Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Sophie's Choice - Why Can't She Choose Her Own Husband?

I have been doing some more reading over at truelovedoesntwait.com. In this post, a young woman by the name of Sophie is arguing in the comments that she should not be prohibited from choosing her own husband. She claims that she isn't insisting on doing the choosing, but rather should simply have the veto if her father wants her to marry a man that she doesn't "like." In other words, as long as her father picks a man that she chooses, she will obey her father and marry him. That reminds me of a woman who obeys her husband in everything, as long as she agrees with him.

The heart of her issue, which she herself doesn't even realize, is that she is as solipsistic as the typical woman. She is the measure of all things. Absolutely no one, no man and not even God, are going to put any limits on her. They are not going to limit her sexuality, for sure. This is the essence of  feminism. A woman can do anything she pleases without limitation and without guidance and it is the duty of others, including her God-given authorities to embrace her choices and to finance them. I'm sure that Sophie would deny being a feminist, but she is believing and practicing the core principles of feminism, therefore she is a feminist, even if she would protest.

No one should miss this post over at Vox Day's Alpha Game Blog. It sums up the solipsism of women very concisely.  And why should women read this and understand it? Because if we don't understand the evil residing in our nature, we are bound to either excuse and dismiss it or outright embrace it. Don't be put off by the strong language. It won't hurt you.

What follows is my response to Sophie and the other commentors over at True Love Doesn't Wait. I wanted to save it here for future reference, you know, for that book I'm going to write someday. It deals with the arguments which say that betrothal is not a command or that any way of getting a wife is ok. On the contrary, I believe that betrothal or an outright purchase are the only ways of getting a wife that conform to what is taught about marriage in the Scriptures. I also wanted to point out that while I agree with much of  what Vaughn Ohlman (the writer/owner of True Love Doesn't Wait) says about betrothal, I also have very serious differences of opinion with him. I do not accept his definitions of either betrothal or marriage, for example, which are pretty big differences.  Ok, my comment follows:

I don't think that Sophie really does have (or that she should have) choices. I think the Bible shows us that a woman does not have the authority over her own sexuality. Her father is the guardian of it until she marries, and he decides to whom and when she will be given in marriage. Once she is married the authority and control over her sexuality passes to her husband.

While there is no single passage of Scripture where this is explained and set forth, it is revealed all throughout the Scriptures. Obviously Vaughn has already written two books on the subject, and even in those he wasn't able to cover every verse where these principles are either mentioned or implied. When we say "show me the verse....!" we are demanding something we don't demand of other principles. For example, where is the verse in the law of God which commands parents to feed and clothe their children? What? There is no such command? But we see parents doing it. Is that just cultural?

In the case of betrothal, we not only see that it is implied as the natural and normal way of doing things, we also see that God, in his law, gives remedies to fathers and husbands when other men, or even the daughter/wife herself decide to exercise their sexuality outside their authority. We see a law wherein a man who suspects his wife of being adulterous can have the priest test her for it. If she is guilty, either by admission or by failing the test, she ends up dead. There is no such test for husbands. A husband's sexuality is not under the control or authority of his wife. He has a duty to her sexually, but it is not exclusive to her. God calls this "just". Is that cultural?

But the real convincer for me came after I became reformed. When I came to understand that the grace of God is irresistible to me. The father chose me for Christ and neither Christ nor I have any choice in the matter. God, Himself, uses betrothal for His Son. And then He created the institution of marriage as a picture of the marriage of Christ and His bride. Every aspect of the marriage, including the betrothal is pictured in how men take wives. The way we do this speaks the gospel. When we ignore betrothal we lie. We are hiding the gospel. When Christians let women choose or not choose their husbands we are using a picture of marriage that lies about the gospel.

There is nothing about marriage from its institution in the Garden until today that is cultural. It was created for the purpose of illustrating the gospel. Not the other way around. God didn't look around the earth and try to find some earthly thing that would help him explain what He is doing, instead, He invented marriage and gave us marriage as an aid to our understanding. When we accept the analogy as created we see that election is from the beginning, we see that betrothal is from the beginning. It is a vital part of the message of the gospel and therefore should not be excluded from the manner in which God's people express marriage.

Perhaps Sophie believes that she chose Christ? Or that she at least had the option to reject Him if she didn't like him? The Scriptures don't teach this. We are to love the God who first loved us, not just say "no" if He doesn't get our motor running. In the same way, we are to love our husbands and if we don't, the older women can teach us how. We don't "marry the one we love", we "love the one we marry". Huge difference. We have no business loving men who are not our husbands.

11 comments:

Vaughn Ohlman said...

>> I also have very serious differences of opinion with him. I do not accept his definitions of either betrothal or marriage, for example, which are pretty big differences.

What would your definitions be?

subject by design said...

