Marriage and God’s Judgment

172651522_7c748a64e1_mIf, as some expect will happen, the Supreme Court of the United States rules that same-sex marriage is a civil right guaranteed by the American Constitution, this will create distress within the Christian community and beyond.

In Canada the decision has already been made in favor of revision. On July 20, 2005, the Federal Government passed Bill C-38 making same-sex marriage a legal right in all provinces.

Believers who feel uninformed or uncertain on the issue, might begin by reflecting on the question in the first two chapters of the Bible, where marriage is presented as “an order of creation.”

The first chapter of the Bible begins with the timeless affirmation, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). Then this creation account unfolds to a climax with the creation of man as “male and female” (Genesis 1:27). And to male and female together God gives the mission to “be fruitful and increase.” (Genesis 1: 28).

Then, in the second chapter of the Bible the author in a sense reaches back to chapter one to further develop what is implied there. In doing so marriage is spoken of in a visible, concrete way and we meet Adam and Eve — one man and one woman.

You can see from this that marriage is presented even before the fall of man. That is why we say marriage is an order of creation and see it as a design of the Creator God.

So, we cannot see procreative marriage merely as a relationship prehistoric man gradually stumbled onto over a period of many centuries, and developed little by little. If that were so, a lack of procreational capabilities at the outset would have registered mankind as extinct.

As the Scriptures develop they report many deviations from the model set forth in Genesis 2 — one man and one woman exclusively. In Genesis 4 Lamech is the first bigamist, taking two wives (Genesis 4:19). Later it is implied that Pharaoh, an Egyptian pagan ruler, keeps a harem. But when he intrudes into the one-man-one-woman marriage of Abraham the Lord shows him his offense by sending serious disease on him and his household (Genesis 12:10–20).

When it comes to “male and female” relationships both Old and New Testaments report negatively on all sorts of deviations from the exclusive union of one man and one woman — fornication, adultery, polygamy, rape, even a deviation to sodomy (Genesis 19).

These deviations are sometimes cited to support the new and experimental situations being tried in our times and to diminish the sanctity of “one man and one woman” in the present.

It is important to note, in reply, that the Scriptures acknowledge all of the above and more in order to report them because the Bible is a very honest book. But they do not affirm any of them except “one man and one woman exclusively.”

So, what would Jesus say about this issue? First, consider his honest but compassionate treatment of the woman he met at Jacob’s well. She had already experienced five failed marriages and was at the time in a live-in relationship (John 4). He did not affirm her wretched career but he was kind without being sentimental. He spoke to the spiritual thirst beneath her marital confusion.

And what did he say to the woman who had been seized in an adulterous act? Again, without affirming her action he offered forgiveness, restoring to her her dignity. (John 8:3–11). No one could thus ever call him a hateful person.

Yet, in another situation some pharisees tried to draw him into conflict over the knotty problem of divorce. They asked him to declare on what grounds divorce would be considered allowable?

He went behind their debate to speak of the nature of marriage as set forth in Genesis: “God made them male and female” and said, “be fruitful and increase.” (Genesis 1:27). He added, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife and they shall be one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). In his response he linked together the first and second chapters of Genesis as though they were one (Matthew 19:4-6).

Marriage is a covenant between one man and one woman.

If for Christians marriage is an order of creation, not negotiable and not amendable, then any move to revise it radically should be seen as reckless and hurtful to participants and to society. A nation that scorns the loving provision of God for heterosexual union and potential procreation will invite his judgment.

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Photo credit: yeowatzup (via flickr.com)

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4 thoughts on “Marriage and God’s Judgment

  1. What a good and succinct explanation for the Christian view of marriage! Secular people don’t realize God created marriage, and thus defined it. Jesus did have something to say about the sanctity of marriage, and we as a society will be further diminished by any erosion to this sanctity (as divorce already has).

  2. My son compared his Massachusetts marriage to another man to marrying a barren women, but typically that is not known until after a marriage. When he brought up the idea of eventually adopting, I answered him that if he could figure out how to have kids without involving a woman, then he should knock himself out!

  3. I had understood that USA and Canada long ago led the way in legalizing same gender marriage.But I forgot both countries have federal governments ,so maybe each state and province made ‘gay’ marriage legal individually .In any case ,now I learn that Canada’s Bill c.38 legalized same gender marriage province wide,back in 2005.

    It seems USA is now just about to make ‘gay’ marriage a constitutional civil right across every state.

