Thus, we further the Savior’s work of atonement when we live together in a state of at-one-ment. We do atonement work when we marry and work at that marriage. Without the commitment to marriage, the Lord’s atoning work could not go forward on the earth. The purposes of creation would have been wasted.
Eternal marriage, after all, is both a type and a function of at-one-ment. It is a type in that it constitutes two separate, fallen beings-a man and a woman-brought into oneness with each other and with God through the grace and power of Jesus Christ. It is a function of atonement in that, through the divine enabling power of the Atonement, a man and woman make their marriage eternal.
The Savior said, “Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” (Matthew 19:4-6; emphasis added.)
The word cleave is an atonement word that means “to cling to closely, tightly.” Paul wrote to the Corinthians, countering currents of asceticism already gaining momentum in the Church: “Neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord. For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all . . . [are] of God.” (1 Corinthians 11:11-12.) Conversely, when we put relationships asunder, we violate this spirit of at-one-ment.
M. Catherine Thomas
The Restoration of the Doctrines of Marriage and Atonement
Women and Christ: Living the Abundant Life: Talks Selected from the 1992 Women’s Conference
Sponsored by Brigham Young University and the Relief Society
Edited by Dawn Hall Anderson, Susette Fletcher Green, and Marie Cornwall
Deseret Book Company (1993)
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