Salvation & Marriage: Why the Double Standard?


#1

I posted this in the Ask an Apologist forum as well, but wanted to hear everybody’s thoughts. If double posting is not allowed, I’m sorry, and would be happy to remove this.

I’m a evangelical protestant considering the catholic church. Here’s one area I don’t understand:

It seems like the main reason catholics give for why one can lose one’s salvation is because of Free Will. They enter a covenant bond with God, become his adopted children, are baptised with the Spirit, are changed and are changing, etc–but they still have free will, so they could still abandon God and his plan and lose their salvation.

But Catholics see marriage differently. They see marriage like some evangelicals see salvation: indisolvable. A covenantal bond that cannot be broken. At the worst, it can be annulled, saying that a valid marriage “never happened.” But doesn’t the importance of Free Will demand that the marriage could be lost by the choice of either partner?

Why this double standard for salvation and marriage?

I really enjoy this forum and have already had so many questions answered. Thanks for your help! God bless.


#2

The reason why marraige is indesolvable, in my opinion, is because when you get married in a Catholic Church, you make vows to God that you will stay with that person until death do you part. I think the fact that a person made these vows to God is reason enough as to why it’s indesolvable. :slight_smile:

Have a blessed day!- Christina


#3

[quote=Firebug]The reason why marraige is indesolvable, in my opinion, is because when you get married in a Catholic Church, you make vows to God that you will stay with that person until death do you part. I think the fact that a person made these vows to God is reason enough as to why it’s indesolvable. :slight_smile:

Have a blessed day!- Christina
[/quote]

Thanks for your response Christina, and yes, I agree with you on marriage. But are not vows made to God at your baptism and confirmation? Why do these vows seem to have a Free Will Clause, allowing for dissolution, while marriage does not?


#4

[quote=RonRule]Thanks for your response Christina, and yes, I agree with you on marriage. But are not vows made to God at your baptism and confirmation? Why do these vows seem to have a Free Will Clause, allowing for dissolution, while marriage does not?
[/quote]

There are no vows at baptism and confirmation. Even if there were it wouldn’t matter. If you break the vows, you’d go to Hell for breaking them. If you didn’t have any vows in the first place, you’d go to Hell for not being baptized and joined to the Body of Christ. Same result.

(actually you may not go to Hell for not being baptized, but it would be unusual not to and hard to do.)


#5

Being bapized, then later choosing to exercise free will and abandon God does not invalidate the baptism. In the same way, a spouse can exercise their free will and separate from their spouse, but the marriage is not invalidated. As I understand it, separated spouses are not necessarily in a state of sin. Civilly divorced couples are not, either. Civilly divorced and remarried couples are. So in both cases, baptism and marriage, a person retains their free will not to accept the graces and benefits (for lack of a better term) granted by the sacrament, but the sacrament is still valid and the benefits remain available for the person willing to repent and accept them.


#6

There really is no double standard.

You still have Free Will when you’re married, but because you made a vow before God and two became “one flesh,” if you have a relationship with someone else, whether you were civilly divorced or not, you are committing adultery, which is a mortal sin.

You have Free Will your whole life to reject the salavation of Christ. If you do, you commit a mortal sin, same as with adultery.

Breaking marriage vows = Rejection of Christ’s salvation

They amount to the same thing.


#7

[quote=RonRule]I posted this in the Ask an Apologist forum as well, but wanted to hear everybody’s thoughts. If double posting is not allowed, I’m sorry, and would be happy to remove this.

I’m a evangelical protestant considering the catholic church. Here’s one area I don’t understand:

It seems like the main reason catholics give for why one can lose one’s salvation is because of Free Will. They enter a covenant bond with God, become his adopted children, are baptised with the Spirit, are changed and are changing, etc–but they still have free will, so they could still abandon God and his plan and lose their salvation.

But Catholics see marriage differently. They see marriage like some evangelicals see salvation: indisolvable. A covenantal bond that cannot be broken. At the worst, it can be annulled, saying that a valid marriage “never happened.” But doesn’t the importance of Free Will demand that the marriage could be lost by the choice of either partner?

Why this double standard for salvation and marriage?

I really enjoy this forum and have already had so many questions answered. Thanks for your help! God bless.
[/quote]

The central point of each is the Sacrament. In Baptism one is marked indissolubly as Born again in Christ. You may through Free Will abandon your relationship with God but the bond of Baptism is never broken.

