Norman Geisler says, “There is general agreement among Christians on the nature of marriage. It is between a male and a female and involves sexual rights. It entails a covenant (vow) before God to be faithful to each other because it is a monogamous relation between one man and one woman. On the other hand, general agreement on divorce is harder to come by among Christians.”
Today we will focus on 3 views on divorce.
Never a reason
Only one reason
Divorce is a very confusion subject for the Christian and the Church and because of that it is quite controversial.
The main reason is because divorce is not God intent or desire.
16 “For I hate divorce,” says the Lord, the God of Israel, “and him who covers his garment with wrong,” says the Lord of hosts. “So take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously.”
God hate divorce and it was never His intent that marriage would end in divorce
8 He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not been this way.
We know that marriage was meant to be a bond that is lasting until death. We also know that there is a supernatural element to marriage whereby God in not just a witness but a participant.
6 “So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”
Not only does God join things together he also is faithful to keep a marriage together as well.
Thats why it is very important to state that, Christians should only marry other Christian.
3 “Furthermore, you shall not intermarry with them; you shall not give your daughters to their sons, nor shall you take their daughters for your sons. 4 “For they will turn your sons away from following Me to serve other gods; then the anger of the Lord will be kindled against you and He will quickly destroy you.
Some would supposed this verse and verse like it are forbidding interracial marriages, but it not. It is prohibiting Jewish people from marrying people from other nation who worship other Gods.
This is the warning that Paul tells the Christian in the New Testament
14 Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? 15 Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? 16 Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, “I will dwell in them and walk among them; And I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
Do not be bound together or unequally yoked with unbelievers.
Wayne Grudem says this, “In a society familiar with agricultural life, the image of two animals yoked together side by side to pull a plow would have been familiar. The animals would ordinarily have been equally matched, or nearly so. 'S Essential to the image is the idea that where one ox goes, the other ox has to go as well. Whatever work one ox is doing, the other has to work at it as well. In other words, the animals have significant influence over each other's lives, and each one also limits the amount of freedom the other has.”
The next part of our class will be taken directly out of Norman Geisler’s Christian Ethic book.
1. Never a reason
1. Never a reason
Mr. Geisler says,
1. Divorce violates God's design for marriage. As has already been shown, Gods ideal for marriage is a monogamous lifetime commitment (Matt.19:6, Rom. 7:2). But divorce violates that covenant. Hence, divorce is never justified.
2. Divorce breaks a vow made before God. Marriage is a covenant vow before God (Prov. 2:17; Mal. 2:14) and for a lifetime. Divorce breaks that vow. But breaking a sacred vow is wrong. The Scriptures declare: "It is better not to vow than to vow and not fulfill it" (Eccles. 5:5).
3. Jesus condemned all divorce. When Jesus was asked about divorce in Mark (10:1-11), he gave no exceptions. This same position was affirmed by Jesus in Luke 16:18. The so-called exception clause in the parallel passage in Matthew (19:1-9; cf. 5:32) refers not to divorce for adultery but to an annulment for "fornication" before marriage (v. 9). This is in accordance with Matthew's Jewish emphasis and the Jewish law about unchastity before marriage being grounds for annulling the marriage. According to Jewish law, the term "husband" also referred to an engaged man (Deut. 22:13-19; Matt. 1:18-25). In Luke, furthermore, Jesus gave no exception for divorce but said flatly, "Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery'" (Luke 16:18).
4. The apostle Paul condemned divorce. Paul exhorted the Corinthians: "I give this command (not I, but the Lord) : A wife must not separate from her husband. But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband" (1 Cor. 7:10-11). Even "if a brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her Likewise, "if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is wiling to live with her, she must not divorce him" (7:12-13).
5. Divorce disqualified an elder. One of the qualifications for an elder was that he must be "the husband of but one wife" (I Tim. 3:2). According' proponents of the strict view on divorce, this means that he could never have been divorced; otherwise he would have been the husband of more than one wife.
6. Ones fist partner is the true partner. When the woman of Samaria said to Jesus, "I have no husband, he replied, "You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is you had had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband" (John 4:17-18). This is taken to imply that one's first spouse is the only true one.
7. Divorce violates a sacred typology. According to Paul, a wife is to her husband what the church is to Christ (Eph. 5:32). Hence, divorce violates that beautiful typology of the heavenly marriage between Christ and his bride, the church. That God takes a violation of a sacred type seriously can be witnessed in his punishment of Moses for striking the rock (Christ) twice (Num. 20:9-12).
Geisler says, “In summary, this view argues that there are no grounds for divorce. The "exception" in Matthew 19:9 refers to premarital intercourse (fornication), not to adultery after marriage. Since there are no grounds for divorce, then divorce is sin and remarriage of a divorcé (man) or divorcée (woman) is wrong. There is only one ground for divorce. Many Christians believe that there is only one justifiable ground for divorce: adultery. Remarriage of divorced persons is not permitted, since they would be living in sin (Matt. 5:32). This they base on several considerations.”
2. Only one reason
2. Only one reason
1. Jesus explicitly stated that adultery is grounds for divorce. Proponents of this view favor rendering Matthew 19:9 the way the New International Version does: "I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery"(emphasis added.) They point to several factors in favor of this rendering. The Greek word used is porneia, which includes illicit sexual relations of married as well as unmarried people (see Acts 15:20; Rom. 1:29). It is used in parallel with the word "adultery" in this very passage, indicating that they have overlapping usages.
