The marriage debate is at the forefront of our culture right now, but does our culture even have a proper understanding of marriage? Followers of Jesus would say, “No!”
My wife and I are currently watching a TV show on Hulu called “Saving Hope.” It’s a pretty good show and has a bit of a “supernatural” element to it–something my wife and I tend to like in shows.
As someone interested in Christianity and how it relates to culture, I am always on the lookout for cultural trends in TV shows, music, etc. This show saw a dramatic shift about 1/3 of the way through the available episodes.
Seemingly out of nowhere, homosexuality became a recurring theme, despite its complete impertinence to the subject matter of the show.
Make no mistake: The arts will ALWAYS pick up on the philosophy of the day and propagate it out to the masses.
This is not conspiracy theory stuff, it’s an absolute fact–one that has been witnessed time and again throughout the centuries.
Sadly, however, this ratings-driven, numbers-driven tactic has caused our culture to trade intellectual honesty for money, power, and pleasure. And naturally, it has caused true Christians to take a bolder-than-ever stance on these issues thereby causing even more tension and hatred between worldviews.
But in order to parse this out and even understand it, we need to look at why Christians see marriage so differently and we need to make sure we are operating off of the correct definition of marriage itself.
Marriage is a Matter of Worldviews
EVERYTHING you and I know to be true about the world will be seen through the lens of our worldview. There is no escaping this. We are bound by our presuppositions and will see only evidence that supports our position until, by way of the Holy Spirit, our eyes are tuned to see otherwise.
This truly does affect each and every area of our lives, and marriage is no different. If you look at the world through a biblical lens, you will see why there is no such thing as “gay marriage” or a “transgender” person.
However, if you look at the world without biblical “glasses” on, you will see what “the god of this world” (Satan) wants you to see (2 Corinthians 4:4). That is not to say that if you are not a Christian you are a “Satanist,” but the Bible is clear that you are either for God or Against Him, and “whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” (James 4:4).
Marriage is not a matter of cultural practice or even historical tradition–it is a matter of worldviews.
“Marriage” Must be Properly Defined
It is a mistake to assume that marriage has ANYTHING to do with the paper one signs to make the deal official with the state.
The concept of marriage is reserved for the Christian worldview since marriage was instituted by God and is a covenant made TO God. God gave the woman to the man, and thus, the man promises a life of devotion to the woman God gave him, and vice-versa.
To be clear, the ONLY true “marriage” is the one that recognizes God as the Creator and Giver of Life and promises before Him to end only by death.
Marriage has nothing to do with love, feelings, emotions, judges, preachers, court documents, soulmates, knots, ribbons, or even wedding ceremonies. Marriage is not horizontal; it is vertical. It is a promise first to God and second to your spouse.
Since God does not recognize sin, there is no such thing as a marriage that is BASED on sexual immorality.
Though our superficial culture is concerned with saying “yes to the dress”, we must be concerned with the implications of breaking a vow before Almighty God. In this sense, only Christians ever get “married” by the true definition. Once again, culture has borrowed from the Christian worldview and tried to equate pagan rituals with those that have only a spiritual meaning or significance.
I realize this is a “hard” and unpopular stance, but I had rather live with reality than in a fairy-tale.
Now that the groundwork has been laid, we’re going to look at four truths which demonstrate why Christians are so concerned with marriage, and why they should be.
The Biblical Truth About Marriage
Jesus Christ says in Mark 10:6, “But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female.” This is a significant verse of the Bible that actually deals with a couple of important doctrinal points:
- Jesus was a creationist. The idea of marriage and God as Creator of the world are inextricably linked. I find it quite intriguing that this verse deals in both realms. You see if male and female were “from the beginning of the creation,” that means the beginning of the creation was not millions and millions of years before the Creation of mankind.
- There are no transgender people. If God made them male and female, then what we should expect to see are male and female in reproduction. And we do! Of course, creation was corrupted by Adam’s sin, so there will be extremely rare occurrences where an individual may have both reproductive organs or another genetic irregularity; these are the exception—not the rule.
- Marriage is one man and one woman. Another quite obvious truth from this verse is the nature of marriage itself—one man to one woman. This is how it is designed. This is why it is such a big deal to Christians. Sexual activity outside of the bonds of a one man, one woman marriage is unbiblical, sinful, and an abomination to the Lord.
Despite clear-teaching Scriptures such as Mark 10:6, many claim that Jesus never taught about marriage or sexuality in the New Testament, and therefore, Old Testament teaching on the subject was made null and void.
