It seems that the majority of conversations I have with American Christians online somehow end up on this issue.
And these conversations are more often than not liberally sprinkled with phrases such as “God’s Word says . . .” or “We need to get back to Scriptural Marriage.”
To the first, I will reply: “Do you mean your interpretation of one of the many English translations of the collection of documents determined by the Church of the 4th-5th centuries to be included in what is called ‘The Holy Bible’?” (For the briefest of history lessons, see the Christian Canons section of this Wikipedia article.)
To the second, there are numerous answers, but this is one of my favourites from Chad Estes, written during the ruckus caused by the revelation that proceeds from the sales at Chick-fil-A (an American fast food chain) were going to right-wing Christian ‘family’ groups fighting same-sex marriage:
Thank God. At least somebody has the guts to stand up for our scriptural heritage. I guess I’m just not sure which heritage he is referring to.
- Adam and Eve– married a woman created from his own rib. Kind of cool. Kind of weird. (Personally, I couldn’t find one of these, even on Craig’s list.) It was also necessary, although creepy that their kids had to marry each other. (I know my kids wouldn’t stand for that.)
- Abraham – had a wife, Sarah, and a concubine, Hagar, and he fathered nations from his sons from both of them. When Sarah got jealous Abraham sent Hagar and their son out in the dessert where they nearly died. (Somebody should have gone to jail for abuse.)
- Isaac & Rebecca – His dad sent a servant to go pick his wife. (I don’t have a servant and my kids want to choose their own spouses.)
- Jacob married both Rachael and her sister Leah. (I love my wife’s sister, but not like that.)
- Onan and his sister-in-law – They were supposed to get married after his brother died, but Onan didn’t want to have kids with her. (I told my brother’s wife that I was available for her if the unmentionable happened and she would have nothing to do with it. She gagged and walked out of the room.)
- Potiphar and his wife – she tried to pull Joseph into her bed. (I do own a shotgun, Jamie.)
Okay, let’s just say I don’t want a biblical marriage from the book of Genesis. Let’s move on to the rest of the Old Testament.
- Find an attractive prisoner of war, bring her home, shave her head, trim her nails, and give her new clothes. Then she’s yours. — Deuteronomy 21:11-13 (I bite my own nails, I’m not going to start trimming someone elses.)
- Marry a prostitute like Hosea (Roxanne, you don’t have to put on the red light.)
- Purchase a piece of property, like Boaz, and get a woman as part of the deal, like Ruth, who will come to you when you are drunk and night and uncover your feet (If you know what I mean).
- Go to a party and hide. When the women come out to dance, grab one and carry her off to be your wife.– Benjaminites in Judges 21:19-25 (Actually, this one might work.)
- King Xerxes found his wife through a yearlong beauty contest. (But ever since Donald Trump started running the beauty pageants I just want him fired.)
- Solomon – Marry a thousand women (how could the world’s wisest man be the craziest?)
Isn’t there a man after God’s own heart when it comes to marriage? How about King David? How did he get a wife?
- Circumcise 200 of your future father in law’s enemies in order to win his daughter’s hand.
- Kill a friend of yours and take his beautiful wife that you watched bathing.
Okay, let’s leave the Old Testament out of this. Let’s look at some New Testament examples.
- Joseph and Mary – (Immaculate story, but hands off my wife’s womb please, God.)
- Um, New Testament couples please? Are you serious? There are no examples of “biblical marriages” and how they met, married, had kids, and got along? How in the world are we supposed to figure this out by being Biblical?
Here’s another interesting take on this topic:
So please do not say ‘Biblical Marriage is between one man and one woman’ because, as you can see, that is a premise that just can’t be solidly defended from the Christian Scriptures.
Unless, of course, you refuse to consider any verse that does not support your own definition of marriage. (In which case, I would recommend you read the results of this study: ‘God, as it turns out, looks a lot like you‘)