In Marriage indissolubly the two become one flesh. You may through Free Will abandon your relationship (divorce). But the bond of a valid Marriage is never broken except by death.


#8

Many good points above. I just want to add:

Marriage *is my salvation. As one called to the vocation of sacramental marriage, my lovely bride is my ticket to heaven. If I just love her the right way, I get to go! How **cool **is that!? :smiley:

(* Yeah, there’s a whole lot more that that implies, but it all springs forth from loving my wife as Christ loves his Church)

:love:
tee


#9

Like Tee says, a spouse is your ticket to heaven; The purpose of marraige is to help eachother get to heaven. :slight_smile: That’s what I learned anyways! :smiley:


#10

So if I commit adultery (& die w/o confession), I am a husband that goes to hell.

And if I reject God (& die w/o confession), I am a Christian that goes to hell? Because I am still born again in Christ from my indissoluble baptism?

I always thought the best argument for eternal security and OSAS was the fact that salvation wasn’t just something you had, but it changes who you are. And you can’t be unchanged. When I married, I became Husband. I can’t become not-Husband. I can reject husbandry and dishonor my vows, which would understandbly require discipline.

So to sum up with a final mix of confusing metaphors: the punishment for rejecting salvation is the same as the one if you had never accepted it in the first place?

Just trying to clarify. Thanks for the great responses everybody!


#11

[quote=RonRule]I posted this in the Ask an Apologist forum as well, but wanted to hear everybody’s thoughts. If double posting is not allowed, I’m sorry, and would be happy to remove this.

I’m a evangelical protestant considering the catholic church. Here’s one area I don’t understand:

It seems like the main reason catholics give for why one can lose one’s salvation is because of Free Will. They enter a covenant bond with God, become his adopted children, are baptised with the Spirit, are changed and are changing, etc–but they still have free will, so they could still abandon God and his plan and lose their salvation.

But Catholics see marriage differently. They see marriage like some evangelicals see salvation: indisolvable. A covenantal bond that cannot be broken. At the worst, it can be annulled, saying that a valid marriage “never happened.” But doesn’t the importance of Free Will demand that the marriage could be lost by the choice of either partner?

Why this double standard for salvation and marriage?

I really enjoy this forum and have already had so many questions answered. Thanks for your help! God bless.
[/quote]

Salvation is a gift, so to speak that can through sin be lost. Marriage however when validly performed makes two one. Binding them in a sacramental covenant, “what God has joined no man should tear assunder.”


#12

Both marriage and baptism is indissoluble. I don’t understand much but I’ll try to explain things as I know them. At baptism we are given the grace needed for us to reach to heaven. Through baptism Jesus ensured for us that all sins are wiped away and we receive the Holy Spirit. It is your ticket to heaven, but you got to make it to the airport to use it, as in you need to die. At that time, through the actions in your life and the state of your heart at your death, you either don’t accept the fruits of Christ’s passion or embrace it with your whole being on a level we can’t even phathom now. Baptism too in a sense is a till death do we part type deal. You can’t ever get baptized again because it changes your soul permanently. You can’t ever get married again because Jesus said so. I might have my theology wrong though; if I am feel free to correct me.


#13

God is your father. And as such he can never stop being your father. And although He will never abandon you, you can abandon Him. We do this through mortal sin. We walk away from His love and grace. But, the baptismal bond that was made will never be broken.

The same is true for a valid marriage. Except in this case, either party can walk away at any time. However, they will be married forever. Nothing can change that. It is the same as the baptismal bond that is formed between a person and God. Nothing can break that bond.

I agree that it would be very nice if one’s salvation could not be lost. But that takes the free will out of the equation all together. By adopting the OSAS philosophy you are saying that from the moment that I believe in Jesus, nothing I do can deny me entrance into Heaven. You could commit the most henious sins imaginable, and still be admitted to Heaven. And although this is true…it only holds true when one repents of those henious (mortal) sins through the sacrament of reconciliation.


#14

I look at it like this . . . do you need God or have you needed God. In other words, a Catholic beleives that we constantly NEED God on a daily basis.

If you are saved once and its done, then no, you couldn’t save yourself without god, but you only needed him once. Back when you were “saved.”

As far as marriage goes, its a matter of definition not debate. Marriage is a covenant between a man and a woman and God, forever. You may have free will to leave them and violate your vows, perhaps even to make invalid vows to someone else, but that doesn’t change the definition of what marriage is.


