Friday, October 17, 2008

Just a Thought

Candice Watters recently wrote a post on the Boundless Blog and used an argument that has become fairly common:

Still, it's common to hear from readers who say we should be moving away from marriage since that's the way we'll be in heaven anyway -- single. But will we? I wrote:

In Matthew 22:30, Jesus says, "At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven." Does this suggest God is shifting gears from His original plan for marriage toward singleness? Why won't human marriage exist in heaven?

We will all be "single" in heaven so that we can become the bride of Christ, so that we can experience the perfect marriage. Marriage is the norm, both now and in the age to come. It's only the nature of the bridegroom that will change. In heaven, we'll turn our attention to Christ, the Bridegroom all human husbands foretell. Every marriage since Adam and Eve's has pointed to the ultimate wedding between Christ and His church (that's why it matters how we go about being husbands and wives.) Heaven won't mark the end of marriage, but its culmination.

Sadly, we live in a post-marriage culture where critics of marriage -- both secular and spiritual -- abound. Marriage as God made it is under fire from all sides. That's why we spend so much time defending it.

Now, I want people to notice the rhetoric. If you attack a position that says that unless you have a removal of sexual desire you must get married, delay of marriage is a sin, and you must go into gospel service if you have a removal of sexual desire, then you are somehow "criticizing marriage." In other words, if you criticize Candice Watters' views on marriage, you are criticizing marriage. That simply does not follow. It is simply a rhetorical device to try to equate her position with something that must be defended because it has been defined by God. Should I say that Candice is criticizing marriage because she has written a book that is critical of my position? Such seems to be the logic, but it doesn't go both ways.

Not only that, but, again, the effects of sin on marriage have not been taken into account. It is not "criticizing marriage" in any way to point out that human sin has corrupted the institution. Now, just as it is "not good for the man to be alone," [Genesis 2:18] it is not good for the man to be married [Genesis 3:16]. Sin has had an effect such that only the seed of the woman who bruises the head of the serpent can save mankind [Genesis 3:15]. Hence, the passages that talk about Christ and his bride are simply a restatement of this theme. Marriage has been corrupted, and, as long as people are married in this life, they will experience the same sinful problems that came as a result of the fall. The only marriage that will be the norm in the sense that Candice is talking about [i.e., something that is required], is in the eternal state. This is because this will be the only holy marriage that has not been corrupted by our own human sin. I believe that is the whole point of Genesis 3:15-17. Hence, in this life the choice will be between the not good being alone, and the not good being married because of sin.

This is why, while I know the terminology is a bit awkward since it normally refers to anthropology, I have suggested that we start talking about Albert Mohler, Candice Watters, and Debbie Maken as having a "pelagian" view of marriage. That is, all of the afore mentioned people seem to have a view of marriage as "norminative" that does not take into account the effects of the fall upon marriage.

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