior Pastor
Intimacy, as described in Genesis 1-4, is a critical part of God’s original design for us as His children. Before Adam and Eve fell into sin by eating the forbidden fruit, all that was created was declared “good” (Genesis 1). Intimacy with God and each other was fully available as the first couple walked in the Garden of Eden with God.
Yet when Satan, in the form of a serpent, tempted Eve, and then she tempted Adam to disobey God, everything changed. Their relational intimacy became complicated with shame, blaming and distrust (Genesis 3).
Through the work and power of Jesus Christ, we need to be intentional about returning to God’s original design and pursue intimacy in our lives, especially our marriages.
Reflections on Intimacy
- Our Design for Intimacy
God created us in His image, which is the Trinity (Father, Son and Spirit) – note the plural “us” when referring to God (Genesis 1:26, 27). We were designed for relationship; it is “not good for man to be alone” (Genesis 2:18). God knew from the beginning of creation that we needed to be deeply known and cared about, in connection and community with Him and with other humans.
If we are single, our intimacy can be found in multiple relationships — family, close friends, church (individual relationships, classes, small groups, Stephen Ministry and more).
If we are married, God’s design is that the primary place for us to have intimacy is with our spouse (not our parents, our children, our coworkers, etc.). Married couples are to grow together from diversity to “one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). This means being available to our spouse in all ways: physically, emotionally and spiritually.
- The Difficulty of Intimacy
Intimacy is powerful, but it is also difficult when it involves vulnerability, rejection, betrayal, misunderstanding, etc. Intimacy can even be dangerous to us as we experience shame; hiding from God; and blaming, ridiculing and competing with others. We live after the Fall of Man in a world of brokenness (sin), which has changed everything that God originally provided for relationships. We have truly lost our innocence with God and each other.
- The Definition of Intimacy
In Genesis 4:1, we see a glimpse of the definition of intimacy in the word “knew” (translated from the English Standard Version): “Adam knew his wife Eve…” The original Hebrew word for “knew” is all about knowing and being known. It focuses on knowing someone completely and experientially, not just the head knowledge of knowing “about” someone.
Intimacy equals both knowledge and appreciation. It involves really seeing someone (the knowing) and appreciating/approving (loving, supporting) what you see. In marriage, God calls us to know each other deeply (physically, emotionally and spiritually), and stand before God as man and wife.
Intimacy does not happen automatically, but intentionally. We must pursue knowing others/our spouse for intimacy on a deep level.
- Divine Intimacy (Genesis 1-4)
Intimacy with God is more foundational than even marital intimacy. God made us for intimacy with Him where He communicates His guidance and provision to us personally.
Whether married or single, we are given all the intimacy we need through Him. God’s intimacy with us is the basis of our intimacy with others/our mate. Others/our spouse will never supply our core intimacy; only God will.
Just as God provided clothes for Adam and Eve through the sacrifice of animal, He provides the intimacy of love, mercy and forgiveness to us through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus. God has known/seen all of who we are and still loves us intimately through the work of His Son.
If we were designed for intimacy, to be known and accepted by God and then by our married partner/others, we must ask ourselves two questions:
- Do I have an intimate relationship with God?
- Is my marriage a place of intimacy or does it need more attention?