The Purpose of Marriage

The Purpose of Marriage

Regardless of any culture or society’s view of marriage, God had a purpose when He created marriage.

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Introduction

In light of history, marriage has been important; however, in more modern times, the institution of marriage has been significantly challenged. Andreas Kostenberger writes, “For the first time in its history, Western civilization is confronted with the need to define the meaning of the terms “marriage” and “family”…the Judeo-Christian view of marriage and the family with its roots in Hebrew Scriptures has to a significant extent been replaced with a set of values that prizes human rights, self-fulfillment, and pragmatic utility on an individual and societal level. It can rightly be said that marriage and the family are institutions under siege in our world today, and that with marriage and the family, our very civilizations is in crisis” (Kostenberger).

Undoubtedly, contemporary views of marriage challenge the very foundation and purpose of marriage. Many would say that the institution of marriage is under attack. As Kostenberger states, “If God the Creator did in fact, as the Bible teaches, institute marriage and the family, and if there is an evil being called Satan who wages war against God’s creative purposes in this world, it should come as no surprise that the divine foundation of these institutions has come under massive attack in recent years” (Kostenberger).

As the Bible clearly states, Satan wages war against Christ-followers. 1 Peter 5:8 says, “Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour.” Additionally, society and its sinful rebellion against God’s created order have also contributed. For example, the institution of marriage has come under considerable attack even to the point where culture has pushed back against God’s design, thus, wholeheartedly accepting same-sex marriage. Many today argue that same-sex marriage is acceptable as long as two people love each other. However, love does not supersede God’s design for marriage. God created marriage the way He wanted it to be; therefore, the choice for humanity is to either follow His design and order or rebel against it.

Marriage is the display of Christ and his Bride in love together.

Moreover, if a marriage is a Christian marriage, meaning both man and woman are believers in Christ, “then the Creator’s design is simple and clear: one woman for one man. This is the law of marriage established at Creation” (Kostenberger). Regardless of any culture or society’s view of marriage, God had a purpose when He created marriage.

The Purpose of Marriage

God, the Creator, instituted marriage with a specific purpose. Therefore, the question is, “What is God’s purpose for marriage?” To begin with, a biblical definition of marriage would be helpful. Ray Ortlund says that the Bible defines marriage in Genesis 2:24. That verse states, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” Ortlund further says, “Marriage is more than human romance, wonderful as that is. It is more than close friendship, wonderful as that is. Marriage is the display of Christ and his Bride in love together. A beautiful, tender, thriving marriage makes the gospel visible on earth, bringing hope to people who have given up believing there could be any love anywhere for them. That is why biblical marriage deserves our courageous loyalty and articulate defense today. Its true meaning is understood and embodied and sustained only by the power of the gospel” (Ortlund).

Another definition of marriage is by Christopher Ash. He writes, “Marriage was first instituted by God in the order of creation, given by God as an unchangeable foundation for human life. Marriage exists so that through it, humanity can serve God through children, through faithful intimacy, and through properly ordered sexual relationships. This union is patterned upon the union of God with is people who are his bride, Christ with his church” (Ash). In this regard, Gary Thomas offers a beautiful and practical summation of marriage’s purposes:

  • God created marriage as a loyal partnership between one man and one woman.
  • Marriage is the firmest foundation for building a family.
  • God designed sexual expression to help married couples build intimacy.
  • Marriage mirrors God’s covenant relationship with His people.

Summary

In summary, God is the Creator of marriage. Though many people may have differing opinions about marriage, God is the ultimate Creator and Definer of marriage. Kostenberger writes, “In exploring the biblical teaching on marriage, there is no more important paradigm than God’s intended pattern for marriage presented in Genesis 1-3… the early chapters of the book provide the parameters of the Creator’s design for marriage in every age.”

God indeed created humanity as either male or female, and he instructed them to have “oneness,” or intimacy, only between each other. Moreover, this covenantal relationship between man and woman is the design for building family foundations for God’s intended purposes. When this is done correctly, as God created, marriage and family then mirrors God’s covenant relationship with His people.

Questions

What do you believe to be God’s design for marriage?
Do you believe that God has a specific design and purpose for marriage?
What is the basis for your belief about marriage? The Bible? Culture? Friends?

Resources and Recommended Books on Marriage

A Biblical View of Marriage. By Christopher Ash (Essay)

What God Has Joined Together By Travis Agnew

Sacred Marriage: What If God Designed Marriage To Make Us Holy More Than To Make Us Happy? By Gary Thomas

God, Marriage, and Family: Rebuilding The Biblical Foundation By Andreas J. Kostenberger with David W. Jones.

The Five Love Languages By Gary Chapman

The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment With the Wisdom of God By Tim Keller