Sunday, March 15, 2009

What about polygamy?

Why were multiple wives or concubines allowed in the Old Testament?

Genesis 2:23-24, as Christ pointed out, teaches monogamy as God’s will for man. Now there is no possibility of a husband’s constituting a unity with one wife if he also has another wife–or several others. This is made very clear by the analogy in Ephesians 5:23. The implication here is that there is but one true church and that it stands in a relationship to the heavenly Bridegroom like that of the wife toward her husband. Christ is not the Head of many different churches; He has but a single mystical body–not several different bodies–and therefore His one and only church is viewed as the antitype of monogamous marriage. Polygamy is absolutely excluded. As we examine the scriptural record, we come to the realization that every case of polygamy or concubinage amounted to a failure to follow God’s original model and plan. The fact of the matter was that while polygamy was contrary to God’s intention and ideal, nevertheless, because of what Christ called “the hardness of men’s hearts” (Matthew 19:8), it was tolerated–especially in the case of a political leader whose dynasty would fail if he produced no son by his first wife.

–The Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties

No comments: