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The Law and Gospel views on Christian marriage and divorce (2)

By John Moyibi Amoda
THE Fall of Adam

RECENTLY the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God was reported to have removed the pastor of one its high profile parishes from the office of pastor on account of his re-marriage after a long period of being separated from his wife.

This wife is said to have remarried first and blessed with children.  Our concern in this treatise is with the policy of the RCCG on the issue of divorce.  That policy is Bible based.  However, there is quite a difference between basing a policy on the Holy Bible or on specific commandments in the Bible.  The Bible is not like the menu of a restaurant.

In the Bible the relationships between God and man are historical – that is, within the Bible there is history.  For instance God’s relationship with man before the Fall of Adam is not the same as after the Fall.  This Biblical history of the changes in man’s relationship to God can be periodised.  And in the case of the issue of divorce and Biblical injunctions for and against it, there is need indeed for such periodisation.

For the purpose of this appreciation of the issue of the Christian Church and marriage, we can distinguish two general periods: Before the Fall and after the Fall.  The relationship of the man to the woman in marriage is so important that it was the standard used by Christ Jesus to reveal the mind of God in establishing His Church.

That pre-Fall relationship provided the Lord Jesus the context for his teaching on man’s relationship to the woman under the law.  In the post-Fall period of the Church (began with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost upon the 120 assembled in the Upper Room).

Paul’s doctrine on marriage still draws its inspiration from the Pre-Fall revelation of the import of marriage as taught by the Lord Jesus.

Why have we begun this review of God’s revelation on the import of divorce with the institution of marriage?  It is because it is the concern with the nature and import of marriage that defines God’s attitude to divorce.  It is therefore important for us to begin where the Lord Jesus himself began his teaching on the issue of divorce.

We enter into this exposition through the question posed by the Pharisees to Jesus:

“And the Pharises came to him, and asked him: Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife? tempting him.  And he answered and said unto them, What did Moses command you?  And they said, Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement, and to put her away.

And Jesus answered and said unto them: For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept.  But from the beginning of creation God made them male and female.  For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife; and they twain shall be one flesh; so then they are no more twain, but one flesh.

What therefore God hath put together, let no man put asunder.  And in the house his disciples asked him again of the same matter.  And he saith unto them:  Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committed adultery against her.  And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committed adultery”.

Was the Lord adding to the law when he defined the law in provisional terms?  No! The Lord was saying, there was a pre-law period, when things were different between the male and the female.  The change in Adam caused by sin was a change of kind.  The pre-Fall Adam is different from the Fallen Adam.

The Fallen Adam is a creature dead in trespasses and sin.  Sin was evident in the hardness of heart of the sinner and the law of marriage given for mankind in bondage to sin was quite different from the marriage instituted by God in the creation of the woman out of the male.

The Lord Jesus went back to the creation to put in perspective the change in the nature and character of the Fallen Male created in God’s image and after His likeness.

“The LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul…And the LORD God said, it is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him…

And the LORD God caused a deep sheep to fall upon Adam, and he slept; and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead of: 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” (Genesis 2:7, 18-24).

The creation of the woman out of man was not the Edenic marriage; nor was the creation of the woman the same as the creation of the female.

When the Lord referred to the beginning of creation, the Lord Jesus had in mind the creation of man itself; he had in mind Genesis 1:26-27.  This was the beginning of creation referred to by the Lord.

“And God said, let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him, male and female created he them”.  The woman is different from the female.

The former was created as a complement of “the man, Adam”, she was God’s gift to Adam of a “help meet”; the latter was created as “Man made in God’s image, after God’s likeness” and created to have dominion over living creatures, to replenish the earth, and to subdue it” (Gen 1:26-28).


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