Women, Commitment and Sex

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The last post was a bit of quick background on male commitment to marriage, which is automatic every time the man puts his penis in a woman’s vagina.  That sounds really odd, but it’s like saying the commitment to purchase a car is made automatically every time the purchase contract is signed.  The point is that for a man, the commitment to marry is made with the act of marriage, which is sexual intercourse.  Not so for a woman.

Men and women are different and held, by God, to different standards.

The eligible virgin has no agency when it comes to marriage.  By the term eligible, I speak of the relationship of the man to the woman.  Some marital relationships are forbidden, such as the proscribed incestuous relationships (Leviticus 18) and thus cannot result in marriage.  In such cases, a woman may be a virgin but she is not an eligible virgin.  Another example is a woman who has been engaged to marry some man.  That engagement makes her ineligible to marry any other man and the Bible describes her standing as that of a wife.

The eligible virgin has no agency because her consent is not required in order for her to be married.  This is difficult for many to accept, but we see in Exodus 21:7-10 where a father has the authority to sell his daughter to be another man’s concubine, which is a form of matrimony which grants her conjugal rights.  We also see in Deuteronomy 21:10-14 that the woman captured in battle becomes the man’s wife without her consent.  Finally, we see in Deuteronomy 22:28-29 the case of the woman who is raped into marriage to the man who forced her to have sex.  Thus, an eligible virgin may be forced into marriage with the act of sexual intercourse, against her will and over her objections.

On the other side of the equation, an eligible virgin may choose to marry a man and according to Numbers 30:3-5, her father may forbid the marriage in the day he hears of it, thereby annulling the marriage as if it had never occurred.  Thus, an eligible virgin may be forced into marriage against her will and may have her marriage that she desired and consented to annulled against her wishes.  Therefore, she has no agency when it comes to marriage and her consent either for the marriage or against the marriage is irrelevant.

This is a matter of what Scripture actually says.  There is no requirement for the eligible virgin to give her consent to marry and multiple examples in the Law of situations in which the woman is married over her objections and against her will.  Obviously it would be desirable and good for the woman to willingly consent to her marriage and desire marriage to that man, but the eligible virgin’s consent is not required.  The eligible virgin is married with the act of sexual intercourse and the man who takes her virginity is her husband by virtue of that act.

Thus, generally speaking, all women are virgins when they marry, she is bound to her husband as long as he lives and sex with any other man while she is still married is an act of adultery.  That fact alone has huge implications for the modern church.

The Eligible Non-Virgin

The woman who is not a virgin and yet is not married (such as a widow or a legitimately divorced woman) has agency.  Numbers 30:3-5 makes it clear that the virgin daughter is under the authority of her father and he has the authority to forbid any agreement she might make.  Following that, Numbers 30:6-8 makes it clear that upon marriage the authority of the father passes to the husband, thus the virgin and the married woman are under authority and any agreement they might make is subject to review by their father or husband.  Because as Genesis 3:16 states: “he shall rule over you.”  Not so the woman who is not married and not a virgin.  Numbers 30:9 states that the widow or the divorced woman are not under a man’s authority and any agreement or vow they make is binding upon them.

Specific to marriage, we notice that the Apostle Paul states in 1st Corinthians 7 that if a woman desires to marry she is to be allowed to marry.  In verse 39, the woman who is no longer bound has the authority to marry whomever she desires, but only if he is a Christian.

This causes great distress to churchians because the eligible non-virgin must consent to marriage before the act of marriage will create a marriage between the man and woman.  Given that there is no prohibition anywhere in Scripture that forbids a man and woman who are eligible to marry from engaging in sexual intercourse, if the eligible non-virgin has sex with a man but does not consent to marry, it’s just sex.  According to Romans 4:15 and 5:13, there being no prohibition there is no sin involved.

Crossing The Sexual Rubicon

All the churchians want to stand up and scream “FORNICATION” but that cannot be.  Neither is it “PREMARITAL SEX” because the couple isn’t engaged to marry.  The point is that either the Apostle Paul is a liar and Romans 4:15 and 5:13 is a lie, or it is not a sin for a man and woman who are eligible to marry to have sex.  If the woman is a virgin, they are married.  If the woman is not a virgin and consents to marry, they are married.  If the woman is not a virgin and does not consent to marry, the couple are not married (she did not consent) and neither are they in sin.

