Christian Polygyny: Yes, It Is Sanctioned

It has been nearly two months since I wrote the first part of a slow-growing series, Men of the Bible with Multiple Wives. A full-time preacher from Down Under, Armen, brought some interesting conversation to the response thread, but it hasn’t seen much activity as of late. Today, though, Armen posted a series of points on his blog meant as a reply to my pro-polygyny position. Below you’ll find my responses. I confess they are not as thorough as some may like, but there are ample resources online for further research into the subject of biblical polygyny.

1. God’s order in Creation reveals the divine principle

God created a perfect world in six literal days. On the sixth day, He created man, and then woman out of the man to be a help for him.

God’s thoughts on all this? “Very good”.

With God revealling His desire that man should be fruitful and multiply, He could have speeded things up considerably by giving Adam more than one wife.

But, He didn’t.

God’s creation of Adam & Eve ensured that we are all one human race. We are the offspring of one pair of original parents. Within Adam’s life time, there was at least one man — Lamech — who had multiple wives. No one rebuked him for it. Why?

The Scriptures never say anything to the effect of Adam & Eve’s monogamy being binding upon all marital couples. If you want to reach into the lives of our first parents and apply things to your life that the Scriptures do not, then I hope you are consistent and restrict your work to tending your garden and multiplying. You cannot pick and choose some of the principles laid down for Adam & Eve. The Scriptures apply only a few of the principles to others. Regarding marriage, we are simply told by Jesus that divorce is a sin because a husband should cleave to His wife. That does not preclude multiple wives, as exhibited throughout the Scriptures.

2. It’s God’s way to aid raising a godly offspring

In Malachi 2:15 we read, “And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed.”

What’s the prophet recording? I’ll paraphrase it like this, ‘Didn’t God make one? Yet He had power to create more. So why one? For the purpose of raising children who fear and love God’.

Read the passage surrounding the verse for further clarity.

The passage in Malachi 2 has in view divorce, not polygamy of any variety. I’ll quote the entire passage here:

And this second thing you do. You cover the Lord‘s altar with tears, with weeping and groaning because he no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor from your hand. 14But you say, “Why does he not?” Because the Lord was witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. 15Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth. 16“For the man who does not love his wife but divorces her, says the Lord, the God of Israel, covers his garment with violence, says the Lord of hosts. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and do not be faithless.” The Book of Malachi 2:13–16

I’ve heard this passage used against polygyny before, and I just don’t buy it. The passage is speaking of divorce: a man should not divorce his wife because they are in a covenant together, with God as a witness to it. The husband and the wife are made one, bound with “a portion of the Spirit,” for the purpose of raising godly offspring.

None of that precludes polygyny as the rest of the Bible attests repeatedly that a man may have — and thus be “one” with — multiple wives. That is what a wife is in the Scriptures.

3. The Mosaic Law does not sanction it

One of the arguments used by those who may argue in defense of polygamy, is that it is not condemned anywhere in the Mosaic Law.

This appears to be true. But, neither is it sanctioned.

However, it is regulated, which, I confess, is rather interesting.

It is indeed regulated, which isn’t a negative thing against it. Drinking wine is regulated too, in the sense that drunkenness is a sin, but the drinking of wine itself is not a sin. Likewise, monogamous unions have regulations as well (see the Malachi passage above for the biggie).

But does the Law sanction polygynous unions? Yes! Indeed, the Law requires them under certain circumstances! Behold, the Law of the Husband’s Brother (or as it is properly called, levirate law):

“If brothers dwell together, and one of them dies and has no son, the wife of the dead man shall not be married outside the family to a stranger. Her husband’s brother shall go in to her and take her as his wife and perform the duty of a husband’s brother to her. 6And the first son whom she bears shall succeed to the name of his dead brother, that his name may not be blotted out of Israel. 7And if the man does not wish to take his brother’s wife, then his brother’s wife shall go up to the gate of the elders and say, ‘My husband’s brother refuses to perpetuate his brother’s name in Israel; he will not perform the duty of a husband’s brother to me.’ 8Then the elders of his city shall call him and speak to him, and if he persists, saying, ‘I do not wish to take her,’ 9then his brother’s wife shall go up to him in the presence of the elders and pull his sandal off his foot and spit in his face. And she shall answer and say, ‘So shall it be done to the man who does not build up his brother’s house.’ 10And the name of his house shall be called in Israel, ‘The house of him who had his sandal pulled off.’ The Book of Deuteronomy 25:5–10

In the close-knit society of ancient Israel, it was important for the strengthening of the family to keep a family together. This meant that if there were more than one brother, if one died, the other would be responsible for taking his brother’s widow as a wife. Note well that there is no exception clause for living brothers who already have a wife. Note also that refusing to follow through with levirate marriage carries with it a degree of shame.

If polygyny were a sin, and a brother refused to take his brother’s widow as a wife on the grounds that he already had a wife, why would there be shame involved? The simplest answer is that there is nothing wrong with polygyny and that a brother’s refusal to take his brother’s widow as a wife is a slap in the face to his deceased brother.

4. The marriage can be efficiently conducted with one wife

A man has no need for multiple wives. If man needed more than one, God, who was to give Adam a “help meet”, would have made him more than one wife.

The reasons for marriage can all be properly satisfied with one wife.

Marriage is more than a practical or pragmatic relationship. Also, it should be noted that this is not an argument against polygyny. Many men live happy, fulfilled lives having never been married, so would that be an effective argument against monogamy? No? Didn’t think so. And neither is the above an effective argument against polygyny.

5. No man can hold office with multiple wives

If a man takes more than one wife, he immediately disqualifies himself from ever holding office in the church. An elder is to be the husband of one wife.

The President of the United States must be a native-born American. Does that mean that every other American must be native-born?

The principles of leadership simply should not be expected to be required of the populace. Keep in mind that the biblical requirements for elders of churches requires a man not only to be a husband but to also have well-behaved kids. Does that make every single man or even married man without children somehow less of a Christian? You cannot apply one aspect of the leadership qualities to all men without being consistent in the matter.

Aside from those issues, the Greek word translated as “one” is μία (mee’-ah) which, according to Strong’s, means “one or first.” In other words, it’s quite possible the verse means that an elder must be still husband to his first wife. A man who has proven his faithfulness to his longest-term wife is a faithful man indeed.

6. The picture of Christ and the Church teaches monogamy

Lastly, the theology and teaching of Eph 5 doesn’t match with having multiple wives, if it’s properly understood.

There is one head, and one body. There is Christ, and the Church; and it’s represented in marriage with man as the head. Should he have multiple bodies?

Also, that passage tells us that men are to love their wives as Christ loved the Church. How did Christ love the church? Sacrificially and particularly. You cannot properly sacrifice yourself to one wife, without minimising the sacrifice made to the other(s). Impossible. Neither can you love each one particularly as Christ loved the Church.

Jesus’ is able to love each of us without diminishing the love given to any other. Parents love each of their children without diminishing the love given to another. Simply because you find something to be impossible does not mean that it is so. Through Christ, all things are possible, and apart from Him is nothing godly possible, for without Him, even a faithful, committed, monogamous marriage is no better than used menstrual rags in the sight of God.

In 1 Corinthians 11, Paul describes his betrothing of the Corinthian believers to Christ. He described them as a “pure virgin.” Do you see that? He’s certainly betrothed to Christ as well, but the picture painted here by the Holy Spirit has the Corinthian believers separately betrothed to Christ. Does Christ have multiple betrothed “pure virgins”? Yes! Otherwise, it must be concluded that Paul had no idea about what he was talking.

I do realize that Paul was speaking figuratively in that passage, though, and was discussing his evangelization of the Corinthians in marital terms; however, if polygyny was really a sin, why would Paul do this? Imagine a preacher — an apostle, no less! — standing up at a conference and addressing the gathered assembles: “I betrothed you believers of Indiana to Christ. I betrothed you believers of Santa Barbara to Christ. I betrothed you believers of Saskatchewan to Christ. I have presented all of you churches as pure virgins to Christ. Not let me tell you how much God hates having multiple wives…”

I’m just not sure that would fly too well. There is no confusion with God. Polygyny is and always has been acceptable. From the earliest of times man has practiced it. The “Hall of Faith” in Hebrews 11 is nearly a third polygynists (David, Gideon, Moses, Jacob, and Abraham).

And if we count each additional marriage after a man’s first to be a count of polygyny, there are thousands of instances of polgyny recorded in the Scriptures, yet not a single word of condemnation is leveled against it. If sin is transgression of the Law and if polygyny is a sin, then would that not make for a glaring oversight in the Law?

Finally, if polygyny was a sin, we wouldn’t find God describing Himself as one in any way, shape, or form — if anyone’s above reproach, it is He! — yet He does so. Why would that be? Can God sin?

It’s a taboo and touchy subject, but I’m interested in your thoughts.

It is sad commentary regarding the state of the church today that normal, everyday aspects of the lives of biblical heroes is “taboo.” Armen’s correct on that point, though; far too much has become taboo in today’s churches. The Scriptures are explicitly sexual, vividly violent, and would be every bit deserving of a Restricted rating or worse were it ever faithfully turned into a movie. These things shock and startle us. We have become insulated by a comforting picture of a Santa Claus god or some other gross abomination. The very thought that God might have different standards for the different genders is appalling to our “enlightened” ears.

Let the Scriptures speak, friends. Let them define your values, mores, and ethics. Don’t let yourself embrace a culture-colored faith.

67 thoughts on “Christian Polygyny: Yes, It Is Sanctioned

  1. Jair says:

    Yep,

    Christian Polygyny has been useful to me for its outreach potential, and is nice for my family and has some personal perks.

    I have seen many times that the lost can quickly and effectively identify culture dominated (because, as you pointed out elsewhere, we are all at least a little coloured) Christians and the dualities of faith they hold. They often believe that is what a Christian is, someone who says one thing but is essentially the same as them. Doing something so outside the culture raises a question that raises a serious conversation about marriage (which is very often deemed pointless or arbitrary noways) and how it is valuable in any proper form, and that invariably leads to a comment along the lines of ‘you’re not like those other Christians are you?’ with a bit of awe, and then comes an opportunity to tell them about Christ without all the burdens the churches would like to add to his cross.

