Apologetics, Faith, Issue 20

Dig Deeper: What Is Marriage?

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Dig Deeper: What Is Marriage?

What marriage is not

Is romantic love the only basis for a marriage to take place? Currently, this seems to be the main criterion. This is why more and more people think that marriage between a man and a woman is simply ‘another form of marriage’ instead of the only form of marriage. If romantic love is the basis of whether someone can marry or not, marriages between people of the same gender, marriages with the dead, marriages between multiple people, marriages between adults and children, and even marriages to yourself (yes, this is a real thing!) have to be acceptable as long as they are in love. While marriage has been redefined again and again throughout history by state laws, God’s purpose and created intent for marriage does not change.

What marriage is

Marriage as a lifelong union between one man and one woman was initiated by God. God first created a man (“Adam” refers to mankind) before taking a rib out of the man’s side to create another complete being as his equal — a woman (Gen 2:21–22). Thus, the union of a man and a woman can be thought of as a natural coming together (Gen 2:23–24). Marriage is also a deep and awesome reflection of the coming return of Jesus! Throughout the New Testament, Jesus is described as a bridegroom who will come for the Church who is his bride (Rev 21:2). Marriage was initiated by God not simply for the enjoyment of the parties involved. When a man and woman come together in marriage, it beautifully reflects God when they serve Him and others together. Unless we understand and live out what God intends marriage to be, our marriages cannot reflect the glory of God.

What our response should be

Amidst changing mindsets, we must value and uphold the institution of marriage as designed by God. What did God have in mind when He designed the first man and woman? Ultimately, the joining of a man and a woman should glorify God. If you are still uncertain about this, there are many books that talk about godly marriages. For example, This Momentary Marriage by John Piper speaks clearly of marriage as something that should exalt and reflect Christ, while Same-Sex Marriage by Sean McDowell and John Stonestreet discusses the transformation of marriage in society even as they keep a biblical perspective. Don’t be afraid to find out more!

But Kallos, Solomon had many wives!

How can we say with confidence that marriage as God intended it is between just one man and just one woman? After all, there are many men in the Bible who had more than one wife. King Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines! It is important for us to know the difference between a record of what happened, and God’s perspective on what should have happened. Not everything reported by the biblical writers is meant to be an example for us to follow. For example, the Bible records that Abraham, fearing for his life, made Sarah pretend she was his sister. So, a foreign king took her and made Abraham rich for her sake (Gen 12:11–16). I’m sure none of us would assume this is how God wants men to treat their wives!

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