Those Who Say True
Those who say true, base their arguments on several basis, scriptural citations are used as evidence of such stand. The controversy as to whether divorce is biblically permitted circulates principally around Jesus’ phrase in Mathew 5:32 and 19:9.
In those words, the clause “except on the grounds of sexual immorality”. This single one line phrase has been the one determining factor for those who agree that the bible does support divorce. Jesus’ words in that portion of the scripture has been stated and regarded as significant evidence that divorce is biblically permitted.
Another well established and very relevant hold which individuals who argue for this standpoint have, is the reference to the scriptural passage of 1st Corinthians 7:15. Again clearly stated is the fact that divorce is permissible within the scripture, as it notes that, a partner can be unbound from a union if the other is an unbeliever. Significantly put, the spouse should not be enslaved to an unbelieving partner.
Those who also hold strongly to this side of the argument believe and quote “Whatever marital immorality or unfaithfulness” means, it is definitely a basis for divorce.
Three of the most important figures in the bible, Jesus, Moses and Paul, whom the Holy Scriptures bases its teachings, had their words clearly interpreted in the context of this debate, and can be seen to agree about divorce. With a universal view amongst rabbis that stand on the argument that Exodus 21:10-11 points to divorce. Paul’s view on divorce was in every inch in agreement with the Old Testament as well as Roman laws. Paul believed in divorce to the point where he was quoted to have encouraged divorce or spousal remarriage based on the reason of neglect.
If we are to take everything into consideration and account, let us bear in mind that God equally wrote the mighty nation of Israel a certificate of divorce due to the unfaithfulness of her ways. It should be duly noted that it is a well-known fact that God does hate divorce and covenant breakers, but given a certain circumstance, divorce is tolerated by the scriptures.
On another solid standpoint, some biblical scholars are of the notion or ideology that if divorce was a sin then God would not have been a partaker of it. For it is not in his nature to sin. It is basically noted that God vehemently rebuffed Israel by annulling the covenant between him and the nation.
Those Who Say False
Principally, no matter what view an individual takes on the issue of divorce, it is essential to understand the scriptures of Malachi 2:16. In this statement, God clearly makes known his despise towards divorce. Thus the disapproval of divorce by the bible.
Scholars have keenly argued that in the scriptures of Mark, Jesus was quoted to have agreed on the concept of divorce on the basis of sexual immorality. Researchers on this particular study have noted this scripture to be a fallacy, in a bid to increase the readability of Mathew’s scriptures. They argue based on the inconsistences in other writings such as that of Mark’s and Luke. No such recording of Jesus’ phrase on divorce were recorded by these other eye witnesses.
Mathew’s scripture sometimes is argued to be very contradicting, a strong point held by those who say false to the question, “does the bible permit divorce”, in the scripture of Mathew 19:6,
It is clearly stated that what God has put together let no man separate.
The Bible makes it evidently clear that divorce should not be an option but rather forgiveness and reconciliation should be the hallmark and standard that Christians should live by.
Roman Catholic practice has proved adaptable in the face of rising divorce trends. Doctrinally, the Roman Catholic Church has stood its ground in the opposition of annulments of marriages. Is this not an epitome of proof that even the foundations and legacy of Peter does not give room for divorce?
More over the bible in itself depicts marriage as a never ending covenant, only to be broken by death. How then can it be said that it permits divorce. As far as sanctity of marriage is concerned, the Holy Scriptures describes marriage as permanently binding as baptism itself.
A closer look at Deuteronomy 22:28-29, where it is clearly stated that if a man be engaged in sexual intercourse with an unmarried virgin, he henceforth assumes the status of being married to her, and would not be allowed to divorce her.
Theologian J.T. Catoir wrote a few words which laid further emphasis on the disapproval of marriage within the context of the bible. He said, Marriage is a dignified and solemn bond in the sight of God, if a man were to leave his wife, he not only breaks his bond with God and is not simply just guilty of covenant breaking, but he is guilty of blasphemy.
The union between man and wife is a relationship of personal obligation. Both involved parties have given their words that they will be forever faithful. “Forever” a word used to denote eternity, how then does the bible, which teaches the values of covenants and truth, thus be regarded for its acceptance on divorce.
Divorce is disloyalty and treachery against our spouse and life’s most intimate companion and a grievous sin despised by God.
Another essential key point to this argue is illustrated in the message of Prophet Hosea. God called Hosea to be reconciled with a wife who had been unfaithful to him. This was the symbolic ever forgiving nature of God. This Story of Hosea clearly renounces the claim that the bible does support divorce.
Scriptural scholars argue that the bond of marriage cannot be dissolved by legal divorce, nor can it be broken by sexual acts with another individual. Just as it is impossible to break the bond of blood between father and child so is it impossible to break the bond of husband and wife.
In my own opinion, I strongly believe that Jesus always answered questions with responses that were within the confines and context of that which was asked. When Jesus was asked about the issue regarding divorce by the Pharisees, He answered in a manner that held a right to divorce for the just cause. But then again, I significantly believe the bible was very contradictory on the matter of divorce. It never completely held one stand on this, whether in the Old Testament or in the new.
But then if one is to critically review and analyze, the scripture in a bid to further understand its perspective, the essence of freewill comes into play. If a spouse is bound by his or her moral obligation as man or wife and is conversant as regards all duties of a faithful partner, then there are no grounds for the separation of spouses. This enacts the values of obedience, generally preached in the bible. But if a partner goes contrary to such values, and is unwilling to change their ways, then, can the bible be of any aid in a situation where there is an impending collapse of such a union.
I strongly believe, in the sanctity of marriage, its binding covenant in the sight of God and in the sight of men, but in a circumstance where the partner is consistent with unfaithfulness and is unrepentant, then the words of Jesus in the scriptures of Mark is binding on that union.
On another note, one question that plays repeatedly in my mind and probably the minds of many other individuals who have been faced with this sort of thought is “what truly is the Bible’s take on divorce?” With so many distinguishing statement and counter statement references to one book, is it lawful for a man to put away his spouse for every cause? Or for a woman to depart from her husband on the basis of cruelty or neglect as scripturally stated by the apostle Paul.
It is important to guide ones views on the biblical acceptance of the concept of divorce, hence out of temptation, we establish unjustifiable opinions.
House.H.Wayne ed. (1990) “Divorce and Remarriage: Four Christian Views” Downers Groove. Print.
John T. Catoir, J.C.D. (1998) “Understanding Annulments,” St. Anthony Messenger, Retrieved from: http://www.twopaths.com/faq_marriage.htm