• Robert MacMillan

Marriage as a Non-religious Institution


Adam and Eve 1.jpg

I have studied the institution of marriage for all of my ministry life. Not until the recent Supreme Court Decisions (United States v. Windsor [2013] and Obergefell v. Hodges [2015]) have I needed to define the term and give its origins. We are in new and dangerous waters regarding marriage and the family, and our understandings have to become a bit more precise than ever before. We need to ask the question (and then answer it carefully), “What is marriage, really?”

The traditional definition of marriage is the Conjugal View in which a man and a woman join for the sake of mutually shared love, sexual intimacy, and procreation. As you can see, this definition is incomplete since there are those who, for whatever reasons, cannot procreate or at least chose not to procreate.

The second definition of marriage is the Revisionist View in which gay marriage and other alternate lifestyle approaches are canonized and defined as marriage. The problem with this view is that, when you strip marriage of its restrictive definition as between a man and a woman, the term loses all meaning. A definition of a relationship that includes any and all relationships is no definition at all.

No religion ever designed marriage—not Judaism, Christianity, or any of the other world religions out there, even though they all assume that marriage is between a man and a woman. If marriage between a man and a woman did not come from religion, where did we get it and why did it become universal until now? If you look at the statements of Jesus, you will have to agree that He saw it as part of the Creation. It was the method by which “filling the earth” would be made possible. Before the Fall, before religion, before governments, we had marriage. Every reference Jesus makes to Adam and Eve is to them, not as prototypical man and woman, but as husband and wife. It is from God’s creative design that we have a marriage of a man and a woman. Together, they were to rule and fill the earth. By so doing, they would build a culture and a civilization in which the keystone would be marriage and then the family.

To say that marriage was outside the realm of government is clear from the fact that God and government both have a different role to play in the establishment of marriage. God established it and government can only recognize it.

We see the differences in the two separate bonds of marriage. The marriage license establishes a legal bond by law, but God alone establishes the one-flesh bond. A license establishes a legal bond, and a legal writ (a divorce decree) can sever the legal bond; but only God can establish or sever the one-flesh bond. The Bible makes clear that He will only act in a male and female relationship. This involvement of God in marriage is one argument we must continually and clearly enunciate to all who will hear. God will never place His approval of a same-sex marriage through establishing a one-flesh bond on the relationship.

Remember that government cannot define marriage, it can only recognize it. God, at the Creation, established and defined marriage as being between a man and a woman, before there was sin, before religion, and before governments.

Remember that government cannot define marriage, it can only recognize it. God, at the Creation, established and defined marriage as being between a man and a woman, before there was sin, before religion, and before governments.

#Bible #marriage #gayandlesbian #homosexuality #SupremeCourt

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