Marriage is not a human institution devised in the dim past of human history as a convenient way to sort out social responsibilities. If marriage were a human invention, then different types of marriage could have equal value. Polygamy, the taking of several wives, may serve an agricultural society better than an industrialized society; polyandry, the sharing of a wife by several husbands, may prove to be more efficient and economical in a highly technological society. Monogamy, the lifelong union of one man to one woman, would have no more intrinsic value than any other type of marriage.Marriage is a Divine Institution. The Bible presents marriage as a divine institution. If marriage were of human origin, then human beings would have a right to decide the kind of marital relationships to choose. Marriage, however, began with God. It was established by God at the beginning of human history when He “created the heavens and the earth” (Gen 1:1). As the Creator of marriage, God has the right to tell us which principles should govern our marital relationships.
If God had left us no instructions about marriage after establishing it, then marriage could be regulated according to personal whims. But He has not left us in the dark. In His revelation contained in the pages of the Bible, God has revealed His will regarding the nature and function of marriage.
As Christians who choose to live in accordance with God’s will, we must study and respect those Biblical principles governing marriage, divorce, and remarriage. In some instances, the laws of a state regarding marriage, divorce and remarriage ignore or even violate the teachings of the Bible. In such cases, as Christians,“we must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).
No newspaper reporter was present to observe the creation of this universe and the celebration of the first marriage. God alone tells us how it all began in the brief account of Genesis 1-2. As the crown and culmination of His creative work, “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Gen 1:27). This fundamental text reveals three things. First, the first human couple originated not from an evolutionary process, but through divine creation.
Second, man, which, as the parallelism indicates, is the generic name inclusive of “male and female,” was fashioned in the image of God. This involves moral, rational and spiritual faculties rather than gender likeness, since God transcends male/female distinctions. It may also include the capacity of a man and a woman to experience a oneness of fellowship similar to the one existing in the Trinity. Third, man was created as a sexual being, consisting of a male and a female counterpart. This means that though men
and women are sexually and functionally different, they enjoy equal dignity and importance before God. After Adam expressed his excitement at the sight of Eve and exercised his authority by naming her, God united them in holy matrimony, saying:
“Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh” (Gen 2:24).