It be truthful, He doesn’t have ideas at all since He is omniscient (He knows everything) as the saying goes; ‘has it ever occurred to you that nothing ever occurs to God?’ It may be wrong to think of God as having ideas in the way that we do but he does reveal to humanity the way we should live.
When Jesus was questioned on the subject of divorce, his response was to challenge the Pharisees, themselves experts in the Torah, on their understanding of marriage from the creation account in Genesis. It is significant that Jesus himself used the first chapters in Genesis as the foundation from which marriage can be understood. These chapters are sometimes difficult to grasp and are perhaps the most debated passages in the bible but their importance is beyond question. My own view is that we spend too much time arguing over the less important aspects such as the ‘how and when’ of creation rather than the crucial questions of who and why. There is also much debate over the created order, what is the divine plan for creation and what isn’t?
“By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.” (Genesis 2:2-3)
It seems clear then that work and rest are part of God’s plan for us. We can see in our own society that both are important. To be unemployed is a devastating experience for most people and even for those who have no desire to work, unemployment has a corrosive effect. Rest, on the other hand is just as vital. We now know its importance, so much so that the requirement to have rest is built into employment law.
Whatever else is in God’s created order, it’s clear that marriage and male to female relationships figure prominently with both accounts (chapters one and two) depicting human beings as God’s finest work.
“Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.
God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.” (Genesis 1:26-31)
“So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the place with flesh. Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.
The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.”
For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:21-24)
- Both men and women are made in the divine image (1:27). With the other creatures listed in the account we read they were made ‘according to their kinds’, but when we come to people we read they were created male and female.
- God created the first woman because there was something in his perfect creation that was not good, a man alone (2:18).
- Men and women were created to rule creation together under God (1:26).
- God’s blessing to men and women in this relationship is to be fruitful (1:28). In other words, marriage is God’s chosen setting for upbringing of children.
- Men and women are to be united in marriage and to be ‘one flesh’. I think there is an implication of a lasting relationship here but there certainly is in the words of Jesus; “So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate” (Matthew 19:5)
Marriage is still God’s idea. We are told that it is outdated and outmoded and yet studies have shown that children do better in a stable home with both a father and a mother. Politicians are constantly telling us that they think marriage is a good thing yet they like to speak of other models which are just as valid. The problem is other models are leading us deeper and deeper into the mire.
Living together may be regarded as ‘just the same as marriage’ which after all is ‘just a piece of paper’, but this thinking is at odds with the facts. According to a study from 2006, parents who live together and remain unmarried are more than twice as likely to break up before the child’s fifth birthday as married parents. Children from homes where one or more of the parents is missing are much more likely to face all kinds of problems. There is more information available in the report by the Centre for Social Justice.
In addition there is the plan by the Government to introduce a bill in support of ‘Gay Marriage’ and the fact that should anyone raise an objection they are immediately vilified and labeled a bigot. I have noticed a definite change in the attitude of young people on this subject and this is surely the result of the constant stream of propaganda from the mainstream media and the ‘powers that be’.
It is interesting that so many people of ‘faith’ are united on this issue, both Christians and people of other faiths. Everyone from Evangelicals and Roman Catholics to Jews, Muslims and Sikhs (it’s a pity there is deafening silence from the Archbishop of Canterbury) has spoken out against any change in the law.
I have felt for some time that we are all living in a huge experiment where we as a society are trying different lifestyles without any thought of the consequences. Unfortunately, there are serious consequences particularly for children and young people but rather than taking a long hard look at ourselves, we are deciding to increase the dose of the same medicine.
As believers the time has surely come for us to act and the path for us is laid out in the scriptures. There is no quick fix or new idea that will sort out our communities, we need to pray and take action. Let us pray for decisions that are being made in Parliament, for those with the courage to take a public stand and for the many needs around us. Prayer is absolutely vital but our prayers must be accompanied with action and one of the simplest ways to make a difference is to sign the Coalition for Marriage Petition. It is available in the church or online here.