Churchian Challenge

Toad’s Challenge For Churchians:

 

Consider this an open-book test.  All the answers have been provided here

Category I: Definition of Marriage

  • Where is the Biblical definition of marriage found and how can we know that is the definition of marriage?
  • According to this definition, what are the requirements for the formation of marriage?  In other words, what acts must be taken by all people, each and every time, for all of time in order to form a marriage?
  • At what point will God consider the man and woman married?
  • What is the Biblical standard of commitment in marriage of the man and the woman and how do we know what the standard is?
  • Is the Biblical standard of commitment in marriage the same for both men and women or are they different?  Why?
  • Are the requirements of marriage different for virgins and non-virgins?  If so, how do they differ and why?
  • Does the virgin have agency?  Meaning, is her consent required to form a marriage?
  • How does the man demonstrate his consent and commitment to marriage?
  • Is the Father’s permission required to marry his daughter?

Category II: Definition of Divorce

  • According to Matthew 19, after quoting Genesis 2:24 on the subject of divorce, Jesus said “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it has not been this way.”  Demonstrate from the text why divorce (which Moses “permitted”)  has not been this way from the beginning.  How do we know there was no divorce from the beginning?
  • What are the grounds for divorce under the Law?
  • Does a woman have the authority to divorce her husband?
  • Can a legitimately divorced woman remarry?
  • What are the grounds for divorce for a Christian?

Category III:  Slavery and House Rules For Christian Slaves

  • According to Romans 4:15 and 5:13 the Law defines sin and therefore applies to everyone.  According to Deuteronomy 4:2 and 12:32, it is forbidden to add to the Law or subtract from it. Does Christ have the authority to violate God’s Law by adding to or subtracting from the Law?
  • Does Christ have the authority to place additional restrictions on His slaves that He purchased with His blood in addition to the Law of Moses?
  • Did Christ command His slaves to not divorce for any reason, even though Moses permitted husbands to divorce their wives if they committed adultery?
  • Did Christ command His male slaves not to have sex with prostitutes, even though the Law makes no such prohibition?
  • Did Christ command His slaves to only marry men or women who are also His slaves?
  • Do such regulations that Christ makes for His slaves apply to those who are not Christians?

Category IV:  Definition of Sexual Immorality

  • Is “sex outside the bounds of marriage” always a sin?
  • What is the Biblical definition of “fornication”?
  • What is the Biblical definition of adultery?
  • If lust is a sin, what law is being violated?
  • Is female homosexuality a sin?
  • Is female prostitution a sin, in and of itself?

Category V:  Issues Related To Polygyny

  • Is polygyny lawful?
  • Did God support polygyny?
  • Did God ever command polygyny?
  • Did God have two wives?
  • Did anything in the New Testament forbid polygyny?
  • Does polygyny offer solutions for the marriage crisis today?

Rules: Sola Scriptura, no antinomies allowed, cite the definitive text with exegesis as necessary for each answer.  Responses may be submitted by email to artisanaltoad at gmail or in the comments below.

For those of you who are new here, keep in mind that what the text cannot mean in light of other passages quite often determines what the text does mean.  I will provide one example:

It is often claimed that Christ’s teaching in Matthew 19:4-6 forbade a man from having more than one wife.  The problem with this claim is Jesus didn’t have the authority to change the Law because the Law clearly states that it was not to be added to or subtracted from.  Doing so was a violation of Deuteronomy 4:2 and 12:32, which is a sin.  The Law supported having more than one wife and gave the regulations for a man who desired to do so.  Psalm 19 states the Law of the Lord is perfect, meaning that it is complete.

Jesus testified that not the slightest stroke or shading of the pen of the Law would pass away until all things were complete.  He testified that He did not come to do away with the Law but to fulfill it.  By His own testimony He did not change the Law and by the testimony of the Law He could not change the Law.  Therefore, if He taught something that added to or subtracted from the Law, He sinned.

Had Jesus actually been teaching a “one man and one woman” doctrine of marriage that forbid polygyny, He was in sin and therefore was not a perfect and acceptable sacrifice and therefore could not have been the Messiah.  If Jesus was not the Messiah we have no Christianity and the entire New Testament is a lie.  Therefore, to reach the proper exegesis of this passage we must not only look at what He said, we must consider it in light of what He could not possibly have meant with the words He used.

