Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Eternal Marriage and Eternal Life

Three of the Gospels record a brief interaction between a certain Sadducee and Jesus Christ. The Sadducee approached Christ with a tricky question. According to the Law of Moses, if a man dies before he is able to have a child by his wife, then his wife is to be married a brother so that that brother can "raise up seed unto his brother." This is what is known as the Law of Levarite Marriage and is a clear example of the Bible advocating the practice of bigamy and polygamy under certain specific circumstance. So, this certain Sadducee poses a sort of hypothetical situation to Christ. The Sadducee asks if a Jewish woman following the Law of Levarite Marriage as part of the Law of Moses were to have been married to 7 brothers, whose would she be in the resurrection?


Luke 20:27-36 Then came to him certain of the Sadducees, which deny that there is any resurrection; and they asked him, Saying, Master, Moses wrote unto us, If any man’s brother die, having a wife, and he die without children, that his brother should take his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother. There were therefore seven brethren: and the first took a wife, and died without children. And the second took her to wife, and he died childless. And the third took her; and in like manner the seven also: and they left no children, and died. Last of all the woman died also. Therefore in the resurrection whose wife of them is she? for seven had her to wife. And Jesus answering said unto them, The children of this world marry, and are given in marriage: But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage: Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.

Mark 12:24-25 And Jesus answering said unto them, Do ye not therefore err, because ye know not the scriptures, neither the power of God? For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven.

Matt 22:29-30 Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.

Now, Christ gives a very clear and unmistakable answer to this question. Christ says that for the woman, she will be an angel and therefore not be married nor given in marriage in the next world. Now, a great many Evangelicals and other Christians point to this scripture as proof that there is to be no continuation of family relationships marital bonds in the next life. Despite all the debate about Adam and Eve being joined together in holy innocence in the garden before the Fall, and the Sealing power which binds in heaven what has been bound on Earth, and Paul saying that "neither is the man without the woman, nor woman without the man in the Lord." You cannot deny what Christ clearly and unmistakably says about this Jewish woman. She will be physically resurrected, a child of God, but she will be an angel and not married or given in marriage.

Gen. 2: 18, 24 And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. . . Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
1 Cor. 11: 11 Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.
Matt. 16: 19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

But here is the key to the whole debate right there. The woman in the hypothetical, was a Jew and not Christian. Paul made a clear distinction between the Jews and the Christians in the next life when he in Rom. 9: 8 and Gal. 4: 28 likened the calling and election of the Jews vs. the Christians to the family of Abraham. Paul called the Jews "the children of the bondwoman" after Ishmael who was the son of Hagar. On the other hand, Paul called the Christians "the children of the promise" likening them to Isaac who was the son of Sarah.

Gal 4: 1-7; 22-24; 29-31 1 Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father. Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world: But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. . . . For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. . .
Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman. So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.

Paul explained that Jesus Christ and those who believed on Him for salvation would be made "higher than the angels" and "given a more excellent name than they."

Heb 1: 2-4; 13-14 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. . . . But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool? Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?

Paul goes on to explain that true Christian believers who would be made heirs of eternal life would be worthy to be glorified together with Christ, worthy to be called children of God, and worthy to be "called gods" and not angels.

Rom 8:14-21 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.

So, while the Jewish woman in the example would be saved from hell, and resurrected, because she hadn't accepted Christ as the Messiah, she would not receive the same inheritance with the children of the promise and would be made an angel and not be married or given in marriage in the next world. But the promise to those who accept Christ and love God with all their heart, might, mind, and strength is to enjoy the eternal companionship and familial bonds of wife and family.
Some Christians only see the purpose of marriage to be sexual or for the purposes of procreation. Therefore they feel that these relationships would be useless in the afterlife. However, I see my relationship with my wife and children to be much more that just for physical purposes. Yes, Christ likens our relationship to Him as a marriage relationship, and like a familial relationship of Father and son. This should mean that marriage and family are eternal principles and important that Christ would use them to refer to His relationship to us.It should not be interpreted that Christ using marriage and father-son relationship analogy should suggest that our current marriage and familial relationships are a threat and somehow would detract from our relationship with God. In fact our marriage and family relationship helps us come closer to God and understand Him more perfectly. Remember that Christ said it was not good for man to be alone. And that God would make man an "ezer" or divine enabler or perfecter. My wife helps me become whole and complete.
Yes, the children of this world will become angels and not married or given in marriage as they are on Earth. The children of Christ are different. They will be heirs of God, glorified together with Christ, made higher than the angels, and given a more excellent name then they. The children of Christ will be made worthy to be "called gods" and they will be rewarded with eternal marriage and eternal family relationships. Therefore, it is incorrect to use this example as a proof against against eternal marriage because the woman in the example and the person asking it both Err, "not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God." which is Christ. Jews were considered by Paul to be children of the bondwoman while Christians were children of the promise. Jews will be saved but the "elder will serve the younger" (Rom. 9: 12). Jews will be saved in heaven but not receive eternal life unless they fully accept Christ as their Messiah and are fully changed by the transformative power and grace of His atonement.

4 comments:

Bryan H said...

First, Lk. 10:27-36 is a parable. Those who will be "isangelia" (the Greek term used for "equal to the angels" or "like the angels") are not merely Jewish women. The reference contextually goes back to verse 34's "the children of this world". It is tough to speak with more of a sweeping intent than that.
Second, the text, in using the aforementioned Greek term, is not saying they will be angels but namely they will be like them in that they will be unmarried.
Third, the Bible does not teach celestial marriage anywhere. That is an LDS teaching that finds no biblical support and directly contradicts biblical dogma.

BRoz said...

Yes, the children of this world will become angels and not married or given in marriage as they are on Earth.

The children of Christ are different. They will be heirs of God, glorified together with Christ, made higher than the angels, and given a more excellent name then they. The children of Christ will be made worthy to be "called gods" and they will be rewarded with eternal marriage and eternal family relationships.

BRoz said...

You cannot use this quote against eternal marriage because the woman in the example and the person asking it both Err, "not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God." which is Christ.

Jews were considered by Paul to be children of the bondwoman while Christians were children of the promise. Jews will be saved but the "elder will serve the younger" (Rom. 9: 12). Jews will be saved in heaven but not receive eternal life unless they fully accept Christ as their Messiah.

Bryan H said...

1. The text does not say they will become angels. If you believe that you are not getting that from the Bible. The Bible clearly shows us that angels were a special creation by God and form a different order of existence. They have no ontological connection to translated humans.
2. I am simply using the text to say just what Jesus said. You are importing an idea of celestial marriage that does not even exist in the Bible. Please tell me where in the Bible you find it.
3. The idea of celestial marriage, as the LDS speak of it, was not even on the Sadducees cultural radar screen. The very nature of their question is "which one will she be married to"? Their worldview did not allow for celestial polygamy.
4. Of course they err that is why Jesus is correcting their worldview not bringing a commentary on the unique nature of salvation for Jewish women. That has nothing to do with this text and is not even part of the broader context. What you are doing is called eisegesis (reading into a text something that is not at all part of its context). In fact you are reading into it a theoogy of celestial marriage that has no support in the Bible whatsoever.