I believe a betrothal is a covenant to marry, which is fulfilled when the bridegroom takes the bride to wife. Marriage is a life-long relationship between a man and a woman. I don't believe that marriage is a covenant.

Vaughn Ohlman said...

Interesting. Would you care to offer Scriptural support for this? For example, how would you deal with:

Mal 2:14 Yet ye say, Wherefore? Because the LORD hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously: yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant.
Mal 2:15 And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth.

And how do you deal with the word 'defraud' in I Cor 7?

subject by design said...

In Mal 2:14 I believe that "wife of they covenant" refers to the betrothal, that is, she became his wife by way of a betrothal. If "wife of thy covenant" means marriage is a covenant, then "wife of his youth" could mean that marriage is a youth. But we know that "youth" describes his age condition at marriage and I believe that "covenant" describes the condition that led to the marriage. Under any definition of covenant, marriage does not fit the elements. A covenant has terms, which could vary depending upon the covenant. A marriage is a marriage. The terms are not based upon any one's covenant, which is why I also do not believe that vows have a place in marriage. The duties of husbands and wives in marriage are set by God, not by the parties. But covenants can vary, including betrothal covenants. The key to a covenant, in my understanding, is that it can be fulfilled. Marriage can't be a covenant because it doesn't fit any definition of a covenant. It doesn't have terms that can be fulfilled. It is what it is. Also, in the Law of God, In Deut 22:22 it talks about a woman "married" to a husband, and in the following verses it talks about a "virgin betrothed to a husband" as if they are different things. Even though in both cases, the term "wife" is used, it seems there is a difference between a wife who is married and one who is still a virgin in her father's house. Although I looked, I couldn't find any references to marriage as a covenant in the writings of Calvin, which is not authoritative, but does help to inform my opinion.

I don't understand your question about "dealing" with the word defraud.

Vaughn Ohlman said...

Calvin on the passage concerned. Note not only his use of the idea that marriage is a covenant, but of the extreme importance he places on it:

Malachi 2:14

The Prophet tells us here as before how prone the priests were to make a clamor, and it is a very common thing with hypocrites immediately to set up a shield to cover their vices whenever they are reproved; and hence it appears, that men are in a manner fascinated by Satan, when they attain such hardness as to dare to answer God, and with obstreperous words to repel all warnings. Malachi has several times already used this mode of speaking; we may hence conclude, that the people had become then so hardened that warnings were of no account with them. But he mentions one particular, by which it seems evident that they had lapsed into vices which were not to be borne. There is indeed no doubt but that he points out one of the many vices which prevailed. There is then in this verse an instance of stating one thing for the whole, as though he had said, “Your hypocrisy is extremely gross; but, to omit other things, by what pretext can you excuse this perfidy — that there is no conjugal fidelity among you? Were there any integrity and a sense of religion in men, they would surely appear in their conjugal connection; but ye have cast away all shame, and have taken to yourselves many wives. There is then no ground for you to think that you can escape by evasions, because this one glaring vice sufficiently proves your guilt.” This is the import of the Prophet’s answer.
We have indeed seen that the priests were implicated in other vices; the Prophet then does not now charge them with perfidy as though they were free from other sins, but he meant to show, as I have already said, by one thing, how wickedly and shamelessly they sought to evade God’s judgment, though they had violated the marriage pledge, which was wholly to destroy the very order of nature; for there can be, as it has been already said, no chastity in social life except the bond of marriage be preserved, for marriage, so to speak, is the fountain of mankind.
But in order to press the matter more on the priests, he calls their attention to the fact that God is the founder of marriage. Testified has Jehovah, he says, between thee and thy wife (232) He intimates in these words, that when a marriage takes place between a man and a woman, God presides and requires a mutual pledge from both. Hence Solomon, in Pro_2:17, calls marriage the covenant of God, for it is superior to all human contracts. So also Malachi declares, that God is as it were the stipulator, who by his authority joins the man to the woman, and sanctions the alliance: God then has testified between thee and thy wife, as though he had said, “Thou hast violated not only all human laws, but also the compact which God himself has consecrated, and which ought justly to be deemed more sacred than all other compacts: as then God has testified between thee and thy wife, and thou now deceivest her, how darest thou to come to the altar? and how canst thou think that God will be pleased with thy sacrifices or regard thy oblations?”

Vaughn Ohlman said...

continued due to space contraints...

