Social Problems--Part B

Russell Maatman (
Thu, 12 Feb 1998 20:08:23 -0600

Here's the second part of my five-part communication.

Social Problems and God's Plan of Redemption

CAPS show the context of each part.

(A) Introduction
(C) Racism
(D) The Right to Life
(E) The Beginning of the Human Race

The social problems discussed in parts (B)-(E) are only examples of
important modern problems. In each case, incorrect starting points are
often used. Even Christians fall into this trap. The purpose of this
section is to show how using an incorrect starting point can lead either to
an incorrect conclusion or at best a correct but limited conclusion.

B. Marriage

It is common to condemn deviations from the model of marriage in which one
man and one woman make a commitment to each other. Examples of deviation
are adultery, fornication, and homosexual activity. But too often the
reasons given for condemnation are faulty, even when Christians talk to
each other. Here are some insufficient reasons for holding that marriage
must be a commitment between one man and one woman:

1. Experience teaches us. The "traditional" one-man-one-woman model works
best. Not fornication, but a lifelong commitment in marriage, is good for
society as a whole. A society based on traditional marriages functions
better than other societies. It is good for children.

2. Where there are more than two people in a "marriage," there is unholy
competition between members of the same sex seeking the favor of a lone man
or a lone woman. Human rights are not respected. Children grow up in a
family where competition, not love and cooperation, is the norm.

3. Deviations, such as adultery and homosexual activity, don't work.
Adultery breaks relationships that should not be broken. Homosexual
activity often--perhaps always--magnifies an already-existing sense of
dissatisfaction. Both adultery and homosexual activity flaunt traditional
values and therefore affect society negatively. Both adultery and
homosexual activity contribute to the AIDS epidemic and the spread of other
sexually-transmitted diseases.

4. Limiting sexual contact to one man with one woman would almost
completely eliminate sexually-transmitted diseases.

These are insufficient approaches because they imply we need not rely on
fundamentals. Rather, we can perhaps do more scientific work and eliminate
AIDS and other sexually-transmitted diseases. Perhaps by some means not now
available we will be able to eliminate the disjointedness that accompanies
adultery or homosexual activity. In all these efforts, the emphasis is on
curing symptoms. Such efforts do not recognize the true reason for the
problems that arise.

The Bible presents a fundamental reason for teaching the one-man-one-woman
model of union described in Genesis 2:24. That ideal pre-fall union became
intimately involved with God's plan of redemption when Christ came to renew
the broken image by becoming the bridegroom of the church. God promised
Abraham he would have his own people (Gen. 17:2-9) and so Christ, who is
God, is faithful to his promise to redeem the image (Rom. 8:29). In the
same way, one man and one woman who unite are to promise to be faithful to
each other. Furthermore, in Ephesians 5 Paul tells sinners in their
marriages that the pre-fall institution of marriage is to be their ideal.
This is not merely theory. It will be at the center of our lives when
Christ returns, when his bride, the church, will be redeemed--ready for her
husband (Rev. 21:2-3).

Now we can see what is fundamentally wrong with defining marriage--in fact,
any sexual union between people--that is not the union of one man and one
woman who make a commitment to each other. For example, same-sex union
would be analogous to a "church" promising faithfulness to something else,
perhaps another "church," or a "god" promising faithfulness to another
"god." Sex without marriage, that is, without the promise of faithfulness,
is like having a God who has not given his church promises and having a
church that is not asked to reciprocate. For similar reasons all other
deviations from the biblical norm for marriage are also wrong. In short,
defining marriage in any way other than the way the Bible defines it is a
denial of the very essence of God's plan of redemption.

Even though Christians come to agreement on the biblical understanding of
marriage, they need to meet non-Christians wherever they are and lead them
to Christ. Later, when they begin to see what it means to be a Christian,
they can be shown how God's plan of redemption uses the model of marriage
he instituted before sin entered the picture.

Russell Maatman
Home: 401 5th Avenue
Sioux Center, IA 51250