Marriage: What’s the Biblical Stance?
[Clicking the Picture will enlarge it.]
This will be a fun one to tackle!
I’ll be refuting these from left to right, beginning with the top-left:
”Man + Woman (Nuclear Family)”
This is the original union that God intended. We know it was how God intended it because it’s how He created the first two people (Adam and Eve; ONE man, ONE woman). The points that the picture brings up are:
1. “Wives subordinate to their husbands.”
This statement seems to omit too many things as well as mislead in terms of roles. You see, wives are to “submit,” not “subordinate” as the statement suggests (see 1 Peter 3:1; Ephesians 5:22).
The difference is very important. To “submit yourself” - as the Bible suggests - is to “give over or yield to the power or authority of another (often used reflexively).” This implies and necessitates the WILLFUL surrender of authority, so that it’s not something that’s forced on or imposed. On the other hand, the term “subordinate” suggests that women are to be “placed in or belonging to a lower order or rank; of less importance; secondary.” That’s NOT how God intended it. At all.
Think of it this way: Submission is like going out to dance. He comes up to her and ASKS her to dance. If she agrees, she goes with him. While dancing, one leads and the other follows, otherwise they’d step on each other’s toes! When that happens, you spend more time complaining than dancing.
Now, the omissions are interesting because the husband also has a duty to his wife. As the head of the household, the husband’s duties are far greater. He is to honor us (1 Peter 3:7), love us (as they love their own bodies) and SACRIFICE themselves for us - just as Christ did for his church (Ephesians 5:25-33).
The husband should not see her as less than him or less capable. The husband is to TREAT her (not SEE her) as a “weaker vessel” (1 Peter 3:7). What that means is that they should see us as a fragile vase that needs care when handled.
So, basically, we just have to submit and they have to take care of us, love us, honor us and be willing to DIE for us. I’m happy I’m a wife and not a husband! lol
2. “Interfaith marriages are forbidden.”
Since we’re operating under Free Will, it’s really more like “frowned upon” and “un-beneficial” (2 Corinthians 6:14). It’s a suggestion that’s honestly keeping the best interests of the follower of Christ at heart. You see, since God is love (1 John 4:8) then a non-Christian or non-believer (that is: a person that doesn’t know the God you’ve come to know) doesn’t know what love is. Therefore, he/she will NEVER love you. God wants what’s best for you. (Read on what it means to be “yoked,” as the passage suggests.)
3. “Marriages generally arranged, not based on romantic love.”
Well, there are only THREE biblical instances that God “picked” someone’s wife:
All of these are, of course, exceptional cases, not the norm. This is NOT how God normally works concerning marriage. God has not done that for anyone else.
So, arranged marriages are limited to cultural preferences, not Biblical.
4. “Bride who could not prove her virginity was stoned to death.”
Well, I THINK the verse this one is referring to is Deuteronomy 22:13-21 (if it’s not, my AskBox is always open). The claim, then, is invalidated by the very first word in that passage: “IF”. In other words, it’s an optional thing for the man to accuse the woman he married of not being a virgin publicly. IF he does this, there is a process of proof to follow. IF he doesn’t, then… nothing happens. So, the claim is misleading in this sense.
Culturally speaking, it’s generally illegal to kill on these grounds (Romans 13:1-7), so it shouldn’t be done. Plus it’s kind of expected/accepted nowadays.
“Man + Brother’s Widow (Levirate Marriage)”1. “Widow who had not borne a son required to marry brother-in-law.”
This is not really a commandment, based on the Scripture given (Genesis 6:6-10). It was a task given to Onan by Judah - NOT God - to keep the family line alive. Remember that the Israelites lived in a patriarchal society where women’s opinions were worth slightly more than a child’s. Usually. This is normal, cultural behavior of the time and societal customs. God killed Onan because he was being selfish and disobedient.
2. Must submit sexually to her new husband.
Keeping in mind the correct definition of “submit” above… then… don’t we all?
Man + Wives + Concubines
Again, cultural and not really applicable today.
Rapist + His Victim
I find interesting how people tend to narrow down the Bible to make their points, usually ignoring some awesome detail.
