Multiple Marriage Modes

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Multiple Marriage Modes

Postby Bare_Truth » Tue Oct 27, 2015 11:15 am

First a "Mea Culpa" It struck me as a very odd thing that the strip addressing the Motto of the United States should be drifting into the topic of alternate modes of marriage (if I may call it that). Wondering how that happened I looked at the strip and suddenly realized that particular direction of drift began when I criticized the supreme court decision in which a justice said that the free exercise clause only entended to personal belief and freedom to conduct worship services and not to practice. I regard this as a violation of the constitution by SCOTUS. However that case was about polygamy, and that was enough to turn the direction of the strip. MEA CULPA. So Now I am starting this strip about " modes of marriage"

PLEASE NOTE THAT I AM NOT ADVOCATING A SWITCH TO ALLOW FOR DIFFERENT FORMS OF MARRIAGE! OR EXPERIMENTATION WITH DIFFERENT FORMS OF "PSEUDO-MARRIAGE" That is not my purpose in starting this strip. Rather my purpose is to elicit discussion as to what we find in the Bible that shows us
-- God's ideal for marriage,
-- What God allows as forms of marriage
-- What regulation there ought to be in marriage
-- What is wrong in some forms of "Marriage"
-- etc.
Forms of "Marriage" that are malfunctional, or at excessive risk of being malfunctional should perhaps be addressed under the rubric of "Know Your Enemy". The way the U.S. and the western world are headed is going to introduce all manner of what they want to call "marriage" . To avoid some among us saying we should not use the term "marriage"talk about that I have frequently used the word "marriage" by putting it in quotes to show that I mean something that someone might want to call a "marriage" that perhaps a Christian would not want to dignify in that way.

Ok, enough of disclaimers (intended to encourage the widest participation and prepare us for what is coming our way).

As those who claim to understand the Christian and Biblical concept(s) of marriage we ought to acknowledge what the Bible records about Marriage: Such as:
-- It all starts with Adam and Eve In the Garden when God said It is not good for the man to be alone, and subsequently for this cause will a man leave his father and mother and cleave unto his wife.
-- In Genesis 4:19 When Lamech (A son of Cain) took two wives, it appears to be an innovation and since it occurred in the line of Cain that can be taken as an indication that it might be less than an optimal choice.
-- While repopulation of the earth would be an objective after the flood, and that would be aided by multiple wives. In the righteous line of Noah, each of the 4 men had only one wife.
-- Under Moses, Divorce was allowed but it was regulated with restrictions
-- Under Moses, multiple wives were allowed but there were regulations and prohibitions about who those wives could be.
-- In the case of Samuel's parents incapacity of a wife (reproduction in the case at hand) was cause for taking a second wife.
-- Exactly what was a concubine is not totally clear but frequently they were essentially a wife but some like Abraham had both wives (plural) and (Concubines) Gen 25:1-6 In addition to references to Sarah and Hagar.
-- God even aided and abeted David's polygyny 2Sam 12:7-8
-- I will assert, (unless someone can show otherwise), that in the bible there is no explicitprohibition of polygyny. However the record is clear that it is highly prone to problems and was a factor in the downfall of Solomon.

Some may reasonably ask, "Why should we who are called and already know what is the right way with respect to this topic, discuss the matter?". I believe the answer to that is found in Paul's instructions to Timothy. In multiple places Paul comments about "an approved... workman.... rightly dividing the word of truth", and "reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine." From the Gay marriage fallout we can see that some who are nominally Christian and indeed even whole denominations that have bought into the notion that there can be unions called marriages outside the one man one woman model and that perhaps some rebuking, reproving and right dividing of the word are called for to see if we might yet snatch a few brands from the fire not to mention immunizing some who are with us, from false doctrine.

Biological arguments also have some validity to be considered in that Humans are born in roughly equal proportion 51% male and 49% female (a slight compensation that males are slightly less likely to reach reproductive age) whereas for example there is a species of fish that live in schools that are entirely female save for a single male so that when the school is attacked and largely eaten the school can rapidly reconstitute itself, and if the only male is killed a female in the school transforms into a male. The argument is that the mode of human sex ratio argues for one man one woman in this comparison.
Last edited by Bare_Truth on Mon Nov 02, 2015 12:53 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Multiple Marriage Modes

Postby Petros » Tue Oct 27, 2015 11:59 pm

The ratio of the sexes is variable, certain situations raise the proportion of women, just as some stresses apparently condition more multiple births.

Societally, it seems polygyny is more common where there is more call for field hands or probably hunter gatherers; it is better to ignore the cases where a few better off individuals collect partners.

Experience says there is a difference between a co-worker partner and a breeder on the one hand, on the other between co-worker partner and [if I may be arguably corny] soul mate. Looking at the whole of humanity, I am inclined to think we are designed for life partner monogamous bonds; but we are given [like Moses' provisions for divorce because of hard hearts] alternative paths in special circumstances.