Of course, this is based on numerous misunderstandings of the text, and is grossly misrepresenting the biblical position.
First, the New Testament does not replace the Old Testament. If it did, the “completed canon” of Scripture would include the NT only. But this is a clear contradiction to Jesus’ own teaching! In Matthew 5:17 He says, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.”
In other words, the arrival of Jesus on the scene was not ever intended to abolish the law, but rather to fulfill exactly what it says. Now, a very important distinction must be made here. There are those who have taken this to an utter extreme and attached the law to grace. But that is NOT the teaching here.
God gives grace freely (Titus 2:11), and grace accomplishes what the law could not accomplish (Galatians 3:24, 25). Putting it all together, God’s grace is imparted to us in our conversion, the Holy Spirit enters, and then teaches us to live the kind of life one would live if under the law—a life of obedience to God’s commandments.
But since keeping the law is impossible (this is dealt with in Acts 15), grace is needed (and sufficient)!
The point here is that we cannot ignore OT teaching in light of the NT.
Second, we know clear as day from John 1 that Jesus Christ was present at the Creation. In other words, as part of the Godhead, He Created marriage! It also follows that since He is part of the Godhead, the Bible is as much His inspired Word as it is Yahweh’s!
Therefore, the entire Bible (OT included) is the Word of Jesus. In fact, John 1 calls Him the “Word.” This means any time the Bible speaks to a certain subject matter, Jesus inspired those words.
Third, Jesus does, many times, deal with matters of marriage and sexual immorality in the New Testament. The difference is that Jesus speaks more broadly about the nature of the sin. In fact, the law was based on wrongful actions, but Jesus said if you so much as look on another woman you’ve committed adultery with her in your own heart (Matthew 5:28).
That’s a pretty tough standard to live by.
Of course, there are numerous more NT teaching on the subject of marriage. Paul deals much with this in 1 Corinthians 7 and Ephesians 5. But probably one of the most important Scriptures dealing with the marriage is its establishment found in Genesis 2.
The text reads:
Gen 2:21-24 — “And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”
This is what Jesus was referring to in Mark 10:6. Immediately after the female was formed from the rib of the male, God established the concept of marriage. See, marriage is more than a cultural ritual or custom. It was God’s plan from the very beginning for how His image-bearers should come together and care for one another in a unique bond—the kind of bond that would be used to typify Christ and His Bride (the Church).
Outside of biblical truth and teaching, real marriage does not exist.
The Societal Truth About Marriage
Although one cannot understand or even properly define marriage without using the Bible, there is a clear case for marriage as dictated by the Bible to be seen at the societal level.
That is to say that there are no societal benefits to a marriage that is anything other than one man to one woman.
In fact, there are a couple of pretty big problems with such a marriage, and we’re going to explore those. But first, it is important to understand the government’s role in marriage (or, what it should be).
As described in this excellent video, the government has only three options concerning a civil construct: It can either promote, permit, or prohibit. The states already permit homosexual marriage, but that just isn’t enough for its advocates. More people each day are pushing for the government to promote gay marriage. In other words, the boot is on the neck of any and all who would defy that two males can decide they love each other and get married.
Here’s the issue: The government does not recognize marriage AT ALL because two people love one another. That would ridiculous. I “love” many individuals who are not my wife, and yet I am not married to them. After all, the same crowd who argues for the right to “love whomever they want” also believes love is nothing more than random chemical reactions in the brain. Why should the chemical reactions of a “homosexual” person be treated with any such preference on their worldview?
It seems that a theistic argument for marriage, one that recognizes the purposes for the elevation of humanity above all other species, would be necessary to argue along these lines. The problem is that all theistic religions have been “one man, one woman” for centuries! There is NO good justification for the government to be involved in the promotion of “marriage” outside of the biblical definition.
Here are a couple more practical points about marriage (from the governmental viewpoint):
Marriage is in place to further society. Only a traditional marriage can create children. This is pretty obvious, and it’s the reason why the government has not historically (nor should it) award a marriage certificate because two people love one another. In fact, society would die out if homosexual marriage became the norm.
Marriage is in place to raise healthy children. This point alone has BOOKS and books dedicated to it. Study after study has proven that children are wired to have that mother/father parental relationship. There are things that children need that only their father or mother respectively can give them. Of course, children grow up in unfortunate situations where this is not the case all of the time. But they shouldn’t! And, the government most certainly should not be involved in promoting a position that is unhealthy for children.
