I ask this because of the condemnations of adultry and fornication in the bible. The bible gives no actual ceremony that I am aware off and so I find it a little up in the air ( for lack of a better term).
Are we married when a preacher proclaims it or JPor judge proclaims it?
What about what used to be called 'common law' marriage where you simply lived with someone in the manner of husband and wife for a certain amount of time and the state considers you married? I'm not sure if such laws are still on the books or not.
I am asking specifically at what point God recognizes people as being married. There must be a definite poiint or how could someone be judged guilty of adultry?
Please remember I am not asking when the state or government recognizes marriage, I am asking when God recognizes 2 as being married. The only thing I have found is where Jesus says a man shall leave his father and mother and join a woman and become 'one' with her ( that is not a quote but a summation from memory).
I asked my pastor and he couldn't give me a reallly good answer. I know that there must be one though. Any ideas?
Charles, excellent subject, and there've been some interesting thoughts expressed here.
As pastor in a small Christian church here in Arizona I can share some things on this matter of marriage.
It seems to start with, a man and woman want to take up house-keeping together.......because of love, escape, financial reasons, starting a family, or whatever. And the important thing to remember........only God knows their hearts.
Okay, so if they want to be legal, here's the Arizona law ( as probably most states). They go to the county office and get a marriage license. Next, they make arrangements for the ceremony......either a government official or preacher. Actually, here, anybody can be the officiant. We went to a wedding where the bride's younger brother performed the ceremony.
God wants His children to follow the laws of the land. So, here's what makes the marriage legal and proper:
The officiant signs the license, along with two witnesses (usually bride'smaid and bestman) Then it is the officiant's duty and responsibility to see that the county office receives their copy within 30 days to be recorded.
I agree with several folks here regarding Biblical marriages. It was probably like a lady/gentleman agreement, sealed with a kiss and handshake (or both), then celebrated publicly with a wedding reception.
In John 4:17-18, Jesus makes it clear that the title of "husband" existed. And God said "the two become one" in Genesis.
At any rate, whatever kind of marriage a man and woman enter into......it's better than shackin' together, as more and more are doing.( My POV).
I realize that no one may be following this anymore ,but in case you are I would like to ask you about the concept of remarriage from a biblical standpoint. I realize what the ' laws of the land " are and am not concern from that perspective as I am from God's.
I realize that the laws of this land allow you to be 'legally married' as often as you can 'legally divorce' and find someone else to marry. The laws of the land also are beginning to allow "same sex marriage". I hesitate to refer to these as "marriage' but I will simply to make my point clearer. That is why I stated earlier "in the eyes of God".
Iknow that God doesn't allow ' unlimited marriages' by any stretch and therefore am curious as to when the process of 'marrriage' falls under the heading of 'adultery'. There must be some point (perhaps not the best phrasing) that marriage become no longer "legal"( again for lack of a better term) in God's eyes.
I am asking this as I know many who are in second and third 'marriages' and some have greatly wrestled with this after becoming Christians. I went through this myself and got no clear answer and am very curious. This is no onger a problem as I am not married but it can be a very troubling topic.
Charles, I went through this same dilemma. Actually it was even moreso difficult as I was in the process of a divorce that was dragging on and on over property disputes when I met a man in my church and we fell in love and engaged to be married. We both had an issue with this and wondered...and worried. We spoke to the Pastor on it even. His concept was he only likes to point out that the parties be sure they're not carrying any baggage into the marriage.
What I finally concluded, my marriage had long since ended, even before I'd left actually. I was married prior to accepting Christ. Once I accepted Him, my old life was wiped clean, I was born new, everything in the past forgiven and forgotten. God hates divorce, but even He realized the human need for it and allowed it in certain situations even among believers. Yet when I filed for divorce, I was not saved.
First, we have to decide what constitutes married in God's eyes, and I personally do not believe it is when one says a vow which has the word God in the ceremony. If the parties are not asking God, if they're not putting Him into the relationship, and if the words are just words and hold no real meaning, they're not taking a vow TO God, but taking vows to each other and just under a ceremony that includes God. Some people even have that part stricken unfortunately. Some are married before a Justice of the Peace that doesn't even use those words. God isn't in every marriage. But once we choose to marry, He wants us to do our best to remain in it, yet He realized the need for us that it won't always be possible.
It was very troubling to me during my engagement and divorce, and even for awhile after the divorce was final, and yet I have realized that my sins are forgiven AND FORGOTTEN. Therefore my previous marriages are wiped clean in God's eyes. Hopefully we learn from them, and we don't forget them to a point that we make the same mistakes, but also hopefully we don't carry them around on our backs as a burden condemning us for what is in the past. The past is past and cannot be rewritten or altered. We only have the future to work towards and the present to live in.
Charles, Bless your heart..........
I see this is a serious issue with you.
Okay, Let me give you my take on the matter.
To answer your original question: I believe when a couple obtain a marriage license (required by local law), do the marriage ceremony - either by a justice of the peace with a couple of witnesses or a large church wedding.......they are obeying civil law, which God ordains for Christians to do.
Then, with saying their vows in God's sight, with local laws obeyed, I believe that's when they are "really married" in God's eyes.
Charles, I was married early in my life, before I came to the Lord.
Yes, I was officially married in the law's eyes and God's eyes. We were divorced about 10 years later.
When I remarried 2 years later, my second wife led me to Christ, which was a second life as I was born again. This was about 47 years ago. Early on I asked for forgiveness for my second marriage. I think God forgave me because we have been blessed repeatedly over the years.
I agree....it is a difficult subject. But one thing to remember - this is not the unforgiveable sin. God does know people's hearts.
Hope this has been of some help...........
Grace and Peace.
So a prostitute marries every stranger she sleeps with?
Sorry. LOL But sex doesn't equate with love or Godliness. So I don't equate it with marriage in the eyes of God. That would also mean the adulterer is married to two women. Ooops. ;-)