This is how the prostitute Rahab could be a righteous woman.  Obviously she was not a virgin and not married (she was most likely a widow) and as an eligible non-virgin she was free to have sex with any man she chose and not be in sin.  And if she got paid for it, that was not a sin either.  In fact, the only prohibition on prostitution in all of Scripture is the prohibition on being a cult prostitute, prostitution as part of idolatrous worship.  There is no prohibition on money-for-sex prostitution anywhere in Scripture.

From a Scriptural point of view, there is no difference between being a prostitute and being a farmer.   A farmer could be a righteous farmer obeying the Law, or he could be a sinful farmer by violating the Law.  Likewise, a prostitute could be a righteous prostitute (not violating the Law) or she could be a sinful prostitute (adultery or idolatry).  So, if farming can be a moral and righteous way to make a living, so can prostitution.

Which sends the churchians into a frenzy of outrage.  The one and only prohibition on using the services of a prostitute is found at 1st Corinthians 6:15-16 and that prohibition applies only to Christian men.  There was no such prohibition found anywhere in the Law and under the Law, a married man could have sex with a legitimate prostitute and not be in sin.   While there is a prohibition on Christian men using prostitutes, there is nothing anywhere in Scripture that forbids a woman, even a Christian woman, from being a prostitute.

Imagine Your Parents Having Sex

Most people find it rather uncomfortable (to say the least) to imagine their parents having sex.  I’m not talking about starfish get-it-over-with duty sex.  I’m talking about noisy, sweaty, wreck-the-bed fucking.  For whatever reason, our minds simply don’t want to go there.

The idea that sex is dirty, evil or even just plain naughty got baked into the cultural cake a long time ago.  No person can deny their parents had sex because that’s how they came into being.  And wouldn’t you like to think that your parents enjoyed it?  So… why is it so emotionally painful to imagine parents having sex?  If your parents were married then obviously there isn’t anything immoral involved because sex and making babies is what marriage is supposed to be all about.  Obeying that “be fruitful and multiply” command.

But…  what could be worse than imagining your parents having sex?

What REALLY makes the churchians howl is applying this to the former prostitute Mary Magdalene.  If Mary Magdalene was a righteous prostitute, meaning that she was not married, then any man who had sex with her was not in sin as long as he was eligible to marry her.  That included Jesus.  I am not saying He did, but if Jesus had sex with Mary Magdalene, He was not in sin.

Again, I’m not making the claim that Jesus was banging Mary Magdalene, but if He was, He was not in sin for doing so.  This raises some questions for the peanuts gallery.

Did He?  We don’t know.  There is no record stating whether He did or didn’t, so anyone claiming that He just couldn’t have done it is full of shit because they weren’t there.

If He did, was He in sin?  There is no prohibition that forbids any man from having sex with a prostitute in the Law.  The only mention of prostitutes in the Law is Deuteronomy 23:17, which states that none of the daughters of Israel shall be a cult prostitute (prostitution as part of idolatry).  Anyone who claims that Jesus would have been in sin if He had sex with Mary Magdalene is automatically making the claim that the Apostle Paul lied in Romans 4:15 and 5:13.

While the prohibition that forbids Christian men from having sex with prostitutes in 1st Corinthians 6:15-16 didn’t apply because that came many years later, God does not change.  On the other hand, Mary Magdalene was no longer a prostitute.  She gave that up to become one of the followers of Jesus.

Sex with an eligible virgin means you’re married, whether she likes it or not.

Sex with an eligible non-virgin who consents to be married means you’re married.

Sex with an eligible non-virgin who doesn’t consent to marry is just sex and not a sin.

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17 Responses to Women, Commitment and Sex

  1. marlon says:

    Ahh…but then and now there would be very few eligible non-virgins.

    • Every woman is a virgin up until the time she has sex. Wartime creates lots of widows. So does disease.

      Then we have Numbers 30. Since the woman didn’t know she was being married, neither did her father. There is no time limit on Numbers 30:5 and the father can refuse the marriage in the day he hears of it.

      Still, the way it’s supposed to be, there wouldn’t be many eligible non-virgins. Which is why they tended to have a pretty good market as prostitutes if they desired that. I suspect that the expression “merry widow” has some basis in this…

  2. Renee Harris says:

    How a woman who is ugly and 30 yr old make herself a a eligible non virgin

  3. marlon says:

    “Sex with an eligible non-virgin who doesn’t consent to marry is just sex and not a sin”

    Let’s call the eligible non-virgin, Ella.
    If Ella is a christian, she can’t be a prostitute.
    A christian man is forbidden from having sex with prostitutes.
    Sex with a non-christian man is unequal yoking so that doesn’t work either.

    If Ella is not a christian, then her clients can only be non-christian men as christian men aren’t allowed prostitutes.

    • Marlon, what you are doing is called eisegisis. You’re trying to read into the text what you want it to say.

      There is nothing, anywhere in Scripture, that prohibits any woman (Christian or non-Christian) from being an ordinary prostitute. The only prohibition on prostitution is Deuteronomy 23:17, which specifically prohibits cult (idolatry) prostitution. As long as she is not married and not engaging in prostitution as part of idolatry, she is free to do so. Rahab was a righteous harlot.

      The unequally yoked reference (a command only to Christians) is a specific reference to marriage (2nd Corinthians 6:14), not sex. You are trying to claim the act of having sex with a prostitute is to marry her, but the entire point of using a prostitute is that the sex does NOT result in marriage. The point is that if the non-virgin who is not married does not consent to marry, there is no marriage that results from having sex. The man is making his commitment in the act of having sex but the woman is not a virgin and her agreement is required. If the agreement is not present, it doesn’t result in marriage and your claims about being unequally yoked are spurious.

      Finally, where you get the idea the prostitute is responsible for her clients violations of their own moral code is beyond me. In short, you are trying to “interpret” what Scripture says in order to justify your beliefs that don’t match what Scripture actually says. I suspect this is because you have not studied this issue.

      You are free to cite chapter and verse describing where any woman is forbidden to be a prostitute other than Deuteronomy 23:17, which only forbids cult prostitution and was very specific to cult prostitution.

      Romans 4:15 and 5:13 are very clear: without a specific prohibition in the Law, there can be no violation and no sin. Deuteronomy 4:2 and 12:32 are also very clear: claiming something to be a sin that God didn’t say was a sin is a violation of the prohibition against adding to or subtracting from the Law, which is a sin.

  4. marlon says:

    “Marlon, what you are doing is called eisegisis. You’re trying to read into the text what you want it to say.”

    Maybe. Bear with me a bit.
    1 Corinthians 6 forbids Christian men from whores – specifically vss. 9 and 15-20.
    So if a Christian woman is a prostitute, her clients cannot be Christian men.

    Here is where my eisegesis pops in. Look at 2 Cor 6:14-18.

    [2Co 6:14-18 KJV]
    14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers:
    for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness?
    and what communion hath light with darkness?
    15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial?
    or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
    16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols?
    for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in [them]; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
    17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean [thing]; and I will receive you,
    18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

    Perhaps I am reading into this passage but how could a Christian woman be a prostitute and not run afoul of these verses?

    Note: I have no argument/problem with a non-Christian woman being a prostitute.

    • I’ve known a lot of prostitutes. None of them particularly wanted to be prostitutes and some of them loathed it. Still, for some of them it was that or starve. I believe that there is no prohibition against such things because of mercy. At different times and different places, the ability of a woman to keep herself and her children fed by working on her back is the only thing that kept them fed.

      The unequally yoked passage is about marriage, not sex. Romans 4:15 and 5:13 says that without a specific prohibition there can be no violation and no sin imputed. There is no prohibition on men and women who are eligible to marry having sex. The only exception is in 1st Corinthians 6:15-16, a prohibition that is only applicable to Christian men.

      Given that Christians are forbidden to marry non-Christians, that means they are not eligible to marry and you’d want to say they can’t have sex. Understand that when I use the term “eligible to marry” I’m talking about a man and woman who are not in sin by committing incest or adultery.

