Jerry C. Brewer
According to God’s Word, there are only three classes of persons who may marry. They are 1) those who have never been married (Heb. 13:4; 1 Cor. 7:28), 2) those who have been married but whose spouses have died (Rom. 7:2-3; 1 Cor. 7:39) and 3) those who have been married but are divorced because of their spouses’ fornication (Matt. 19:9). Though all persons in these classes are permitted to marry, they are permitted to do so only within the parameters of God’s law.
So important is the home of one woman, one man and their children to an orderly society that God intends for that relationship to continue for the lives of all involved. Marriage is “until death do us part,” and neither man nor legislative fiat has a right to allow a man and woman to divorce for every cause. In tandem with the neglect of children by working mothers who are married, the epidemic of divorce is also destroying the moral fabric of our states. Not only is divorce routinely permitted for any cause under the sun, but it is celebrated and extolled in popular culture.
Once upon a time, in a world that no longer exists, children in Longfellow Grade School in Elk City, Okla. read stories of a family consisting of a father, mother, and three children named Dick, Jane, and Sally. Those stories not only taught us to read, but imparted the ancient verities of a family structured after God’s pattern, familial love, honesty, truthfulness, and fidelity to each other.
But somewhere along the path we have traveled in the past seven decades, Dick and Jane were slowly put to death. God’s family structure that they confirmed in our young minds eroded into single-parent entities of popular culture like My Three Sons as social engineers in the 1960s began telling us to “do your own thing.” The selflessness of Dick and Jane and Sally’s family was replaced with self-obsession as we continued a cultural and moral descent through Eddie’s Father of the 70s which culminated in Murphy Brown’s child born of fornication in the 90s. What killed Dick and Jane? The answer is a rejection of God’s order for the home which was, and continues to be, fueled by parents who want to “find themselves” by sacrificing their families on the altar of divorce for any cause.
There Is Only One God-Ordained Reason For Divorce
Divorce for every cause has caused misery untold in our society and continues unabated at an accelerated pace. Statistically, the highest divorce rates in the nation are in the South where we have always been known as “The Bible Belt.” That is now a misnomer for our region. Our states have sown the wind of easy divorce and are reaping the whirlwind of a crumbling, decadent society. Oklahoma is among the worst with the second highest divorce rate among the 50 states. That prompted Governor Frank Keating to say in 2001 that it was “easier for Oklahomans to get out of a marriage than a Tupperware contract.” 1
Citing federal figures in 1999, the Associated Press reported that “there were about 4.2 divorces for every thousand people in 1998. That rate was 8.5 per thousand in Nevada, 6.4 in Tennessee, 6.1 in Arkansas, and 6.0 in Alabama and Oklahoma.” 2
God joins a man and a woman together as husband and wife when they marry according to the law of the land, and no human law can dissolve that bond. Only God can do so and He declares that fornication is the only reason He allows for one to divorce and marry another. That is found in Matthew 19:3-9 when the Pharisees put a question to him about a man putting “away his wife for every cause.” The Pharisees weren’t interested in the truth concerning marriage. They only sought to entrap Jesus, placing Him in opposition to one of two schools of thought, then extant, concerning divorce.
The school of Hillel taught that a man might divorce his wife for any reason, for any slight offense, or merely for his dislike of her person or manners; they based their opinions on Deut. 24:1, which says, ‘If she find no favor in his eyes,’ then he may ‘write her a bill of divorcement and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house.’ The opposite school of Shammai allowed divorce only for adultery; this school based its decision on the same scripture (Deut. 24:1) which says, ‘Because he hath found some unseemly thing in her,’ which they interpreted as the sin of adultery. If Jesus answered this question in the negative, He opposed the school of Hillel and would incur their enmity; but if He answered in the affirmative, He would incur the enmity of the school of Shammai. 3
In His reply, Jesus aligned Himself with neither school but directed their attention to the creation of man and reaffirmed God’s law of marriage which has never been abrogated.
…Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder (Matt. 19:4-6).
God made man as male and female “at the beginning” and intends that husband and wife remain married for the duration of their earthly lives. Jesus further emphasized that no divorce is allowed, except for the sin of fornication, and to divorce and remarry for any other cause is to enter into a state of adultery. Despite the legal maneuvering of modern Pharisees, any divorce and subsequent remarriage by either party, for a cause other than fornication, constitutes an adulterous union. One who divorces his wife, “except it be for fornication,” and marries another becomes an adulterer. He who marries her thus put away also becomes an adulterer because, in God’s sight, he is living with another man’s wife. The woman also becomes an adulteress because she is living with a man who isn’t her husband under God’s law. That means there may be four people living in adultery from one divorce, because of the laws and license of a secular/humanist civil government. Only fornication can break the marriage bond and give the guiltless party the right to remarry in the sight of God. That’s what Jesus said in Matthew 19:9 and He does not allow for the remarriage of the guilty party. Hence, when a man divorces his wife for any reason other than fornication and marries another he and the woman he marries enter into a spiritually deadly state of adultery that leads to hell.
Easy divorce laws springing from the secular humanism of our present age have created a nation of adulterers and wreaked havoc upon American homes where multitudes now live in such unions. God’s law of marriage was made for man’s good — a fact that should be obvious considering the misery that broken homes have brought to our communities. Children today have a mother in one place, a father in another, stepparents, step-grandparents, half and step-siblings, and bickering, selfish relatives who add to the confusion. Then one wonders what is wrong with the younger generation! What is wrong is the abdication of parental responsibility by self-seeking, pseudo-adults who are more concerned with “finding themselves” and sating their own lusts than caring for the children they brought into the world. Adherence to God’s law of marriage by repudiating legalized adultery would remedy much of the misery suffered by children today.
I am no prophet, nor the son of one, but there is another grave consequence that I can foresee resulting from serial polygamy in a series of cohabitation by the unmarried and divorce and remarriage. Many of these unions result in the production of children who are of differing lineages. A woman may shack up with five or six different men and have children by them all. A person who is divorced and remarried multiple times may have children in the same way. It may not occur in my lifetime, but in the future these dysfunctional families, with disjointed offspring, having no knowledge of their lineage, may easily form incestuous unions. The result will be a generation of mentally and physically infirm humans—the fruit and consequence of today’s “if-it-feels-good-do-it” generation. God’s order of one man and one woman who are married for life is not only for the good of the present generation, but for all generations to come.
All Bible references are from the King James Version.
1. Harden, http://www.hvk.org/articles/0501/86.html.
2. David Crary, “Bible Belt Leads U.S. in Divorces,” Associated Press, Nov. 12, 1999.
3. H. Leo Boles, A Commentary on The Gospel According To Matthew, Nashville, Gospel Advocate Co., 1936, pp. 385-386.