2. Jesus repeated this exception in a parallel passage. Not only did Jesus state adultery as the one ground for divorce when asked, but he stated the same thing in the Sermon on the Mount, saying, "I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery" (Matt. 5:32, emphasis added). In view of this repeated exception, it is argued that the other reference (in Mark 10:1-9; Luke 16:18), where no exception is mentioned, must be understood in the light of the clearly stated exception of adultery in Matthew.
3. Paul agreed with Jesus's view on divorce. Paul affirmed Jesus's position on divorce for adultery at least implicitly, if not explicitly. He was careful to point to the authority and remembered words of Christ in these matters by phrases like "not I, but the Lord" (1 Cor. 7:10). Even when he said "I, not the Lord," he was not contradicting Christ but merely noting that though Christ never spoke to that particular issue, Christ through the Spirit later gave revelation to Paul (cf. 1 Cor. 2:13; 7:12, 40; 14:37). Furthermore, it is argued that Paul acknowledged the legitimacy of divorce: "If the unbeliever leaves, let him do so. A believing man or woman is not bound [by their marital vows] in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace"(1 Cor.7:15).
Geisler says, “In summary, according to this view, there is only one biblical ground for divorce: adultery. Divorced persons cannot remarry; if they do, they are living in an adulterous relation. Those who marry a divorced person are causing them to sin, since the divorced person is really married to another in God's eyes.”
3. Many reason
3. Many reason
1. Paul approves of divorce for desertion. When Paul says, "If the unbeliever leaves, let him do so" (1 Cor. 7:15), he is speaking of desertion, not adultery. There is no reference to adultery in the passage. It simply states that he or she "leaves." This is desertion by an unbeliever, and Paul says that in such cases the faithful remaining partner is "not bound" by the marriage vows. The believer would like to keep the vows but cannot since the partner has left the marriage. This position that divorce is permissible only for adultery or an unbeliever's desertion is expressed in the Westminster Confession, chapter 24:
Section V-Adultery or fornication committed after a contract, being detected before marriage, giveth just occasion to the innocent party to dissolve that contract (Matt. 1:18-20). In the case of adultery after marriage, it is lawful for the innocent party to sue out a divorce (Matt. 5:32), and after the divorce to marry another, as if the offending party were dead (Matt. 19:9; Rom. 7:2-3).
Section VI- Although the corruption of man be such as is apt to study arguments, unduly to put asunder those whom God hath joined together in marriage; yet nothing but adultery, or such willful desertion as can no way be remedied by the Church or civil magistrate [emphasis added], is cause sufficient of dissolving the bond of marriage (Matt. 19:8-9; 1 Cor. 7:15; Matt 19:6: wherein a public and orderly course of proceeding is to be observed, and the persons concerned in it not left to their own wiles and discretion in their own case (Deut. 24:1-4).
2. The Bible recognizes human frailty. Even though God did not design divorce, he did foresee it and adapted his plan to it. The very fact that God led Moses to permit divorce (Deut. 24:1-4; cf, Matt. 19:8) shows that God understands that in a fallen world, the ideal cannot always be realized. Thus, when an Israelite could not keep the Passover on the first month because of ceremonial contamination, God provided that it could be held on the second month (Num. 9:10-11). Likewise, when God's first choice for lifetime monogamous marriage is not possible, divorce is sometimes necessary.
3. Even God "divorced" Israel for unfaithfulness. Throughout the Old Testament, God "divorced" his people for alienation of affection. They went after idols, and God divorced them. God said through Jeremiah, "I gave faithless Israel her certificate of divorce and sent her away because of her adulteries" (Jer. 3:8). Isaiah also wrote of God's divorce of Israel because of her unfaithfulness, saying, "Where is your mother's certificate of divorce with which I sent her away?" (Isa. 50:1). Thus, it is argued that the fact that God divorced Israel because of her unfaithfulness sets the pattern for us.
4. Marriage is a mutual vow between two parties, a covenant. As such it is a conditional covenant. Since the relation is mutual, one person's vows are impossible to keep if the other person is unfaithful or leaves. Hence, the innocent party is "not bound" to their vows if the other party breaks theirs(1 Cor. 7:15).
5. Failing to allow divorce is legalistic. It is the same stance that Jesus condemned in the Pharisees, who would not allow healing on the Sabbath. Jesus said, "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath" (Mark 2:27; man = humankind). Likewise, marriage was made for humankind; humankind was not made for marriage. Hence, the involved person should be preeminent in the consideration, not simply a prescription about divorce.
6. Repentance changes the situation. Even though Israel was "divorced" by the Lord (Jer. 3:1), nevertheless Israel was repeatedly asked to return (vv.11-14,22). This indicates that repentance can change the status of the guilty parties before the laws on marriage. Hence, even if the original divorce was a sin, God can nonetheless forgive and heal if there is repentance. There is only one unpardonable sin (Matt. 12:32), and it is not divorce.
Geisler say, “"Many" here means two or more. Some proponents of this position hold to only two biblical grounds for divorce: adultery and the unbeliever's desertion. Others believe that abuse, infectious diseases, and even neglect are also justifications for divorce. The point is simply that all in this group agree that there is not just one basis for a biblical divorce.”