      The truth is that there is no prohibition on a man and woman having sex as long as it’s not incest, she’s not married and it’s not part of idolatry.

      Since we’re talking about an unmarried non-virgin who isn’t going to consent to marriage, while she isn’t allowed to marry an unbeliever, there is no prohibition on having sex with him.

      Likewise, given that the Christian man is forbidden to have sex with prostitutes, if a man who claims to be a Christian shows up, that’s proof he isn’t a Christian (1st John 2:4-6). It’s not her job to be his conscience.

  5. marlon says:

    No. I am not saying it is her job to be his conscience.

    Can circumstances exist where a Christian woman would have to prostitute herself to live?
    Perhaps.
    Must she? Is there no other avenue?

    “Since we’re talking about an unmarried non-virgin who isn’t going to consent to marriage, while she isn’t allowed to marry an unbeliever, there is no prohibition on having sex with him.”

    Then a Christian unmarried woman could have all the sex she wants with non-Christian Chad then.
    That seems to me using grace as a cover for wrongdoing.
    To me, the issue is not as simple as it seems.
    The scriptures clearly do not forbid it but…in my opinion, insofar as it is possible, the Christian woman should try to avoid paid or unpaid sex with Chad.

    • Can circumstances exist where a Christian woman would have to prostitute herself to live?

      I have been in a few of those places. I’ve heard stories of quite a few more.

      That seems to me using grace as a cover for wrongdoing. The scriptures clearly do not forbid it but…in my opinion, insofar as it is possible, the Christian woman…

      Look at what you just said. You call this wrongdoing, but on what basis do you call it wrong? Who are you to judge your neighbor? You even admitted that “the scriptures clearly do not forbid it” but understand what that means.

      Romans 4:15 and 5:13. I know this is tough, but where there is no specific prohibition, there is no violation and there is no sin. Which means that money for sex prostitution is just as righteous as farming or carpentry or computer programming. Not only that, but we were specifically commanded not to judge.

      I have been using an argument to the extreme to illustrate the fact that Christians (because of the perverts in the early church) have turned sex into a fetish.

      In Revelation, twice Christ made reference to the Nicolaitans and the fact He hated it/them. So, what were the Nicolaitans and what were they doing? Let’s try this:

      http://www.biblestudy.org/basicart/why-does-god-hate-practices-of-the-nicolaitans.html

      The sin of the Nicolaitans and the way of Baalam has produced a situation in which the church has been compromised by the sin of adultery. Yet, there is a way out of this for most if Christians would learn what Scripture actually says. With 7 words a father can solve the problem and a Christian woman goes from being an adulteress to being a lawfully married woman. Her children go from being bastards to being legitimate children.

      God made the rules for sex, all I’ve done is point out what God actually said.

  6. Pode says:

    I’m struggling with the idea that the act of sex = the act of marriage for men, but an eligible non virgin can consent to sex without consenting to marriage. Would you expound on your reasoning as to why her choosing who to marry is not equivalent to her choosing who to have sex with? It seems to me a reasonable reading of the text that consensual sex creates a marriage and the consent requirement exists just to protect widows from being raped into marriage. All prostitution would then be covered under the prohibition against adultery (which I guess would negate the *need* for the command for Christians not to use prostitutes, but just because God said something once doesn’t mean He never repeats it). Rahab, never having heard the Law, could be sinful and yet be righteous in the same way as Abram, believing and it being credited to her as righteousness. Thoughts?

    • Hi Pode

      It appears that your first statement encapsulates it all. You are uncomfortable with the difference in status between men and women because you have been taught the lie that men and women are equal and are held to the same standards of sexual morality.

      The status of the man is that he gives his consent and commitment to marry every time he has sexual intercourse. The act is automatic consent for the man because he is the moving party. Men marry women, not the other way around. Another example is the fact that a man can legitimately have sex with a woman who is not his wife but if a woman has sex with any man other than her husband she commits adultery. Or that if a man lies with a man as with a woman it’s an abomination, but not only did God not prohibit women with women, but Leviticus 18:17-18 actually presumes that in a poly marriage the wives will have sexual contact. In fact, if you parse it very carefully, they’ll have sexual contact because of their husband.

