Does God want believers to marry?

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Most believers think that God has instituted marriage. Some even find being unmarried abhorrent. Others even think that unmarried persons are incomplete. But figures prove that many marriages are characterized by adultery, divorces and remarrying. Seemingly marriage doesn’t bring paradise. What is written about it in the Bible?

By Marco van Putten

Marriage is originally [1] one of God’s sacred [2] love bonds. This one is aimed at clinging together [3] of a man and a woman. The couple Adam and Eve is seen as the prototype; God’s template (Gn 2:24). That love bond was unbreakable until the death of the husband (Rm 7:3; 1 Cor 7:39).
Nowadays marriage has deteriorated into a official bond which contradicts the Bible, which both, as equal ‘partners’, engage in and can be broken without regarding its vows, like the clinging together.

In Biblical sense
The physical man, Adam, was, contrary to all other physical creatures, created alone [4]. As a grown man [5] to the Image and Character of God. He was created to be God’s representative in the physical Creation (Gn 2:20). God is One, thus likewise was Adam. He was supposed to remain forever self-sustaining, as is God.
Adam however was not equal to God. He was a physical creature, whilst God is Creator. God gave Adam a calling that he could fulfill (Gn 2:15).

Adam saw how he was different from God and also from Creation. God saw Adam worry about that and said that this was not good. So, God showed him all living creatures on earth. He saw that these were created in couples [6]. Adam then troubled his mind about the fact that he was alone. Therefore God took flesh and bone [7] out of Adam and build from it another mortal [8] human (Hebr ‘iesjah); a female specie. God created her next to Adam to be his likewise mate (Gn 2:18). Something that the other creatures could not be for him. Adam thought that through her he fitted better to the world he was in, despite the given that their togetherness was fundamentally different from that of the other creatures. Both of them were much closer to God then any of the other creatures and they did not die.

Unique bond of love
Many people call the bond of love between Adam and his mate the first marriage. This is however incorrect. The word ‘marriage’ or ‘wed-lock’ [9] has that meaning only in relation to others. But there were no other humans yet. Thus, adultery was impossible. The private, intimate sub-world that a marriage represents was irrelevant for Adam and his mate. Adam’s calling, which he received before God gave him his mate and the possibility to fulfill it, was unchanged [10]. The coming of his mate had nothing to do with that, but had to do with Creation which Adam compared himself. Through her coming the charge God imagined for man before Creation became active (Gn 1:28). Through that charge their bond of love became in a sense useful for God. But an imagined charge for Adam is something different then the calling God gave him. Likewise there is difference between what may be and what is certain.

Decay of God’s authority
Also Adam’s mate came in contact with the creatures. One of them, de smartest, began an argument about the authority of God with her (Gn 3:1). It then becomes clear that Adam’s mate has a wrong view on the world that God created [11]. She joins the creature in going against God’s word. As logical consequence God’s prohibition (Gn 2:17) is then trespassed.

Humans thus become unfit to represent God. Since also Adam’s mate had her own (spiritual) responsibility [12]. When she didn’t know something (most of all about God) she should have asked Adam about it. For he was created before her (1 Cor 11:8; 14:35) and he represented God’s authority on earth (Ef 5:23; Col 3:18). When Adam didn’t know the answer he should have asked God. In Genesis 3 Adam’s mate doesn’t ask Adam anything, but speaks and acts on her own behalf. She thus acts, says and does what goes against God’s command. Adam doesn’t intervene, but follows his mate and confirms her deviation silently (Gn 3:6). He seems to regard her as an equal. Adam didn’t get God involved, but let’s himself be fully distracted from God by his mate. God’s hierarchy of authority over man and between humans [13] (1 Cor 11:3) is being ignored by man. So, man lost his authority as God’s representative in Creation, but let’s himself being taught by the creature. Man trespassed God’s commandment and thus his calling and his charge were both frustrated. Therefore God took a distance through which man (slowly) dies (Rm 5:12) spiritually [14].

God’s judgment of the creature (the snake), the woman and Adam shows the serious consequences for Creation the decay of God’s authority has and of Him taking distance. God acts upon these consequences of the disturbed [15] relations. Concerning humans these are particularly in the disadvantage for the women (Gn 3:16). Because mortal humans are denied access to the Tree of Life (Gn 3:23-24) they will no longer have a cure for death. Therefore man fitted even more to the physical Creation. But Creation was corrupt and recalcitrant against God(‘s word) (Gn 3:4).

Practice of the world
Adam still wants to be the representative of God. This becomes clear in the naming of his mate, like he had given names to the unnamed creatures. Hence, he seems to judge her as a mere creature [16], despite the fact that he also is degraded. This point to blame [17]. This activates God’s judgment. Adam calls his mate Eve (Hebrew Chawwah – Life bringer). When they beget children then these engage into a love bond [18]. Later such bonds within one family were explicitly forbidden for all kinds of good and wise reasons. The ill effects of these bonds surface soon and therefore [19] man had to take several wives more often. God doesn’t forbid that, but puts limits on it [20]. Sometimes God heals.