    This hasn’t been only my experience, but others who taught about polygyny or practiced it before me found the same thing, and those Christians I’ve told about it also wind up in these situations.

    Its powerful to be in the world but not of it. Doing something like this in our time and culture is a powerful mark of being different. Thank you for this entry and for you’re support.

    Jair

  2. Christian MD says:

    Above you state that the greek word “mias” may be translated as “one” or “first”. Mias is always translated as “one” EXCEPT in the circumstance of reference to the first day of the week “sunday” which was referred to as “mias sabbaton”. The word “protos” is used to mean “first” in all other situations in the NT. Please refer to the writings of all of the early fathers of the church (ie Justin Martyr, Iraenaeus, etc.) who stated that there were Jewish members of the early church who were polygamists – they were not permitted to occupy positions in the church as the early church fathers acknowledged that leaders had to be the husband of one wife, because they were not appropriate role models.
    Can you name any early Christian leader or saint who was a polygamist ?
    You will not be able to – because there weren’t any.

  3. Christian MD says:

    The command for Christians to be monogamous is found in 1 Corinthians 7: 2 :
    “….each man is to have his own wife, and each wife is to have her own husband.”
    Look at the original Greek of the text :
    The language of the original text is in the imperative – as in a COMMAND.
    The word for wife in the Greek text here is “gunaika” – SINGULAR – it is ALWAYS translated in the singular, never plural !
    (The plural of “gunaika” would be “gunaikas”.)
    When it states that each man is to have his own wife, the possessive pronoun “own” used here is “eautou”. It is a SINGULAR , not plural, possessive pronoun, which is also translated as the word ALONE.
    Moreover, the command for a wife to have her “own” husband uses interesting language – the Greek word for “own” used here is “idios” which is also translated as “private” or “proper”, implying her husband is NOT SHARED with anyone.
    All of the fathers of the early church condemned polygamy to the best of my knowledge – can you name one who did not? Not one of the early church fathers was a polygamist because they had to be the husbands of ONE WIFE (in the Greek text = “mias guanaika” – NOT “protos guanaika “, which would mean first wife.)
    For further insight into polygamy and why it is not a practice of the Christian faith, I suggest that you read David Instone – Brewer’s textbook on the subject of marriage.

  4. Christian MD says:

    As a physician who has treated women and children involved in polygamy, I have had the opportunity to review the medical literature on the topic. Studies have revealed that women in polygamous unions have a higher incidence of mental illness than women involved in monogamy, manifested as stress, depression, anxiety, phobias, poor self esteem, higher incidence of admissions for serious psychiatric illness, and somatization disorder. Children who result from polygamous unions have a higher incidence of drug and alcohol abuse, antisocial behavior, and poor academic achievement. Keep in mind that nowhere in Scripture are we commanded to engage in polygamy – but we are commanded in the Epistles to follow the Law of Land in which we live – and the law of the land is forbids us to enter into polygamous unions.

  5. alex says:

    What about Jesus saying that his father’s house has many rooms, in the context that the groom prepares a room for a bride in his fathers house? And then the parable of the ten virgins and no talk of a separate bride? note the lamps, then the seven churches in revelations, and the seven lampstands and the prophesey in Isaiah 4:1 of seven women taking one man. If anything the jealosy of the different christian denominations is very like women claiming a monogamous right over the groom.

  6. Armen says:

    Hey Rick. Just for clarity, the reason I posted on this topic wasn’t because I thought I could make you reconsider. It was more because I wanted my audience to be aware that some hold the views you do and they should be aware of it.

    I’ll answer some of your points.

    “Within Adam’s life time, there was at least one man — Lamech — who had multiple wives. No one rebuked him for it. Why?”

    There’s no mention of Rahab being rebuked for lying either.

    “If you want to reach into the lives of our first parents and apply things to your life that the Scriptures do not, then I hope you are consistent and restrict your work to tending your garden and multiplying.”

    The example is that man should work. Not that he has to be a farmer/gardener. So yes I do follow the example, and believe that unless God prohibits it for some reason, that a husband and wife should aim to have children.

    Adam and Eve are the God-given prototypical marriage.

    “The passage in Malachi 2 has in view divorce, not polygamy of any variety.”

    I agree that the passage speaks of divorce. But, that doesn’t detract from the point that’s made. God could have made more, but limited it to one man and one woman, that together they should raise godly children.

    “But does the Law sanction polygynous unions? Yes! Indeed, the Law requires them under certain circumstances!”

    There are many things binding to the Israelite that would be wrong for me to do; i.e. stoning my children for rebellion.

    “Many men live happy, fulfilled lives having never been married, so would that be an effective argument against monogamy?”

    My point was designed more to strike at the motives which would move a man to have more than one wife. What motives would necessitate him taking more than one? Is not one sufficient?

    “The principles of leadership simply should not be expected to be required of the populace.”

    The principles given for leaders are to be sought after by all. Including the principle of obedient children. Falling short doesn’t make you not a Christian, but does show a deficiency.

    “In other words, it’s quite possible the verse means that an elder must be still husband to his first wife.”

    What if your first wife died? If this rendering is accurate, then you can never be an elder. Do you think that’s likely?

    “I do realize that Paul was speaking figuratively in that passage, though, and was discussing his evangelization of the Corinthians in marital terms; however, if polygyny was really a sin, why would Paul do this?”

    Paul also referred to Timothy as his “son,” indicating that he was in a sense his spiritual father. Does this mean he opposed Christ’s command to “call no man your father?”

    P.S. Love the new look. Really nice work.

  7. Rick Beckman says:
    Student of the sciences, the religions, the science fictions, and the fantasies… But mostly I’m just trying to find my groove in this big, crazy world.

    There’s no mention of Rahab being rebuked for lying either.

    There is much Scripture which does present lying as a sin, though… unlike polygyny.

    The example is that man should work. Not that he has to be a farmer/gardener. So yes I do follow the example, and believe that unless God prohibits it for some reason, that a husband and wife should aim to have children.

    Adam and Eve are the God-given prototypical marriage.

    And just as the Scriptures present man as having a variety of occupations, so too do the Scriptures present man as being fully able to marry more than one woman. Each marriage is to be based on Adam and Eve’s example: they are to become one flesh for as long as they should live. Nothing anywhere ever says that a man cannot marry more than one wife.

    I agree that the passage speaks of divorce. But, that doesn’t detract from the point that’s made. God could have made more, but limited it to one man and one woman, that together they should raise godly children.

    The passage doesn’t say that “God could have made more,” it states that the reason He husband and wife become one flesh is so that they can produce godly offspring. The passage in no way precludes man from being one flesh with multiple wives, as exampled throughout Scripture.

    There are many things binding to the Israelite that would be wrong for me to do; i.e. stoning my children for rebellion.

    Well, I would argue that it would be for the civil government to punish those who violate God’s Law. And I would also argue that the moral Law is still very much in force today — only the ritual cleanliness, separation, and sacrificial Laws have been “repealed” (or better, “fulfilled” in the Lord Jesus). Never are we exempted from the moral Law.

    My point was designed more to strike at the motives which would move a man to have more than one wife. What motives would necessitate him taking more than one? Is not one sufficient?

    For you, perhaps. For me too. But who are we to decide for all men what is right or wrong when there is no Law to appeal to? Also, judging motives is a straw man. Paul gave sexual passion as a perfectly valid reason to marry in 1 Corinthians 7. Nothing wrong with that — better to marry than to burn with desire or to commit fornication!

    The principles given for leaders are to be sought after by all. Including the principle of obedient children. Falling short doesn’t make you not a Christian, but does show a deficiency.

    Where does it say that a Christian must strive to live in accordance with the requirements for elders or deacons? And if that’s the case, why did Paul not say, “A Christian must be blameless, the husband of one wife?” What would be the point of separate requirements for elders and deacons if these were requirements for everyone?

    What if your first wife died? If this rendering is accurate, then you can never be an elder. Do you think that’s likely?

    Your relationship with your first wife would have ended in a non-sinful manner. You would be free to remarry. How this affects an elder’s position is another topic entirely and does nothing that I can see to clarify the issue of polygyny one way or another.

    Paul also referred to Timothy as his “son,” indicating that he was in a sense his spiritual father. Does this mean he opposed Christ’s command to “call no man your father?”

    ,/blockquote>

    No, it does not. Christ Himself emphasized the spiritual family even above that of physical family.

    Now that all of that is said, can anyone please give a concise reason why polygyny is a sin? For the purposes of this, let’s assume that one man and five women are stranded for the rest of their lives on a spacious island apart from any other sovereign nation or laws of man. They have only the Scriptures. “It’s illegal in America, so it must be a sin,” isn’t going to cut it for these folks. Why can the man not marry all five women, having children with the ones who are fertile?

    Special emphasis should be given to the moral Law, for it is transgression of the Law which is sin… not “transgression of the prototype” — divorce elsewhere is against the Law, and the basis of that is the prototype, so one should expect any other sins of prototype-violation should be based in the Law as well.

  8. Andrew says:

    Where does it say that a Christian must strive to live in accordance with the requirements for elders or deacons?

    If you look at the requirements mentioned in First Timothy 3; blameless, a husband to one wife, sober, vigilant, good behaviour…patient, not covetousness etc. These are the kind of things we should expect from every professing Christian. Not all professing Christians are alike sanctified however, these requirements are given because no one without these virtues, all of them, should rule in the Church.

    Paul is acknowledging the present reality that sin exists.

    And just as the Scriptures present man as having a variety of occupations, so too do the Scriptures present man as being fully able to marry more than one woman. Each marriage is to be based on Adam and Eve’s example: they are to become one flesh for as long as they should live. Nothing anywhere ever says that a man cannot marry more than one wife.

    Genesis 2 states what marriage is, i.e. one man one woman, it is for you to prove otherwise.

  9. Rick Beckman says:
    Student of the sciences, the religions, the science fictions, and the fantasies… But mostly I’m just trying to find my groove in this big, crazy world.

    Yes, a marriage is one man and one woman. But that definition does not preclude a man from having more than one marriage to other women. I’ll say this till I’m blue in the face: Multiple men in the Bible proved that they could be truly married to more than one woman concurrently. If that is not marriage, then it is your burden to prove otherwise, for the Scriptures use all the marriage terms (“husband,” “wife,” etc.) for such unions.

    The argument isn’t what marriage is — one man, one woman — but rather whether multiple marriages is allowed.

    I argue that because the Bible nowhere demands monogamy, polygyny is permissible. We are not to add to God’s Law in an attempt to declare what we may find repulsive as sin.

  10. alex says:

    It is interesting watching two christians beating out the subject of marriage and polygyny.
    Firstly one should note that marriage is a union of the flesh not the spirit.
    Jesus notes that only God has the right to divide married people, hence the ’till death do us part’.
    It is clear that serial monogamy is an immorality, adultery is clearly a serious sin because of the breakdown of family.
    Good polygyny is pro family, it is more not less.
    Anybody who says polygyny is adultery is listening to culture not God’s word.
    Obviously, just like monogamy, polygyny should not be a license for a man to be a tyrant and abuser.
    Polygyny is an opportunity for a husband to give more, the husbands role is sacrifical, a servant king.
    It is easy to see that only a small minority of men are suitable as polygynic patriarchs, most men are too lazy, ignorant and selfish.
    Most women are (because of cultural influences) too competative and too insecure to be in a polygynic marriage.
    Those last two factors combined with the ratio of the sexes means that good polygenic marriage in our current environment would only be in the minority.
    It isn’t hard to see that enforced monogamy, womens ‘rights’, the welfare system, and general narcissism has all contributed to the decline of the West.
    Family destruction and social decay is a snowballing effect of Fatherlessness.
    Look up statistics related to fatherlessness and the demographic winter.
    As a separate comment I will include a rambling essay on these matters

  11. alex says:

    THE WEST IS LOST
    This is a social comment rather than a biblically based one.

    Our current situation in the ‘western’ and ‘developed’ world can only support itself for about four generations, we are probably in that fourth generation.

    What happens next is the issue. Obviously the ’status quo’ is only a snapshot in the turbulence of life. Ultimately only those which have a strong nuclear family will transmit successful values to the next generation without the support of the welfare state.

    The welfare state we have to assume will discontinue, due to;
    the greying of the populations,
    the subsequent decline of the economy (no need to work, surplus cars and housing
    from the graying population)
    the diminishing conscientiousness of decadent generations

    If looking at the long term multigenerational outcome, the less suited to survival self destruct, then our only hope is to give the few who can produce successful generations the freedom to multiply to their maximum ability.

    By this I mean wholesome non selfish patriarchy and polygyny.

    I am not a mormon

    There is an urban legend that goes something like this;

    Once upon a time several decades ago the Ford Motor Company toured the country buying broken cars from the car dumps. They then carefully transported these old cars back to their Research and Development facilities in Dearborn. Carefully and meticulously these cars were disassembled and all parts given a detailed examination and appraisal. The question hardly needs to asked “What were they looking for? what were they hoping to achieve?”.
    Of course they were planning to improve the product.
    The questions to ask however are;
    From whose perspective are these improvements?
    Who benefits from these improvements?
    Think clearly, be rational, remove emotion from your reasoning.
    The Ford Motor Company makes cars to make a profit, it is a business, an improved product is a more profitable product.
    After carefully checking through all the component parts of these cars they were able to find all the parts that never or rarely broke, these they re-engineered to be lighter, cheaper, easier to make.

    So really they were trying
    (from the car owners point of view)
    to make the cars
    worse.

    Bearing that in mind

    There is an almost mythical family called the Jukes, they lived on the edge of civilized society, many members of this family had been through the prison system. A prison bureaucrat (Dugdale) in 1870 started to study the family going back through the generations to 1745, assessing that they required more help. In 1915 a further study was undertaken at the behest of the Carnegie institute (Estabrook). The study is detailed and depressing, fully one quarter of all children died before adulthood. Their subsequent adulthood was barely better and paints a bleak picture of short miserable lives ruined by selfishness, ignorance, immorality, alcohol, drugs and violence. Eight generations and over 150 years with hardly a ray of sunshine.

    Now fast forward from the 1700s, 1800s and the early 1900s to our enlightened 21st century.

    Look carefully at the people-molding forces in our society, look at films, TV, books, newspapers, video games, political spin and most importantly the state education of our precious future generation.

    Think clearly, be rational, remove emotion from your reasoning.

    And you will find the masses are being conditioned to be Jukes.
    Cannon fodder, factory workers and consumers.

    Breeding the better human the family friendly way!

    Forget eugenics, what about polygamy?

    Breeding programs involve selection of breeding partners.
    There are some families that for whatever reason can be classified as more successful.
    There are come families that for whatever reason can be classified as less successful.
    (As a classic contrast the Jukes/Edwards families study)

    Eugenics suggests interfering with peoples’ freedom to breed and live as they wish, which is bad, however giving a bit more freedom can’t be bad and yet could have positive results.

    Studying the Jukes family would suggest that Jukes fertility was not limited by the social norm of monogamy.

    However most Edwards’ family members would have balked at the idea of multiple wives, and yet could have successfully raised a larger number of children and instilled their ‘successful’ values.

    What about giving the successful breeders the advantage and remove this one sided monogamy handicap!

    No more marital socialism, let us bring the free market economy to the marriage market place.

    Not ‘he is king who can’ but ‘he is patriarch who can’, evil flourishes when good men do nothing.

    Compulsory monogamy is a false and society destroying concept. It is not that there must be polygamy, but just that there shouldn’t be enforced monogamy on those who could support more than one wife and the relevant number of extra children.

    These days there are very few men who would volunteer for this burdensome contribution to society because the hearts of men have grown cold. We live in a time of societal destruction and yet good patriarchal polygamy is condemned.
    Let us get rid of taxes, welfare and easy credit and let the best husband win!

    Ultimately surely the families that raise more healthy educated working children should be free to prosper over the drunkard selfish self-destructive fractured families. Just give a good patriarchal polygamist a dozen generations, and see what happens.

    The fall of the Persians, Greeks and Romans can be linked with woman’s rights, monogamy and the decline of the family.

    Last year a music video out of Québec became the most-downloaded video in Canada—although it was in French (one version with English subtitles). The second stanza said:

    “Your great-great grandmother had 15 children;
    your great-grandmother had about the same.
    Your grandmother had three, that was enough;
    your mother didn’t want any—you were an accident.
    And you, little lady, you go from boyfriend to boyfriend;
    and when you mess up, you get an abortion.
    And at night you dream of a big table, surrounded by children
    And you wake up crying.”

    The two parables of; the wise and foolish virgins and the talents.

    The wise virgins waited steadfastly and were prepared, when the opportunity for marriage came they took it. The foolish virgins missed the opportunity and were left on the shelf.

    In the parable of the talents three men were given an opportunity two were faithful and were fruitful with what they were given. One was passive and fearful and there was no fruit, thus what had been given to him was taken away and given to the faithful man.

    So many women these days miss good marriage opportunities because they are not prepared (too immature) or selfish.

    We have men who take a woman and yet out of passivity, selfishness and fear will not make her a wife or mother. We have other men who take a woman make her a wife and mother, but do not tend or keep her. They then carelessly loose her or worse abandon her. Surely it must be correct that he that cares for a wife, tends her and makes her blossom should be given those that are abandoned?

    To say that all men must at the most only have one wife, is like saying that all women at the most must only have three children. Obviously some women are very good mothers and if they had more children then that is only a greater good. Some women are very bad mothers and their children are taken from them and given to those who can look after them. Some husbands are good, some are not. Should we prevent responsible husbands from taking care of more than one wife? Why should they have the same limit as the bad husband? Of course bad husbands don’t play by the matrimonial laws anyway, only the good ones.

  12. alex says:

    Just yet another comment on elders etc being “husband of one wife” .

    Some people suggest it means at least one wife, as in a a single person generally has less relationship maturity and experience, and is also more likely to be sexually vunerable (Look at Catholic priests).

    Another take on this, is that at that time there was a Roman law that Fathers of more than 3 children were exempt from normal compulsary civic duties, the assumption being that a man with more than one wife has numerous and serious family responsibilities.

  13. Andrew says:

    I understand what you are saying, each marriage is an individual marriage and so fulfils the definition. I cannot agree with this. Marriage is one man one woman perpetually, to be married to another woman is to be married to more than one woman and so not married. Marriage is the union of one man one woman into one flesh. The union persists at all times whilst the conditions of the covenant are kept.
    A man cannot marry another because the union to his wife is real, he has been made one with her and cannot be made one with another whilst the conditions of the covenant are kept.

    If you want to argue that each marriage is individual ,to try and meet the definition, then you must explain how one man can be in union with more than one woman at the same time and in the same relationship.

    You need to explain what you mean by truly married.

    Stating that certain men took more than one wife is well and good but that does not advance your argument. No one is disputing that polygamy exists or that those that have entered into polygamist marriages be referred to as husbands/wives. The fact the Bible refers to such relationships with marriage nouns doesn’t make any difference to the argument I have made, you are assuming that the Bible is always precise with it’s language and we know this is not always the case. In these verses polygyny is a present reality and I would say that is why such language is used. For your argument to work you need to demonstrate that the existence of polygyny and the use of marriage nouns is the same thing as acceptance of polygyny.

  14. alex says:

    In reply to Andrews last post;

    Is the “Bride of Christ” a collective term?
    In otherwords a collection of individuals married to Christ?
    For of course husbands are to love their wives as Christ loves the Church.