He calls her the wife of his youth, because the more filthy is the lust when husbands cast away conjugal love as to those wives whom they have married in their youth. The bond of marriage is indeed in all cases inviolable, even between the old, but it is a circumstance which increases the turpitude of the deed, when any one alienates himself from a wife whom he married when a girl and in the flower of her age: for youth conciliates love; and we also see that when a husband and his wife have lived together for many years, mutual love prevails between them to extreme old age, because their hearts were united together in their youth. It is not then without reason that this circumstance is mentioned, for the lust of the priests was the more filthy and as it were the more monstrous, because they forsook wives whom they ought to have regarded with the tenderest love, as they had married them when they were young: Thou hast dealt unfaithfully with her, he says, though she was thy consort and the wife of thy covenant
He calls her a consort, or companion, or associate, (233) because marriage, we know, is contracted on this condition — that the wife is to become as it were the half part of the man. As then the bond of marriage is inseparable, the Prophet here goads the priests, yea, touches them to the quick, when he reproves them for being unmindful of what was natural, inasmuch as they had blotted out of their minds the memory of a most sacred covenant. The wife of thy covenant is to be taken for a covenanted wife, that is, “The wife who has been united to thee by God’s authority, that there might be no separation; but all integrity is violated, and as it were abolished.” He then adds
(232) Or, “a witness has Jehovah been between thee and thy wife.” But Theodoret, Cyril, and Jerome, and also Cocceius, refer this to God’s testimony in the first institution of marriage, in Gen_2:24. More suitabele to the context no doubt is to consider God as a witness to the marriage contract; and this is the view taken by Drusius, Henry, Scott, Newcome, and Henderson. — Ed.
(233) “Κοινωνός — partner,” by the Septuagint; “ὁμόσαρκος — of the same flesh,” by Cyril; “particeps — partner,” by Jerome; “companion,” in our version, and by Newcome and Henderson. The word comes from חבר, to conjoin, to couple, to fit together. “Partner” perhaps would be the most appropriate term. — Ed.

Vaughn Ohlman said...

Marriage is a covenant that follows the following aspects of covenants:

1) It includes binding obligations (see I Cor 7:3-5 and the word 'defraud'. To 'defraud' is to fail to live up to a binding obligation)
2) It includes at least two parties on different 'sides'.
3) It has a set term (in this case, life) and set violations (ie ways that one or another party might rupture the covenant, in this case adultery)

subject by design said...

I still disagree. God instituted marriage in Genesis. There is no mention of a covenant. Covenants are declared. A covenant cannot be implied. Can you share where you found your "aspects of covenants"?

subject by design said...

A covenant requires pledges or promises by at least one party. A marriage requires no pledges or promises. The duties of marriage arise by operation of law, not by promise, as we can see in Scripture that people can be married without even so much as their consent, let alone their promises to do anything.

When Christ returns for His bride and celebrates the marriage supper of the lamb and takes His bride, is He entering into a covenant with her? If so, why do the Scriptures not mention this newest coming covenant?

Betrothal is very clearly a covenant, the subject of the covenant is marriage. If I covenant with a person to paint his house, painting a house does not become a covenant, so that anyone who paints a house in the future is entering a covenant. Painting the house is merely the subject of a particular covenant.

subject by design said...

Your definition of "defraud" does not match Mr. Webster who offers the following:
1) To deprive of a right
2) To withhold wrongfully from another what is due him.
3) To prevent one wrongfully from obtaining what he may justly claim
4) To defeat or frustrate wrongfully

Vaughn Ohlman said...

Wow, a lot of confusion and talking past each other, but let me see if I can clear at least some of the differences up:

1) In my view (as supported by Scripture and the commentators) marriage consists of two things: a) the binding covenant of betrothal and b) physical consumation. Betrothal is, literally, the 'covenant' of marriage. Consumation is the act of marriage. Long story short, we can see this worked out in the laws and examples in Scripture.

2) Yes, there very much can be an implied covenant. Indeed it happens all the time. It might be said to be the most common type of covenant. You take a coke to the checkout counter. You hand the checker some money, they give some back. You walk out the store and you DON"T get arrested for shoplifting because, even if no one said anything, the ownership of the coke passed from the store to you when you gave the money.
Or say you hail a taxi, get in, and declare a destination. If the taxi driver takes you there, and you refuse to pay him, you will have broken the implied contract you had with him. (see http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/implied-contract.html)
Historically, ie before our perverted modern age, even writing certain kinds of letters to a girl would imply a covenant of betrothal. Sleeping with her definitely did so, and Biblical law reflects this.

3) The definition of 'defraud' that you quoted is exactly why that verse makes such a strong case for marriage being a covenant. What happens in a covenant is that each side gains 'rights' and 'responsibilities'. So when a wife or husband says no to sex, and Paul calls that defrauding, it is because, when the two entered into the marriage covenant (betrothal) the other person gained the *right* to sexual access.
Think of it like a gymn membership. Imagine you paid your membership fee, but were then told you couldn't enter the club. That would be 'defrauding'. The contract between the two of you (you and the club) were that you would pay money, and they would let you exercise there.

4) When Christ returns to take His bride, He will be fulfilling the (begining of) the terms of the covenant of betrothal that He has with us. We have certain obligations, He has certain obligations. These obligations do not cease when we are taken as a full wife. We see this in the OT law, where the betrothed woman who sleeps around is punished in the same way as a fully married woman.