Saturday, August 2, 2008

The State of Marriage Now & Then

Hebrews 13:4a (NASB) Nancy & Bill Jones

So, what is marriage, what is the state of marriage in our country today, and what does God say?

Today's OneNewsNow Weekend Poll: Need for a federal marriage amendment asks this question: Because of developments in Massachusetts and California on the issue of homosexual 'marriage,' is a federal marriage amendment needed more now than ever? The early Saturday morning results from only 4312 responses was yes - 91.84%, no - 7.07%, and unsure 1.09%. What would you expect from a overwhelming religious audience. So what do you think? Can we or should we legislate morality?

Today from the current (2008) Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary we see some of the following definitions:

  • marriage (14th century ) 1: the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law 2: the state of being united to a person of the same sex in a relationship like that of a traditional marriage .
  • Boston marriage (1980) :a long-term loving relationship between two women
  • celestial marriage (1862) : a special order of Mormon marriage solemnized in a Mormon temple and held to be binding for a future life as well as the present one
  • civil marriage (1820) : a marriage performed by a magistrate
  • common–law marriage (1888) 1 : a marriage recognized in some jurisdictions and based on the parties' agreement to consider themselves married and sometimes also on their cohabitation 2 : the cohabitation of a couple even when it does not constitute a legal marriage

It has been said that in 1928 Noah Webster single-handedly rescued the English Language from the corrupting political and social influences of the European Nations, in the Webster's Dictionary. But we have NOT continued to do that until today? I don't know the definition from the 1928 version, but I'm sure it is very much different from what we see in today's society of moral relativism. I'll bet it even mentioned God!

Going back to the English Book of Common Prayer (1662), a wedding service begins with the minister addressing the congregation: "Dearly beloved, we are gathered together here in the sight of God…to join together this man and this woman in holy Matrimony." Again and again, the couple and witnesses are reminded that God is witness to this union. Here I we see marriage as a holy union or covenant between a man and a woman.

Now let's go back to the beginning. Back even before the ten-commandments were written, where we see that marriage is God's design - The union of one man for one woman, as we read in Genesis - the book of beginnings: (from the NAS)

Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.…1:26 Then God said, Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; …2:18 Then the LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him."

Then a bit later in creation we read in Genesis 2:21-24: So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. The LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. The man said, "This is now bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man." For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.

So again, what is marriage? Well since everyone else seems to want to define it for me, let me share my own definition. I see marriage as the holy state of being united and joined together with a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a life-long covenant relationship, both created and saved through God's Love.

So now what is the state of marriage? Well I believe that Jesus says -- "Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's; and to God the things that are God's." (Matthew 22:21b)

So what do you readers (if there be any) have to you say, or better yet what do you do -- here and now in our little part of this earth which God created for us? As for Marlene and I, we are Marriage Builders.

This posting would not be complete on Marriage without a special word of thanks and admiration to Rev. Dr. Bill and Nancy Jones (pictured above) for your long term leadership and example of commitment to Christ and to each other, in covenant love and marriage.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great post Keith! Not only is your definition yours but it is THE definition of marraige because it is Gods. The picture of Bill and Nancy is a wonderful visual example of when two become one in Christ. Thank you for this post!