A Requiem for Marriage

Frau auf Beerdigung mit SargWhile the world was celebrating the Supreme Court’s 2015 ruling to legalize gay marriage, conservative Christian blogs everywhere were filled with obituaries. And while SCOTUS’ decision is yet another example of exchanging God’s glory for that of the world, it turns out this well-intentioned requiem is at least 5 decades postmortem.

In order to do a proper autopsy, we need to go back to the 1960’s when the signs of cancer should have been evident. No longer wishing to be married to a dying loser like Procreation, Intercourse hired the Sexual Revolution as her divorce attorney. Newly liberated from filial responsibility, Intercourse shacked up with Pleasure and became her willing mistress. Naturally, she changed her last name from the Fornication to Cohabitation and goes by the pleasant-sounding nickname, Sleeping With. Prostitution is following her lead and is in the process of changing her name to Sex Work.

But it was not this way from the beginning. Marriage is a God-given vocation, not an at-will arrangement that exists for the purpose of self-gratification. If it were, there would be no reason to insist upon the lifelong union of one man and one woman. If marriage is about “love” (in a generic, emotional sense), then marriage can be arbitrarily entered into by any consenting parties (assuming both have that capability) and should be ended the moment things start to get “real.” Now that serial polygamy has become the norm, one wonders how long it will be before the right to take a concubine in the United States becomes a matter of civil rights.

Isaac and Rebekah had no long period of courtship, but nevertheless made a lifetime commitment to one another before they’d even met (Genesis 24). Even more dramatically, Christ loved and gave Himself for a Bride who’d repeatedly rejected Him, despite all the unmerited love He’d shown Her. In Christ, we see that God-pleasing marriage isn’t about self-gratification and fickle emotion, as there’s nothing romantic about crucifixion. Rather, marriage is about the Father’s will (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 26:39; Acts 20:28), a Submissive Bride (Ephesians 5:22-24; Luke 1:38), and a Bridegroom who’s willing to die for a whore (Hosea 1:2; Philippians 2:8; Ephesians 5:25-32).

And in that day, declares the LORD, you will call me ‘My Husband,’ and no longer will you call me ‘My Baal.’ For I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth, and they shall be remembered by name no more… And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. And I will have mercy on No Mercy, and I will say to Not My People, ‘You are my people’; and he shall say, ‘You are my God.‘ (Hosea 2:16-17, 19a, 23b)

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