Marriage, as a social construct, makes no sense unless it is between a man and woman. Bottom line.
The Scientific Truth About Marriage
We have already seen the idea of marriage has no foundations or roots outside of the Christian worldview. We have also seen how this plan makes sense when applied to government and society.
Although we see the Bible as our ultimate authority, much of the world around us sees science as the ultimate authority (this is known as scientism). So the question is do science and biology reflect what we would expect about how God purposed marriage?
The answer is overwhelmingly obvious!
Aside from any genetic anomalies, human beings are created 100% complete with one exception–our reproductive organs. In other words, every organ and cell in our body have a specific purpose and function for which it was created and used, but our reproductive organs serve a purpose that can only be accomplished when engaging in sexual activity.
This confirms the Bible’s teaching that “two shall become one.” This alone is a marvelous testament to the Creator. We see that in the beginning, God created male and female, He told them to fill the earth, and gave them a way to do it!
Males cannot reproduce with males, and females cannot reproduce with females. Since evolution is unobserved and doesn’t happen, there is no hope that we will one day evolve the ability to do this without twisting and manipulating the genome. Therefore, God’s Word stands true in the field of science concerning marriage.
But there’s even more evidence.
According to the best research available to us today, there is no such thing as a male that can turn into a female or vice-versa. This means that in the case of homosexual marriages where transgenderism is also involved (something I will NEVER understand), the BEST outcome that can be hoped for is that one spouse becomes less hormonally equivalent to the other.
In other words, two females married to one another will ALWAYS be two females–no amount of medication, surgery, or otherwise will ever change this.
Science and biology give zero credence to the idea that homosexual marriage is justifiable. Especially since the latest teaching in science is that there is no Creator and feelings and emotions are nothing more than random, nonsensical chemical reactions.
It seems to me that if there is no transcendental purpose for “the way things are,” at least science would give us a good reason to accept this idea of marriage, right? But, once again, a worldview that excludes the Bible is reduced to utter absurdity by following it to its logical conclusion.
The Eternal Truth About Marriage
Finally, we must look at the purpose for true marriage is as defined by the Bible. We have already seen from Genesis 2 that the woman was made from the rib of the man, but to find the reason why, we must back up a verse to Genesis 2:20 — “And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.”
Romans 7:2 sheds some lights on the eternalness of the marriage covenant. It reads, “For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband.”
So when we take the vow before God to care for our spouse “till death do us part,” it means that as long a husband is living he is to provide for his wife, and as long as a wife is living, she is to provide for her husband.
Additionally, there are some incredible guidelines for a God-ordained marriage in the Scripture. We do find that wives are to love their husbands and submit themselves to them (a teaching that has been taken WAY out of context by many), but husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the church–arguably, an even greater calling (Ephesians 5:25).
The issue in our culture is that marriage is not seen as a divine ordinance, but rather, as a social construct. This has been true ever since the instating of the “no-fault” divorce in America.
Ideas such as, “Relationships are a dime a dozen”, “There are plenty of fish in the sea,” etc. have caused our culture to disregard the seriousness associated with the marriage covenant. If we don’t like who our spouse turns out to be, we’ll just find us a new one! This is entirely unbiblical and is outside of the intended order of things.
Studies show that this has had a tremendously detrimental effect not only on marriages but also on children, economics, etc. There is NOTHING good about divorce. Even in situations where it may seem morally warranted, it still causes irreparable harm.
Truly, God designed marriages to last for an eternity (a lifetime, in context), and the downfall of culture since we have made laws to the contrary have been demonstrably harmful to our society in many ways.
So, what should we make of all this? Well, you are obviously welcome to disagree with anything I have stated in this blog post. But my intent was simply to accurately represent and portray the Christian position on marriage, and why we care so much.
Often in debates about this, unbelievers want to know why we’re so concerned with “what happens in their bedrooms.” The reason is that we love our Lord, and we have seen the effects of sin on lives in the culture.
We see that things are going against the natural, intended order, and feel our case must be made. Furthermore, the government has begun discriminating against Christians in favor of homosexuality and transgenderism–supposedly, “human rights.” The problem is everyone has the “constitutional” right to marry whom they please already–homosexuality is a behavior, not a right.
Not to mention the fact that “human rights” do not even make sense unless the Bible is true!
Marriage is a huge concern for Christians because it is core and fundamental to our faith, and like it or not, we will not be silenced.
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