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12 Responses to Churchian Challenge

  1. Samuel Culpepper says:

    Toad:

    I wanted to invite this fellow to the fray, but could not locate a function on their website to contact the writers. Typical modern christian response as you can read: shame the man for desiring what God instituted and of course . . . grace fixes all! Maybe you can figure out a way to contact this writer who offers his primrose path to hell for the ignorant to consume.

    http://www.boundless.org/advice/2013/where-can-i-find-a-virgin-girl-to-marry

  2. Pingback: Genesis 3:16 A Man Must Be Fit To Rule | Toad's Hall

  3. Derek Ramsey says:

    “He testified that He did not come to do away with the Law but to fulfill it.”

    Could you define ‘fulfill’ in this context?

    • I’m tempted to simply reply that the book of Hebrews explains that, but after mentally spending a few minutes on it, I think I’ll do a post on that question because there are a lot of unexplored nuances there.

      Essentially, the issue is sin and paying the price for sin. How was sin dealt with under the Law? Pay particular attention to the Law concerning the annual ceremony of the scapegoat. If you believe in the “law of firsts” then it’s noteworthy that the very first of the Lord’s laws, statutes and ordinances was the law of the bondservant (Exodus 21:1-6). And we see the word “bondservant” being used time and time again in the NT.

      Permanent, voluntary, slavery. This is a difficult concept for those with a western enlightenment worldview who have been conditioned to believe that slavery is immoral. Slavery under a master who has paid the price for sin. Why was it that Eve, who first transgressed, was not credited with the first sin? Because she was under the headship of Adam. Up until the point that he chose to disobey God, his righteousness covered her transgression. This is the essence of Christianity. We have been imputed with the righteousness of Christ, who is our Master.

      Christianity is slavery in terms of the Law of the bondservant. One is either a slave to sin or a slave to righteousness, no other options. A man may be the master of his fate (free will) but he is not the captain of his soul (all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God- we do not have the choice to either sin or not sin, we are born in trespasses and sin). This is why so many misunderstand Paul’s statement that he was free from the Law. He was free from the Law in order to serve his Master who had paid the price for violation of the Law.

      I’m extremely busy right now, although the work I’m doing allows me time to think. I’ll do a post on this and perhaps then we can discuss it.

      • Derek Ramsey says:

        I’m extremely busy right now, although the work I’m doing allows me time to think. I’ll do a post on this and perhaps then we can discuss it.

        It seems like we are all quite busy. That’s why I didn’t want to spend any time trying to refute any of your statements before I first understood your view of ‘fulfill’ in this context. I honestly don’t want to misunderstand you and waste both of our time.

        Based on this reply, I still have no idea what you think ‘fulfill’ means. What does atonement and slavery have to do with the fulfillment of the Law? Well, I eagerly await your post!

        • “What does atonement and slavery have to do with the fulfillment of the Law? “

          It is not possible to understand the fulfillment of the Law unless one understands the Law’s purpose and nature. The question is asked, was an Israelite judged to be righteous under the Law?

          The answer is that even if said Israelite did nothing in the way of keeping the Law, once a year when the High Priest laid the sins of the nation on the scapegoat said Israelite was judged to be righteous because his sins were covered. All of them. Yet, this had to be repeated over and over again. As Hebrews describes, Christ was a superior sacrifice. But perhaps your question has more to do with what it means for the Law to be fulfilled, to us, as Christians.

          Paul said he was free from the Law and that all things were lawful for him. That has been used countless times as a way to say the Law has no application to this, the age of Grace.

          Yet, 1st John 2 provides the litmus test of Christianity: If someone comes to you and says he has come to know Him, but does not keep His commandments, he is a liar and the truth is not in him. Who is Jesus? The Word made flesh. He and the Father are one. The Father’s commandments are His commandments, with only a few exceptions (house rules).

          What is sin? Romans 4:15 and 5:13 explain, universal sin is any violation of God’s Law, which is sin for everyone. For where there is no transgression there is no sin imputed. In such matters the church is to judge itself and rid itself of those who are immoral (1st Cor. 5-6).

          Romans 14 and James 4 cover issues of conscience. The individual Christian can sin by violating their conscience. The same action by one might be a sin and by another is not a sin. However, we are not to judge such matters as both Paul and James very clearly state.

          And, as Jesus said, many will cry out to Him in that day “Lord, Lord…” after casting out demons and doing miracles in His name. And He will say “depart from me you who practice lawlessness…” What is Lawlessness if the Law is done away with?

