The Purpose of Marriage

Title: The Purpose of Marriage

Text: Genesis 2:18; 3: 6, 17; 4:1-2, Romans 1:18

Time: April 6th, 2013

 

 

We’re past Easter now and into spring. We’re also into a national debate over marriage – what it is and what are it’s limits? The debate comes in connection with the Supreme Court hearings on so-called gay marriage – whether it should be allowed or not? Two cases appear before the court at the present time. One argues that a state, California, has the right to set the definition of marriage as between a man and a woman, thus excluding all kinds of other arrangements, such as same sex relationships, as qualifying as marriage. Two, the other case before the court argues that the federal government has the right to maintain its present definition of marriage as only between a man and a woman. So both cases center on the definition of marriage. Now the problem with the defenders of marriage in both cases is that they can’t use any moral or biblical reasoning to defend their side. And that greatly hurts the evidence they can bring forth. Both sides are limited to only secular reasons. For Christians and others who defend the traditional definition of marriage as between a man and a woman, there are plenty of secular reasons to argue, but the strongest arguments include references to the Bible and the Judeo-Christian tradition. But there are secular reasons for maintaining the traditional understanding of marriage. For example, one secular reason for holding on to the regular, standard definition of marriage is that it isn’t just a Christian institution, it’s also something part of all cultures at all times everywhere. In other words, it’s one of the few universal institutions of the world and of world history. And it’s that way for a good reason – it’s simply the best way to organize society, an orderly, logical and superior way of running civilization. Another secular reason is that to change the standard definition of marriage as matrimony between a man and woman puts society at risk. Opponents, like gay activists, are actually reckless and careless in their treatment of this fundamental institution of society, because they are willing to experiment with millions upon multiple millions of lives to “test” gay marriage in society. So-called gay marriage has only recently been introduced; it’s only a decade or so old. Before the 21st Century no nation anywhere at any time had ever recognized such a thing, so it’s really too new to assess it’s strengths or weaknesses on society.  Yet gay activists want to push us all “full speed ahead” as if there were nothing to lose. So these are just two good reasons to oppose it at this time. But what about biblical reasons? Does the Bible limit marriage to man and woman? What is the purpose of marriage according to the Bible? Let’s look.

 

One, the first purpose for marriage the Bible mentions is companionship. Genesis 2:18, “The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.’” And as we all know, that helper, that companion, was the woman Eve. So then the first purpose of marriage according to the Bible is partnership or companionship. Now if you listened or read anything about the Supreme Court hearings the defenders of traditional marriage of man and woman didn’t argue for partnership or companionship in their defense before the court. Why not? Because proponents of so-called gay marriage argue that marriage is for the purpose of partnership and companionship. Of course, that’s how they have to argue because there can be no procreation between men and men, or women and women, in same sex relationships. So then, from the gay marriage defenders the definition of marriage should center on the relationship aspects, not the procreation aspects. But in order to give a secular defense of marriage, defenders of standard marriage, defenders of the traditional definition of marriage have to go with procreation as the purpose of marriage because they can’t use the Bible for a more balanced argument. But on this point, on this specific aspect of the marriage definition, ironically, gay marriage advocates are correct in pointing out that marriage is more than simply for the purpose of procreation. In this they are correct. They are wrong in almost everything else, including the legitimacy of same sex marriage, but they are correct that marriage is for more than procreation. In Genesis 2 we see God indicating that Adam needed a companion first and foremost. That doesn’t mean that Adam didn’t need a partner to procreate with, because as we all know, without male and female there can be no future of the human race. But the first purpose mentioned in the Bible for marriage is for relationship. Adam, the man, needed a life partner. And God gave man a woman; he didn’t give Adam another man. Now picture in your mind how counter intuitive a woman would have been in the beginning in the garden. We might imagine that God would create another man, or simply duplicate or clone Adam again in order to supply him with a companion. But God doesn’t. He comes up with something different but also similar in woman. So in other words, God by-passed another man, or same sex partner, in order to get to a woman, or opposite sex partner for Adam. That indicates that God’s purpose in marriage is for opposite sex companionship or partnership, definitely not same sex. Same sex partnerships are not within the will of God for marriage.

 