Next to being mortal also lack of love, degeneracy and evilness began to get a greater role in life on earth. As a consequence despising women increases. They were treated as property and used to show once power, but women were also seen as mediocre. Finally, women are simple ‘taken’ and no longer treated in a humane manner [21] (Gn 4:19). The disgraceful manner in which man (the strongly build humans) treat women (the weakly build humans) is one of the reasons why God turns against humanity [22] (Gn 6:2). This has permanent disastrous consequences [23] for (the love band) between men and women until the present day.

Restoration of God’s authority
God will restore the fallen Creation, but not to the old situation. For example, in the coming new Creation marriage will not exist (Lc 20:35-36). Thus also the need for it. Until then, the decay of God’s authority, because of man that has fallen away from Him, will continue and God will keep distance from man. However, through the completed work of the Lord Jesus and the consequential outpouring of God’s Spirit this restoration has made a giant leap upward. But only when the Messiah comes shall God’s authority be established on earth. Therefore there is an earnest advise given in the Bible not to marry until that time (Mt 19:10; 1 Cor 7:8). However, to make remaining unmarried a rule is unspiritual and unhealthy. Although marriage is not a sin [24], it is not a general rule from God for believers [25]. It distracts [26] from the calling of the believers (Gn 2:15), as Adam was the first to experience (1 Cor 7:28, 33, 38). However, being unmarried isn’t paradise either, but has a better basis for practicing spiritual maturity and self-control on the way to the higher, Biblical sanctity [27]. The stance that being unmarried always proves a personal lack or that the unmarried person is an incomplete human comes not only forth from an underdeveloped faith, but is sometimes also sinful [28].

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[1] In Biblical and traditional sense.
[2] Regulated through God’s word.
[3] In the first place clinging together of their souls.
[4] Without a ‘female’ specie.
[5] Adam was unborn, but created with age. Just like to whole of Creation.
[6] Because these died. Adam was, like all creatures, also mortal (Hebr ‘iesj),but had however as only one healing from it by eating from the Tree of Life.
[7] Thus Adam remained unchanged and completely the same. Otherwise it would have said that something was taken from his personality.
[8] God did not take the ‘feminine’ from Adam, like some think, but He built a complete other human of the female sort on behalf of Adam (1 Cor 11:9). A new, unique creature which was attractive in image and character for Adam.
 [9] ‘’Locked into marriage’ means: 1. The two (in Biblical sense primarily the woman) are locked unto each other. They are ‘locked’ to another.; 2. The two are in a conditional marriage relationship that is separate from other humans. However, there are circumstances in which married people (temporally) need to live separate from each other.
[10] The woman is not given form a need, but from a desire of Adam which God uses to (spiritually) test the male.
[11] According to Adam’s mate the Tree of Live was not in the center of Eden – this Tree was the reason why the garden was enclosed –, but another tree, namely that one of which God had forbidden to eat from (Gn 3:3).
[12] But she is bound to Adam.
[13] This order applies to the whole of Creation and not just with this band of love or in the community of believers.
[14] The spiritual death (being Godless) is added unto the physical death that already existed.
[15] Despising God’s hierarchy of authority.
[16] Some understand her still incorrectly as such.
[17] That the woman was the first human that went against God’s will.
[18] Cain was the first man that married.
[19] Barrenness, infant mortality and mortality in general of humans increased.
[20] God allows several main persons in the Bible take more than one wife, but He also gave orders to regulate this (Dt 17:17; 21:15).
[21] For example by living differently together with a woman then in an explicit marriage bond.
[22] For example by taking the Holy Spirit away from them, by bringing the water flood over the earth and to mix-up their language.
[23] There is a process of devolution of the Creation going instead of evolution.
[24] Only when it serves God’s will. Therefore He has to be involved in it and needs His blessing over it. That makes it into a sacred love bond (Eccl 4:12). Marriage is for believers not a free choice. Sometimes it is wise or a given not to marry, although there are no rules from God against it (Mt 19:12). The state of marriage is incomparable between believers and non-believers. Nowadays, believers no longer have a charge from God to multiply, bring forth new believers and safeguard their inheritance. It is a sin to marry for un-Biblical reasons, like tradition, or to let marriage function in an un-Biblical way, for example as breeding-place or a safe haven for sexual degeneracy, tyranny, slavery, financial profit, prosperity, pleasure or as cover.
[25] Since being married is more problematic for believers then being unmarried. Marriage is typically a place of refuge for people that do not know God and are dependent on relationships.
[26] That comes not just from the woman but also from eventual children. The thinking of the man will become divided. Even more so because in a marriage and a family there has to be room for each individual member to grow (spiritually). The bond of love thus will change over time, in which God needs to be remain central. So the hierarchy of authority God put in place needs to be sustained.
[27] Abstaining from marriage and fulfilling this until death is the best basis for a missionary and witnessing life.
[28] For example by being jealous or having an urge to sustain traditions in which sinful ways of living can be harbored and continued to be seen as normal.