          Being free from the Law and all things being Lawful is completely irreconcilable with the other passages I just mentioned… except in the context of slavery to the Master who paid the debt for sin. Because He paid that debt, we are imputed with the righteousness of our Master. Thus, we are His to command. At the same time, some rules don’t apply (dietary law, for example).

          The death of Christ meant that the inferior sacrificial system that was only a covering for sin was done away with. Hebrews explains that in detail. In that respect Christ fulfilled the Law by becoming the permanent sacrifice for sin, once for all.

          From that point on, there is a dualistic relationship to God for a Christian. As a servant of Christ the Christian is a slave to their Master. At the same time, the Christian is a child of God with the right to go before the Throne and speak to God the Father. Christ is the firstborn, the firstfruits, first among many brethren.

          In that respect Christ fulfilled the Law by reconciling mankind to God, because one purpose of the Law was to point mankind to the need for salvation.

          However, while all of that makes for a nice discussion, it isn’t on point with respect to sexual morality. Everything related to sexual morality goes back to the Creation story. The first commandment, the first law and the first judgment. Later, in the Law, further instructional detail was given to enable the first law and the first judgment. In the NT, all definitions derive from the Law. The definition of immorality, for example, is that which is contrary to God’s Law. What then is sexual immorality? Any of those things of a sexual nature that are contrary to God’s Law.

          My question for you is, why does Christ fulfilling the Law and what it means to fulfill the law have any bearing on sexual morality? God’s standards of sexual morality apply to everyone, of all time and all places. Are you arguing a “teachings and traditions of the church” argument from the magic book of medieval opinions (magisterium)?

          • Derek Ramsey says:

            “Are you arguing a “teachings and traditions of the church” argument?”

            No.

            “God’s standards of sexual morality apply to everyone, of all time and all places.”

            This presumes a great many things that are not givens. For one, “sexual morality” is ill-defined. For another, there are many aspects of Torah in general that are restricted to certain people, times, and places and it is not a given that the sexuality laws (including those on divorce) are different.

            “why does Christ fulfilling the Law and what it means to fulfill the law have any bearing on sexual morality?”

            Because you made these specific claims:
            1) That the Law was completed and immutable by the time that Jesus was teaching.
            2) That nothing in the law would pass away until all things were complete.
            3) That Jesus therefore couldn’t teach against polygamy.
            These hinge on what is meant by “fulfill”. Sexual morality depends significantly on what fulfillment of the Law means. Since there a various theological explanations, I must know yours to discuss sexual morality in light of Jesus’ teachings. Whether everything regarding sexuality in Torah applies to us today in exactly the same way is quite relevant.

            “…the High Priest laid the sins of the nation on the scapegoat said Israelite was judged to be righteous because his sins were covered…Christ was a superior sacrifice”

            Are you saying that Christ represents the goat that was sacrificed, the goat that escapes, or both? Hebrews 10:10 says that it is the sacrifice of Jesus that took our sins away. Jesus is not the scapegoat, so I fail to see how the scapegoat has any bearing on the fulfillment of the Law.

            It seems that you are saying that the primary purpose of the law is to redeem a person from sin and judge them righteous. It did so in the past during the Day of Atonement. It does so now through having Jesus as our master, who atoned for our sins. Therefore, Jesus fulfilled the purpose of the law (permanent redemption from sin) without changing the Law in any way. He didn’t abolish the law, he brought it to completion. If the Law was fulfilled, then we must consider whether its governing precepts on polygyny still apply.

            All that is fine, except is has no bearing at all on whether or not Jesus (or Paul) could clarify sexual morality, including polygyny. Restricting marriage to a monogamous relationship does not impinge on the purpose or immutable nature of the Law. Jesus could teach a “one man and one woman” doctrine without sinning in the same way he could teach that divorce was wrong even though it was once accepted in the Law.

            Polygyny was lawful and God allowed it and regulated it in the Law. But the original design for marriage (and thus pertaining to issues of divorce and polygyny) hinges on Genesis 2:24. Marriage was originally designed to be between a single man and woman. There were specific reasons why God allowed both divorce and polygyny to take place. He even instructed polygyny on a few rare occasions.

            Now, on to your specific questions in the post:

            Is polygyny lawful?

            It certainly was. But this isn’t really an issue about Law because the Law neither condemns nor approves of polygyny. Moreover, Jesus fulfilled the law, so the Law’s teachings may not be binding.

