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Validity of a Marriage Union

Discussion in 'Christian Philosophy & Ethics' started by Pawel Herman, Jun 26, 2018.

  1. Pawel Herman

    Pawel Herman New Member

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    Presupposition 1: Matthew 19:6 “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” implies that God makes the union between a man and a woman in marriage; God joins them. We also know that the marriage partners become one flesh. So something happens; God does something. It's not "just" an agreement.

    Presupposition 2: People cannot force God to do anything.

    From presuppositions 1 and 2 follows that in particular, God cannot be forced to make a marriage union that He does not approve or does not want to bless. Who is man to force God to do anything?

    This implies then two things:
    1. One cannot assume that just because a man presents a woman he wants as his wife before an altar that God will necessarily join them. See Ezra 10:10–11 where the Israelites took wives that God did not approve and the prophet told them to separate. (Aside: Were the marriages valid and God was breaking the marriage (which He can obviously do because what God joins together, God can also separate) or (what I think is more likely and makes more sense; divorce is a sin and God wouldn't ask us to sin) God never married them and was asking them to end an unhealthy/unapproved relationship?)
    2. Assuming marriage is in God's plan for a particular person, God has a marriage partner (or perhaps a set of marriage partners from which we can choose one) planned for him or her and if that person wants to be in the will of God, he or she should be careful to choose the correct partner. This is a reasonable conclusion seeing that God has pre-approved leaders for nations (that people can accept or reject) as we see in the cases of Saul and David in 1 Samuel 8 and 1 Samuel 16.

    Your thoughts? What's bugging me the most is how the marriage covenant exactly works. Is God forced to form a marriage bond just because two people want to join in marriage? Or is it the case that some "marriages" are technically invalid as in Ezra that God Himself does not recognize as marriages?
     
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  2. Radagast

    Radagast is no longer on CF Supporter

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    No, if a man marries a woman they are joined all right.
     
  3. com7fy8

    com7fy8 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Or, maybe you mean, is there such a thing as a false marriage . . . like a false prophet or false teacher??

    "But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived." (2 Timothy 3:13)

    So, yes there are "impostors" > ones presenting themselves to be what they are not. So, then, is there such a thing as an impostor marriage?

    I think our Apostle Paul deals with this in 1 Corinthians chapter 7.
     
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  4. timewerx

    timewerx the village i--o--t--

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    Divorces would be permitted under cases of abuse and infidelity.

    Deception may be grounds too - as long as the case is strong enough, not being exploited as shallow excuse for divorce ("lawyering").
     
  5. Dave-W

    Dave-W Welcoming grandchild #7, Arturus Waggoner! Supporter

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    Yes. Leviticus 18 has a list of invalid marriages.
     
  6. Dave-W

    Dave-W Welcoming grandchild #7, Arturus Waggoner! Supporter

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    I do not think that deception is a valid reason for voiding a covenant.

    Read Joshua on the covenant made with the Gibeonites. It was forbidden by God for them to make that covenant, yet God held them to it once it was made.
     
  7. bcbsr

    bcbsr Newbie

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    Many a couple justify divorce and remarriage on the basis of their hypothesis that "God didn't intend for us to marry", "Since my marriage didn't work out, therefore God wanted me to marry someone else". No such excuse can be found in scripture.

    But I think you allude to a valid issue, namely whether the marriage is illegitimate. What is an example of an illegitimate marriage? Well for example if a spouse divorces out of a legitimate marriage and marries someone else, or an unmarried person marries someone who has been divorced. For Jesus said, "Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery." Mk 10:11,12 Such remarriages would be adultery and therefore not legitimate marriages. And as you can imagine, this is the most common form of illegitimate marriages.

    But other than that, the Bible is clear on the permanence of any legitimate marriage.

    "For example, by law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law of marriage. So then, if she marries another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and is not an adulteress, even though she marries another man." Rom 7:2,3

    "To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife." 1Cor 7:11,12

    "A woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but he must belong to the Lord." 1Cor 7:39

    In particular note that last one "Anyone she wishes". That kind of speaks contrary to your point.
     
  8. Tropical Wilds

    Tropical Wilds Lord, beer me strength...

