Who has the right to define marriage?
This is the real question that our society is struggling with now, not who gets to be married, or even what marriage is.
Don’t we need to ask who created marriage? Is it a human construct or a divine one? To those of us who believe that God invented marriage, the question is easily answered.
God has all right to define marriage because He is the author of it; marriage was created to carry out His purpose; marriage was designed by Him for our benefit but ultimately for His glory.
He has complete and total right to all glory and honor. And He has the perfect right to be the object of the glory and purpose of the thing we call marriage, and of our own marriages.
When we debate, agitate, and activate over who has the right to be married, our struggle is really about wresting marriage away from its Creator and Owner. It’s about grasping it for ourselves and making it what we want it to be to suit our own purposes. But like a child who’s stolen a shiny, precious and fragile treasure in order to play with it, we’re likely to break it into a million pieces, turning it into an unrecognizable mess.
Marriage as many people in our culture define it today has little in common with the marriage that God designed. As a result, its purposes are starkly different, as are its results. What are the purposes hoped for by those who have redesigned marriage? The results remain to be seen but we have future echoes already.
God created human beings with attributes like himself, hence “after His image”. The longer you reflect on the nature of God’s relationship with people, the attribute of free will stands out ever bolder. You come to see how gracious God is toward us, and how far He goes to honor His creation, us.
God will never violate our free will under any circumstances; whether we honor or abuse it, it is irrevocable. He honors the free will He gave so much so that He allows us to turn our backs on Him; so precious is it when we choose for Him, acknowledge our lives belong to Him, and respect His will before our own.
The choices are always freely ours. Think how much power we have. We always have the right to choose.
In our freedom, we have traveled far toward DIY Marriage. We have constructed and demolished and reconstructed marriage many times in order to make it what we want it to be. After we have remade marriage according to the newest blueprints, what do you think we will have in the future that our culture calls marriage?
We ought to choose thoughtfully whose right it is to define marriage. We will have to live with those million pieces and God will not erase the mess. That mess will speak to our willfulness, our impotence, our self-centeredness; but it will also speak to God’s righteousness, His perfection, and His patience. Even that mess will testify on God’s behalf.
But the precious gift we are deconstructing will become a curse to many innocents. The mess we have made hurts real men, women and children, and will for a very long time. If we define God’s true marriage out of existence, our children, grandchildren and theirs will be denied the option.
Are we certain that our design is better?
What are just a few elements we see in marriage as described in the Bible?
Unity and Identification: Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. Genesis 2: 24
Sexual equality: But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another…I Corinthians 7
Mutual submission: Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, … Ephesians 5
Unconditional love and selflessness: Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Romans 12
Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered. I Peter 3:7
Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. Romans 12
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. I Peter
Faithfulness, Compassion, Purpose:
You cover the Lord‘s altar with tears, with weeping and groaning because he no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor from your hand. But you say, “Why does he not?” Because the Lord was witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth. “For the man who does not love his wife but divorces her, says the Lord, the God of Israel, covers his garment with violence, says the Lord of hosts. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and do not be faithless.” Malachi 2
Are we so certain that our design is better?