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Have You Not Read?

And He answered and said, "Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”

These are the Lord's words concerning marriage from Matthew 19:4-6. The Pharisees had asked Jesus whether it was lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause at all, and He answered by directing them back to the text of Genesis 2:24 and the original definition of marriage. The Lord's answer indicates that the Pharisees should have known the answer to their question already, for they should have read the book of Genesis and understood that man has no authority to change the work of God in marriage.

Today, the Lord's words still stand as the answer to matters pertaining to marriage, including the present movement to recognize homosexual relationships as marriages. As Jesus indicated, marriage is an institution that was established by God "in the beginning” when He "made them male and female.” In fact, the phrase "for this reason” in Genesis 2:24 connects marriage directly to the creation of the woman from the rib of man. This verse stands out in its context because it departs from the narrative of creation and establishes a universal law concerning marriage. Essentially, this law teaches that the institution of marriage is a witness to God's original creation and order of man and woman (see also 1Cor. 11:8-9; Eph. 5:28-31; 1Tim. 2:12-13). This law speaks exclusively of the relationship between man and wife, and it is meaningless to describe anything else. It is utterly absurd to define marriage as anything other than a relationship between a man and a woman.

Sadly, many in our nation ignore the words of Jesus as they attempt to redefine marriage in contradiction to the Scriptures. Like the Pharisees, it is not that they have not read or heard the God-given, Scriptural definition of marriage, for it is certain that they have. Just as the Pharisees surely knew the passage from Genesis before Jesus quoted it to them, so also those who now seek to defile the institution of marriage know God's law on the matter. Indeed, the institution of marriage has been the bedrock of all civilization since the creation of man, so it is not as if the concept of heterosexual monogamy is new or strange. Rather than a matter of ignorance, the current efforts of homosexual advocates are an attempt to remove God from their knowledge and force others to recognize and approve this aberrant behavior (see Rom. 1:26-28, 32). Not only do they willfully omit God's law of marriage from their reasoning, but some even attempt to twist Christ's words to favor their godless position. Even the president of the United States errantly cited the "golden rule” of Jesus (Luke 6:31) as supportive of his recent endorsement of states granting marriage licenses to homosexuals.

In truth, marriage cannot be redefined. The meaning of marriage is as unchangeable as the word of God itself. Regardless of what men may call marriage, it will never be anything other than a covenant relationship formed by God between one man and one woman. Even if civil governments pass laws to redefine marriage and issue licenses for homosexuals to marry, the meaning of marriage will not be altered. In fact, it was a mistake for men to ever allow marriage to enter the realm of civil government. For most of history, marriage was a private agreement that was respected and protected by society. It was not until the sixteenth century that the Roman Catholic Church began regulating marriage as a sacrament of the church, and the Protestants followed this precedent by regulating marriage as an institution of civil government. This was not a grave problem as long as God's law concerning marriage was upheld, but the recent tide of godlessness has exposed the error. Because we have given what is holy to dogs, the dogs have turned to tear us to pieces (Matt. 7:6). The result is that divorce is epidemic in America and men are attempting to redefine marriage to include homosexuality. What might be next? Polygamy as civil marriage? Bestiality as legal marriage? Regardless of what men may say, let us always remember that true marriage is only as God defined it from the beginning.

In all things, the answers for all meaningful questions and the solutions for all substantial problems are found by reading the word of God. Many times, Jesus answered questions by asking, "Have you not read?” He sent men to the word of God for answers. He said, "What is written in the Law? How does it read to you?” (Luke 10:26). Consider Matthew 12:3, 5; 21:16, 42; 22:31; Mark 2:25; 12:10, 26; Luke 6:3; John 5:39. If we follow the Lord's guidance by reading the Scriptures, then we cannot be mistaken on the issue of marriage. "He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.'” That is all marriage ever was, and that is all it ever will be.

Stacey E. Durham




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