            Did God support polygyny?

            Yes if ‘support’ means ‘allowed it in restricted circumstances’. No if ‘support’ means ‘general approval’.

            Did God ever command polygyny?

            Yes, but this only tells us that God allowed it in restricted circumstances. It says absolutely nothing about whether or not polygyny is generally considered a good thing. It does tell us that polygyny is not a great evil. That is, it’s not like divorce which God hates.

            Did God have two wives?

            Bit irrelevant don’t you think? You are using a bit of figurative language to suggest a literal sexual ethic. That is a pretty significant stretch and misses the original point.

            Did anything in the New Testament forbid polygyny?

            Possibly. I’ve posted elsewhere on this question. There are indications that it was frowned upon, but since it wasn’t largely practiced by the majority of people, it wasn’t really an issue that would have been pressing (unlike divorce). This question borders on the argument from silence fallacy.

            Now if you asked instead “Did anything in the Old Testament forbid polygyny?”, then the answer would be “Yes”. It wasn’t universal, but specific instances of polygyny were condemned.

            Does polygyny offer solutions for the marriage crisis today?

            It is both irrelevant and a terrible argument. This is moral utilitarianism. Just because polygyny offers a proposed solution to a some aspects of the marriage crisis does not mean it is itself a good thing. Two wrongs don’t make a right. To use an absurd illustration: ritual suicide of all members of the human population would end the problem of sin in the world quite nicely.

          • “Now if you asked instead “Did anything in the Old Testament forbid polygyny?”, then the answer would be “Yes”. “

            Cite, please. From the Law.

            “Two wrongs don’t make a right.”

            Cite where polygyny is “wrong” in terms of God’s Law. Meaning, it is described as a sinful act or otherwise forbidden.

            In case you’re wondering, think about farming. Farming was permitted (it wasn’t forbidden) but heavily regulated under the Law. More so than having more than one wife. Any argument about polygyny being merely “permitted” also applies to farming.

            “Does polygyny offer solutions for the marriage crisis today?

            It is both irrelevant and a terrible argument.”

            Care to justify that statement? Your analogy is ridiculous and your premise is incorrect. God does not change and in order to understand marriage, one must examine it from the beginning. The original marriage standard of commitment is the man commits to the woman permanently but non-exclusively. The woman commits to the man permanently and exclusively. Because men and women are not the same. There are two separate standards of sexual morality for men and women.

          • Derek Ramsey says:

            “Cite, please. From the Law.”

            Deuteronomy 17:17. I’ve read your comments on this verse elsewhere on your blog. While the way you explain it leaves much to be desired, it is nevertheless clear that there is at least some limit to polygyny. So yes, the OT does forbid some polygyny. It doesn’t forbid all polygyny, but I didn’t say that it did.

            “Cite where polygyny is “wrong” in terms of God’s Law. Meaning, it is described as a sinful act or otherwise forbidden.”

            Beyond Mosaic Law, there are other OT declarations and examples showing the problems with polygynist relationships, that is, illustrations that confirm this principle found in Mosaic Law. The examples of Lamech, Abraham, Jacob, Elkanah, David, and Solomon are all illustrative. Plain readings show tensions and/or problems caused by having multiple wives.

            “It is both irrelevant and a terrible argument.” Care to justify that statement?

            My analogy is ridiculous, but illustrative. Your argument is flawed for the same reason, it just isn’t as obviously false because it has surface plausibility. My analogy removed any semblance of surface plausibility to expose the underlying flaw. I’ve already justified it: it is moral utilitarianism. Do I need to explain what that is? You say that polygyny offers solutions? Biblical monogamy also offers solutions to the marriage crisis. Mass celibacy also offers solutions to the marriage crisis.

            A better way to put it is “the ends don’t justify the means.” You’ve suggested that polygyny (the means) is good because the solutions (the ends) are good. Instead try to make the reverse argument where you show that the means are good (preferred!) and that the ends will naturally follow. Until you do, your argument will remain irrelevant. “Polygyny can solve problems”. So what? It doesn’t exclude other solutions. It won’t solve all problems and it will create others.

            “The original marriage standard of commitment is the man commits to the woman permanently but non-exclusively. The woman commits to the man permanently and exclusively.”

            I’ve seen you say this on many occasions, but have not seen you defend this position. I’m not sure how you arrive at this conclusion or why you think non-exclusivity is a positive feature.

