This is another subject that came up among my friends one recent morning.
In the world of sin, I have done more than my fair share. What do I mean? Considering that “sinning” is merely missing the mark, then yes, I do that daily; and if you were honest, then you would admit that so do you.
So then, we need to establish something here, who is setting the mark for these goals we try to meet and how many goals are there, because it can be exhausting some days? Well, since we, as followers of Christ have submitted ourselves to God as the moral authority in our lives, then really He is the primary one setting the goals.
(This moral standard, of course, is all on a theoretical basis, as many of those who call themselves “Christians” use the law they created in their head as the moral standard. Having watched that so-called moral standard in progress, I can tell you that you have little to no consistency in your standards, and you are not showing me anything I want to copy. I happen to think most of these inconsistent standards are picked from the bits and pieces the world offers us – just as long as it suited our lusts [desires] and needs.)
Why bring any of this up?
Because I too have felt the sting of judgment, as I lived with a woman before I was able to marry her. (Let me point out that the friend/brother in Christ that wanted to “turn in me” to church management, later on, had a fling with a woman he was not married to and had to turn himself into that same church management. That church put him on the shame list and limited his interactions there, for six months with total separation from that woman, just as he was going to do to me. Now, before you get all religious and high minded thinking you have any right to judge me, hear me out.
The State of California does not recognize a common law marriage and has not since 1895. The law in California:
“requires both parties to consent to be married, but mere consent does not a marriage make. Generally, there must be a marriage license issued, a solemnization and authentication following the issuing of the license and a recordation in the county where the solemnization/authentication took place.”
So then, if consent without love, is the sole approving factor, then why are we getting married?
Because your marriage, under state laws, makes you a corporate, tax identity, and a statistic. Is a legal marriage mandatory for love? (I’m being somewhat sarcastic here,) and you know that is not true. It sure seems like a good way of tracking you, as a marriage license is just another method of tracking and controlling you. If blacks in the South could deem themselves married by jumping over a broom, in front of witnesses, then what are we doing? Although I had to pay the fees and get a marriage license, my wife and I were married in our attorney’s office by a man I hired through the internet. I did this because we were trying to take out a mortgage on the home that had once been paid off so that we could buy out my wife’s brother (my wife’s mom had died, and the brother wanted his half of the estate.) Some might look at our actions as merely fulfilling an immediate need; when in fact we were two weeks away from being married about 15 years earlier. That marriage would have happened if it were not for religious legalism deciding to get involved. What that overzealous legalistic pastor did was to ask us if we had had relations with each other. I could either hit him in the face, answer him with the sarcasm he deserved, or tell him the truth, and so I answered his question without lying. Instead of marrying us, (and mind you, all the announcements were printed,) we were restricted from marrying in that church and told to stay apart for six months. Needless to say, I did not comply and we did not get married.
Do you have to be in love to consent to a marriage?
So clearly, this idea of love, as an aspect of your consent, is counterfeit because here again, my first marriage had little to do with love.
Again, let me explain. A young man does not fall in love; he falls in lust. Love is something profound that grows over time and is based in commitment; which is in part: choice, desire, and the longing to be with someone – theoretically, forever. So though my first marriage might have had those components as part of the plan, my wife, at the time, had no intention of carrying through with words she pronounced before everyone that day. Within six months she had sex with a friends boyfriend and then did it again seven years later with someone she met at a bar in Las Vegas. After she committed adultery twice, we separated, and two years later we divorced. My ex-wife had no longing to stay married, and her counselor helped me to understand that by telling me so. What made this more difficult was the religious legalism imposed on me by the church in which I was raised. You see, there was a tremendous amount of guilt interlaced in those marriage vows; not to mention the fact that the pastoral counseling you had to sit through helped to emphasize that point.
I suspect that much of this legalism comes from the Old Testament, but inevitably a little bit comes from some pastoral training, where they are apparently taught to control the flock God has given you, and this is how you do it. Some of those potential verses come from Genesis 31; Genesis 22, and Genesis 24. Jesus, in response to the Pharisees who were looking for ridiculous ways out of their marriages, spoke of divorce and the hardness of their hearts in Matthew 19. Paul, almost as if he is assuming that a woman would never cheat, spoke in 1 Corinthians 7 about a wife’s reactions to a cheating husband, and how you are to stay single, but who does that?
Ah, but you say, we are not under the law but grace.
If you believed that you would be reading this with an open mind and heart, and you are not. You are judging the heck out of me – so shame on you. So, when it comes to God’s law, I am sorry to disappoint, but God’s word stands forever, and those same laws are now written in our hearts by God’s Holy Spirit. Yes, those laws are there to keep us out of trouble, and when you hear them spoken to your heart it would be wise to obey them.
If there was a woman that caused a man trouble, it would be Eve; and yet, Did you see Adam divorcing his wife? I did not think so.
One of the most excellent answers Jesus gave when asked, “What is the greatest commandment?” Was this:
Matthew 22:36-40 NET. “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” 37) Jesus said to him, ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38) This is the first and greatest commandment. 39) The second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40) All the law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”
Instead of advocating laws perhaps we should be promoting God’s love (Just saying.)