    I do wonder if pre Constantine New Testament writings might translate differently, it is so easy to see a celebacy/serial monogamy influence drifting through from Babylonian culture via the Greek Empire into the Roman social structure and each time this influence became ingrained in the values of the society that society decayed.

  15. Andrew says:

    Alex,

    If you are making an argument I wish you would make it rather than leaving me to fill in the blanks.

    I could guess, of course, what you are getting at, and I’m sure you think you’re being clever, but before I respond I would like you to spell it out for me.

    I would be interested to read your case from Babylonian and Classical literature.

  16. Rick Beckman says:
    Student of the sciences, the religions, the science fictions, and the fantasies… But mostly I’m just trying to find my groove in this big, crazy world.

    In response to Andrew:

    I understand what you are saying, each marriage is an individual marriage and so fulfils the definition. I cannot agree with this. Marriage is one man one woman perpetually, to be married to another woman is to be married to more than one woman and so not married. Marriage is the union of one man one woman into one flesh. The union persists at all times whilst the conditions of the covenant are kept.

    What “conditions of the covenant”? In my marriage, I am covenanted with my wife to “forsake all others.” I recognize that that is not a biblical requirement but is a vow I made to Alicia.

    If you can show me the Scriptures which teach that if a man has more than one marriage, then he is really not married, I’d like to hear ’em. If you can show me the Scriptures which teach that monogamy is a requirement for marriage, I’d like to hear ’em. As it is, no such Scriptures have been presented, and thus no biblical argument has been presented to which to reply.

    A man cannot marry another because the union to his wife is real, he has been made one with her and cannot be made one with another whilst the conditions of the covenant are kept.

    Agreed that the union is real. Abraham’s union to Sarah was just as real as his union to Hagar. A wife is a wife is a wife. The Scriptures say “wife,” and I’m not bold enough to tell God that He was wrong for describing those women that way.

    If you want to argue that each marriage is individual ,to try and meet the definition, then you must explain how one man can be in union with more than one woman at the same time and in the same relationship.

    I don’t have to explain that any more than I have to describe how I can be “one” with my wife for my marriage to her to be valid. I can’t describe how I’m united with God through Christ other than stating that it is so; the inability to describe it doesn’t make the reality any less real. The Scriptures affirm that polygyny is made up of valid marriages. You affirm that they are not. The burden is not upon the Scriptures to prove themselves to you.

    You need to explain what you mean by truly married.

    To be truly married is to unite with someone of the opposite gender for life. The reason behind the marriage is irrelevant (it can be to avoid fornication, for matters of practicality, arranged marriages, etc.). No ceremony is required. No civil or religious recognition is required. To be married in the eyes of God is remarkably, beautifully simple. And the Word of God repeatedly affirms that a man may be married to wives, plural, if such is his desire.

    Stating that certain men took more than one wife is well and good but that does not advance your argument. No one is disputing that polygamy exists or that those that have entered into polygamist marriages be referred to as husbands/wives. The fact the Bible refers to such relationships with marriage nouns doesn’t make any difference to the argument I have made, you are assuming that the Bible is always precise with it’s language and we know this is not always the case. In these verses polygyny is a present reality and I would say that is why such language is used. For your argument to work you need to demonstrate that the existence of polygyny and the use of marriage nouns is the same thing as acceptance of polygyny.

    That God does not condemn polygyny in the Law is evidence that polygyny is accepted. Your argument that polygyny is a sin or otherwise morally wrong is that which is wholly lacking in biblical support, but you’re doing very little to rectify that here.

    I also disagree that the Scriptures use less-than-precise language. If God does not mean “wife” when He says “wife” (there are plenty of Hebrew/Greek words to refer to non-wife women), then how can we be sure of anything that He says? You cannot disregard a portion of what God has said as imprecise because you disagree with it, for such is a dangerous mishandling of the Word.

  17. Hugh McBryde says:

    Rick, not the least of which was CHRIST stating that the woman at the well was not with a man who was her husband at the moment, essentially saying, “you’re not his wife.” He did say she’d been married many times before (sequentially) and that they WERE her husbands.

  18. Andrew says:

    I have presented the only Scriptural argument necessary to my position. Marriage is the union of one man and one woman into one flesh (Genesis 2 & Matthew 19.5).

    The married parties, with respect to this relationship, are at all times and places one flesh. It is perpetual and indissoluble except through death or infidelity.

    A man marries a second wife. Who becomes one flesh? The husband and first wife are one already, who is united in this second marriage? Whatever your answer, how does this fit into the definition of marriage?

    I am not saying I know or understand all the implications of union in one flesh but it is quite easy to affirm that such a union can exist one at a time but when you add in wife after wife it is not possible to maintain that marriage is the union of one man and one woman into one flesh. This is the difficulty you must address.

    A crude analogy; a bicycle has two wheels, if another wheel is added, so there are three wheels, it is no longer a bicycle, if a wheel is taken away from the first bicycle and joined with another wheel to a frame to form a new bicycle then the first bicycle has only one wheel and so is no longer a bicycle. The whole thing is a tautology, a bicycle by definition has two wheels and anything that purports to be a bicycle but does not have two wheels cannot be a bicycle. Marriage is the union of one man and one woman into one flesh.

    Union with Christ is an interesting aside from this question, the difference, one of them, between it and marriage is that believers are united in the Church, so you have three relations; Christ, the believer and the Church. With marriage there are two, husband and wife.

    That polygamy is mentioned without condemnation in the Bible does not prove that polygamy is accepted to be true. I would say it was tolerated but I am bound to say this because of my understanding of marriage in Genesis 2 and Matthew 19. This gets us no further.

    Perhaps imprecise is not the right word; I am referring to cultural accommodation and literary forms. I am not disputing that Israel engaged in polygyny or that they thought it was okay or even possible.

    This whole debate centres upon what marriage is, I have argued that polygamy, by definition, cannot be marriage and you have said nothing to dissuade me from this position. God affirms monogamy in creation.

    • Matthew says:

      Okay so let’s evaluate…the scripture says the two will become one right? And that is the basis of your argument correct? So then my question to you is by who’s hand did God chose to write the book of genisis and how many wives did that person have? The answer is Moses and the number is 3

  19. Hugh McBryde says:

    Andrew, where is it stated that a man cannot have many separate marriages and many separate “one flesh” relationships? Even if you class them all as one “one flesh” relationship, envisioning marriage like a blob of mercury, why is it that you cannot draw others into that state? You fervently believe that this cannot happen but we cannot be asked to subscribe to that which you and many other simply believe. You have to show your work.

  20. Rick Beckman says:
    Student of the sciences, the religions, the science fictions, and the fantasies… But mostly I’m just trying to find my groove in this big, crazy world.

    Part of the definition of salvation is that when a person is saved, they become “one with” and united to Christ. If a second person gets saved, how does that fit into the definition of salvation?

    Being “one flesh” with someone does not in any way preclude being “one flesh” with someone else. The Bible doesn’t define it that way, and your assumption that it does needs a bit more of an argument than the simple statement of the conclusion. In multiple cases throughout the Scriptures, multiple women are said to be the wives — not the pretenders or anything else — of just one man.

    What you must do, Andrew, is decide whether these women were truly wives, or if the Holy Spirit was mistaken when He inspired the word “wife” or “wives.” There were, after all, other words that could have been used.

    Next, if those were truly marriages (husband to multiple wives) as the Scriptures teach, then the question becomes, was it sinful? So the next thing you would need to do is to appeal to the Law, for sin is transgression of the Law. I can show you multiple points in the Law where polygyny was accounted for — once where it was mandated(!); can you show even one where it was condemned? If not, why not? Surely God is not forgetful.

    And yes, I can accept that you might say “God simply allowed it.” After all, we have a passage about divorce in which Jesus says God permitted it “because of the hardness of their hearts.” Fair enough, so far as divorce is concerned. Polygyny wasn’t mandated in the Law because of the hardness of anyone’s hearts; it was permitted because it was not a sin, and it was mandated (Levirate marriage) to preserve families. The Scriptures never ascribe hardness of hearts or any other such thing as the reason why so many people were polygynists.

  21. Andrew says:

    Believers are united, or joined, to Christ and each other. Your criticism, for this reason, does not apply. Union with Christ includes my personal union with him but also my union to the elect. Robert Dabney says there are three ways in which we are united to Christ, legal, spiritual and the communion of the saints. Writes Dabney ‘Every soul that is united truly to Christ is united to his brethren. Hence, follows an identity of spirit and principle, a community of aims, and a oneness of affection and sympathy’ pg 614 Systematic Theology.

    This union exists perpetually and indissolubly and believers are brought into it. All believers participate in the same union and so are united to each other.

    (A) Marriage, however, is a union where two are made one (Genesis 2.24, Matthew 19.4-5, Ephesians 5.31). This is to say that the union must include two people only and these two people are made one in a particular sense. I think you agree with this, if not correct me.

    (B) You have also said that this does not exclude multiple marriages but that each marriage or union makes the husband and wife into one in a particular sense. At each marriage a separate union is created.

    I have argued that this is impossible because you cannot have two unions of the same relationship that exist separately and one person participates in both. I have also argued that because marriage is the union of one man and one woman into one in a particular sense the second wife cannot participate in this relationship by definition. I tried to show both of these with the bike analogy, limited though it is.

    (A) negates (B) and (B) negates (A). You cannot believe both to be true. If I am wrong, show it.

    I know you have made other arguments for the acceptability of polygamy, forgive me for not addressing these more fully. There seems little point since we disagree at the beginning.

    I am also making this my last post on the subject as I do not intend to repeat myself. I have enjoyed the exchange, it has made me think about something I previously would have summarily dismissed/ignored.

  22. LMT says:

    Very interesting discussion indeed.

