We know that God is the Creator of all things, but we should also pay closer attention to His methods, the way in which He creates. One of the things we can see in Genesis is that He delights to create in the first instance, and then He loves to take a second pass. And in this second pass, what He does is fill.
We can see an indication of this pattern in the days of creation. In the first three days, He creates the form, and then in days four through six He comes back through and fills out what He has done. He creates, and then He fills out by creating some more. He forms, then He fills what He has formed.
On day one He created light and dark, and on day four He created the heavenly bodies. On day two He created water and sky, and on day five He created fish and birds. On day three He created land and vegetation and on day six He created animals and mankind. He forms and He fills. He formed for three days, and then for three days He filled it out.
Then on the seventh day God rested, which means (among other things) that He Himself was the fullness of that day.
The same pattern was followed in the creation of mankind. God first created the form, and then He created the fullness. First came man, and then came woman. The creation order is important in terms of authority, as Paul teaches us, but it is also important in terms of understanding fullness.
God created man from the dust of the ground. He then made a second pass, and created the woman from the man. He created the man from adamah, the Hebrew word for ground, and He then He created the woman from Adam, the Hebrew word for mankind. This is very much a second pass. First, the basic coat of paint, then the high gloss finish.
Now as we have seen, this second pass is where the fullness happens. But in Scripture, how is fullness frequently described? We see it described in many places as the fullness of glory. Beginning in Exodus 40:34, we see what glory does. If we asked what glory is, what it is like, the answers would come back as heavy, bright, shining, golden, weighty, overpowering, and so on. But if we asked what glory does, we would see that glory fills. What verb goes with glory? Glory fills.
The New Testament teaches us that marriage points us to Christ and the church, and then turns around and teaches us about how our marriages ought to point to Christ and the church through its descriptions of that glorious union.
“And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.” (Eph 1:22–23). The body of Christ is described here as the fullness of Christ. And a few verses above, this same reality is described in terms of glory. “The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints” (Eph. 1:18). The church is described as Christ’s fullness and as Christ’s glory. The bride of Christ is the fullness of Christ’s glory, and of course we know that this is all God’s gift of grace to us.
Husbands are told to love their wives as Christ loved the church, giving Himself up for her. Now when a man is told to love his wife, he is not simply being told to love another person. He is being told to love his own inheritance, to love the fullness of his own glory. He is being told to love not being be empty, to love not being inglorious. He who loves his wife, Paul explains, loves himself. This is not selfishness; it is wisdom.
This reality is confirmed in another way when we are told that man is the image and glory of God (1 Cor. 11:7), and that woman is the glory of the man. Man is the glory, and woman is the glory on top of that glory. There are those who want to disparage woman on the basis of the creation order, as though woman is supposed to be God’s postscript, God’s afterthought. In the beginning God created the great train of all creation, and then at the last minute decided to add a caboose.
No. First the temple is built, and then, after the temple is built, second in chronological order, but by no means second in glory, the temple is filled with the Shekinah presence. And when this happened, not even Moses was able to enter (Ex. 40:35).
Caleb, your task is to provide structure and definition. You are to provide the boundaries and walls. You provide the space that is to be filled. You must articulate it and defend it. You must understand it, and understand your role with regard to it. You are the priest at the door of the tabernacle, guarding the way in. You are not the glorious guard, you are the guardian of the glory. As you are faithful, you will spend the rest of your life figuring out what this means.
Jacqueline, you are God’s second pass at Caleb. I referred earlier to what glory is. It is substantive, weighty. Your charge is to make sure that you grow up as the fullness of your husband’s inheritance. You provide the brilliance of a substantial glory. Some women, who do not know Christ, fill out their husband’s lives with a counterfeit glory, filling it up with froth and vanity. Do not be like them. The glory that Scripture refers to is the kind of beauty that is of great worth in God’s sight. God loves it when a woman fills the life of her husband with glory, and when she provides his home with that indefinable something that can be attained in no other way.
In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, amen.