      In other words, the status and responsibilities of men are not the same as that of women because men and women are not the same. They are in no way equal because they have different standards of sexual morality. This is not, as is commonly taught, a difference merely in authority because men and women are held to different standards of moral behavior.

      For the eligible virgin, the act of being penetrated is automatic marriage because her consent is not required. The one exception to that falls under the fathers authority to forbid any agreement she might make that is found at Numbers 30:5. So, if the virgin agrees to have sex (the marriage ceremony) her father can later forbid that agreement.

      By forbidding the agreement to marry she is no longer eligible and thus the sex that occurs after her agreement does not make her married because she is not an eligible virgin. This is why Exodus 22:17 states “if her father absolutely refuses to give her.” Under Numbers 30:5, he is forbidding the agreement to marry. I have stated it as annulling the marriage, but in reality he is (after the fact) making her a non-eligible virgin which means the marriage was invalid. However, if she did not make any agreement that her father can forbid, the act of being penetrated makes her married. Which is what we see in Deuteronomy 22:28-29. Notice particularly the part about “if they are discovered.” That is the witness that she made no agreement and thus they are married.

      Because the eligible non-virgin has agency she must agree to marry in order to be married. It follows that because she is not a virgin she cannot be raped into marriage like the eligible virgin. This point is critical. In 1st Corinthians 7:39, the Apostle Paul states that the woman who is no longer bound may choose to marry whomever she wishes, but only in the Lord (c.f. 2nd Corinthians 6:14).

      Follow the logic here. If the eligible non-virgin has the choice of whom to marry then she must consent to marry in order to be married so it follows that she cannot be raped into marriage. Because she cannot be raped into marriage, it is not the sex that marries her- she must also consent to being married. Both elements must be present: sex and consent. Thus, the act of sex without consenting to marriage does not result in marriage. She can get raped all night or get paid to have sex all night and in either case not be married because she didn’t consent to marriage.

      Romans 4:15 and 5:13 are very clear that if something is not specifically forbidden in the Law, there is no sin for doing that which is not forbidden. Sex between an eligible man and woman is not forbidden anywhere because such a prohibition would prohibit marriage. So, call it a loophole if you desire, but unless the eligible non-virgin specifically consents to marry her sexual activities (whether consensual or non-consensual) will not make her married. Otherwise such a woman could be raped into marriage.

      This fully supports the idea of righteous prostitution. Keep in mind how the tax gatherers and prostitutes were constantly being lumped together. Being a tax gatherer was not a sin, the problem with tax gatherers was they overcharged in order to make a profit. Theft, in other words. In the same way, prostitution in and of itself is not a sin, the problem with prostitution is if the prostitute is married she is committing adultery along with her clients.

      As difficult as it is to deal with, if we apply Romans 4:15 and 5:13 to both farming and prostitution we must conclude that either farming is worse than prostitution (farming is regulated in the Law, prostitution is not) or that both farming and prostitution are righteous methods of earning a living. Key word there is righteous, meaning not immoral.

  7. Pode says:

    I should have clarified, I’ve been lurking and pondering your case for a while now and this point about used cars, so to speak, was one of only two sticking points so far (the other one will keep for later). Fully agree that there are significant differences in standards and status for men and women. It’s the idea that the same act (consensual sex) means marriage for one but not the other that I’m still wrestling with. It seems like a fair reading that choosing whom to marry equals choosing whom to have sex with. These 2 paragraphs address my question and I’d like to focus there.

    “Because the eligible non-virgin has agency she must agree to marry in order to be married. It follows that because she is not a virgin she cannot be raped into marriage like the eligible virgin. This point is critical. In 1st Corinthians 7:39, the Apostle Paul states that the woman who is no longer bound may choose to marry whomever she wishes, but only in the Lord (c.f. 2nd Corinthians 6:14).”

    “Follow the logic here. If the eligible non-virgin has the choice of whom to marry then she must consent to marry in order to be married so it follows that she cannot be raped into marriage. Because she cannot be raped into marriage, it is not the sex that marries her- she must also consent to being married. Both elements must be present: sex and consent. Thus, in the absence of consent she can consent to have sex without consenting to marriage.”