    I have also investigated polygyny recently in an attempt to defend what I had been taught my entire life by society and the church. I lost the battle. There is not much to add to what has already been stated other than there is scripture to defend the position that a man may become one flesh with more than one woman, and it comes from the Apostle Paul:

    1 Corinthians 6:16 Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two will become one flesh.”

    Paul was telling men “he” (regardless of their marital status) that having sex with a prostitute constituted becoming one flesh with the prostitute. I also find it interesting that the scriptures always refer to becoming one flesh from a sexual union, and never state that we continue as one flesh because of the union. It is abundantly clear that during a sexual union you become one flesh, but you do not remain in that state otherwise.

  23. Hugh McBryde says:

    Andrew Said:

    (A) Marriage, however, is a union where two are made one (Genesis 2.24, Matthew 19.4-5, Ephesians 5.31). This is to say that the union must include two people only and these two people are made one in a particular sense. I think you agree with this, if not correct me.

    I can go along with this definition, and I’m not entirely sure it’s not the correct one, but how is it that you eliminate other marriages that are concurrent with an existing one? Romans 7 does it for the woman, but no such passage exists for a man. Scripture clearly teaches man/woman role differences, so claiming it’s not egalitarian, here, in this life is unpersuasive and no one, no one at all in the Old Testament “got it” that supposedly marriage was only to be one man one woman to the exclusion of all others or that marriages could not be multiplied. You’re making a loop of reasoning you still don’t see, and that is that “one flesh” = marriage = exclusive monogamy.

    You then go on to cite the union of all believers, and then turn to cite the impossibility of multiple unions. Do you read what you write? You say it’s not the “same kind” it would seem from reading your post, but you acknowledge the union of many into one is certainly possible on some level, and then claim without scripture support by human action, condemnation or example that this applies to marriages.

  24. Philip says:

    Mr. McBryde,
    If polygyny is such a desirable condition for men, why is it that you are monogamous?
    You report that you are currently in your third marriage – what happened to the other two wives?
    Why is it that you report that when you married your current (third) Catholic wife, that you took a vow to refrain from taking a second wife during your current marriage?

  25. Hugh McBryde says:

    Philip, well, you’ve got that wrong, I have been married twice, once concurrently with both, and the first one left me and committed adultery. In that order. I am not in the process of actively seeking a third wife. My current wife entered into a polygynous relationship with her eyes wide open, she has set certain conditions for a third wife, which would be a total of two at the same time, which I am at this point, unable to meet. They consist of material needs. In addition I believe in parental permission, something most men are not likely to give me and there is the matter that I must do sas those in the seat of Moses tell me to do, even if they are wrong.

    I’m not likely to become a husband of more than one wife at the same time, anytime in the near future, and I grow old, so probably not ever. Whoever you are, you need to get your facts straight. In addition, please do not suppose that you are “exposing” something about me. Rick for instance knows all these things. The source of any information about me available on the internet has probably come directly from me. You clearly counted wrong in arriving at “three wives.” I’ve been married only twice.

  26. kristarella says:
    Kristen Symonds, aka kristarella, works as a Happiness Engineer for Automattic. She is a WordPress fanatic with a love for photography, craft, SciFi and Fantasy, board games, and more. …

    It’s been interesting to read the discussion and think about this topic. I don’t have much interest in talking about the rights and wrongs of the topic, this has been done to some length. However, two slightly tangential questions have come to mind while reading these comments: if anyone cares to share their thoughts on them feel free.

    1/ LMT said

    1 Corinthians 6:16 Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two will become one flesh.”Paul was telling men “he” (regardless of their marital status) that having sex with a prostitute constituted becoming one flesh with the prostitute.

    In light of the description of Isaac’s marriage… what is it that constitutes a marriage in God’s eyes? It seems like Isaac had sex with Rebekah and she therefore became his wife, and yet a man can have sex with a prostitute, be one flesh with her, but it doesn’t seem to be considered a marriage. What’s up with that?

    2/ Hugh said

    how is it that you eliminate other marriages that are concurrent with an existing one? Romans 7 does it for the woman, but no such passage exists for a man.

    So, it’s okay for a man to have more than one wife, but not a woman to have more than one husband? I think this mainly springs to mind because the words polygamy and polygyny have been used (seemingly) interchangeably, but not all polygamy is polygyny.

  27. Hugh McBryde says:

    Yes, it is perfectly okay for a man to have more than one wife, but a woman may not have more than one husband. Out of deference to those who cannot understand the difference, I occasionally use the less precise word “polygamy” to describe what is practiced in the Bible but in all cases I only advocate polygyny and only claim that the Bible endorses polygyny. Some make the argument that “polygamy” means “many marriages” and in that a “polyandry” is not a marriage and neither is a “clan marriage” really a marriage that “polygamy” is still apt.

    Not all “one flesh” relationships are marriage, but all marriages make “one flesh.” Fornication makes “one flesh” where no such relationship should exist. Concubinage makes a “one flesh” relationship but there is no marriage. Marriage is a formal contractual relationship between families or capable parties. A man who has left his home in marriage is a capable party, a widow or divorced woman of whom it is said in law has all her oaths bind her, is a capable party. The widow or divorced woman would be the exceptions to the need for parental permission. The divorced woman represents eligibility problems as quite often she has caused the divorce and thus may well represent an adultery in marrying again.

  28. LMT says:

    Krista….there are three ways to take a wife…first it is important to understand that we as Christians are all Jews…yes Jews, grafted in by the grace of God. Jesus stated that God could make descendants of Abraham from rocks if He wanted to.

    Romans 2:28-29 For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.

    Romans 11:17-24 But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree, do not be arrogant toward the branches. If you are, remember it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you. Then you will say, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith. So do not become proud, but fear. For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you. Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off. And even they, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again. For if you were cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, the natural branches, be grafted back into their own olive tree.

    As such, we are to hold fast to the laws as Jesus taught us we should do:

    Matthew 5:17-19 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

    * who ever does them and teaches them…

    To those that understand they are bound by Jewish law betrothal is the way a man takes a wife. There are three methods used. First a man can simply ask a woman to be his wife and if she excepts they become betrothed which is the same as being married without the ability to join sexually. Second a man may pay the “Bride Price” to the family of the woman who grants him the right to marry (usually the woman’s consent is sought as well but it is not required) this is what you are speaking of – Isaac received his bride by a messenger paying a bride price for her and her consent was asked by her family. Third when a man and woman join as one flesh during a sexual union the man or woman can request that they become married. Once a simple ceremony is performed they are fully husband and wife, and yes…there is a contract involved with the ceremony.

  29. LMT says:

    Another interesting point…

    Deuteronomy 23:2 “No one born of a forbidden union may enter the assembly of the LORD. Even to the tenth generation, none of his descendants may enter the assembly of the LORD.
    Leah was Jacob’s first wife even though it may have been by deception on the part of Laban. Jacob never at any time claimed that Leah was not his wife. With this in mind, if having another wife is either fornication or adultery half of the tribes of Israel would have been forbidden from entering the “assembly of the LORD” (being part of the congregation) since they were by Jacobs other wives – Genesis Chapter 30.
    Notice that Deuteronomy 23:2 states “none of his descendants may enter the assembly of the LORD.” None means none…ever.
    Most certainly the six tribes of Israel were not prohibited in any way from being part of the “assembly of the LORD” which makes it quite simple to ascertain that having more than one wife is neither fornication or Adultery, much less a “forbidden union” of any type.

  30. Rick Beckman says:
    Student of the sciences, the religions, the science fictions, and the fantasies… But mostly I’m just trying to find my groove in this big, crazy world.

    Does “forbidden union” refer to anything other than a Jew marrying a non-Jew? The Hebrew word in use in that verse means “mongrel” according to Strong and is translated such as “bastard” in the likes of the King James Version.

    The argument as stated is pretty forceful, but I wonder how well it stands up to under scrutiny.

  31. LMT says:

    It can mean that, however, it is typically taken to mean children born out of wedlock. There are numerous commentaries on this, which yield numerous opinions. Generally it is thought of to be children produced outside of marriage in relationships such as adultery, fornication, or incest. In any case the Bible is clear that adultery, fornication, and incest are sinful and forbidden. (Just a side note: This may give us an answer as to why the child from the adulterous relationship with David and Bathsheba was taken by the Lord. 2 Samuel 12:14 Nevertheless, because by this deed you have utterly scorned the LORD, the child who is born to you shall die.” Can’t help but wonder if that was because of Deuteronomy 23:2)

    Barnes:
    Deu 23:2
    A bastard – Probably, a child born of incest or adultery.
    Even to his tenth generation – i. e. (see the next verse and Neh_13:1), forever. Ten is the number of perfection and completeness.

    ממזר
    mamzêr
    mam-zare’
    From an unused root mian. to alienate; a mongrel, that is, born of a Jewish father and a heathen mother: – bastard.

    “born of a Jewish father and a heathen mother” is simply giving an example of a mongrel and is not the entire definition given. The word also means to alienate, and bastard – which simply means illegitimate. Any child born outside of marriage would be considered illegitimate.

    “A bastard is an illegitimate child, and the word is also used as a derogatory term for an unpleasant person. The term can also mean a mongrel.” Wikipedia

  32. Andrew says:

    Hugh said:

    Andrew, where is it stated that a man cannot have many separate marriages and many separate “one flesh” relationships? Even if you class them all as one “one flesh” relationship, envisioning marriage like a blob of mercury, why is it that you cannot draw others into that state?

    Do you mean by this there is the first marriage, one man one woman into one flesh, then a second marriage, one flesh (predominated as one man) one woman into one flesh?

    For clarification, is the above what you mean here? I had interpreted this differently when I first read it and it occurred to me earlier that I had misunderstood.

  33. alex says:

    On the subject of “forbidden union”, Samuel was the son of Hannah who was a wife in a polygynous union, I am sure he was in the presence of the Lord.

  34. alex says:

    For a Christian the only ultimate question about polygyny is; “Is polygyny moral before the eyes of God?”
    By studying the Old Testament the resounding answer is that a polygynous marriage can be sanctioned and blessed by God and because there is no condemnation for normal polygyny we know that it is not in itself immoral.