          • Derek

            You are being ridiculous, completely sidestepping the point and making an emotional appeal that is deeply flawed. You are trying to create a Biblical objection that does not exist in order to support your own prejudice. This is known as eisegesis and you know that.

            First and foremost, polygyny is part of the marriage standard that God created (more on that later). God regulated it in the Law, just as He regulated farming. God condoned polygyny by giving David (a king, mind you, referencing Deut. 17:17) and David had eight wives that we know the names of and others that we don’t know the names of. Therefore, whatever the word “multiply” means, having at least 8 wives (and keep in mind that God said He would have given him even more) does not rise to the level of “multiply” that was being forbidden to the King.

            In a prophetic statement in Jeremiah 31:31-34, God stated that He was a husband to both Israel and Judah. Which means Judah and Israel were both His wives. That is just as much a statement of fact from God as His statement that He would create a New Covenant with Israel and Judah, not like the old covenant they broke. God is not a man that He would lie. Does He say it and not do it? Do we have a new covenant? Obviously the answer is yes, so how can it not be a factual statement that God had two wives?

            Would you like to compare monogamous marriage with polygyny? We could start with the most famous monogamous marriage of all time, Adam and Eve. The first and greatest of all time, their monogamous marriage brought sin into the world. Because of them women were judged to be incompetent and men placed in rulership over them. They produced the first murderer. They caused all of mankind to be born dead in trespasses and sin and obviously all these things happened because of their monogamy. What about Lot and his rebellious wife who was turned into a pillar of salt, a monogamous marriage that was characterized by drunken incest?

            Obviously if the character of the people or their actions is a reflection of their marital structure because they happen to have a polygynous marriage, then it must certainly be the same with monogamy. Which means that to use your logic, the preponderance of marital tensions and problems laid out in the Scriptures are the fault of monogamy.

            Which is patently ridiculous because Scripture only talks about marriage. The fact that the commitment standard means all husbands *could* have more than one wife changes the dynamic, even though history tells us that the vast majority of marriages will always be with only one wife.

            “I’m not sure how you arrive at this conclusion or why you think non-exclusivity is a positive feature.”

            I’ve laid it out repeatedly. Jesus pointed to the fact that divorce was not part of marriage, from the beginning, it was something that Moses permitted (Matthew 19:8). He had just quoted Genesis 2:24 as the standard of marriage.

            A careful examination of Genesis 2:24 demonstrates that the only way divorce could not be part of it was that the Law of Marriage is a grant of authority to the man to marry. It contains no authority for the man to terminate a marriage he began. Likewise, by the same standard, that grant of authority was not limited to a single wife.

            As Jesus pointed out, what Genesis 2:24 does not say is just as important as what it does say when examining this grant of authority. In both cases that perspective is supported by the totality of Scripture as well as (in the case of divorce) by His own words.

            I recall years ago reading some of Augustine’s work, and he put forward the question of why adultery was wrong. He came up with a beautiful answer based on logic and reason, which completely ignored the real reason: Because God said it was wrong.

            God said that His ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts are higher than ours. He was not obligated to explain things and quite often He did not. That is His prerogative, He is God.

            God designed non-exclusivity as part of the standard of commitment for the husband. To say that there’s something wrong with it is to say that God got it wrong. To claim that a portion of God’s design is not a positive feature is to place yourself in a position of judging God’s competence as a designer as well as His design. Reminds me of a guy named Job. Moreover, to do so in an area in which you have zero experience and no observational data is ludicrously arrogant.

            From the standpoint of my experience, enforced monogamy is monopoly for the women. It cause boredom and eliminates all theats of competition, which eliminates any motivation to give her husband her best. Over time men get lazy and the masculine dominant behavior that attracted her in the first place wanes as he gets more comfortable and wants to give her what she desires. I won’t even go into the toxic doctrines of “servant leadership” and “mutual submission”, both of which kill women’s attraction to her husband. Women want a king, not a servant.