Several years back there was a movie called The Three Amigos. The main characters were fictional movie heroes that somehow got caught up in a Mexican town’s power struggle with some bad guys. At one point a bad guy says to the gang leader, “there are a plethora of men coming.” The leader pauses and responds to the man, “do you know what plethora means?” The man admitted that he did not, but liked the sound of the word. The leader comes back with, “do not use words to which you do not know their meaning.”
So, I say to you, I do not think that word wife means what you think it means.
The first occurrence of the term wife shows in Genesis 2:24, but the story does not start there. So let’s look at the beginnings of this man and woman relationship.
Genesis 2:18 MKJV And Jehovah God said, It is not good that the man should be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.
Now you might think, this is where God makes Eve, but it isn’t.
What does this idea of “help meet,” mean?
God made animals and birds. Did he expect for the man to find a helpmate out of this collection? When I started looking at this intently, I was in place with any high tech tools and had to rely on the commentary and limited concordance of my Dake Bible. Dake’s tells me that this idea of a helpmate was,
“someone suitable intellectually, morally, and physically – as the man’s counterpart.”
Aside from the animals how many choices did Adam have that would fit this description given by Finis Jennings Dake? Zero, and yet the next move God makes is to form, out of the ground, every beast of the field and every fowl of the air.
God sees a need for the man to have a helpmate, but watch what God does.
Genesis 2:19-20 NET. The LORD God formed out of the ground every living animal of the field and every bird of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them, and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. 20) So the man named all the animals, the birds of the air, and the living creatures of the field, but for Adam, no companion who corresponded to him was found.
As you can see in verse 20, that “for Adam, no companion who corresponded to him was found.” Does this surprise anyone? When I was a child, watching television in the early 1960’s, I saw many black and white television westerns in which there was that one guy who lived back in the hills, and was content not interacting with anyone but his dog. I think that type is a rarity.
God’s solution and I cannot believe that He thought Adam would find his helpmate in a corral, was to make an exacting duplicate of the man, with a few body style modifications of course.
Genesis 2:21-25 24) (Therefore a man will leave his father and his mother and cling to his wife, and they will become one flesh.) 25) Even though both the man and his wife were naked, they were not ashamed about it.
God caused a deep sleep to overshadow the man.
If you will, the first instance of anesthesia.
He removed one of the man’s ribs and closed up the flesh where it had been.
The first case of surgery.
The LORD God formed the rib that he had taken from the man into a woman and brought her to the man.
Why did God bring her to the man in this manner? Was it out of respect, or was He allowing for the man to name her, or both?
And then, there is this odd exclamation we see in Genesis 2:24 CJB This is why a man is to leave his father and mother and stick with his wife, and they are to be one flesh.
Why say its odd? Adam may well understand that God is ab or Father, but where would he get the concept of mother ’ēm? The KJ concordance shows that this word is used 220 times in the Old Testament. All but six of those examples indicate some form of mother.
The Hebrew words El Shaddai – implies a complete sufficiency to nurture, but can also mean the Breasted One. In the Jewish culture, this is understood as the God who sustains us and loves us like a mother loves her newborn child.
Do I then perceive Adam as pulling away from the all-sufficiency of God, to pursue what, life on the prairie? Or, is Adam speaking of a future time, when others will and should learn to live life outside of the parent’s immediate intervention? Perhaps a Jewish viewpoint might help to bring forth an answer.
When I look at a website, http://learn-biblical-hebrew.com/hebrew-scripture/garden-of-eden-story/genesis-224/ (The short address is: http://tinyurl.com/lmtopj2) I get this:
What we understand as the word, Therefore “is the Hebrew phrase, עַל־כֵּן (`al-ken) and is not part of the story. Rather, its use introduces an editorial comment on the part of the author.”
Because we understand the author to be Moses, then we can perceive that this is conveying that the man understands his need to “stick with his wife through thick and thin.” “The text seems to say that the quality of loyalty and fidelity is constitutive of “one flesh.” After all, one need not be loyal (or even loving) to have sex and live together. The idea in view here is a commitment, especially of the man for his wife.”
Verse 24 is kind of where this journey begins and our first instance of the word wife.
Genesis 2:24 MKJV Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife and they shall be one flesh.
The second occurrence of wife presents itself here.
Genesis 3:8 NASB They heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.
The Hebrew word for wife is ‘ishshâh and means a woman, a female, or a wife.
Since the concept of a wife, as defined by modern law, could not possibly have existed in the early days of man, what did? While the answer comes off like a cave dweller, the answer would most likely be “my woman.” I seriously doubt that term would have conveyed disrespect as we expect some people to express in this “modern” age. Today, the usage of the term woman is more closely associated with someone sitting in the corner of the couch, wearing a dirty tee-shirt, demanding this female living with him, to bring him another beer.
Question; throughout the Old Testament, were there any public recording offices available to verify your marriage documents back then, thereby making you legal according to the laws of that particular county?
No, I didn’t think so, and yet God seemed to recognize their relationships and often bless the relationship by having them produce some offspring like Samson, or better yet, Jephthah. You can find the story surrounding his life in Judges chapter 11.
Why then, do pastors impose such legalistic ideals on people, as though they are the gatekeepers, capable of allowing you entrance, or preventing you from entering the kingdom and away from God’s love and grace?