I was reluctant to post about polygamy but seeing there’s so much an issue about gay marriage, then I asked myself why not. In this thread I will try to explain how the biblical definition/description of ‘adultery’ supports or proves that God is okay with polygamy. And if anyone disagrees, feel free to jump in and explain why and I’ll explain why I agree or don’t agree.
In short form, my view is basically that God never intended for marriage to be restricted to just monogamy because the law(s) on adultery restricted ONLY women from sleeping with someone other than their spouse. This leads to the logical implication or point of why would God want marriages to be monogamous but yet He defines adultery on such unequal terms.
In biblical terms, adultery is defined as having sex with a woman who is already married. My source for this are passages like Leviticus 20:10, the Hebrew definition of adultery, and the fact that no where is a MARRIED man called an adulterer for simply sleeping with or marrying multiple woman.
Further elaboration on my points above:
Leviticus 20:10 prohibits a married man from sleeping with another man’s wife which means that he can sleep with non-married women besides his wife.
The Hebrew word for adultery is ‘naaph’ (strong’s #5003) and the basis for adultery is based on the marital status of the woman and not the man. So in other words, adultery only comes in play if a married woman is involved but that is not the case with men.
No polygamist is called an adulterer. In fact, King David had MULTIPLE wives before he lusted for Bathsheeba (she was married to another man). He was not called an adulterer until AFTER he slept with Bathsheeba. Why then and not at the point in which he took his second wife?
Jesus was specific about marriage. The Church is working to restore the proper definition of marriage.
From the Catechism:
"2380 Adultery refers to marital infidelity. When two partners, of whom at least one is married to another party, have sexual relations - even transient ones - they commit adultery. Christ condemns even adultery of mere desire.171 The sixth commandment and the New Testament forbid adultery absolutely.172 The prophets denounce the gravity of adultery; they see it as an image of the sin of idolatry.173
“2381 Adultery is an injustice. He who commits adultery fails in his commitment. He does injury to the sign of the covenant which the marriage bond is, transgresses the rights of the other spouse, and undermines the institution of marriage by breaking the contract on which it is based. He compromises the good of human generation and the welfare of children who need their parents’ stable union.”
Yes exactly. To the original poster, you clearly do not understand Catholic theology. Im not sure why you would come to this site to share your thoughts when you have no understanding of Catholicism. But Ill assume you are simply seeking and understanding and have some type of appreciation of Catholic thought.
So as you see from the posting here by Ed, Catholicism is not based on Sola Scriptura, the bible only. Christianity ,is not a literal adoption of all teachings of the Old Testament. Christ said He cam to fulfill the Law, but not to change it. Therefore , what the Jews of the Old Testament may have considered Law , the Church was the fulfillment of the Old Covenant. As such , it had the role to reveal the fullness of God’s love and thus the true intended meaning of all of Gods revelation up to that point. Therefore, the literal understanding of some Old Testament commandments, such as the punishment for adultery , or dietary restrictions , or the meaning of marriage were brought to fulfillment by the Christian faith. Thus despite all the meanings of marriage that you culled through the Old Testament, the Church doesnt accept those definitions!
As the poster here demonstrates, what the Church teaches and is thus illustrated in the Catechism, marriage is one man and one women despite your interpretation of adultery. Christ made many references to marriage as the image of His relationship to the Church. This image is NOT one of polygamy but of a man and wife, not wives, a single bride and groom! But even without considering Christian Tradition, it simply is not accurate to suggest that the Old Testament supported polygamy simply because of the definition of adultery you find in the Old Testament. Whether or not you think that definition of adultery is sexist does not mean that God could NOT have intended it to be so. God, not you are the final arbiter of what is moral or not, whether or not it seems sexist to you. The the fact is that the Jews opposed polygamy, even if it was tolerated at some point in their history. It is simply wrong to suggest that the Old Testament accepted polygamy, and thus it is NOT immoral in the Christian Church! Furthermore, to suggest that simply because polygamists were not called adulterers does mean that they were NOT guilty of adulterers just as homosexual pedophiles are not called homosexuals, or fornicators , but rather pedophiles! The sin of homosexuality and fornication are both covered in the sin of pedophilia simply because homosexuals and children cannot be truly married!
Youre logic and understanding of the bible and Christianity are all quite mistaken in your arguments about why you think polygamy is not a sin.
If you’re going to argue with Christians you need to read the New Testament.
4 “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’ ? 6 So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.”
Matthew 19 4-6
They are no longer “two”, not no longer 3/4/5/6 etc.
AgnoticBoy. You are assuming the Jews of Jesus’ day were sola Scriptura practitioners. But they weren’t. There is MORE than Scripture in Divine revelation. But even with a sola Scriptura method, your Scriptural foundations of your definitions are flawed.
AgnosticBoy’s view of adultery (bold mine) . . .
In short form, my view is basically that God never intended for marriage to be restricted to just monogamy because the law(s) on adultery restricted ONLY women from sleeping with someone other than their spouse.
Jesus’ view of adultery . . . .
MATTHEW 5:32b 31 and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
MATTHEW 19:8-9 8 He said to them, “For your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. 9 And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for unchastity, and marries another, commits adultery; and he who marries a divorced woman, commits adultery.”
