Re-Defining Marriage


#1

As Catholics we shall continue to say that marriage is between one man and one women even when the secular laws say otherwise. Correct?

But then, what about the fact that in the Old Testament marriage was re-defined? If God allowed it, it can't be intrinsically immoral to re-define marriage to allow polygamy.

I'm confused!! :confused:


#2

Jesus discussed this issue, or at least why Moses allowed divorce, see: quod.lib.umich.edu/cgi/r/rsv/rsv-idx?type=DIV2&byte=4642625 for the context.

God allowed polygamy although it was not his original plan. For many centuries most ancient cultures were very hard on women. If a woman didn't have a husband, she had nothing and so lived in abject poverty, if she lived at all. By taking several wives, it ensured women had husbands and so homes, so they could live in security.

When Christ came he corrected this attitude towards women, giving them a dignity of their own. He reinstated God's plan for one man and one woman within marriage.


#3

[quote="ClemtheCatholic, post:1, topic:339353"]
As Catholics we shall continue to say that marriage is between one man and one women even when the secular laws say otherwise. Correct?

But then, what about the fact that in the Old Testament marriage was re-defined? If God allowed it, it can't be intrinsically immoral to re-define marriage to allow polygamy.

I'm confused!! :confused:

[/quote]

What do you mean that "in the Old Testament marriage was re-defined"?


#4

God's allowing something is not at all the same as condoning it.


#5

So it's okay for God to allow marriage to be re-defined for a time? Or was this polygamy not marriage?

After all, it seems weird to say that the traditional meaning of marriage is a union of one man and one woman when the Old Testament goes against that. :confused:


#6

[quote="ClemtheCatholic, post:5, topic:339353"]
So it's okay for God to allow marriage to be re-defined for a time? Or was this polygamy not marriage?

After all, it seems weird to say that the traditional meaning of marriage is a union of one man and one woman when the Old Testament goes against that. :confused:

[/quote]

The OT didn't/doesn't go against the traditional meaning of marriage, in the way you mean it. God never commanded anyone to go against his laws, but he has allowed people to do so out of their own weakness.

When Christ came he commanded that there to be no more of such allowances because he had come to renew and reform mankind in the new law of freedom. The law of freedom means serving God in perfection, which is only possible because of Christ's redemptive act and through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit which it gained for us.

If you are trying to find an "out" for same sex marriage through this route, it's not one that is open to that interpretation.


#7

Just so we're clear, all I'm trying to do is make sure I know the Church's case and then be able to argue it well. :)

So are we saying that, for example, King David's partnerships with multiple women were not marriages?


#8

[quote="ClemtheCatholic, post:7, topic:339353"]
Just so we're clear, all I'm trying to do is make sure I know the Church's case and then be able to argue it well. :)

So are we saying that, for example, King David's partnerships with multiple women were not marriages?

[/quote]

Not as God would have it, no. Kings at the time would marry daughters of other kings to cement alliances. They also had concubines. Most Jewish men didn't follow this practice. If they took a second wife it was generally because they wanted more children/sons, if the first had not had enough/any sons. Keeping more than one wife came with financial and relationship costs, so a man had to have the resources to support a larger family. In our times, when women expect a man to give her his full attention, due to the elevation of women's status brought about by Christianity, this arrangement generally doesn't work all that well.

As for same sex marriage, the comparison is simply not there. Merely because God allowed men to have more than one wife due to the weakness of human nature doesn't translate into allowing that which is not even possible through nature. Marriage is more than love and affection--it's creating families open to producing new life. It's for the benefit of children, not just so adults can satisfy their sexual urges. SSM cannot fulfill this except through adoption. Frankly, submitting children to this social experiment is unfair to them and to our future society. It will never be right and natural no matter how many laws men may pass.


#9

Yes, the OT has examples of polygamous marriages in a tribal and patriarchal society. Solomon was reputed to have something like 700 wives and 300 concubines, many of whom were apparently used to cement various alliances. In doing so, he was going against God's law on marriage. It's not a good example for us.

And polygamy is still opposite sex marriage. As Della noted, it can in no way be translated into acceptance of same sex marriage, which is not even possible by nature.


#10

Many thanks to everyone!! :slight_smile: :slight_smile:


#11

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