Thursday, November 19, 2009


I'd be lying if I said I really saw a case for it in the Scriptures.

Okay, that's a lie. I do see two explicit exceptions given. One is by Jesus, who defines adultery as divorce except for reason of unfaithfulness. If not for Paul's explicit exception for a marriage in which a believer has an unbelieving spouse (plus a bit more), I would be tempted to just think that all divorce/remarriage except for reasons of prior adultery would itself be adultery. But as it stands I really only see two possible, and Scriptural, exceptions to the mandate against divorce/remarriage:

1. Prior adultery on the part of a spouse.
2. One of the partners in the marriage is a believer, the other is not, and the unbeliever does not wish to live with the believer.

As perhaps-harsh as it sounds I don't even really think I'm seeing an 'addiction' or 'abuse' clause in what I've read. I'm well aware that many Christians throughout the ages, including one or two early Church Fathers, have found more exceptions than I. The simple 'plain interpretation' of the text doesn't seem to me to line up with almost anything I've ever seen any Christian or Christian church express (yes, including the RCC.) Is there a Scripture, or some other piece of the church historical or our hermeneutic as Christians, that I'm missing, here?

Please do discuss.

1 comment:

Matthew said...

Hey Dan,

I'd like to respond with a question or two today.

The questions:

Does all the reality of morality have to be defined in terms of scripture?

It seems to me that the concepts in discussion are working from a time and place with a simpler understanding of the world. I don't know of Church slash churches responses to this dilemma. All I can say is that some things weren't in discussion at the time.
peripheral question: What flows out from your understanding of Jesus and his teachings that might illuminate an answer unspecified had the question been proposed?

Main question two:

Are we talking at mixed purposes to the text?

As can be seen from Paul's discussions of marriage and the "better not to marry" exposition, the concept of marriage in Classical Levant was quite different from our own. Perhaps, a modern interpretation of marriage transcends the business venture/procreation model established at the time of Christ. In which case the whole moral structure needs to be reevaluated from a new point of view. I'm not suggesting anything post-Biblical... Far from it!... I'm suggesting that Scripture may only be addressing explicitly the issues and concepts then-contemporary. Scripture does however provide many backbones for moral development by extension from the text.
What in the life and words of Jesus my resound with modern understandings of the marriage/partnership model we live with and in today? What was the concept of divorce/marriage/remarriage Jesus was speaking about at the time? What's the same? What's different?

Just a lot of questions. Not a lot of questions. I think our methodologies may just be a bit different.

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