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Summary in 400 words or less:
Often missed in the debate over the meaning of marriage is the question, “What is marriage?” Before a meaningful debate can be had over any issue, terms must be defined. Marriage, from a secular view,can be defined as “a union between a man and a woman who permanently and exclusively commit themselves to each other, and this union is naturally fulfilled in bearing and rearing children together.”1
The Bible agrees and declares that man was not to be alone (Gen 2:20-24),though individuals can remain single (like Paul did) or get married depending upon their situation (1 Cor 7:7-9). If marriage is desired, then this union is between one man and one woman. This is implied by Jesus (Matt19:4-5, Mk 10:6-8) and Paul (1 Cor 7:2). This exciting union between husband and wife (Song of Solomon) should never be easily broken (1 Cor7:12-16, Matt 5:32, 19:9). Though not a requirement, bringing into or taking care of children in this world is highly looked upon. Children are viewed as a gift from the Lord (Psa. 127:3).
It is from this natural union that new families are born. While ultimately a religious institution, governments have an interest in encouraging marriage because it offers certain benefits in raising and sustaining its population that cannot come from any other institution. These include:
· Having, raising, and nurturing children for the next generation.
· Children reach higher levels of education, have better physical and emotional health, and are more likely to be upstanding citizens.
· Diminished poverty levels.
· Protection for women against domestic violence and abandonment.
· Greater protection from STDs.2
On the other hand, the revisionist view of marriage, which reduces marriage to a social construct that is endlessly malleable, cannot provide a meaningful definition of marriage. Under this view, not only does marriage lose meaning (as it’s completely relative), but it necessarily shifts the role of the government from recognizing and encouraging marriages to enforcing a particular ideology.
Two major objections to the traditional view is the question of infertile couples and the historical ban on interracial marriages. In response, infertile couples can still be united in marriage even if they cannot conceive just as the human body can be united in its purpose even if certain organs might fail to fulfill their purpose.3 Anti-miscegenation laws (laws against interracial marriage) are not a valid comparison to the current debate.Segregation did not argue that it was impossible for blacks, by nature, to use certain drinking fountains, it sought to prevent them from doing so. In the same way, laws against interracial marriage did not argue that it was impossible for these relationships to become actual marriages. The current debate is over if same-sex partners can enter into a marriage, not that they should be denied their rights.4
Scripture for YouVersion: Matt. 19:4-5, Mk. 10:6-8, 1 Cor. 7:2
Marriage = Biology (Not Bigotry)
Three questions (1 fill-in-the-blank, 1 multiple choice, and one discussion question):
References for further reading:
 Robertson McQuilkin and Paul Copan, An Introduction to Biblical Ethics (Downers Grove: Intervarsity, 2014), 306.
 Wayne Grudem, Politics According to the Bible (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2010), 223-227.
 Sherif Girgis, Ryan T. Anderson, and Robert P. George, What is Marriage? (New York: Encounter Books, 2012), 75.
 Ibid., 78.
Collaborators: Jonathan Hanna, Christopher Riggs
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