    These changes have happened in my lifetime.In UK I well remember when male homosexuality was a criminal offence.As far as I know female homosexuality has never been illegal in UK.I’ve heard it said that is because legislators never conceived such a phenomenen could possibly exist.Also that female same gender love is emotional,not physical.

    Following the example of USA & Canada ,in the last year,the UK Conservative government got a law passed making ‘gay’ marriage legal in UK.

    I read a startling thing in ‘Christophobia : The Real Reason Behind Hate Crime Legislation’’ a small pamphlet by Rev. Tristan Emmanuel,published by Freedom Press ,Jordan ON,Canada in 2003 .From this I learned Canada’s senate long ago prepared a bill ,C.250 ,to criminalize moral disapproval of homosexualit,.making such moral disapproval a hate crime.

    I can’t find any evidence that this law stayed on the statute books,Surely it has been revoked ,for it would militate against the scriptural understanding of most Christian churches.

    When same gender marriage was made legal in UK last year,the Anglican church made it clear that no such marriages could take place in any Anglican church.I know of no Christian denomination here that rules otherwise.If UK had a Bill C 250 ,like Canada may have or may have at least mooted,then I wonder if our churches would face litigation.

    I have heard that it is acceptable in USA for a priest to be in a same sex marriage,at least in the Episcipal church.Here in UK ,the Anglican church accepts gay clergy ,living together with a loved one of the same gender. But any physical relations are completely forbidden.

    How this is enforced I have no idea.It would surely be inappropriate ,even indecent ,to pry into someone’s intimate sexual life,whether homosexual or heterosexual,,whether marital or extra marital.This can only be left to individual conscience in practise.Between the couple and God Himself.

    Of course moral guidance can be given,but under a Bill C 250 ,might not this be construed as moral disapproval and thus a hate crime,as Rev.Emmanuel suggests.

    Things used to be quite simple for Christians.No sex outside of marriage.No sex before marriage,no adulterous sex,no sex except consensual sex with one’s spouse.Thus sex was a God given gift to those who became one flesh.Since marriage could not be, between people of the same gender,same gender sex was out of the question.

    New laws muddy the waters.Clarity is lost.

    A Christian martyr,the great Lutheran writer Dietrich Bonhoeffer said in a letter from his Nazi prison cell in May 1943,intended for the wedding in his family,of Renate and Eberhard.

    ‘’God establishes a rule of life by which you can live together in wedlock’’

    Would it not be folly to disobey God’s rules ?

    Known as ‘A Wedding Sermon From A Prison Cell’ May 1943 ,this wonderful letter is my favourite piece of writing of Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer.It is a beautiful summary of the divine nature of marriage.

    The pastor states that bride and bridegroom must be able to say

    ‘’Iron and steel may pass away but our love shall abide forever’’

    Pastor Dietrich told Renate and Eberhard, that marriage was the adding of God’s yes to their yes ,that marriage before God ‘’creates out of your love something quite new – the holy estate of matrimony.’’

    Without God’s yes,what is a marriage worth ?

    The pastor added ,to Renate and Eberhard

    ‘’God is guiding your marriage.Marriage is more than your love for each other.It has a higher dignity and power,for it is God’s holy ordinance,through which He wills to perpetuate the human race ttill the end of time’’

    How can same sex marriage perpetuate the human race,so serve God’s Will ?

    Pastor Bonhoeffer continued. His advice to Renate and Ebehsard is well worth repeating. Renate and Ebehard.is good Christian advice is worth repeating.

    ‘’In your love you see only your two selves in the world,but in marriage you are a link in the the chain of generations’’

    ‘’Your love is your own private possession ,but marriage is more than something personal – it is a status ,an office’’

    ‘’It is not your love that sustains your marriage,but from now on the marriage that sustains your love’’

    ‘’Marriage belongs to God.It is His act not yours.’’

    ‘’By the will of God a husband and wife belong to each other until death ’’

    So marriage is an office,belonging to God.It is His and must accord with His Will.Christ is the foundation of every true marriage.Where Christ is not the foundation,the marriage is not true.

    Before state legislatures tamper with thousand year old marriage statutes,they should consider all this very carefully.

    One man and one woman ,one flesh never to part in life,in monogamous loving faithful union under God. No sex outside marriage,no adultery,no polygamy,no rape.Scripture ,our Bible, is as clear on this as the water in a mountain stream.

    Marriage is spiritual,of the Holy Spirit.It is a dangerous thing to risk grieving the Holy Spirit. – rash in the extreme.

    We must see marriage in it’s entirety.It is more than a human concern That is why it is such a gift,offers such blissful rewards..It belongs to God.It is His!

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