Were Adam and Eve married?

If the Church says we have to be married first in order to have sex then why is it not mentioned anywhere in the Bible about Adam and Eve being married since they had two kids - Cain and Abel?

Dear Curious,

Believe it or not, almost all Christian traditions, and even Jews, accept God the Father as the first "marriage celebrant". There were no other people on the earth to organize an official service with music and the Hokey Pokey at the reception. But, in reality, Adam and Eve had the coolest "wedding" of them all. Here’s why… God wed them through the creation of Eve – she is physically part of Adam and Adam is incomplete until she arrives. Adam then says, "At last, this is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh." They didn’t need a "ceremony" to ask God to unify them; He already did it for them through Eve’s creation. The rest of us have ceremonies, a sacrament, to experience the same type of unity given to Adam and Eve.

God could have created Eve separately, in another garden, and given her a separate mission, but He didn’t. He created them together, placing them in the same garden, of the same flesh, for two purposes. First of all, in Genesis Chapter 1, God immediately tells them to be fruitful and multiply. Sure, God is a practical God and knew that the human race couldn’t flourish without these two getting together, but there’s more at work than just God’s desire for more bodies and souls. The second purpose, more clearly revealed in Genesis Chapter 2, describes God’s recognition that it is not good for man to be alone. We were created to be in unity – for both practical purposes (babies) and to help one another through life (bonding). None of us were meant to fight through life on our own. And, God’s plan isn’t that we just have nice, close friends to help us along, although this is part of His plan. But there’s more – He wants us to experience total unity with someone. Man and woman came from one to be reminded that we were meant to be one (yes, biologically, I’m talking about sex and the total personal intimacy comes with it). It’s a powerful and cool thing that a man and woman’s body, heart, mind and soul can do - we are really meant to complete one another. The creation of Adam and Eve as one show us this reality.

Judeo-Christian teaching believes that God showed us the model for marriage and family in the creation of Adam and Eve, in his statement that man should not be alone and in his instruction for them to be fruitful and multiply. Jesus accepted this traditional view of marriage as well as he disapproved of adultery (affairs) and fornication (sex outside of marriage). If marriage wasn’t needed to have sex and have children, fornication and adultery would not be an issue at all. He said to the woman caught in adultery, "Go and sin no more." (John 8:11) And, if the idea of marriage was too strict, limited or just wrong by the time Jesus arrived, he would have suggested an over-haul of the system. But, he did not. In fact, his chose a wedding to be the place for his first miracle.

Could you be "married in God’s eyes" or feel married without going through the sacrament or ceremony? I’ll answer that with another question. If your father was the only welder on Earth, and you needed two pieces of metal to be welded together, could they become unified if you never bring the pieces to him? You can stick them together with glue or duct tape and all them "merged", but it’s not anything like being welded together.

God can make two people one (none of us have the talent of pulling our partner out of our rib); He can "weld" us together. The public, sacred wedding ceremony is where this happens. It is the present-day version of Eden. The sacrament in the Church is what turns a man and woman into the "one flesh" reality in word and sacrament in the wedding bed makes them one flesh physically. Every act of sex after the consummation (the wedding night) is a renewal of this binding sacrament. It’s a beautiful package deal God intended for us all along. And, although many people in this world today don’t believe marriage or sex to be this powerful, lasting or important, as Catholics, we still do.