    For the sake of argument, suppose that consenting to sex means consenting to marriage for both genders. There’s clearly the case where marriage can be created without consent, but assuming that both parties are their own agents, consent of some form is required from both. The man’s consent to sex with the widow is his consent to marry. In the case of rape, the widow consents to neither sex nor marriage, so she is not married. It thus seems consistent to me to assert that her consent to sex is her consent to marry just as his is. I would appreciate your help in testing that last assertion against Scripture and further support for your position that she can consent to one without consenting to both.

    There is a specific non-virgin who has become eligible at my prompting. While she’s quite pleasant, at the moment I don’t think she’s going to prove to be wife (or first wife) material. Because of the difference in status, I’m mindful of the warning given to him who leads one of the little ones into sin and am treading carefully.

    TLDR: for men, consensual(?) sex is marriage. (My days of getting blackout drunk are behind me, so the question of whether a man is married by nonconsensual sex is academic for me.)
    For virgin women, sex is marriage unless it was consensual and dad says no.
    For non-virgin women, either consensual sex is marriage (which makes both prostitution and casual sex adultery), or she has to consent to both sex and marriage separately (which means party on girl!). I’m interested in the case for and against both of the latter statements.

    • It’s the idea that the same act (consensual sex) means marriage for one but not the other

      I made an edit after I posted my response, so I may be repeating myself. The problem is conflation. For the man, as the moving actor, sex is always consent and commitment to marry. This is the point about Deuteronomy 22:28-29 that almost never gets mentioned because everyone is so agog about the woman being married with the act of rape. The point is, he was just as married as she was because his act of penetrative intercourse was automatically his commitment to marriage.

      Let’s drop the whole “consensual” part about having sex and watch what happens.

      Man: Sex = marriage
      Eligible Virgin: Sex = marriage (1)
      Eligible non-virgin: Sex = marriage with consent to marry.
      Eligible non-virgin: Sex =/= marriage without consent to marry.

      (1) If she agreed to have sex (marriage) without the knowledge of the father, he still had the right to approve or forbid her agreement. If he approved they were married. If he forbid her agreement they were not married. If the sex was not consensual (rape) AND they were discovered, they are married. If they were not discovered, it defaults to the father to decide whether he will permit the marriage or forbid it.

      I think the problem here is getting hung up on consensual sex. In the case of both the man and the eligible virgin, sex = marriage regardless of the consent to have sex or the consent to marry on the part of either. It’s not until we get to the women who are no longer virgins that things change. These are women who were at one time one flesh with their husband. Now what? According to Leviticus 21:13-15, they’re used (damaged) goods, which is where the car analogy comes from. Which points to the problem with putting sex on a pedestal.

      “For non-virgin women, either consensual sex is marriage (which makes both prostitution and casual sex adultery), or she has to consent to both sex and marriage separately (which means party on girl!). I’m interested in the case for and against both of the latter statements.”

      Let’s begin by looking at prostitutes. Keeping in mind that adultery is a death-penalty offense, why is there no mention anywhere in Scripture of “cleaning house” of all the adulterous prostitutes? We have the specific command against idolatry and one of the laws implementing this command is Deuteronomy 23:17, which forbids “cult prostitutes” in the land. The crime is not prostitution, it’s the idolatry that forms the context of the prostitution. Likewise we have the command against adultery yet we see no other prohibition on prostitution other than Deuteronomy 23:17. If prostitution were de facto adultery, why only the prohibition on cult prostitution? Why not the blanket prohibition on all prostitution?

      We have Samson, a Nazerite, who visited a prostitute and did not become unclean. This argues strongly against the prostitute being engaged in serial adultery. Likewise, we have the long and detailed prohibition on Christian men using the services of a prostitute (1st Corinthians 6:12-16). If a prostitute was (by definition) committing adultery because the act of consensual sex meant consent to marry, why did Paul prohibit Christian men from having sex with prostitutes if it was obviously a sin and in doing so why was there no mention of adultery? If prostitution was de facto adultery, it was already forbidden, so why come up with a new reason not to commit adultery?

