Sunday, December 28, 2008

A Biblical Defense of Marriage

While there are many cultural reasons to protect marriage and the traditional marriage unit, my view on this can be distilled to two primary arguments:

As a believer, I hold to Christ's own definition of marriage found in Matthew 19 where he told the Pharisees:

"Haven't you read," he replied, "that at the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female,' and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh'? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate."

Thus, the Bible affirms that marriage between a man and a woman is an institution created by God Himself and reinforced throughout Scripture. He also warns against those seeking to destroy the relationship between the "male and female".

This foundational concept of man and woman being in the God-created marriage unit is further highlighted both in the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20:12 and then repeated by none other than Jesus Christ Himself when he says to the rich young ruler in Mark 10:19:
"You know the commandments: 'Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother."

Mother and father, man and woman. This theme is everywhere in scripture. Indeed, this idea of bride and groom lies at the heart of the relationship between Christ and His Church. Christ, as the groom, cares for his bride, the Church, which is explained at length by Paul in Ephesians 5:

"Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything."

There is no room here or in any of these other passages for anything else than male and female marriage relationship. For why would it? Marriage was designed to be a "type" of the relationship Christ has with His people. A fascinating study of the return of Christ for the saints in the Last Day can be done by looking at the Jewish wedding ceremony. The bride waits for the groom but doesn't know when he will come. In fact, the groom doesn't even know when he can go fetch his bride for, in Jewish tradition, only the groom's father has the authority to dispatch his son to go get his bride. This, and many other facets of the Jewish wedding tradition tell us much about future events related to the second coming. All of it centers around the male/female marital unit.

I don't want to bore you with a litany of passages in both the old and new testament on this subject but suffice to say, Christ Himself affirms the exclusivity of male/female marriage. NO WHERE is homosexual marriage indicated. Quite the opposite in fact.

Meanwhile, the gay lobby is seeking to undermine the institution. I believe, purposefully. They are not interested in "civil rights" since civil unions or other forms of contractual relationships cover that issue completely. The co-opting of the term "marriage", the determination to have traditional wedding ceremonies, etc. all are designed to remove the special place traditional marriage has in our society. Indeed, I believe the goal is to render the special nature of marriage between a man and a woman null and void. If anyone can get married then there is nothing special about it.

So this takes me to point 2:

Marriage has eligibility requirements not unlike a lot of things we undertake. To be a doctor you have to meet certain requirements. In order to drive a car one must meet certain criterion. To vote one must be a citizen. And so on. You have a right to be a lawyer but you have to jump through a few hoops to become one, and it may be that you don't qualify. Does that make the bar bigoted?

No one in this country is denied the right to marry as long as they are marrying a single, non-related individual over the age of 18 of the opposite sex. That is the definition of marriage in this country. No one, except maybe young people, are actually denied the right to marry with this definition. No one.

I do find it interesting that a conundrum is intrinsic to the efforts of the gay lobby. They argue that we must eliminate this eligibility requirment because it is "hateful and discriminatory". By their own logic, people under 18, those who want to marry multiple partners, and those who would wish to marry a blood relation, should likewise be allowed to get married. In other words, to be non-discriminatory, ANYONE should be able to get married if we want to eliminate "bigotry".

Having lived in Santa Cruz for 6 years, I have heard every argument imaginable on the "gay marriage" issue. During some of those discussions, I would often ask, "then, are you saying that, in order to be non-discriminatory, anyone should be able to get married to anyone they want and how ever many of them they want?" The response that came back was usually just an alternate, but still exclusionary definition of marriage.

These gay marriage advocates had their own eligibility standard for marriage that INCLUDED gays but EXCLUDED polygamists, underage people, blood relations, marrying animals, etc. They still drew a line, it just wasn't the same one as the traditional line. They still wanted to deny certain classes of people their right to marry. Totally hypocritical and ironic of course since such an argument is self-contradictory. It manages to undermine the only plausible argument against the current definition of marriage (that it is a violation of "civil rights") by being nearly equally discriminatory.

Meanwhile, I am fully aware that I am being exclusionary on this matter, but only as much as Jesus Himself was exclusionary.

Marriage is designed by God to be a model of the way he wishes the human race to behave in its advance of civilization. When it doesn't things quickly fall apart. God also intended the marriage relationship to give us a glimpse of the nature of the relationship between Christ and his Church. Destroying the meaning of marriage destroys not only the foundation of civilization but also the meaning of the marriage as it relates to our relationship with Christ.

This is why marriage needs to be protected.