What the hearers of Jesus DON’T say:
NOT MATTHEW 19 (PHANTOM VERSE) “Well Jesus. You are re-defining the gender aspect of divorce as we have always seen it in the Old Testament!”
What Jesus DOESN’T say:
NOT MATTHEW 19:9 (PHANTOM VERSE) 9 And I say to you: only gals who sleep around commit adultery; because the law(s) on adultery restrict ONLY women from sleeping around. So this doesn’t apply to you men here.
Your point does not tie into my point or it doesnt show why my point is right or wrong. To make the topic easier to follow i just want the focus on what adultery means in the Bible or to God in relation to polygamy. And of course i would want something that can be supported with logic (e.g. consistent w/ Bible) or evidence.
You’ve posted the Catholic position but what Im examining is how that conclusion was reached - what are the supporting reasons, evidence, etc. In my view it doesnt add up and I’m using hermeneutics as described on this forum’s website and other scholarly articles (read this Catholic entry - esp. the historico-grammatical section).
More specifically to your point I’d say that adultery is mentioned in the commandments but the Bible also defines it and gives examples. What you posted is inconsistent with the Bible and history/culture of the Jews (including the biblical writers). Ive given my reasoning in the opening post which also is supported by some scholars and even prominent Catholics in history. Can you give me a logical reason for this inconsistency?
So are you saying polygamy was an accepted form of marriage to the biblical writers or just those of the OT? Are you implying that none of the OT Laws are to be taken literally? If so, what part of not committing bestiality changed from the OT to the NT and beyond?
Yes, Jesus made references to how he had ONE bride, the Church, but that was not a prescription . He was simply using marriage as an example just like his Father used a polygamous marriage as an example of his relationship to Israel (Jeremiah 31:31 and 32).
Finally! So what is your evidence for the view that the Jews opposed polygamy? My evidence against your claim is that Jewish historian Josephus wrote that polygamy was an “ancient practice” of the Jews . And as my opening post mentions, why take a rule that is supposed to address whats indecent for a married man and woman to do and apply it in an unequal way? Adultery is in the 10 commandments so it came directly from God so it wasnt a man-made custom like divorce was.
This does not take away from my point in the opening post. Why say all that you mentioned but then define adultery to where a married man is only prohibited from sleeping married women as opposed to ALL women besides his wife? If you cant explain my point then there is a contradiction in the Bible OR polyGYNY was allowed.
Also you can become one more than one time, like with prostitutes, with God, with another wife (remarriage after lawful divorce, after widowhood, and polygamy). Jesus is one with the Father and Spirit while also being one with billions of humans.
Matthew 5:32 uses divorce in the equation. So it does not address what it would be called for a man to REMAIN married and add a second wife. If you want to see how God thinks about the scenario i bring up just refer to the story of Jacob in Genesis 29:30-33. Notice God’s reaction which is not consistent with being against such relationships.
You also bring up Matthew 19 but again it does not address a scenario where a man remarried while remaining with his first wife. You assume that Matthew 19 bans polygamy by implications but that assumed implication goes against the moral law in the 10 commandments, the Laws definition of adultery, and God’s perfect and moral acts/judgements to NOT ban polygamy. My counter explanation to Matthew 19 is that Jesus was banning serial monogamy and not polygamy. He clearly used divorce in his formula when referring to the type of remarriage (or 2nd marriage) that he called adultery. This restricts remarriages for BOTH monogamy and polygamist when unlawful divorce is involved. My explanation does not conflict with Gods moral rules unlike yours. Otherwise why didnt Jesus say if a man remains married and tries to sleep with or marry another woman (poly or simple cheating) then thats adultery?
Well i was referring to the husband sleeping with an unmarried woman. Even if your use of fornication was correct, that would only apply to the unmarried woman but it would still be adultery from the standpoint of the married man thats sleeping with her - and this assumes that your definition of adultery is correct. Ive provided my reasons for why its not correct since adultery is directly explained in the bible to restrict married men from sleeping w/ married woman as opposed to ALL women.
Interestingly, when i looked up ‘fornication’ in the original biblical languages i found that it is general and covers adultery, as well… So there’s not always a difference between the two terms. Thats different than modern day meaning of fornication that involves two unmarried people engaged in intercourse. Leveticus 20:10 and Matthew 19:9 calls anyone sleeping with a married woman as being an adulterer. It does not limit the term to just the married person.
I gave examples involving both successive and concurrent multiperson (one person with more than one union) unions. Jesus and God and Jesus and the Church. Humans with God and humans with spouse. In polygamy, a man with 2 wives would just be two separate marriages, with 2 concurrent one flesh unions.
Nice try promoting a belief which 98% of the world, Atheists and Christians alike, wholeheartedly disagree with. Stupid, lonely teenager finds polygamy a suitable outlet to quench his rampant sexual urges because the idea of sticking to one woman doesn’t appeal to a playboy like himself; proceeds to try and use disjointed Bible verses to prove his ridiculous ideology, nothing new here. Obvious troll is obvious, next! :sleep:
Actually eventhough many non believers would not practice polygamy but that doesnt mean that they disagree with my point that polygamy was allowed according to the Bible. To them the Bible allows all sorts of bad things. My purpose here is to have a theologically/historical based conversation just like some of the convos on gay marriage.
Correction to my quoted post here. I meant to say Matthew 5:32 instead of Matthew 19:9