      I addressed this issue in Marriage, Sex and Whores” and my conclusion is Paul was prohibiting a situation in which the men were having sex (the act of marriage) with prostitutes *because* the prostitutes were the one class of women who would NOT consent to marry them. In other words, they were abusing of their authority to initiate marriage by engaging in the act of marriage in such a way that was guaranteed not to result in marriage.

      “Notice how Paul begins this passage, saying “all things are lawful for me, but not all things are beneficial.” Paul is, in fact, addressing men who knew that nothing in the Law forbid them from having sex with a prostitute. Seriously, I defy anyone to point to any specific provision in the Law that forbids getting sex from a prostitute in exchange for money.”

      Logic: With the virgin, the issue is authority because she does not have the authority to agree or disagree to marriage, that lies with her father. Her father has the authority over her and if he does not consent to her agreement (he forbids it) then she is not eligible and the sex does not make her married.

      According to Numbers 30:9, the widow or the divorced woman (the eligible non-virgin) has that same authority because they are no longer under the authority of either father or husband. Thus, if she does not consent to the marriage, the sex is just sex and it will not cause her to become married.

      My conclusion is the eligible non-virgin must consent to marry in order to be married and consenting to sex is not consent to marriage.

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  9. Jenny says:

    “But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.” Matt 5:32 what about this verse? this one makes her an adulteress even before sex is involved. She wouldn’t be a free agent free from sin, she’s condemned without even doing anything. You can’t be both free and condemned.

    • Hi Jenny
      Let me see if I can help you a bit with what this passage is actually saying. I haven’t covered this subject in a while so I’ll try to be complete.

      Context: In both Matthew 5:31-32 and Matthew 19:3-9, Jesus was teaching (among other things) about the meaning of the word “indecency” that Moses used in the Law about divorce. In Deuteronomy 24:1 Moses stated that if a man found some indecency in his wife he could divorce her by putting a certificate of divorce in her hand and sending her away. The certificate of divorce was her second witness that she was divorced. That allowed her to marry another man without the charge that she was an adulteress. So, what did the word “indecency” mean? That was a real question and the Pharisees asked that question at Matthew 19:3.

      There were two schools of thought at the time. The rabbi Shammai claimed that divorce could only be for serious immorality while the rabbi Hillel claimed that divorce could be granted for any reason, and burning breakfast too often was grounds for divorce. Obviously the word “indecency” that Moses used was ambiguous enough that it created a loophole big enough to drive a truck through.

      This is why it was so shocking when the Pharisees asked Jesus what the grounds for divorce were and He answered, saying there were no grounds for divorce. Matthew 19:3-9 is one of two key passages for understanding Genesis 2:24. Jesus quoted Genesis 2:24, then said “what therefore God had joined together let no man separate.” In other words, “no divorce.” The Pharisees came back at Him and said “Really? Then why did Moses say we could?”

      Jesus answered and said that because they were a bunch of pricks, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it has not been this way.” That’s critical because Jesus was making the point that the original standard was no divorce at all and Moses “permitted” the men to divorce their wives. However, by saying that Jesus put Himself in opposition to Moses so He added “And I tell you the truth…” and defined the Mosaic standard of divorce as adultery, which meant His teaching was no longer in conflict with Moses.

      Looking at Matthew 5:32 we can know what Jesus meant from the words He used as well as by what He could not have meant. Many people are under the mistaken apprehension that Jesus could say anything He wanted, but that isn’t true at all. Deuteronomy 4:2 and 12:32 both prohibit either adding to or subtracting from the Law. That means if Jesus had taught anything contrary to the Law, He would have been guilty of breaking the Law, which was a sin. As a sinner He would not have been a perfect sacrifice and Christianity would be a lie. Understanding that, we know there are some things those words could not possibly have meant. In light of the Law, observe this:

      1) Adultery is when a married woman has sex with any man not her husband (Leviticus 18:20; 20:10).
      2) A man can only commit adultery with a married woman (Leviticus 18;20; 20:10).
      3) If a woman is not married, she is not a wife and therefore cannot commit adultery no matter who she has sex with. Even if the man is married to another woman they are not committing adultery because a man can have more than one wife.