    The next question is; “Is it desirable?”
    The historic major purpose of marriage is to provide a secure environment for weaker members of the community, that is women and children. During our modern era the welfare and justice system (a product of a christianised culture) have filled these needs. We are now entering a post modern (neo heathen) era where I believe Christian marriage and family again will be the only safe haven for the weaker members of society.
    Even where the welfare and justice system have physically provided for the weak I believe that there are obvious shortcomings in the areas of emotional and spiritual support (possibly at one time partially fulfilled by the denominational churches, but not now). As a broad generalisation it is obvious that the rising generations are dysfunctional and I believe that this is a result of dysfunctional marriages.
    I believe that polygyny must be harder to do right than monogamy, if all spouses involved were humbly obedient to God and served each other selflessly I am sure that greater blessing can be the result.
    It is clear that there is something wrong with our current western culture the decline of the family being the strongest indicator (demographic winter, out of wedlock births, adults living alone, narcissism, etc).

    The last question is; “Is it achievable?” And if not, should it be attempted?
    When you combine, selfishness, insecurity, pride, weakness, laziness, deceitfulness, etc your get a degenerate human being. If you square the product of these you get a monogamous marriage (hence all the divorce). If you cube the product of these you get a marriage of one husband and two wives. Of course it is only by God’s supernatural help that we can do anything good so that doesn’t make it impossible.
    Monogamous marriage and especially intentionally childless marriage is an institution where the spouses are only in it largely to take rather than give (mutual benefit). Good polygamous marriages are a greater opportunity for all involved to give more, which ultimately is a greater example to the resulting children.

  35. Hugh McBryde says:

    Andrew, quite simply what I mean is that these debates resemble closely the “These Go to ELEVEN!” discussions in “This is Spinal Tap.” The number of hash marks or numbers beside them having NOTHING whatsoever to do with the power of the amplifier of the range of the potentiometer around which those numbers are arranged.

    Our hapless band member endlessly declares that his amplifier is more powerful, because it “Goes to ELEVEN!”

    Similarly anti polygyny/pro monogamy only advocates continue to declare “But they are ONE FLESH” as if that MEANT something.

    Let me be BRUTALLY clear. NOTHING WHATSOEVER IS CONTAINED IN THE CONCEPT OF “ONE FLESH” that means it cannot be shared infinitely. 1+1=1, the reasoning goes. What prevents the resulting “one” to join again in the same 1+1 math? That’s the blog of mercury. Join two blobs and get one blob. Can you join that resulting blob with another blob and get one? YES.

    The other error perpetually made by the Monogamy only advocate is based on set theory. You propose that once two sets are unified, there cannot be another intersection with another set that is separate. False. Just draw three circles, two beside each other, and then a bigger one around both. Both interior circles are one with the bigger circle, but not one with one another.

    Or, draw two circles, and draw one in between both that barely overlaps each of the other ones. Again, the middle circle shares a kind of oneness with the other two, and they are not even contained by the middle one.

    Finally, envision a propeller and tell me if the blades are one with one another? They are not. They are all one with the shaft, separate from each other and they form one propeller.

    In fact there are many many many ways to see “oneness” that is not exclusive and closed but your westernized sensibilities have been programmed to hear “one flesh” and immediately react with “One inviolate union that is closed to all other additions.”

    When you can show me where that is declared as a definition of “one flesh” using scripture, then it’s relevant to discuss as a proof of monogamy. Otherwise, we all agree that monogamous married people are “one flesh.” What we disagree on is whether or not the man can go on to form other “one flesh” relationships while maintaining other “one flesh” relationships. There is in fact NOTHING whatsoever in scripture that suggests you can’t. There are in fact many proofs that force the acceptance of the idea that you can, not the least of which is this proof:

    God DOES say you CAN have two wives.

    You ARE one flesh with your wife (in scripture wife and wives are exactly the same word)

    Since you are (not might be but ARE) one flesh with your wife/wives, the whole CONCEPT of “One Flesh” cannot possibly be used in a proof of monogamy, since it is clearly a relationship with the potential of sharing or unlimited concurrent repetition.

  36. Philip P says:

    Mr. McBryde:
    I fail to see why anyone would view you as a legitimate authority on matters of Scripture. What degrees do you hold ? What scholarly articles have you published in the literature ?
    What textbooks have you written ? Are you a minister ? What are your qualifications in ancient Hebrew and Greek ?
    You describe your occupation as ” automotive ” and elsewhere ” financing “. Are we to understand that you are a used car salesman? It certainly seems like that.
    You can’t even successfully conduct a polygynous relationship (your first wife ditched you) and by your own admission, your children from your first marriage are an embarassment – like your drug addicted, criminal son who recently robbed someone.
    You are not exactly the best advertisement for polygyny, you know.
    Care to comment on why you were banned from Theology on Line Website ?
    It seems that advocated for underage girls to be given in marriage by their parents to older men –
    No surprises here.

  37. Rick Beckman says:
    Student of the sciences, the religions, the science fictions, and the fantasies… But mostly I’m just trying to find my groove in this big, crazy world.

    Phillip P: If you wish to make an issue of Hugh’s personal life, please contact him privately. If you wish to continue the discussion of polygyny in light of the Scriptures, you are welcome to continue here. Honestly, I don’t care what attacks might be leveled against me here, but the moment you start attacking my guests, you yourself become unwelcome. Thanks.

    LMT: I’m not disputing what you said, but please leave the moderating to me. Thanks.

  38. Hugh McBryde says:

    Here Philip, allow me to appeal to scripture on that count:

    Mem, from Psalm 119

    “Oh how I love your law!
    It is my meditation all the day.
    Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies,
    for it is ever with me.
    I have more understanding than all my teachers,
    for your testimonies are my meditation.
    I understand more than the aged,
    for I keep your precepts.
    I hold back my feet from every evil way,
    in order to keep your word.
    I do not turn aside from your rules,
    for you have taught me.
    How sweet are your words to my taste,
    sweeter than honey to my mouth!
    Through your precepts I get understanding;
    therefore I hate every false way.”

  39. LMT says:

    Philip, might I inquire as to where I could obtain a degree in “How to inerrantly follow the leading of the Holy Spirit”? Thus enabling me to provide information that might possibly be considered by those requiring a slip of parchment to judge my opinion worth reading? Have you thoroughly examined all of the degrees earned by Abraham? If not why would you trust anything he had to say? Maybe you’ve seen David’s sheep skin and therefore trust what he has written. I find your attitude and post to be extremely ignorant and offensive. In fact it is vulgar.

    Hugh…well done…
    Proverbs 15:1 A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

    Maybe Philip will consider further study of the scriptures and get his nose out of text books that tell him how to think…we can only hope and pray…

  40. Rick Beckman says:
    Student of the sciences, the religions, the science fictions, and the fantasies… But mostly I’m just trying to find my groove in this big, crazy world.

    Oh obviously. Such is the case with quite a few discussions I’ve been a part of and/or have witnessed. When one side runs out of arguments or counterpoints, the only recourse, short of conceding anything, the ever popular and far-too-easily-abused ad hominem attacks are fell upon.

    Perhaps they are used as distractions.

    Or perhaps people are convinced that character assassination is a valid method of debate. At the very least, there are no doubt readers who, unfamiliar with debate and fallacy, will find nothing wrong with Phillip’s attempts at defamation.

    Whatever the case may be, I do want to make clear that anyone who wishes to discuss the matter biblically and on a biblical basis may do so here.

  41. LMT says:

    A few more thoughts on “One Flesh”. I decided to dig into it a little deeper and thought I would share what I found…

    The original Hebrew used is “sarx”

    G4561 σάρξ sarx sarx

    Probably from the base of G4563; flesh (as stripped of the skin), that is, (strictly) the meat of an animal (as food), or (by extension) the body (as opposed to the soul (or spirit), or as the symbol of what is external, or as the means of kindred, or (by implication) human nature (with its frailties (physically or morally) and passions), or (specifically) a human being (as such): – carnal (-ly, + -ly minded), flesh ([-ly]).

    Since it is simple to deduce that when two people come together sexually they do not absorb one another and become one physical and inseparable body, much less remain in that form, we can logically conclude that in this case (according to the definition) to become one flesh simply means to become kindred – family – husband and wife.

    In the event that a man takes an additional wife, she also becomes “sarx” with him; she becomes part of his family, kindred to him. Scriptures bear witness to this in that the children from additional wives were called sons and daughters. None of these sons or daughters were ever considered to be illegitimate or referred to as bastards. Wives and children were all one family with him, as it is to this very day. David never refers to his children as being from different families; rather they are just considered his children, part of his family.

    There are six verses that specifically say “one flesh”. Genesis 2:24, and it is quoted two other times, 1 Corinthians 6:16, Matthew 9:5-6, and the echo of Matthew 9:56 – Mark 10:8.

    Genesis 2:24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

    Stating that they shall become one flesh in one sense indicates that they will join sexually (physically), a requirement to consummate their marriage contract.

    The Bible has numerous ways of describing the sexual union, he took her to himself, he lay with her, he went into her, “Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived”, and others…stating that they shall become one flesh is simply an indication of the pending sexual union at which time she becomes his kindred, part of his family.

    1 Corinthians 6:16 Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two will become one flesh.”

    “becomes one body” indicates strictly a physical union of the flesh, not a spiritual union. Physical unions start and finish, they do not continue perpetually, yet the reference to “The two will become one flesh.” It is difficult to believe that when a man joins with a prostitute he has the intention of her becoming kindred, therefore it is likely that in this passage it is referring only to the union of the flesh and the fornication it represents.

    Matthew 19:5-6 … ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”

    “hold fast to his wife” (do not divorce/put away as in Matthew 5:32, and 19:9)

    “wife” (see below for the original Hebrew and Greek words and their actual usage)

    “two shall become one flesh” (there shall be a sexual union resulting in the consummation of their betrothal implementing their marriage contract)

    “So they are no longer two but one flesh” (“as the means of kindred” – she is now part of his family. She is no longer of a separate family but is now part of his family – kindred.)

