What is Marriage?

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by agedman, May 8, 2012.

  1. agedman

    agedman
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    In your opinion, what constitutes a marriage?

    What the choices might be (with a nod to various cultural views):
    A couple living as man and wife, yet have no formal or legal document.

    A couple living as man and wife, and have a formal or legal document.

    A young man and a young lady who have been pledged by parents.

    A man who sees a young lady and takes her to himself (whether she resists or not).

    A man who buys a lady to take to himself (whether she resists or not).

    A man that gathers multiple ladies to himself (whether they resist or not)​
    .

    What in the list was left out?

    If you oppose some item on the list, would you explain what Scriptural ground would form the opposition?
     
  2. 12strings

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    Sorry not much scriptural support there...but it's a start
     
  3. agedman

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    Two major questions with a few sub questions.

    First, what do you consider a "covenant commitment for life" entails?

    Does it mean certain words spoken in public or in audience with some "authority?"

    Does it mean certain written or oral agreement between the "partners?"

    Does it mean that any man "joined" (fleshly speaking) to any woman is in an automatic covenant commitment? 1Corinthians 6:16 ​

    Second, how would you handle the taking of the virgin in Deuteronomy and Exodus?

    Deut. 22:28 and 29
    If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found; then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel's father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife; because he hath humbled her, he may not put her away all his days. ​

    Exodus 22:16
    And if a man entice a maid that is not betrothed, and lie with her, he shall surely endow her to be his wife. ​
     
  4. annsni

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    Each one of these were counted as marriage at one time but when we look at the New Testament and see how marriage is a model of the relationship between Christ and the church, we see how many of these don't work anymore.

    In our culture and seeing what the Bible says, I'd say marriage is a covenant between a man and a woman who wish to spend the rest of their lives together to create a family and who will continue with that covenant until death parts them. In a Christian marriage, I'd add that the marriage covenant is a model of Christ and the church and as such, our marriages should be built to glorify God.

    In our culture, marriages are sanctified by the state and usually the church as well.
     
  5. agedman

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    I would agree with your statements.

    Could it not be considered that the covenant picture of Christ and the church is exampled in the polygamist marriages of the OT? (John 14:20)
     
  6. annsni

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    No - because the church is the "bride" not "brides".
     
  7. 12strings

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    1. I believe 1 cor. 6:16 is not saying that anyone who visits a prostitute is automatically married...if it were so, then there would be no such thing as adultery at all. I believe he is saying that there IS a physical union created there, but that it is an inappropriate one.

    2. I believe marraige is a covenant commitment for life, Which in the normal occurence of life SHOULD be public. However, could be cultural situations in which no written record is kept (cuz they are so poor they have no paper), or because there is no real government (very small remote village)...or even if there were only 2 people there (stranded on a desert island for a few years...if they decided to get married, and committed to stay married after they were found...I don't have scriptural reasons to say they have to be married by SOMEONE ELSE.

    3. There are some who make an argument that ANYONE who sleeps with someone else is automatically married. I don't buy that. I don't know what to do with those OT passages, other than to say:
    -That practice (rape) is now illegal in most countries, and the bible says we are to obey the government authorities. It is also not treating a woman with dignity and respect
    -Jesus refered to a different OT allowance (divorce) and said it was "because of the hardness of your heart." It could be that God made a few laws in the OT to salvage some good from what was intially a sinful situation. I don't really know.
     
  8. agedman

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    Would you not consider that each "bride" of (for example) King David's multi-bride marriage would say they were "the bride" of King David?

    I suppose they could have said, "I'm number 4 out of??? bride of King David."

    Could it be that each "bride" considered herself as singular to the groom, just as each believer considers them self as "unique" in Christ yet knowingly a part of the assembly (harem)?
     
  9. Yeshua1

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    Think that God allowed for sinful maritial relationships under the old Covenant, as was under the law, but now since Messiah has come, The Lord does NOT allow for that today, as He sees it as being as it was meant to be, one woman one man!

    As jesus said about this, God permitting divorce and other things under Old Covenant, due to hardness of mens heart, but now expects and requires marriage as meant to be!
     
    #9 Yeshua1, May 8, 2012
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  10. annsni

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    No - the CHURCH is the bride of Christ - not individuals. It is the whole.
     
  11. HeirofSalvation

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    I think we are missing something here....."God" I do not believe authorized this, we will note that Jesus said that "Moses" "because of the hardness of your hearts" allowed divorce under the circumstances he describes....but God never authorized this in his law...I do not believe that God has ever permitted divorce except for fornication other than the one-time putting away of heathen wives as recorded in Nehemiah and Ezra mentions it as well. It is a very sad story....The last verse states:
    Ezr 10:44 All these had taken strange wives: and [some] of them had wives by whom they had children.

    To answer the OP: I would maintain that a "marriage" is always a two-person covenant before God and man...and that "civil" authorities, as well as Spiritual authorities are involved in the "contract" (as it were). In the Scriptures....and in all civilized societies throughout History, the marriage contract is a building-block of society which the State has vested interest in....If it is Egyptian men marrying their sisters, because inheritance was passed through the females in a family as opposed to the males....to the Jews (a theocracy anyway) wherein Spiritual authority is inextricably interrelated to Civil authority, to the patriarchal age when men such as Abraham Isaac and Jacob are both the "priests" of their clans and the civil authorities in their clans. Any public marriage vow...involving a man and a woman before God and Man constitutes a marriage.
     