1. Virgin who is raped must marry her rapist.
Keep in mind that we’re looking at a patriarchal society, where women NEEDED men to look over them because they had NO rights and no voice. Their purpose was to bear children. We cannot look at this society with OUR modern, “women-are-awesome” mindset, because that’s not the case. These women were used to being considered slightly more than property.
Now, if we look three verses up (verse 25), we know what happens to a woman who is spoken for and gets raped. Nothing. Only the idiot who raped her gets what’s coming to him. However, if she’s a virgin (not spoken for) and gets raped, she was “no one’s” so, basically, no harm no foul.
But here’s what God decided: the person that rapes a virgin must now take care of her. So, he was now bound by law to provide for her and care for her. You see, it’s not about her. She didn’t really matter.
Basically, what I’m trying to say is that - above all - it was cultural.
2. “Rapist must pay victim’s father 50 shekels of silver for property loss.”
Nowhere in those verses says that the 50 shekels paid are for “property loss.” Or in any translation. The statement is hyperbolized to author’s convenience.
Man + Woman + Woman’s Property
1. Man could acquire his wife’s property, including her slaves.
This is basically what happens today (sans a pre-nuptual agreement), but it goes both ways. The wife also has her husband’s properties at her disposal, since he HAS to use what he has to take care of his wife. What would be the problem?
As for the slaves… we can all agree that it doesn’t apply anymore.
I’m guessing the author of the picture wanted to convey that the husband could have sex with his wife’s slaves, but seeing how there are no slaves anymore…
Male Soldier + Prisoner of War
Not really applicable today. There are UN laws that prohibit the taking of slaves (as the term “owner” suggests) and women’s rights have come a LONG way since people fought with spears and swords. In other words, you cannot force yourself on a woman of a country you invaded - it’s a War Crime that the UN will have fun sentencing you with.
Man + Woman + Woman + Woman… (Polygamy)
The simple answer is, well, simple: it served it’s purpose in the Old Testament, it is no longer needed.
Let me explain.
It is understood that God allowed polygamy - not made it lawful - to help women in a patriarchal society be taken care of and protected. With all the wars going on with the expansion of different societies, it was more than likely that any woman would be a widow at any given moment. Now, since women were pretty limited, the man took care of everything. Without a man, she was pretty much helpless.
The alternative to being “wife number 4” in any household was slavery, prostitution or becoming a beggar, which often led to starvation and death. So, yeah. God wanted for women to be taken care of. I guess we could say that He did it to solve a “problem,” if you will.
Interestingly enough, whenever the Mosaic law had provisions for polygamy, it was always conditional - like in Exodus 21:10: “If he takes another wife to himself …” Furthermore, it was never an encouragement or explicitly encouraged. In fact, it was really tough to follow through on the laws that covered multiple wives - none of which spoke directly about taking multiple wives.
So, does God want monogamous marriages or not?
Well, it’s not so much God’s disallowing something He previously allowed as it is God’s restoring marriage to His original plan.
You see, when we look at God’s original marriage design, he made ONE man, ONE woman. Note how everything is in SINGULAR:
“That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.”
Then, comes the Old Testament - with the widows and such - and then we come to the New Testament, where we see the SINGULAR references when talking about marriage once more. In Ephesians 5:22-33, you’ll find a lot of these.
See? All singular (wife, not wives; husband, not husbands, etc).
So, basically, the way God intended it was one man, one woman. Which is why, when Paul speaks to Timothy, he requests that the leaders of the church to be “husband of one wife.” (This verse needs to be taken from the original translated texts, such as King James Version, as other versions already assume the “just one wife” thing. For info on versions, click here.)
Today, though, not only are we are all exhorted to obey the laws that govern us (Romans 13:1-7) - in which polygamy is illegal - but the good “reasons” behind God allowing polygamy vanished. Women can be self-sufficient and, no longer living under a patriarchal society, they have the same rights as men, so they’re also protected and accounted for by the state.
So, simply put: The Bible tells us of special circumstances in which polygamy was allowed, but NEVER made law. These circumstances are no longer relevant in today’s society, therefore, it’s sinful and immoral to engage in polygamy.
Male Slave + Female Slave
Again with the slaves? It doesn’t apply ;-)
God Bless and have an AWESOME day!