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Divorce and remarriage is a fact of life in today’s world. Millions routinely engage in this practice. But this was never what God intended!
Almighty God is the Author of marriage. The laws, which bind and loose marriages, derive their authority from the One who created this divine institution. Of course, men have also created many laws governing the physical union of marriage. But none of the governments of men understand the supreme purpose of marriage and, therefore, how to apply God’s laws to this relationship.
In a world cut off from God (Isa. 59:1-2; Jer. 5:25), governments, and even the many supposed Christian denominations, do not understand how and when marriages are either bound or annulled, or when a divorce, with the possibility of remarriage, is permissible.
The institutions of this world—religion, education, science, government, industry, commerce, society as a whole—follow the god of this world (II Cor. 4:4), instead of the true God. The result has been misery, unhappiness, confusion and every imaginable human woe. Marriage is no exception!
At the beginning of Genesis, God records the description of the world’s first marriage, stating, “And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made He a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed” (Gen. 2:22-25).
In the New Testament, Jesus confirmed the permanence of marriage, directly quoting the Genesis account. Notice: “And He answered and said unto them, Have you 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?” (Matt. 19:4-5).
While Christ was obviously quoting Genesis 2, He continued by adding this in verse 6 of Matthew 19: “Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder.”
As the God of the Old Testament (I Cor. 10:4), Christ would not have disagreed with His own statements recorded in Genesis. It was Jesus Christ who was the true Author of marriage, and He is the only one qualified to tell us the laws governing divorce and remarriage!
Ever since Adam and Eve, in the garden, rejected God’s government—His rule over their lives—mankind has no longer taken God into such relationships as marriage or business partnerships, or into education and its institutions responsible for teaching right knowledge. People do not want God entering or becoming part of their lives—but they do want His blessings. Yet, so many marriages today lack those blessings!
Countless millions today are not interested in what God says—about anything! Most people are completely willing to get a divorce based on nothing more than the feeling that they should do this. These same millions give no consideration to what God says—to what marriage is, and to when or whether they are permitted to divorce and remarry.
Some people, claiming to be Christians, manufacture a reason to get divorced—often on little more than a whim. Most give not the slightest thought to what God instructs in His Word about either divorce or remarriage. Of course, most of these also have no idea what God actually does or does not instruct.
But some few others will look for a scripture to support their actions, yet declare, “We must all decide for ourselves. And I have a feeling that I should get a divorce—and it’s a really strong feeling, particularly since I don’t want my wife (or husband) anymore. God is showing me I should get a divorce.”
This is no exaggeration!
The state of marriage is so bad that it has become the brunt of jokes, such as the observation that “the greatest cause of divorce is marriage.” (Sadly, it has almost come to be this way.) This kind of thinking has also caused millions of couples to simply live together believing, “If we don’t get married, we don’t have to worry about divorce.”
There is even a growing endorsement now coming from certain churchmen and religionists, claiming that the Bible allows for cohabitation outside marriage, as long as the couple “loves” each other. Such blind human reasoning!—with awful, even catastrophic, results for those who practice it! On the other hand, for those who do get married, one author about the family, Maggie Gallagher, states, “We now live in a society where it is legally easier and less risky to dump a wife than to fire an employee.”
Wherever marriages are occurring, divorce is still a tragic fact of life—in almost every part of the world. Consider these statistics:
The likelihood of a first marriage ending in divorce in 1997 – 43%; percentage of marriages ending within first 15 years in 1995 – 43%; percentage of all householders who are unmarried – 48%; percentage of weddings which are remarriages for at least one partner in 1997 – 43%; percentage of all marriages that end in divorce in 1997 – 50%; percentage of remarriages that end in divorce in 1997 – 60%.
William J. Bennett’s book The Broken Hearth states, “Since 1960, a forty-year period in which the marriage rate has declined by a third, the divorce rate…has more than doubled. The year 1974 was a landmark of sorts. In that year, divorce replaced death as the principal cause of family dissolution.”
Today, one of every two couples getting married (whether their first, second or third marriage) will be divorced in five years! Not long ago, one in two marriages just in California ended in divorce, and one in three in the rest of the United States. Therefore, if you attended two marriages this year, in five years, one of those marriages will be spiritually and emotionally bankrupt.
These statistics will almost certainly continue to accelerate.
All of this creates tremendous confusion about what God teaches regarding marriage, divorce and remarriage. Yet, there are those who do want to know what God says, who do want to be in harmony with His laws governing marriage and divorce. They do not know where to turn for answers.
Do you feel that you have an acceptable—a good—understanding of divorce and remarriage? Do you know what God teaches, what Moses wrote, what Christ said, and what Paul explained, about this subject? As with so many things God makes clear in the Bible, the world usually explains away basic, simple truths. Based on man’s approach of explaining away basic verses, this subject could appear to be quite technical, and dismissing it might seem easy. But it is not difficult to understand!
As never before in history, morals all over the world are in a state of collapse. Pornography, adultery, premarital sex, pedophilia, incest, prostitution (continually growing more open), usually found alongside gambling, and now same-sex marriage, are on the rise. This is because general corruption always breeds more immorality, which contributes to further moral collapse, including the institution of marriage.
Making matters much worse, modern liberal educators, politicians, actors, pop stars, the media and even the clergy promote “political correctness,” in regard to accepting every form of “alternative lifestyle.” People, like nations, can morally collapse and corrupt others. Today’s liberal concept of mercy and tolerance, as the solution to every form of immorality and wrong conduct, promotes sin and perversion.
God has a much better plan—the right solution!—in store for the recovery of those who have self-destructed in this life. He can and will eventually redeem the vast majority of humanity, which will learn to honor God’s ways. (To learn more read my booklet Understanding Divorce and Remarriage.)