As in many other issues, we need to be aware of God's preferred plan, the rejected plans, and the less ideal but acceptable plans.

My sense is the perfect plan is one life partner chosen with input from a genuine family / community and prayer.

Marriage / spouse unfortunately have become too tied to cocietal contracts.
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Re: Multiple Marriage Modes

Postby natman » Wed Oct 28, 2015 8:18 am

Bare_Truth wrote:-- I will assert, (unless someone can show otherwise), that in the bible there is no explicitprohibition of polygyny.


There is at least two that I am aware of. However, it pertains to be associated specifically for leaders in the Church.

"A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;" (1 Timothy 3:2)

"For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee: 6If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly. 7For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; 8But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate; 9Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers." (Titus 1:5-9)

I think that God made special provisions for women in the Old Testament which allowed for a few polygamous relationships because of the patriarchal form of society at that time. However, I also think that the vast majority of those relationships prove to be examples of what NOT to do, proving to be not the best plan for marriage and family, and bringing down the nation of Israel by the introduction of idolatry.

In the Old Testament, women were considered mere possessions and had no way of providing for themselves if there were not men or male children in their lives. However, under Christ, women are raised to positional equality with men (albeit with different responsibilities and aptitudes), making dependence on men much less of an issue societaly.
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Re: Multiple Marriage Modes

Postby Petros » Wed Oct 28, 2015 8:45 am

The "husband of one wife" lines are not of course explicit general prohibitions - but the inclusion of monogamy as a qualification for leadership fairly clearly endorses that as the preferred model. Polygamy and celibacy are not ruled out, but are not the high road. I think it matches the situation of divorce - not prohibited, and at least after Babylon advocated in particular cases, but very clearly not the high road.
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Re: Multiple Marriage Modes

Postby Bare_Truth » Thu Oct 29, 2015 12:40 am

natman wrote:
Bare_Truth wrote:-- I will assert, (unless someone can show otherwise), that in the bible there is no explicitprohibition of polygyny.


There is at least two that I am aware of. However, it pertains to be associated specifically for leaders in the Church.

"A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;" (1 Timothy 3:2)
....

We may need a Greek scholar to resolve this one. But I have seen this explained on the basis that many languages lack an indefinite article.
For example:
-- In the U.S. a patron might ask a bartender for a beer,
but:
To do that in Germany the patron would say, "Geben zie mir ein Bier bitte." (as best I remember how to spell any German words)
And counting that same German would say "ein, zwei, dri feir ......"
"Ein" is translated to English as "one" or "a" and must be understood from the context as to how to properly understand it and the context could be ambiguous.

So then when we look at 1Tim 3:2 it is alleged that the correct translation is "must be the husband of a wife" in which case the it is asserted that the sense is "must be married" and by extension does not encludes, having more than one. This is the assertion of some polygynysts. So what the original Greek meant at that time and place is at least arguable and not necessarily "explicit".

Such an argument might not be defensible except for the fact that God aided and abetted polygyny in the old Testament and God says that he does not change. And if that argument is not strong enough then it still can be argued that the situation is one of holding a church office and if the person should later no longer fill that office the prohibition would no longer apply and this person might then take a second wife to the first, which makes the prohibition less than entirely explicit, if one is willing to say an impermanent prohibition is not fully explicit. In most denominations a church elder is not explicitly prohibited from having a second wife, if for instance the first one dies. But one could make the argument that he is required to remarry if he wishes to continue in office (Just as one may find some that prohibit a second wife after widowhood and I think I have heard of some that do that.)
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Re: Multiple Marriage Modes

Postby Petros » Thu Oct 29, 2015 8:29 am

This crops up from time to time, and in MODERN Greek it would fly.

However, in the Classical language and even in the Koine on the threshold of the modern, the numeral hen [f mia] is not yet used as an indefinite article. Where in the NT we are talking about A man or A woman or A virgin or A widow - no article.

So the only call for "one" here is if we are counting. It is not EXPLICITLY "only one", it still COULD be "at least one". But the unmarked assumption would be "eine und weiter keine" - twisting the song some and switching from Yiddish to German.
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Re: Multiple Marriage Modes

Postby Ramblinman » Thu Oct 29, 2015 8:49 am

natman wrote:In the Old Testament, women were considered mere possessions...

Considered possessions?
By whom?
By God?
By the righteous men of the day?
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Re: Multiple Marriage Modes

Postby natman » Thu Oct 29, 2015 10:34 am

Ramblinman wrote:
natman wrote:In the Old Testament, women were considered mere possessions...

Considered possessions?
By whom?
By God?
By the righteous men of the day?


I think that when we read Scripture in its entirety, we can see that it is not God who considered women as "possessions". Rather, it was men in the OT society, just as men in Islamic and Eastern societies do today.