    “God has joined together” (is to be permanent. Consider 1 Corinthians 7:39:

    A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord.)

    “let not man separate”( which is indicative of divorce…possibly not sanctioned under any circumstance – still researching Erasmus.)

    Mark 10:8 and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh.

    (Again… “as the means of kindred” – she is now part of his family. She is no longer of a separate family but is now part of his family – kindred.)

    When doing a search for the words translated into wife or wives you will find that the Old Testament predominantly uses H802 for wife and wives, while the New Testament predominantly uses G1135 for wife and wives.

    In the Old Testament Hebrew “’ishshâh” and “nâshîym“ are used interchangeably for wife and wives.

    H802 נשׁים אשּׁה ‘ishshâh nâshîym – ish-shaw’, naw-sheem’

    The first form is the feminine of H376 or H582; the second form is an irregular plural; a woman (used in the same wide sense as H582).: – [adulter]ess, each, every, female, X many, + none, one, + together, wife, woman. Often unexpressed in English.

    In the New Testament Greek “gunē” is used interchangeably for wife and wives.

    G1135 γυνή gunē goo-nay’

    Probably from the base of G1096; a woman; specifically a wife: – wife, woman.

    When the translation states “wife” it is not indicating a singularity, but rather a species, or group. When the scriptures are translated into “wife” it is simply a generic term for a married woman and does not actually result in a numerical assignment or limit such as the number 1.

  42. Jair says:

    It looks like this sure came alive while I was on vacation. Hi Hugh, how goes it?

    I think it hasn’t been said (but occasionally I read too fast) but I’ve found the most cohesive rendering of 1 Tim 3:2 and Tit 1:6 regards mia as an expression of unity rather than quantity. Apparently the early Hebrew translation of Timothy uses Echad here, (Mind I need more study time to flesh out that reference) which is the same word as in Duet when ‘the Lord your God is One God’. The Septuagint shows that Mia is the translation of Echad in that Mia is the word used for Echad in the Sept in all but one place.

    That said, no sound Christian theology says God is quantitatively one, I don’t know of any that say he is specifically two either, but that this passage is an expression of unity in God.

    That said then this passage is rendered “A bishop must be blameless, in proper unity with his wife, vigilant, sober, of good behavior, given to hospitality, apt to teach, not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous. One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity. For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God? ect..

    Read like that everything in that passage relates to personal and family character. You can, after all, tell when someone is not in harmony with his wife, and such a condition of family makes it hard for such a man to lead anywhere else. Its valid rendering of the passage based on word usage, and it makes more sense than saying this passage deals with polygamy. It would be a weird place to create a new law about polygamy, especially with no further comment on it.

    Further, since gune (wife) is like the English word sheep (in that you cant tell if its singular or plural when it is standalone) the fact that in English this passage says wife not wives is irrelevant. Unless of course you’re a KJV onlyist :)

    The Tres Pas Liberalum interpretation of this passage is a good one too, but it seems less symmetrical too me. Of course, saying these few verses where a ban on polygamy is nonsense, what do they think Paul was trying to sneak in new laws in passing without explaining why or making any formal discussion of them?

    Thanks to everyone who worked hard on this debate, Sorry I didn’t really contribute anything.

  43. Rick Beckman says:
    Student of the sciences, the religions, the science fictions, and the fantasies… But mostly I’m just trying to find my groove in this big, crazy world.

    Didn’t contribute anything? On the contrary, there’s quite a bit of food for thought in your comment there. Thanks for it. :)

  44. LMT says:

    “On the 36th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, we are reminded that this decision ………. stands for a broader principle: that government should not intrude on our most private family matters……”

    Barak Obama
    Roe v. Wade 36th anniversary speech
    January 22, 2009

    Mr. Obama:

    What could possibly be more private between a man and a woman then their marriage covenant? The relationship between a man and woman is second only to the relationship between an individual and God. Yet we are required to obtain a license for our wives as if they were pets, and legally permitted to have only one. Why Mr. Obama is it a private family matter to have an abortion (which many consider murder) yet the government feels it is necessary to intrude into marriage to the point of even licensing (taxing) and limiting it? Why can a man, outside of marriage, father as many children as he desires with impunity, yet when a man desires to legally take responsibility for the women he loves and their children our government has laws in place to prevent him from doing just that?

    Martin Luther had this to say:
    “I confess that I cannot forbid a person to marry several wives, for it does not contradict the Scripture. If a man wishes to marry more than one wife he should be asked whether he is satisfied in his conscience that he may do so in accordance with the word of God. In such a case the civil authority has nothing to do in the matter.”

    (Martin Luther 10 November 1483 – 18 February 1546 changed the course of Western civilization by initiating the Protestant Reformation. As a priest and theology professor, he confronted indulgence salesmen with his 95 Theses in 1517. Luther strongly disputed their claim that freedom from God’s punishment of sin could be purchased with money. His refusal to retract all of his writings at the demand of Pope Leo X in 1520 and the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V at the Diet of Worms meeting in 1521 resulted in his excommunication by the pope and condemnation as an outlaw by the emperor.)

  45. torrant says:

    LMT,
    Can you reference that quote from Martin Luther. I would like to read it in it’s larger context in his writings.
    Thanks,

  46. LMT says:

    I am not sure what type of “larger context” you are seeking.

    Martin Luther made a very simple yet very complete statement.

    The Bible does not forbid a man from taking more than one wife; in fact there are numerous instructions in the Bible as to how the situation should be handled.

    Each man should be “satisfied in his conscience” that it is the right thing for him to do. It does not mean that every man should take additional wives. My personal view is that a man should have only one wife until he has proven that he can manage that household; then if he has the resources and desire take additional wives as he sees fit.

    I find it appalling that our government forces us to license our wives as if they were pets or vehicles or some type of possession. I couldn’t agree more that “the civil authority has nothing to do in the matter”, and recently heard that the first marriage licenses were issued to slave owners that wanted to marry a slave girl…proving her freedom and marriage to that individual. (I need to research that further though)

    Show me one place in the scriptures where a man was required to obtain a license from the government in order to take a wife. It is nothing short of the government interfering with accepted religious practices straight out of the scriptures. If the “Pagan Christian” culture that is predominant in our society feels the need to define marriage let them, but don’t force me to legally follow their incorrect theology nor impose restrictions upon me based on their twisted interpretations of the scriptures. What gives the government the right or responsibility to interfere with the practice of marriage as defined in the Bible? Does our government not even understand the words of our own Declaration of Independence espousing the God given right for the pursuit of happiness?

  47. DaPastor says:

    I am in agreement with the article that Christian Polygyny is a loving Biblical Option. I would love to contend with some of those who have posted against it, but simply do not have the time. Meanwhile, if you would like to visit a forum that supports those of us who believe in, and/or practice Christian Polygyny, you are invited to join us at BiblicalFamilies.org

    Anyway, blessings to you! May God restore this truth to the entire church!

  48. Christian MD says:

    Pastor,
    If I may point out as a physician and published medical researcher (17 peer reviewed publications to date) –
    The articles you cite are opinion pieces, not scientific research studies. No objective scientific proof is offered or presented in these articles to prove that polygyny benefits women. Scientific studies are based upon a hypothesis, an intervention (could be an anonymous survey), control group, experimental group, presentation of data, and analysis of data from the control group vs. experimental group. These articles which you cite therefore do not qualify as objective medical or scientific data.
    When outcomes such as marital satisfaction of polygynously married women are studied vs. marital satisfaction of monogamously married women by means of anonymous standardized surveys, monogamously married women consistently have higher scores in terms of marital satisfaction. This finding has been replicated in multiple studies, in several different cultures. So there is no evidence, contrary to the claim of the article you cite, that “most women benefit from polygynous society.”
    Please excuse me, I have clinical responsibilities which require my attention at this time.

  49. Rick Beckman says:
    Student of the sciences, the religions, the science fictions, and the fantasies… But mostly I’m just trying to find my groove in this big, crazy world.

    Still clinging to anonymity, eh?

    I wonder… Do those “higher scores in marital satisfaction” explain the gross amount of divorces among the monogamous? I guess they’re so happy in the monogamy, they just can’t wait to try it again. And again. And probably again too.

  50. DaPastor says:

    Hello Mr. MD

    MD: If I may point out as a physician and published medical researcher (17 peer reviewed publications to date) –

    ME: This is noble, but does not relate to the topic at hand. In logic we call this the “simplistic appeal to authority”. Being an expert in one field, does not automatically make one an expert in another field.

    MD: The articles you cite are opinion pieces, not scientific research studies. No objective scientific proof is offered or presented in these articles to prove that polygyny benefits women.Scientific studies are based upon a hypothesis, an intervention (could be an anonymous survey), control group, experimental group, presentation of data, and analysis of data from the control group vs. experimental group. These articles which you cite therefore do not qualify as objective medical or scientific data.

    ME: I understand that, but thanks for the reminder: I did not cite it as proof of scientific data, but as proof that others do not see polygamy as negative.

    MD: When outcomes such as marital satisfaction of polygynously married women are studied vs. marital satisfaction of monogamously married women by means of anonymous standardized surveys, monogamously married women consistently have higher scores in terms of marital satisfaction. This finding has been replicated in multiple studies, in several different cultures. So there is no evidence, contrary to the claim of the article you cite, that “most women benefit from polygynous society.”

    ME: I didn’t realize that the Scriptures tell believers that we are to get married in order to be “satisfied”! Hmmmmm… Could you support this idea since this seems to be the main thesis of your last few sentences?

    The fact of the matter is that the scientific community has always criticized practices by believers, and then justified them by “studies”. There are Psychiatrists, Psychologists and Physcians who claim that people who are claim to be born again are mentally ill; and God forbid if you tell them that the Holy Spirit spoke to you!

    Thanks MD for your secular position statement. From my perspective, let God be true, and every man a liar. Blessings to you, Sir. I am sure you have some clincial responsibilities that need your attention.

