Divorce and the Bible Essay
The law defines divorce as a legal dissolution of the marriage contract by a court or other body having competent authority. This is properly a divorce, and called, technically, divorce a vinculo matrimonii. ”from the bond of matrimony.” (b) The separation of a married woman from the bed and board of her husband — divorce a mensa et toro (or thoro), ”from bed board.” Does this definition follow that of the Bible?Mark 10:1-12X Jesus then left that place and went into the region of Judea and across the Jordan.
Again crowds of people came to him, and as was his custom, he taught them. Some Pharisees came and tested him by asking, Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?What did Moses command you? He replied.
They said, Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce and send her away.
It was because your hearts were hard that Moses wrote you this law, Jesus replied.
But at the beginning of creation God made them male and female. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.
When they were in the house again, the disciples asked Jesus about this. He answered, Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery.
According to Mark, Jesus was not only against divorce but he detested the actions of man to allow it against the word of God. He is trying to explain what divorce means to God. Apparently, it is the joining of two peopleXminds, bodies, and souls. These people are no longer people. They are a person. He also states that Moses only made the law to solve the problems that humankind was having.
It seems that Moses was without patience when making his declaration. The crowd was already going against God, and their religion had taken a step down their priority list. Moses was just giving his people what they wanted to hear. He only allowed the man to give a statement of divorce. He allowed them to take from that what they did. He was still serving his religion with this decision. He was not allowing them to separate their souls.
I believe Jesus was only reiterating, or clarifying, this act of Moses. He explained to the masses that Moses was only allowing the couple to live in different households. Before God, the couple remains married and the divorce statement changes only the living situation. I believe that Jesus brought up the examples of adultery to better illustrate his point.
If a couple decides to become divorced, they only decide to live apart. They are still married. Before God, they are not allowed to remarry. Marrying, or engaging in sexual acts with, another while married is considered adultery. Thus, doing these acts while living in separate homes is still adultery.
Matthew 5:31-32: It has been said, Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce. But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become and adulteress, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
What exactly was Jesus saying here? It seems to be quite similar to the recollection of Mark, but with an added twist. The married couple is still bound before God. Thus, the adultery aspect still stands after the marriage. However, Jesus explains that divorce is only permissible in the case of adultery. Does this act of divorce label her as an adulterer? Or, is he saying that a divorce is only considered a divorce before God after adultery? A loop-hole is seemingly formed in this statement. A divorce is only considered a divorce of spirit after an adulteryXmeaning it is the ultimate sin in a marriage. If one decides to become divorced for other reasons, then it is not an actual divorce before God. Thus, if the wife decides to remarry, it is considered adultery. Is the divorce then final before God? The answer must surely be yes, but the label still falls on the head of the adulterer.
Matthew 19:3-9- Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?Havent you read, he replied, that at the beginning the Creator made them male and female. And said, For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.
Why then, they asked, did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?Jesus replied, Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery.
This passage seems to be the same as Mark 10:2-12. The only added difference is the explanation that adultery is a reason for permissible divorce. This is obviously something that Matthew either felt strongly about himself, or found in the sources that he used. For whatever reason, he felt as though it needed to be added to the words that Mark printed.
Luke 16:18- Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
Luke, following suit, points out the consequences of divorce. Again, it is labeled as adultery if one remarries. This shows that the approval of God is not with the divorce certificate. Obviously, Luke agrees with the statements of Mark and Matthew, but is putting that remarriage is definitely not an option.
1 Corinthians 7:10-17- To the married 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. And a husband must not divorce his wife.
To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.
But if the unbeliever leaves, let him do so. A believing man or woman is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace. How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?Nevertheless, each one should retain the place in life that the Lord assigned to him and to which God has called him. This is the rule I lay down in all the churches.
Here, Paul restates that which was already in other books, but adds that the marriage is capable of being saved. Then, he brings in his own opinion and adds a new aspect to the situation. What does an unbeliever bring to the relationship? It is a whole new problem when considering divorce.
Apparently, the marriage is still relevant before God, despite the stance of the unbeliever. Marriage is marriage and it should all be sacred. However, in this case, the union of souls is not stressed. How can an unbeliever expect the God that they do not believe in to unite them? Once the unbeliever is saved, the souls will be united and a divorce is not allowed.
However, if the unbeliever never does accept God, then the he/she is permitted to cut off the marriage. A believer is to stand by the side of his beloved. He/she is held to all the rules of marriage and divorce. This, of course, meaning that the believer calling for divorce does not separate the couple in Gods eyes. If the unbeliever calls for a divorce, then it is as if the marriage never took place. They are free to remarry.
Most of these authors hold the same views. Divorce is an accepted thing before man, but not before God. Then, divorce only means that you are allowed to live in separate homes. As far as remarriage goes, it is adultery on the behalf of all involved. The exception from this rule is only applicable if one of the marriage partners is an unbeliever and, as such, calls for the divorce. Then the divorce is a complete divorce and remarriage is allowed without being considered adultery.
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