Thursday, August 9, 2007

When do a couple become husband and wife? How do you know?

Since God designed marriage, He gets to define it. Unfortunately, the Bible, God's revelation to us, is not a dictionary. So we must take our own definition of what makes a marriage from what He has said, and not from any other source.

The start of a marriage cannot be cultural. It can't be one thing in India and another thing in Paraguay. It can't be one thing during the time of Abraham and another during the 1800's. The marriage relationship must be universal and timeless. Why? Because otherwise the revelations about Christ and his bride, the Church, are subject to cultural interpretation and can mean whatever we want them to mean based upon our own definitions of marriage.

Let us start by ruling out certain assumptions about what makes a marriage. It doesn't have anything to do with a "pronouncement" by a magistrate or preacher. As in, "I now pronounce you man and wife." I see no basis in Scripture whatsoever for such a necessity in beginning a marriage.

How about vows? Everyone knows that a marriage starts with vows, right? I mean, we hear so much about people "violating their marriage vows", it must be in the Bible, right? WRONG. There is no Biblical basis for vows during a marriage ceremony. None. Shocking, isn't it?

The exchange of rings? Um.... no.

Next time we'll discuss what the Bible DOES say about marriage and look at some examples.

Which came first? The chicken or the egg?

When God uses a picture in His Word to help us understand something about Himself or His kingdom, did He search the natural world and choose something to which He thought we could relate, which was sort of like something He was trying to show us?

Or, did He create something in the natural world specifically for the purpose of teaching us some spiritual, heavenly or eternal principle?

I believe the latter. That God created things, relationships, circumstances in this physical world in which we live with the sole purpose of helping us to understand Him. For the purpose of revealing things about Himself which we would otherwise not be able to comprehend.

For example, the different ways that God describes the Church and its relationship to Christ are based upon things to which we can relate. The Church as a body, the Church as a building, as a city. Church members as brothers and sisters of each other and of Christ. And, of course, the Church as the Bride of Christ.

So I conclude that marriage was created by God, specifically for our edification in understanding our relationship to Christ. It has the secondary benefit of making life on earth more enjoyable, but aside from Christ betrothing the Church to Himself, earthly marriage would be entirely unnecessary. Perhaps mankind being both male and female would be entirely unnecessary. Sex would be entirely unnecessary.

To understand marriage and sex is only possible by starting with the DESIGN, and recognizing that God had a purpose for it.


The Principle of Design (borrowed from the Institute in Basic Life Principles):

Understanding the specific purposes for which God created each person, object and relationship in my life and living in harmony with them.

so much to say, so little time

"Likewise ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands;" I Peter 3:1a

Why does this make women bristle? What does it mean to be in subjection, anyway?

Perhaps this will help our understanding of subjection...

"Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord" 1 Peter 3:6a

So, it appears that I, as a woman, am a subject of my husband, within his domain, where he reigns as lord. That is so simple, is it not?