            From a practical standpoint the latest post I did on polygyny sums up the benefits in the age and legal climate we live in in the Western World today. For our time and place, polygyny is the superior form of marital structure, but the problem is that only about the top 10% of men can manage it. That isn’t as much of a problem as one might think because men can change. With over 70% of everyone either overweight or obese, just hitting the gym, growing some muscle and losing fat makes a tremendous difference. Joining a dojo and learning to fight instills confidence. Leaning the proper attitudes and behaviors (otherwise known as Game) is critical, as well as a focus on a real career that makes provides a good income. In the vast majority of the US, having an income of >$100k per year puts the individual in the top 5% or so of earned incomes. Regardless of how a man looks (although height and good looks is a huge advantage), a man can work his way into the top 6% of men in general and within specific areas be at the very top.

          • Derek Ramsey says:

            You are being ridiculous, completely sidestepping the point and making an emotional appeal that is deeply flawed.

            To clarify, I made the following primary points:
            1) The law condemns some (but not all) aspects of polygyny.
            2) A number of polygynist relationships in the Bible were problematic because they were polygynist. (I didn’t expound upon this in detail, but can if you’d like.)
            3) That you have framed the questions under Category V: Issues Related To Polygyny, particularly the question “Does polygyny offer solutions for the marriage crisis today?”
            4) I didn’t understand how you derived the commitment standards for marriage from scripture and would like to see your formal defense of the position.

            I absolutely ‘sidestepped’ some of your points (conclusions) because the premises were invalid. Logically, I’m perfectly justified in doing so and will continue to do so until the premises are shown to be true. I don’t know which ‘sidesteps’ you are objecting to specifically. Also, I’m not making any emotional appeals and I apologize if I presented myself in a way that suggested this.

            The whole purpose of your fifth category is to show that polygyny is a positive thing that should be implemented today. It’s not enough that God allowed polygyny historically: it must be at least equal to monogamy (if not better). In doing so you ask these questions: (1) “Did anything in the New Testament forbid polygyny?” and (2) “Does polygyny offer solutions for the marriage crisis today?”

            To the first question, why limit this to the NT? Why not the OT or the whole of scripture? The answer is because the question is framed and you know that the OT contains limitations on polygyny. The “correct” answer, that “the NT contains no prohibitions on polygyny, therefore polygyny should be accepted”,[1] is an argument from silence. Why didn’t you instead ask “Does scripture limit or forbid some polygyny?” (Yes) or “Does scripture forbid all polygyny?” (No)?

            The second question presumes that polygyny is desirable and superior to monogamy. Two separate objections: (1) The implication of the question is that because the outcome of polygyny has benefits, therefore polygyny is desired and superior to monogamy. This is plainly a utilitarian argument, and I reject that.; (2) If I reject the premise that polygyny is desirable and superior to monogamy, then the logical conclusion does not follow and any benefits to polygyny are thus irrelevant to the righteousness of polygyny.

            “…whatever the word “multiply” means, having at least 8 wives”

            There is a serious error here. You imply that there is a specific number of wives that would make polygyny untenable (more than 8 and less than or equal to 700), but that type of legalistic reading completely misses the point. It is not the total number of wives that is the problem, it is the multiplication. You must first answer the question “why is multiplying wives a problem?” to understand why polygyny is being restricted. For someone who promotes polygyny, there should be absolutely no ambiguity about “whatever the word ‘multiply’ means”, otherwise you are bound to make a critical mistake.

            “Judah and Israel were both His wives”

            There are so many problems with your handling of this passage that it would take me numerous posts and tens of thousands of words to address them all in detail for very limited benefit. So I’m going to pass on this one. In the unlikely circumstance that you get to the point where this passage is the one remaining sticking point in favor of modern polygyny, then we can revisit it.

            …all these things happened because of their monogamy…

            Yes! This illustrates my point exactly! Utilitarian arguments fail when applied to both monogamy and polygyny. It is not enough to say that the Bible allowed monogamy and polygyny. It is not enough to say that they have positive or negative outcomes. What matters is whether God approves of and encourages specific actions. Genesis 2:24 is unambiguous in its promotion (‘support’) of marriage between a woman and a man. The only debate, and there is a debate, is whether or not this can apply to polygynous marriage (or remarriage for that matter).

            “Which means that to use your logic, the preponderance of marital tensions and problems laid out in the Scriptures are the fault of monogamy.”

            You’ve misunderstood my point: see the argument above. But let’s add to that. Are there limitations on proper behavior in a monogamous marriage? Yes. Does the Law regulate and limit monogamous marriage? Yes. The existence (or lack thereof) of Laws pertaining to monogamy and polygamy do not by themselves say anything about the morality of or preference for monogamy and polygamy. The questions “Is monogamy/polygyny lawful?” and “Did God support monogamy/polygyny?” are very different in purpose, the latter being much more important.