      Taking the first part of what Jesus said:

      Man divorces wife for any reason OTHER than adultery = causes her to commit adultery.

      The only way she can commit adultery is if she is still married to the man who divorced her. That means divorce for any reason other than adultery is an illegitimate divorce and God will not accept an illegitimate divorce.

      Now let’s swap this around like an algebraic equation to see how it works:

      Man divorces wife because of her adultery = she does not commit adultery. See? The only way she does not commit adultery is if she is no longer married. Therefore, a divorce for adultery is legitimate. A woman who is legitimately divorced is no longer married and thus cannot commit adultery.

      Now the second part. Jesus said:

      Man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

      We have already established that if a man divorces his wife for her adultery, the divorce is legitimate and they are no longer married. Likewise, if a man divorces his wife for any reason other than her adultery, the divorce is not legitimate, God will not accept such an illegitimate divorce and she is still married. Thus, any man she “marries” while still married to her husband is committing adultery with her.

      Therefore, what Jesus is teaching in Matthew 5:32 is that God will not accept an illegitimate divorce and only a woman who is divorced by her husband because she committed adultery is legitimately divorced and able to remarry or even have sex with any other man. Jesus is not teaching that an illegitimately divorced woman is auto-magically an adulteress because that is not possible. Jesus could not possibly have been teaching that because if He was, He would be in sin.

      I must add, however, that the original standard of marriage was the husband gives permanent but non-exclusive commitment to the wife and the wive gives both permanent and exclusive commitment to the husband. Moses changed that and said that if the wife broke the “exclusive” part of the vow the husband could too and he could divorce her. While that was not part of God’s original plan, it became part of the Law which cannot be changed.

      Under the New Covenant, the Christian undergoes a change in status. The Christian is no longer free, but a slave (actually, a bondservant) who has been purchased for a price paid in blood by Christ. As the Master, Christ has the right to make His own “house rules” for His servants. One of the “house rules” for Christians is found at 1st Corinthians 7:10-11, which states that two Christians married to each other are not allowed to divorce for any reason. In 1st Corinthians 7:12-15, Paul addressed the “rest” of the married Christians in the church, the ones married to someone who was not a
      Christian, instructing that if the non-believer leaves the Christian is no longer bound.

      What this means is there are three sets of rules concerning divorce.
      1) A non-Christian man may legitimately divorce his wife for her adultery.
      2) A Christian woman married to a non-Christian is only free if he leaves her.
      3) A Christian married to a Christian is married for life, no divorce for any reason.

      Applicable to all three status groups is the fact that no woman may divorce her husband for any reason because there is no authority anywhere in Scripture for a woman to terminate a marriage, regardless of his behavior (1st Peter 3:1). Although she may feel compelled to leave her husband contrary to her command not to (1st Cor. 7:10), if she does leave him she is still married to him.

      This is further complicated by the fact that the vast majority of women were never married to the man they thought they were because in virtually all cases the woman is married to the man who took her virginity. If she was in her youth, living in her father’s house when that occurred, he can forbid that marriage in the day he hears of it. There is no time limit and all it takes is 7 words: “I forbid your marriage to ______ ______.

      If that is done by her father, that means the man she officially married is actually her husband. Yes, I know, that sounds strange, right up there with all your previous sins being forgiven in the day you become a Christian. However, if the woman was not in her youth living in her father’s house when she agreed to marry (agreed to have sex), then he can’t forbid it. If he is no longer alive, he cannot forbid it.

      If that is the case, what about the man she married by giving him her virginity? If he is not a Christian, he can give her a certificate of divorce for her adultery (assuming she’s had other partners) and from that day onward, she is free. If the man she is married to is a Christian, he cannot divorce her because he is forbidden to. That means she can either live chastely (alone, no sex) or she can be reconciled to him. He doesn’t get a choice in this (although he can set conditions) because Christian men are commanded to live with their wives (1st Peter 3:7).

      If the husband refuses to live with his wife he is refusing to obey his commandments and that brings into question whether he is actually a Christian (1st John 2:4-6) but that is a huge can of worms and really a matter of conscience. If you have questions about your personal situation, email me.

  10. Pingback: Ho, ho, ho. | Toad's Hall

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