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    I think the belief in an omnipotent God kind of voids the whole discussion.

    If one believes God knows what we are going to do before we are even born, God knows every marriage, divorce, union, sexual partner that we have. The discussion then, in my mind, is or isn’t “is God forces to marry people who don’t belong together” or “are there unions that are valid or not valid,” but “if we make a choice that isn’t in our best interest, do we know how to forgive ourselves and seek forgiveness for this choice God knew we’d make all along?”
     
  9. SkyWriting

    SkyWriting The Librarian Supporter

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    Becasue there are no stated process or requirements or legitimizing ceremony found in scripture?
     
  10. Hank77

    Hank77 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    1Co 7:15 But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.

    They are no longer in bondage, bond to that person, and are free to remarry.
     
  11. Pawel Herman

    Pawel Herman New Member

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    So we have an example where God held people to forbidden covenants (as with Joshua and the Gibeonites) and we have an example where God told the people to leave the forbidden covenant (as in Ezra 10:10–11 where the men were told to leave their forbidden wives). I still can't wrap my head around Ezra 10:10–11.
     
  12. Pawel Herman

    Pawel Herman New Member

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    There is an example of the excuse "God didn't intend for us to marry" in Ezra 10:10–11. The second excuse "Since my marriage didn't work out, therefore God wanted me to marry someone else" is illogical because marriages might not work out for different reasons.

    No, it doesn't. If she wishes to marry her father or her brother or so on, she can't. Like the other post mentioned, see Leviticus 18. I don't think you read this literally but within the context of whatever bounds for the search of a marriage partner are. I'm asking about the bounds.
     
  13. Pawel Herman

    Pawel Herman New Member

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    Good point. But this is in the context that two unbelievers are married and then one becomes a believer. If the non-believer wants to leave the relationship, then they are free to leave and the believer is free to remarry.

    The problem is if the believer marries a non-believer, which is forbidden(?) or at least not recommended because an ox and donkey should not be yolked together 2 Corinthians 6:14 - 15.
     
  14. Pawel Herman

    Pawel Herman New Member

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    I didn't find any. So marriage is a covenant between God and a man and a woman to form a lifelong relationship for the purpose of raising children. The marriage ceremony is in my opinion just the public display of that commitment.

    1. Is God forced to enter that covenant (judged on a case-by-case basis)? I think not.
    2. What happens if nuclear war breaks out and we become a sparsely populated nomadic culture perhaps without priests/pastors. No more sex because no more marriage and we all die? I'd say the marriage covenant is formed as soon as a man and a woman make the commitment with God's approval irrespective of whether there's a church full of people sitting behind them. Commitment and God are essential. The rest is secondary. Just like with getting saved; a person is saved the moment they accept Jesus as Lord in their hearts. No one else has to be there. But they still go to baptism to make their commitment public just as Jesus did.
     
  15. Hank77

    Hank77 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    You're right it's not forbidden. I only posted that verse because the post before it ignored that verse in relationship to remarriage.

    Adam and Eve didn't have any law or any religion other than don't eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, but they were bond together as man and woman, one flesh.
     
  16. bcbsr

    bcbsr Newbie

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    He's talking about not bound to live together. Not that one is free to remarry. As I pointed out it says a few verses prior to that: "wife must not separate from her husband. But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband." 1Cor 7:11,12 That along with the many other verses I pointed out forbidding remarriage after divorce.
     
  17. bcbsr

    bcbsr Newbie

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    It should go without saying that cases of incest or homosexuality or such are forbidden.
     
  18. ubicaritas

    ubicaritas sinning boldly

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    Indeed. The assumption that they are not is facilitated by a false view of divine transcendence.

    The marriage ceremony is pronouncing God's blessing on the marriage. It's not so much for the public benefit as for the married couple. Just like a birthday party doesn't actually make you older, but it's a rite of passage for many people.

    In most Christian denominations outside Catholicism and Orthodoxy, a church is not required for a marriage to be valid. It is enough for two people to agree to be married. The couple themselves solemnize the marriage. Even Catholicism and Orthodoxy will accept non-chuch marriages in converts as a matter of economy or grace.
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2018
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