            …Genesis 2:24…by the same standard, that grant of authority was not limited to a single wife.

            I agree that man has the authority to marry and he does not have the authority to divorce. But it does not follow from this that he may seek multiple wives. The passage only mentions one man marrying one woman. It does not say anything about multiple wives. (See below)

            As Jesus pointed out, what Genesis 2:24 does not say is just as important as what it does say when examining this grant of authority

            Okay, let’s examine what is it does not say closely:
            1) That divorce is right
            2) That divorce is wrong
            3) That polygyny is right
            4) That polygyny is wrong
            Claim #1 cannot be shown because that is an argument from silence. The claim #2 can logically be made inductively because the man and women are now one, not two. It is supported by the notion that there is no description anywhere in the Bible for splitting one flesh into two. Jesus further supported this with his words. Therefore, we know that claim #2 is right, so claim #1 must be wrong. Claim #3 cannot be shown because it is also an argument from silence. Claim #4 can logically be made by inductive reasoning because the passage refers to man and woman in the singular. This is not an argument from silence, but it’s not the most powerful argument either. It is contraindicated by descriptions in the Bible where polygyny is allowed. We cannot show either claim #3 and #4 based solely on this passage.

            “To claim that a portion of God’s design is not a positive feature is to place yourself in a position of judging God’s competence as a designer as well as His design.”

            No. Claim #3 has not been established, therefore polygyny has not been shown to be by design. The only thing established so far is that it was allowed by Law, not that it was by design. This isn’t judging God’s competence, it’s trying to figure out what he actually designed. These are very different things.

            “…to do so in an area in which you have zero experience and no observational data is ludicrously arrogant”

            Again this is irrelevant. Augustine’s work on adultery was also irrelevant because he missed the point. I’m not rejecting experience and observational data because I don’t think it is true, I’m rejecting it because it is irrelevant towards supporting the logical argument being made. Please don’t confuse the two things. This isn’t arrogance, it is presentation of a formal argument. Moreover, I will mostly reject your personal experience, even if I agree with it, due to the anecdotal fallacy unless you carefully lay out a valid and convincing inductive argument.

            [1] Let’s presume for sake of argument that the NT contains no prohibitions on polygyny. The discussion that I posted elsewhere on 1 Timothy 3 suggest that this is not the case. But that’s irrelevant for the purposes of this discussion. You also seem to assert that the NT positively promotes polygyny, so perhaps you should have asked “Does the NT promote polygyny?” instead. That would generate far more interesting test question answers.

          • Derek, a condemnation is what happens after a judgment. A judgment happens after a violation. First the violation, then the judgment, then the condemnation. In that order.

            Your claim that the Law “condemns” polygyny is completely unsupported and contrary to the text.

            “No. Claim #3 has not been established, therefore polygyny has not been shown to be by design.”

            Please cite a restriction on the number of marriage a man might have. Deuteronomy 17:17 is irrelevant unless the individual is a King and even then the number of wives is less than 8. Thus, for Joe Shmoe with 4 wives, Deuteronomy 17:17 is completely non-applicable.

            Your comments on divorce are incorrect because your language is incoherent.

            What does the word “wrong” mean? Are you claiming “wrong” is synonymous with sin?

            Divorce for the cause of pornea is not a sin. Yes, God hates divorce, but it”s not a sin and God divorced Israel. Therefore it cannot be a sin.

            WRT polygyny, you are being ridiculous.

            “Claim #4 can logically be made by inductive reasoning because the passage refers to man and woman in the singular.”

            God regulated polygyny. God does not regulate sin, He prohibits it. God condoned polygyny in giving David multiple wives. God sometimes required polygyny (Levirate marriages). If that were not enough, God had two wives.

            However, the standard of marriage commitment for the man is that it’s permanent but non-exclusive. Because there is no restriction on the number of marriages a man might begin. That is the key point. What you call an argument from silence completely ignores the regulation of marriages with multiple wives.

            Derek, your arguments are ridiculous. In virtually every argument you’ve made, just insert the word “farming” instead of polygyny and see how ridiculous it is. Both are voluntary, men choose to do it. Both are regulated. Both can be done either righteously or sinfully. Both produce good fruit and bad fruit. So why are you claiming that polygyny is wrong and farming isn’t?

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