  12. Yeshua1

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    Moses had them to do a certificate of divorce, and the Lord allowed that under the Old Covenant!

    same way/fashion the Lord allowed/permitted multiple wives in OT, but was NOT His expressed paln for mariage!
     
    #12 Yeshua1, May 8, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: May 8, 2012
  13. saturneptune

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    I think the basic marriage contract is described in Genesis, a man shall leave his parents, take a wife, and form his own family.

    I also believe what Ann said, that the basic model today is Christ and his church. I also believe that Paul is quite clear about how we should treat our spouses. If we did this, then we would not have to worry about all these things that are not one spouse for life. If the Lord lead us to our mate, then why should we even be discussing the legal reasons divorce is acceptable. The ideal is simple, one mate for life. That is why dating and engagement periods are so important.

    One thing I am undecided about is the government involvement. We should obey the laws, and most states require a marriage license and some type of uniting ceremony. Since the Lord says we should obey our laws, then that is what we should do. However, I have always wondered, if a couple who has lived with each other for years (in some cases, common law), been faithful, raised a family, in other words done everything but appear before a judge, if they are married in the eyes of the Lord. I emphasize they have been faithful. On the other hand, if they do have a paper saying they are married, but never treated each other with respect, spent long periods of time seperated, and in fact, did not do one thing that indicated they were are married couple, is that couple married in the eyes of the Lord?
     
  14. annsni

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    From my experience, most couples that are "common law" do not enter into the relationship "forsaking all others till death do them part". Instead they move in together for sex, convenience, etc. and are willing to leave when things get tough. Eventually it might grow into something more but there is still not the kind of commitment that a real marriage has.
     
  15. saturneptune

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    Ann,
    You are probably correct. I am not really experienced in this area. I have been married 35 years to one person, not that we have not had our days, but never thought of any other path. What do you think about the opposite situation, where they do have a marriage that is legal, but have not done one thing to fulfill that marriage in decades or years. Are they still married in the eyes of the Lord?
     
  16. agedman

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    Are they still married in the eyes of the Lord? Yes
     
  17. agedman

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    Let's add another aspect to the situation.

    Suppose (as it truly is/was) a culture is built upon the recognition of authority by the acquisition of possessions. The King of the culture having many wives (think of the king of Siam) is a mark of not only authority, but status.

    The king becomes a believer.

    Not everyone is a believer in the kingdom. The importance of "status" and "authority" keeps the peace among the unruly and unregenerate "lords of the manors." The culture/society would be weakened and perhaps fall into civil wars should subsequent ruling generations not follow the values of having many wives.

    What does that king do about the wives?

    What example does he express to the people if he keep the wives?

    What example does he express to the people to divorce the wives?

    If you were the missionary/pastor, what would you advise to the king?
     
  18. annsni

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    I do. If one is going into a marriage contract, HOPEFULLY they are going in with the idea of staying together for more than just convenience and sex. I guess some do but most look to do this for the rest of their lives. But if they married, they made a covenant - and they are married no matter what until they decide to dissolve that marriage.
     
  19. freeatlast

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    I once had a Pastor who held that two people who had relations were married. My response is then there is no such thing as fornication, just going to bed and getting married.
    I would say any male and female or even multiple partners who live together under their culture in a relationship would be consider married according to God although not necessarily God blessed in that relationship.
     
  20. agedman

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    I do not agree with the word "contract" being used to refer to marriage.

    First, it is not a "contract" for a contract has an agreement of terms - one person agrees to provide and or perform and the other party agrees to provide tangible remittance.

    The wedding "vows" are not a contract.

    In the marriage, the vows are NOT a contract based upon the response or lack there of by the person receiving the vows.

    There is no "breaking of the vows" that would end the contract for the contract doesn't exist.

    The vows are TOTALLY obligatory upon the one doing the vowing, and the person receiving the vows has no obligation one way or the other to what the person's vows. There is no if / then statement in a vow such as there is a contract.

    Far too many folks consider that a marriage is broken when one doesn't keep their vows. The condition of keeping or not keeping doesn't obligate the offended party to keep their own vows no matter if the other has or hasn't kept their vows - till death parts them.

    Now I realize that in the OT the vow as a declaration of you do this I will give you that, however the emphasis of the OT is upon the KEEPING of the vow above what is stated, and there is no "if / then" statement in the marriage vows.

    Second, the typical marriage vows contain the words "so help me God."

    The vows then are a covenant made toward another and held accountable before God.

    When the marriage is broken by societal rulings, some heap tremendous guilt upon them self wondering what they could have done to prevent the dissolving.

    The answer is nothing!

    It was not in YOUR authority to hold the other accountable to keep their vows - that is between God and them.

    What IS in your authority is keeping YOUR vows YOU made to the person - for better or worse.
     

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