In various ministry applications, Adam and Eve are often categorized as the first husband and wife pairing and, as such, become the prototype for much of the church’s teaching on marriage, gender, and sexuality. However, as the church continues to navigate appropriate contextual responses to its surrounding cultures, it is apparent that gender and sexuality are being less commonly linked to the institution of marriage.
Perhaps one way forward is a retrieval of Adam and Eve’s humanity as one not-yet defined by their marital union. It may be more helpful, in certain settings, to present Adam and Eve—first as brother and sister—logically just before being presented as husband and wife. In an age in which sexual activity is seen as a basic human right, but also an age in which established understandings for gender and sexuality are being attacked constantly, viewing Adam and Eve and brother and sister sharpens the church’s confession that humans are innately sexual beings yet are not “made complete” by sexual behavior.
Not only will such an approach prove useful in cultural dialog motivated by redeeming the lost, but also, it may prove helpful for strengthening relational dynamics within the church. All too often, the church can view its members’ sexuality through an exclusive prism of sexual behavior. Whereas human sexuality expresses itself in the psychological, physical, and social make-up of people—the relationships between brothers and sisters in the family of God should provide a healthy demonstration of sexuality expressed without sexual union.