The biblical idea behind marriage included procreation but its primary gift to society was the intimacy (“one flesh”)1 possible between a man and a woman if they cared enough to discover it over the course of a lifetime. This social contract loses its force within the context of gay relations. Civilized society has broken the biblical arrangement for marriage—not only
- by welcoming gay marriage as a norm but—consider the following—
- by separating the social contract from its consummation [the marriage of virgins],
- by a disregard for the intimacy associated with a henotic relationship (the one flesh idea proffered in Scripture),
- by a casualness in sexual relations,
- by the availability of a legally prevalent and ubiquitous, unchallenged, no fault, divorce,2 and
- by legalized prostitution.
All of these are not only socially acceptable but are promoted without apology through the TV media, in academia, and now even in the church.
Speaking of prostitution: It is now considered a career choice for younger women—perhaps working their way through college. The Bible, both Old and New Testament, uses it metaphorically as an example of Israel’s unfaithfulness in relationship with God. Prostitution must be within the Divine Law categorically forbidden.3 The distinction made in English between “married,” adultery, and “unmarried,” fornication, does not exist in Biblical Hebrew.
Even the Hebrew word for a newly married young woman incorrectly loses its ancient cultural setting and allowed to include any young woman regardless of how sexually active she might be.4 It is more difficult, though, to maintain this position in Genesis 24 when Abraham’s eldest servant finds a “young woman” to wed Isaac. That she would have been a virgin of marriageable age is unquestioned.5 The distinction in Biblical Hebrew between eligibility for marriage and virginity6 does not exist. Some reason that Mary, according to the prophecy was a “young maiden,” not a virgin, else, the word for virgin would have been used.7 No one doubts Mary’s virginity upon marriage. The angel clarified that point to Joseph7 but the catholic faith maintains that she remained a virgin throughout her lifetime. The words do not rule this out.
Though now considered archaic, a maiden was a girl or young woman, especially an unmarried one or a virgin.
The Marriage Bond
Marriage, as a bond, is solely a legal requirement. We wed for the tax breaks or to get into the ICU for a visit with a hospitalized spouse. In a modern civilized culture marriage is, therefore, open to an interpretation which may include gay relations—and, who knows: polyamory might be a few years away.
Believers who perhaps cannot claim the “Adam and Eve” experience can and should endorse that possibility for others, especially their children. Just because we may have had to negotiate the deep swirling waters of marital discord doesn’t mean they shouldn’t take the bridge.
2 Malachi 2:16 NLT “For I hate divorce!” says the LORD, the God of Israel. “To divorce your wife is to overwhelm her with cruelty,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. “So guard your heart; do not be unfaithful to your wife.”
3 Exodus 34:14-15a Do not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.“Be careful not to make a treaty with those who live in the land; for when they prostitute themselves to their gods…
4 The RSV of Isaiah 7:14 uses the phrase young woman: “Behold, a young woman shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Imman’u-el.” Most english versions read “virgin.”
5 Genesis 24:43 See, I am standing beside this spring. If a young woman comes out to draw water and I say to her, “Please let me drink a little water from your jar,
6 see Leviticus 21:14 where the words are clearly distinguished: אַלְמָנָ֤ה וּגְרוּשָׁה֙ וַחֲלָלָ֣ה זֹנָ֔ה אֶת־אֵ֖לֶּה לֹ֣א יִקָּ֑ח כִּ֛י אִם־בְּתוּלָ֥ה מֵעַמָּ֖יו יִקַּ֥ח אִשָּֽׁה׃
7 The Hebrew provides a word for virgin: הַבְּתוּלָה
8 Matthew 1:20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.