#15

Perhaps the nature of Baptism ought to be clarified somewhat.

The Catholic Church teaches that Baptism absolves original sin, allowing sanctifying grace into the soul, and hence giving us the opportunity of attaining salvation. During our lives on Earth we are neither saved nor condemned; this only occurs at our particular judgement after our death.

The change occurring at Baptism that you refer to, RonRule, is indeed irreversible: original sin never returns to the soul. But the sanctifying grace can be driven out by personal grave sin.

Peace,

  • Chrysogonus -

#16

Baptism and marriage seems like a pretty good analogy.

Baptism, like confirmation, permanently changes the character of your soul, marking you as belonging to Christ. It cannot be undone.

Yet you still have free will. You can at some point decide to reject Christ and embrace sin. It doesn’t take away your baptism. Even if you end up in hell, your soul will be recognizable as a Christian, being baptized or confirmed; yet rejecting God of your own free choice.

A sacramental marriage, validly contracted, creates a permanent bond. No human being can undo it, nor can a civil divorce.

Yet free will remains. The decision to love must be continually renewed.

One may at some point decide to reject one’s partner and embrace sin. But the marriage bond is not thereby undone. One may move in with a new partner or attempt a civil marriage. Yet the existing marriage bond remains.


#17

[quote=RonRule]So if I commit adultery (& die w/o confession), I am a husband that goes to hell.

And if I reject God (& die w/o confession), I am a Christian that goes to hell? Because I am still born again in Christ from my indissoluble baptism?

I always thought the best argument for eternal security and OSAS was the fact that salvation wasn’t just something you had, but it changes who you are. And you can’t be unchanged. When I married, I became Husband. I can’t become not-Husband. I can reject husbandry and dishonor my vows, which would understandbly require discipline.

So to sum up with a final mix of confusing metaphors: the punishment for rejecting salvation is the same as the one if you had never accepted it in the first place?

Just trying to clarify. Thanks for the great responses everybody!
[/quote]

A quick note… “Husbandry” refers to the cultivation of crops and the raising of livestock! I am not sure how the Church looks on vows of husbandry. Sorry…couldn’t resist this one!


#18

[quote=CJE]I agree that it would be very nice if one’s salvation could not be lost. But that takes the free will out of the equation all together. By adopting the OSAS philosophy you are saying that from the moment that I believe in Jesus, nothing I do can deny me entrance into Heaven. You could commit the most henious sins imaginable, and still be admitted to Heaven. And although this is true…it only holds true when one repents of those henious (mortal) sins through the sacrament of reconciliation.
[/quote]

Just for fun, I’ll rephrase your argument for marriage: :slight_smile:

[quote=no one]I agree that it would be very nice if one’s marriage could not be lost. But that takes the free will out of the equation all together. By adopting the OMAM (Once Married, Always Married) philosophy you are saying that from the moment that I say “I do,” nothing I do can disolve my marriage. I could commit the most henious sins imaginable (commit adultery, prostitute myself, etc.) and still be married.
[/quote]

I’m not doing this to make fun. I’m just trying to show that some arguments catholics use against eternal security can also be used against marriage.

God bless.


#19

[quote=Writer]A quick note… “Husbandry” refers to the cultivation of crops and the raising of livestock! I am not sure how the Church looks on vows of husbandry. Sorry…couldn’t resist this one!
[/quote]

LOL. And I thought I was being a real witty wordsmith! :thumbsup:


#20

I agree that it would be very nice if one’s marriage could not be lost. But that takes the free will out of the equation all together. By adopting the OMAM (Once Married, Always Married) philosophy you are saying that from the moment that I say “I do,” nothing I do can disolve my marriage. I could commit the most henious sins imaginable (commit adultery, prostitute myself, etc.) and still be married.

That works, as long as the original marriage is valid.

I agree that it would be very nice if one’s Baptism could not be lost. But that takes the free will out of the equation all together. By adopting the OBAB (Once Baptised, Always Baptised) philosophy you are saying that from the moment that I am baptised, nothing I do can undo that baptism. I could commit the most henious sins imaginable (commit adultery, prostitute myself, etc.) and still be baptised.

That works, too. Baptism, even more so than marriage (which ends at death) is permanent. But I can still lose my salvation by rejecting God, and refusing to enter heaven.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.