  51. Christian MD says:

    Pastor,
    I’m not “Mister” nor am I “Sir” ….
    You assumed I am a man because I am a physician.
    You cited an opinion piece that states that polygyny benefits women.
    There is no objective medical or scientific data which supports this claim.
    The article you cite is the opinion of a social anthropologist who has no patient contact.
    One could just as well cite Carolyn Jessop’s book “Escape” or cite Mary Mackert’s book on her experiences as the wife of a polygynous Mormon patriarch (prior to her conversion to Christianity) regarding the “benefits” of polygyny. These are opinions or feelings of the writers, not scientific or medical facts.
    Women living in polygynous relationships have higher rates of marital dissatisfaction, higher rates of treatment for depression, anxiety, somatization disorder,fibromyalgia, post partum depression, suicidal ideation, and they suffer more domestic violence than women in monogamous relationships do.Women in polygynous relationships have higher rates of cervical cancer than women in monogamous relationships do. (2X higher) Children of polygynous families have higher rates of arrest, substance abuse, depression, truancy and poorer academic performance than children of monogamous relationships do.
    Therefore, there is no scientific or medical evidence that polygyny benefits women, nor is there evidence that polygyny benefits children.
    This is not an appeal to authority. It is a statement of the medical and scientific facts regarding the matter, as documented in multiple peer reviewed research studies. Both science and medicine were created and revealed by God, just as Scripture was. BTW, I have had experience clinically working with many women in polygynous relationships, hence my knowledge of the research literature on the topic.
    Your statement “…being an expert in one field, does not automatically make one an expert in another field…” holds little merit in my case.
    Brother Rick,
    In countries where polygyny is practiced, and women have the right to file a divorce action, (for example, Indonesia) the rate of divorce is higher in polygynously married couples is higher than it is in monogamously married couples. Only in countries where polygyny is practiced and women do not have the right to file a divorce action is the divorce rate lower than observed in Western countries. (ie Saudi Arabia, UAE)

  52. DaPastor says:

    Hello Ms or Mrs MD:

    MD: You assumed I am a man because I am a physician.

    Me: Yes, I did.

    MD: You cited an opinion piece that states that polygyny benefits women.
    There is no objective medical or scientific data which supports this claim.
    The article you cite is the opinion of a social anthropologist who has no patient contact.
    One could just as well cite Carolyn Jessop’s book “Escape” or cite Mary Mackert’s book on her experiences as the wife of a polygynous Mormon patriarch (prior to her conversion to Christianity) regarding the “benefits” of polygyny. These are opinions or feelings of the writers, not scientific or medical facts.

    Me: Yes, you are right. I never claimed it was anything else. You made a major assumption about my post!

    MD: Women living in polygynous relationships have higher rates of marital dissatisfaction, higher rates of treatment for depression, anxiety, somatization disorder,fibromyalgia, post partum depression, suicidal ideation, and they suffer more domestic violence than women in monogamous relationships do.Women in polygynous relationships have higher rates of cervical cancer than women in monogamous relationships do. (2X higher) Children of polygynous families have higher rates of arrest, substance abuse, depression, truancy and poorer academic performance than children of monogamous relationships do.

    Me: 1. I have read the research, which hasn’t been verified independantly, btw.
    2. I do not believe that it has been proven that women who are polygynous have a higher rate of cervical cancer.
    3. These studies have not included Christian Polygyny, for that matter.
    4. There are other benefits to consider other than medical and scientific; companionship; financial (in some cases); stability for children; more freedom for women; as well as the Lord using it to develop Godly character (my second wife helped me with this one).
    5. So, what!? I just read some statistics on monogamous marriage. I would have had to inserted an entire PDF booklet file to share what the research (and lots of it) has shown researchers in about 20 categories. Does this mean that people should not get married? No! If Christians are to base their decisions upon scientific research, this would make Science their God! The fact of the matter is this: Where there are people, there are problems, but with Christ, these problems have solutions in the form of His promises. Since God allows marriage, to include polygyny, then it is up to man/woman to appropriate His promises from His Word to live in the abundant life that is possible by doing so. If families learn to walk in the Spirit, they will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh (which do not include polygyny, btw), but will manifest the fruit of the Spirit – this is the abundant life!

    MD: Therefore, there is no scientific or medical evidence that polygyny benefits women, nor is there evidence that polygyny benefits children.

    Me: There isn’t any conclusive evidence on the other side either!

    MD: Both science and medicine were created and revealed by God, just as Scripture was.

    Me: This is true to some degree, but you and I both know that there is a great deal of unethical manipulations that go on in the scientific community as well – especially in the social and anthropological arenas! The bottom line is this for all true believers: where science disagrees with the clear Word of God, true believers will always end up on the side of Scripture – or they may be guilty of calling God a liar!

    “let God be true, but every man a liar” – Romans 3:4

  53. Rick Beckman says:
    Student of the sciences, the religions, the science fictions, and the fantasies… But mostly I’m just trying to find my groove in this big, crazy world.

    Christian MD: If the first word of the handle you are using (“Christian”) is true, then the only thing that should matter is God’s opinion on the matter, yet you choose to cite medical research which was, I have little doubt, done by researchers who reject the Scriptures. When one rejects the source of truth, of course your conclusions will be off. So when God’s Word teaches that polygyny is just fine, then one either needs to fess up, admitting that they deny God’s perfect Word OR bury their head in the sand regarding the matter, hoping that it’ll just go away without their involvement (or come up with some ridiculous theological arguments to the contrary).

    In any event, the only Christian thing to do is to submit to God’s Word, regardless of where that may lead us, for God is true and His Word is faithful.

    So yes, I don’t care what the medical research might say. I don’t care what experts in sociology, psychology, or whatever else might say. All I care about is what God’s Word says, and to it I am bound because He died for me.

    You call yourself a Christian, and so I must encourage you to repent of your unbelief, placing your trust not in man but in the God whose Word we have in the Scriptures.

    Science and medicine are not created by God. Those are fields of study done by man, and such study is not based upon the perfect Scriptures but upon the fallen realm of nature. The results of the fall have led scientists to reject Genesis 1, and the results of the fall have led you to reject what God has said regarding marriage. Trust the Scriptures.

  54. Patrick says:

    Oh my word! I haven’t read all that is here yet as there is much to take in but I have to say that this hits the nail on the head!!!
    “Surely it must be correct that he that cares for a wife, tends her and makes her blossom should be given those that are abandoned?”
    As this is exactly how I feel. I am married and I see good women that are abandoned all the time but because of the view on Polygamy and because of the way my wife was raised I have to leave them abandoned and uncared for. Had my wife been OK with having another wife around I would have taken another and cared for her like my own.
    It is sad that people view Polygyny so poorly but view abortion better than Polygyny and that people don’t realize that if Polygyny wasn’t ok don’t you think that it would have been labeled as sin, “PERIOD”???

  55. kelley spencer says:

    It is clear that to me that there are no prohibitions, explicit or implicit, in the old or new testaments against polygyny. The question comes back to “shall we obey God or man?” Far be it from me to ever condemn those who see polygyny as valid in their christian worldview. It seems to me that for those who accept and practice polygyny, there are many familial advantages to plural marriage. Polygyny is condemned by many christians not due to any valid biblical arguments, but due to the biblical misunderstandings and prejudices they carry. It is sad that polygynist christians and seekers are driven underground by those who otherwise present the gospel in a grace filled, sensitive fashion, except for their prejudice against a legitimate and wonderful form of marriage.

  56. Christian MD says:

    2. I do not believe that it has been proven that women who are polygynous have a higher rate of cervical cancer.
    3. These studies have not included Christian Polygyny, for that matter.

    Yes, it has been demonstrated that polygynous women have a higher rate of cervical cancer.
    Yes, there are studies in the US and Africa of Christian polygynists.
    The data also indicates that these women have higher rates of depression, anxiety and lower rates of marital satisfaction than monogamously married women do.
    I suggest you read Medline abstracts rather than inserting your own opinions as scientific fact.

  57. Christian MD says:

    hristian MD: If the first word of the handle you are using (“Christian”) is true…

    Pretty amusing coming from someone who now calls himself a Pagan.

  58. Rick Beckman says:
    Student of the sciences, the religions, the science fictions, and the fantasies… But mostly I’m just trying to find my groove in this big, crazy world.

    That doesn’t make what I said any less valid: If you are a Christian, then the only thing that matters regarding doctrine is what the Scriptures say. Your citations of medical research and so on are pretty irrelevant to the discussion. Similarly, a truly Christian view of the earth has God miraculously creating it. Citing research, however, will show otherwise.

  59. Kevin Watts says:

    If you believe the whole counsel of God, then Polygamy/Polygny is a part of God’s plan for marriage:

    A) 2 Samuel 5:13 And David took more concubines and wives from Jerusalem, after he had come from Hebron. Also more sons and daughters were born to David.
    2 Samuel 12:8 ‘I gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your keeping, and gave you the house of Israel and Judah. And if that had been too little, I also would have given you much more!
    1 Kings 15:5 because David did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, and had not turned aside from anything that He commanded him all the days of his life, EXCEPT in the matter of Uriah the Hittite.

    B) 2 Chronicles 24:2 And Joash did that which was right in the sight of the LORD all the days of Jehoiada THE PRIEST. 3 And Jehoiada took for him TWO WIVES; and he begat sons and daughters.

    C) It is well to remember that every Jew and every Arab that has ever lived, including the Lord Jesus Christ himself, comes from polygamist parents:
    Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, Solomon, David – 8 named wives and about 10 concubines and an ancestor of Mary the mother of Jesus and the twelve tribes of Israel . [Luke 3:31 the son of Melea, the son of Menan, the son of Mattathah, the son of Nathan, the son of David]

    D) Note: Song of Songs or Song of Solomon 6:8 The Shulamite is praised by the ‘threescore queens [3 x 20 = 60], fourscore concubines [4 x 20 = 80] and virgins without number’. This shows that this Bible poem about marital love is about Solomon’s relationship with his 141st wife out of 700 wives and 300 concubines.

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