Where Did Marriage Come From?

As a Christian, the concept of marriage and the Christian faith belong together. As a man, I desired to love a woman, but as a Christian, I desired to marry a woman. Furthermore, my faith as a Christian informs my marriage. As a married man who is a Christian, God’s word is my teacher in the area of marriage.

But what about people who are not Chrisitans? What compels them to get married? The paragraphs below are from my ebook, The Family and the Chrisitan Faith which you can purchase in the Canyon Crossers store:

Secular anthropologists admit that marriage is universal in human societies, that it is different from monogamy (which they believe, based on their evolutionary assumptions, developed first, before marriage), and that it precedes recorded human history. However, they cannot explain these things. Why is it that marriage exists in every human society? Why, if some animals practice monogamy, would marriage be necessary for humans? Why did people make promises to each other in marriage before anyone started writing down human history and why do they keep doing that in every human culture? Secular scholars have no good answers to these questions. They have theories—some secularists have alleged that marriage is just a form of slavery that has evolved over time—but that does not account for the universality of marriage or why it was necessary if people were already practicing monogamy.

The Bible, however, tells us that marriage exists and is so universal because God created it. Again, Genesis 2:24 says, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” In Genesis 2:24 Moses gives us his conclusion to the story of the creation of Eve, and his conclusion is that marriage exists because God created humans. As the human author of Genesis, Moses is telling us where marriage originated and why it is such a dominant force in human societies. All human societies in every part of the world, in every historical time period, practice marriage. It transcends geographic, ethnic, racial, religious, and chronological boundaries. Why? Because God created it. The phrase, “for this reason…” in verse 24 tells us why people feel compelled to get married. When divorce is so painful and costly, when people in our culture and others deny that God created humanity, when it is morally acceptable in our culture to have sex with any other consenting adult, why do people still feel compelled to get married? The answer is that God created us this way. Although the Bible says that some people have a gifting from God to stay single, the huge majority of people want to get married. So, marriage exists and is so very common not because it’s customary for humans to do or because their religion tells them to get married but because God made men and women for each other. He hard-wired marriage into humanity and that’s why people continue to get married even if they don’t believe the Bible and even if their society tells them that marriage is optional.

Brian Jones, The Family and the Christian Faith, p. 5.

The Good Life

Sometimes well-intentioned Bible teachers say pretty stupid things. When I was a teen I heard more than one preacher say something to the effect of, “If you’re not going to follow Christ, you should go out there and live it up—party all the time, get as much pleasure as you can.” This never sat well with me and, unfortunately, at least one guy I went to high school took this advice. Those who said such things were well-intentioned. Their logic was, “If you don’t follow Jesus, you will go to hell. Since your eternity will be ruined, you might as well have as much fun in this life as possible.” There is a certain perverse logic there, but it is completely wrong. Isaiah 48:17b-18:

“I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go. If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your well-being like the waves of the sea.”

While part of this statement is true based on God’s covenant with Israel, I believe it is also true because of the law of the farm—what you sow you will reap. The truth is that the best life you can have on this earth is one that conforms as much as possible to God’s commands and God’s ways. This is because God is the creator and his moral laws have consequences for obedience and for disobedience. The law of gravity works whether you believe in God or not; it works whether you believe in gravity or not. So it is with God’s moral law; those who break God’s laws only break themselves trying to defy it.

It isn’t possible for an unbeliever to really obey God’s word, but you and I both know people who don’t believe in Christ but they do not kill (or hate others), do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not lie, do not abuse and mistreat others as a general rule of life. None of us can be perfectly obedient and no unbeliever can earn credit with God for whatever obedience they do have to God’s word. But insofar as they do obey God’s laws, they will not suffer the consequences in this life that disobedience always brings. It is always better to obey God than to follow the sinful ways of our nature, our culture, or the enemy.

It is Contagious

Micah 1:9: “For Samaria’s plague is incurable; it has spread to Judah. It has reached the very gate of my people, even to Jerusalem itself.”

Micah was a prophet who prophesied in Judah. His ministry spanned the reign of three of the Southern Kingdom kings namely, “Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah” (Micah 1:1). However, he spoke about both the Northern and Southern kingdoms: “he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem” (v. 1b). God’s judgment for the Northern Kingdom was drawing near at the end of Micah’s ministry; His judgment for the Southern Kingdom was still many years away.

But the spiritual problems that brought God’s judgment on both nations was consuming the Northern Kingdom of Israel and rapidly spreading to the Southern Kingdom of Judah. Verse 9 of Micah 1 compares it to a plague. Plagues are contagious; that’s why they wipe out so many people so quickly. The unbelief and idolatry of Israel was contagious; even Judah was coming down with it.

Sin usually is contagious.

  • If someone is unkind to you, you may respond with unkindness toward that person and others.
  • Gossip is really contagious because it can’t exist without being shared from one person to another.
  • Drunkenness can be contagious too because it is more fun to party with others than to drink alone.
  • Adultery is by nature contagious because it involves at least one other person. False doctrine is contagious because false teachers want to spread their ideas.

I don’t think we appreciate how contagious our sins can be. We think that we sin alone and bear the consequences alone but any sin that happens outside your mind has some kind of social fallout. If enough people choose to engage in a particular sin, that creates a culture where that sin is acceptable.  What sins have you seen spread like a virus? Are you spreading–maybe unknowingly–sin to others?

One reason why we need God’s grace through his word and the church is to inoculate ourselves against the contagious virus of sin. Prepare yourself, then, to withstand the viruses of sin.