Two, the second purpose for marriage in the Bible is for procreation. Genesis 4:1-2, “Adam lay with his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain. She said, ‘With the help of the Lord brought forth a man.’ She later gave birth to his brother Abel.” So here is a second great purpose for marriage – procreation. Like I said before, the defenders of the standard definition of marriage as between man and woman used this purpose as their primary defense of marriage: because it produces offspring. Now it’s obvious why the lawyers for traditional marriage argued procreation as the primary purpose of marriage, and that’s because gay couples can’t procreate, thus excluding them from the standard definition of marriage. Now as a Christian pastor, as a Bible-believing Christian, I’d argue that procreation is one of the primary purposes of marriage, but not the one and only primary purpose of marriage, because as I’ve pointed out, God lists companionship first before procreation in the Bible. I’m aware that the Roman Catholic church puts procreation as the chief purpose of marriage in its teachings, and I can understand them for doing so; after all, biologically speaking, it is. But a more balanced biblical view would place procreation as one of the primary purpose of marriage, but not the sole or primary purpose of marriage. However, it is God’s intent, generally speaking, for couples to raise children, to perpetuate the human race. It takes both male and female to produce a child, and it also takes both male and female to raise a child properly, generally speaking. I’m aware that some pediatrics societies are telling the public that gay couples can raise children just as well as heterosexual married couples, but I find that conclusion impossible to determine, especially since gay couples raising children are fairly new. How can a medical society determine the effects of a gay couple raising children when it’s such a rather recent phenomenon? I suspect it’s more political propaganda than any hard science that’s driving some doctors to make conclusions about same sex couples raising kids at this point. You’d think people would be more cautious about changing the standard marital institution. You’d think responsible people – we hope the Supreme Court Judges are such responsible people – would tread cautiously into what has been called “uncharted waters.” We are really putting all of society at risk, for potential disaster, if we don’t treat the institution of marriage with the respect and reverence it deserves. A primary purpose for marriage is for procreation, something same sex couples can’t achieve.

 

Three, a third purpose for marriage found in the Bible is accountability. Genesis 3:6, “When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.” And Genesis 3:17, “To Adam he said, ‘Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, “You must not eat of it.” Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life.’” In other words, God holds Adam accountable for not holding Eve accountable. No doubt Adam shared with Eve the prohibition of God about eating the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the midst of the garden. So then Eve knew God’s will about not eating the apple. But she went ahead and disobeyed God and ate from the fruit anyway. But Adam didn’t rebuke her or correct her or in any way try to discourage her. Instead, he went ahead and joined in to eating. The point is that Adam should have held Eve accountable, but he didn’t. God holds Adam accountable for not holding Eve accountable. Accountability therefore is a part of the purpose of marriage. The man is supposed to hold the woman accountable to the basic rights and wrongs, and the woman is supposed to hold the man accountable to right and wrong also. Together they are to hold each other accountable, and then afterwards, when they begin to raise children, they are responsible for holding their children accountable for right and wrong. God will hold them accountable for their children, just as God holds the husband accountable for his wife, and so forth. Now it’s possible for same sex partners to hold each other accountable to God’s laws, but it makes a mockery of God’s laws overall for them to even attempt to try once they’ve already decided to go ahead and sin and violate God’s will for marriage by trying to legitimize a same sex relationship. God’s Word from beginning to end condemns same sex relationships, so trying to sanctify or solemnify a same sex marriage is ridiculous. Shame on any church or pastor or Christian for trying to do so. It makes a mockery of true marriage, of real marriage, to dignify the word “marriage” with homosexual sin. Proper marriage is where the man and the woman relate to God first and then to each other second. They then hold each other accountable for living according to the will of God, in truth, in goodness and in doing what’s right. This is an important purpose for the marriage relationship.

 

What will the Supreme Court decided concerning the definition of marriage in the United States? I don’t know, but whatever they decide, it won’t change a thing as far as the definition God uses. God’s already established that marriage is only between a man and a woman. Without morality and the Bible and respect for history and tradition, the Supreme Court may very well redefine marriage to include homosexuals. But if it does, then what’s to stop other kinds of marriages from happening? Why couldn’t a group of people marry? Once the definition of marriage is changed to include any number of other definitions then maybe we’ll see all kinds of strange configurations called “marriage” for legal purposes. It really doesn’t change anything for Christians. We’ll never accept illegitimate marriages. God has made clear what marriage is in the Bible, now if man refuses to listen to God, that’s man’s problem – he’ll reap the consequences of ignoring God. I’m sure in Sodom and Gomorrah there were a number of creative living arrangements permitted in that city, although interestingly enough, even in these wicked and perverse cities, we hear of no redefinition of marriage. Even Sodomites didn’t go that far! And no evil or wicked nation or civilization has ever gone that far before. If the United States follows the handful of countries into gay marriage then it risks the judgment and wrath of God, like what fell on Sodom and Gomorrah. I know that doesn’t scare many people today because we haven’t seen a good, old-fashioned judgment fall on us in a long time in the Untied States. But that could change quickly. According to the Apostle Paul in the Book of Romans, “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, “Romans 1:18. He then goes on to describe how homosexuality is the final stage of a process where God essentially “lets things go downhill rapidly.” God “gives them over” to the natural consequences of sin, and “lets things go” from bad to worse. He doesn’t intervene to mercifully stop the downward slide, but just lets man’s natural wicked rebellion carry mankind into destruction. Is that what God is doing today in the United States and Europe? Is God turning away from sinful man as sinful man turns away from God? It appears so. Or will God intervene and rescue us from ourselves in some way? Will he send a mighty spiritual and moral revival to stop the slide to judgment? I pray he does, but I fear he won’t. Let us keep praying that somehow, someway God intervenes with revival, all the while bracing ourselves if he doesn’t. Marriage is under attack today like never before. What can we do? Keep our own marriage healthy and strong, while staying close to God. Also, let’s continue to defend God’s standard for marriage against the evil redefinition.


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