Unfortunately, I cannot think of any good examples of women being treated as much more than fodder in the OT, perhaps with the exception of Ester or maybe Deborah.
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Re: Multiple Marriage Modes

Postby Petros » Thu Oct 29, 2015 11:55 am

But then we must ask - by the married men, by the sex collectors, or by the law - which I fear has an independent existence,
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Re: Multiple Marriage Modes

Postby jasenj1 » Fri Oct 30, 2015 7:17 am

Ramblinman wrote:
natman wrote:In the Old Testament, women were considered mere possessions...

Considered possessions?
By whom?
By God?
By the righteous men of the day?


This is a case where we have to look beyond the Bible to the surrounding cultures and context. There is a lot more documentation out there concerning ancient near-eastern culture than the Bible.

Women were not thought of very highly. The entire social system was very foreign to what we have today in the USA. Does that make it a model - since it's in the Bible? The buying and selling of people as slaves was also popular and well documented, and not condemned. What should we do with that? (And the slave owners in the South certainly used that argument.) (I don't want to derail the conversation into an argument about slavery, just pointing out there are other things in the Bible that aren't condemned and we would find unacceptable today.)
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Re: Multiple Marriage Modes

Postby Petros » Fri Oct 30, 2015 7:58 am

Then comes the fine line - instinct < designed by God | cultural imperatives and taboos < foreseen and arguably planned by God | the light of the Spirit < direct from God.
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Re: Multiple Marriage Modes

Postby jochanaan » Sat Oct 31, 2015 12:08 pm

Perhaps it is time to look at this from a different angle. I know of no direct commands against polygamy (does anyone? I don't think there are any); all we have is one of a set of "job requirements" which may or may not apply to any but recognized church leaders. (Although they are good ideals for "The Normal Christian Life." --Watchman Nee)

Compare this requirement, though, to another in the same verse: "...having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly." (Titus 1:6) Now, we all have likely heard of pastors whose children either do not follow Jesus, or rebel in certain other ways. Are those pastors thereby disqualified from continuing in the pastorate? I have never heard of such a case in recent times, nor have I ever heard of a pastor resigning voluntarily because his children suddenly rebelled etc. So we see either that the church has neglected one of God's rules--or that God is gracious and does not withdraw His gifts based on what a man's sons or daughters do.

Compare also the case of a divorced pastor. Now, divorce is something that God hates, as He has said; yet sometimes it is the only option that does not involve insanity or complete ineffectuality as a person of God. Is a divorced man or woman thereby prohibited from any ministry? I suspect that very few of us here would say so. (But perhaps I'm inclined toward grace in this, since I myself have suffered divorce. :) )

And we know from our studies and practice of nudity that it is by no means forbidden nor a hindrance to our walk with God, although most churches and church leaders would say the opposite.

So I, at least, am inclined toward grace in this matter where there is no direct command.
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Re: Multiple Marriage Modes

Postby Petros » Mon Nov 02, 2015 2:42 am

It is the more difficult in that we are in no position to ask Paul to amplify and specify his statements.

And in that the Orhodox priesthod is not the Nazarene pastorate and neither is what Paul is talking about.

As for divorce - I had to realize and face up to the fact that my mismarriage, though foreseen and multiply used by God, was not his preference , and that my divorce, though managed and turned to very good by God, was not his preference, and that while rejoicing in and thanking God for what I have married to Herself I needed to recognize my sin and repent.
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Re: Multiple Marriage Modes

Postby Ramblinman » Sat Nov 07, 2015 1:26 am

Petros wrote:It is the more difficult in that we are in no position to ask Paul to amplify and specify his statements.

And in that the Orhodox priesthod is not the Nazarene pastorate and neither is what Paul is talking about.

As for divorce - I had to realize and face up to the fact that my mismarriage, though foreseen and multiply used by God, was not his preference , and that my divorce, though managed and turned to very good by God, was not his preference, and that while rejoicing in and thanking God for what I have married to Herself I needed to recognize my sin and repent.


I spent several years walking in the dark shadows of Christian legalism...
Not quite to the point of standing on a soapbox and calling out "Harlot!" (or worse) when a woman walked by,
but I did labor under the teaching that remarriage after divorce is adultery.
In retrospect, it can be, but we had best get the facts before rushing to judgment.
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Re: Multiple Marriage Modes

Postby Petros » Sat Nov 07, 2015 8:58 am

Right - again both the absolutist lane and the laissez faire lane are not the strait though often not straight path. In my case, a marriage neither God nor man would have advised, entered for very wrong reasons on both sides; worked - and it was work - for a good run with no thought of adultery, though there were offers from both sides, absolutely rejected. Ended by almost simultaneous mutual agreement some years after it was obvious to all that it could not be solidified - and then on my side [she preferred not to maintain contact] an incredible match unlooked for by either of us. If a widower may marry [and by the on flesh logic that is as iffy as the divorced remarriage] - neither of us died, but the marriage was stillborn. Regretted but never mourned.

But the individual case depends on the conversation with God.
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