|Type of paper:
|Family Bible Social change Human sexuality Social issue
Over recent decades, there have been tremendous and wide-ranging social changes that have triggered massive alterations in marriage and family patterns. The changes range from an increasing number of cases concerning divorce to the unavailability of father figures. Also, the world has witnessed rising instances of children being born outside wedlock, and marriages between individuals of the same gender. According to Vorster (2008), globalization and modernization are the root cause of these disruptions to social patterns. While some of these practices abide by the biblical teachings on marriage and family, others tend not to recognize the guidelines provided the scripture on the subject. Therefore, the analysis conducted on this paper focusses on discussing the biblical views on marriage and family, and how they relate to modern practice.
First, the Bible approaches the concept of marriage as an essential part of life and a heterosexual relationship involving one man and one woman (Vorster, 2008). The scripture has, on several occasions, provided pieces of evidence that monogamy is God’s creational order. For instance, in Mark 10: 6-8, Jesus teaches that a man shall leave his father and mother, and the wife shall join him to become one flesh. In this statement, Jesus establishes that marriage is a union between a man and a woman, and reveals that monogamy was inherent to God’s plan for humanity.
On the contrary, there are various individuals in the Bible, such as Solomon and David, who engaged in polyamorous marriages that tend to contradict God’s will on marriage. However, this form of courtship is only described in the scripture as part of the lifestyle of the ancient chieftain. Furthermore, the Bible does not seem to condone the behavior, and in some instances, it has rebuked the act.
Elsewhere, the tenth commandment indicates that a person should not covet his neighbor's wife, which implies that there can only be one wife. Also, the Bible forbids polygamy not only for church elders but to every one according to Paul’s teachings in the New Testament. Paul teaches that each man should have his wife, and each woman her husband. He further addresses the marital duties of each party in a way that only makes sense with one husband to one wife.
In the modern world, monogamy is still by far the more widely practiced type of marriage. However, polygamy, on the other end, has increased over the past four decades, with approximately 85% of societies permitting men to marry more than one wife (Henrich et al., 2012). According to Henrich et al. (2012), the increasing cases of polygynous marriages are associated with the growth in human societies and an increase in wealth differences.
Secondly, both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible have different texts that condemn homosexuality and same-sex relationships and marriages. For instance, along with other prohibitions, the book of Leviticus 18 rebukes engaging in sexual acts with close relatives (Gnuse, 2015). Chapter 18, verse 22 of the book, states that ‘you must not have sexual intercourse with a man as you would with a woman; it is a detestable practice.' Further reinforcement of the idea is found in the same book in chapter 20 verse 13, which argues that ‘if a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination.'
In this statement, the scripture identifies same-sex relationships as a sexual sin that is punishable by death. The mode of punishment of this sin is in the same category as other familiar abominations such as incest and bestiality. Elsewhere, the Bible in the book of Genesis chapter 19 verse 5 addresses this concept through the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. The book states that ‘they called to Lot: where are the men (angels) that came to you tonight? Bring them out unto us that we may know them’ (Gnuse, 2015).
The people intended to have intimate relations with the visitors, and this is evident in verse 8 when Lot offers his virgin daughters as the proposed solution to the situation. As a result, God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah for their sinful behaviors, explicitly highlighting their sexual perversions.
In the New Testament, the book of 1st Corinthians chapter 6 verse 9 to 10 states that neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. In this case, the Bible approaches the concept of same-sex marriages or sexual relationships as unrighteous behaviors that do not belong to God’s kingdom.
Apostle Paul also condemns the act as he lists homosexuality among the practices that are contrary to the sound doctrine. However, in the modern world, same-sex relationships are legally recognized with countries like Belgium, Netherlands, South Africa, Canada, and the U.S allowing couples to marry. While some jurisdictions still prohibit the act, the support for same-sex marriage has increased by 30% within 19 years ending in 2015 (Hart-Brinson, 2016).
Societies’ opinion on the subject has massively changed over the years, mainly because of the attainment of higher education and interactions with gays and lesbians. The advocates for the act argue that Jesus did not directly address the issue and also the development and alterations in the modern social structures.
Thirdly, according to God’s plan as indicated in the Bible, the primary reasons for marriages are procreation, mutual assistance, guidance, and physical and spiritual fulfillment (Vorster, 2008, p. 466). Other significant purposes for creation include reflecting God’s image and reigning in spiritual warfare.
In Genesis chapter one, verse 28, the Bible reveals that God blessed man and woman and instructed them to be fruitful and increase number, fill the earth and subdue it. The union between a man and a woman aims at building righteous homes and holy raising families based on God’s guidelines. The homes should act as nurturing places where children grow and learn lively characters, values, and integrity.
However, modern families today tend to raise their children based on earthly directions rather than instilling a sense of mission and focus on God's legacy. Marriages characterized by competition, division, and hate for one another are incapable of raising children in God’s image. Today, the cases of disagreements between couples have increased, which has resulted in a corresponding increase to the number of divorce and dysfunctional families.
On the other end, marriage aim at fulfilling a man and a woman’s physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. For instance, apart from procreation, God designed human bodies for sexual pleasure. Marriage allows a man and a woman to express their intimate love and fulfill their needs for love and affection. However, engaging in sexual activity outside marriage is considered a sin, resulting in physical, emotional, and spiritual damages. It is captured in the book of Galatians chapter 5 verse 19 to 21, which states that individuals who engage in acts of the flesh such as sexual immorality and idolatry will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Also, marriage aims at bringing two people together to become one flesh, as two are better than one in providing crucial strength, support, and comfort during difficult times. The Bible indicates that a good wife comes from God and assists significantly in handling the affairs of the home. Furthermore, a prudent wife can provide much wisdom in the decision-making process in a marriage relationship.
Elsewhere, from the beginning, the Bible shows that marriage was a natural institution that was created by God to enable humans to be fruitful and multiply. However, in modern practice, marriage is more of a legal contract impacted by the public exchange of mutual consent to marry. As a result, the introduction of the concept of public contract takes away the natural institution of marriage and transforms it into a legal institution.
According to the Bible, God and Jesus emphasize that families and marriages are intended to be lifelong covenants between husband, wife, and children. God is described as the God of Israel and their descendants (Vorster, 2008). The covenant is characterized by promises and instructions from Him to the people, and circumcision acts as the sign of the covenant in the Old Testament.
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