In the previous article, we saw demonstrated that kinists can easily defend the normative nature of intra-ethnic marriage in the same way that Christ defended the indissoluble nature of marriage. Both Christ and kinists appeal to the language used to describe the institution of marriage to defend our positions. Christ most reasonably infers that marriage is a lifelong covenant since God joins a couple together in matrimony, and kinists reasonably infer that marriage is to be between those who are of a similar ethnic background. This is because marriage is normatively between members of the same bone and flesh (Gen. 2:23), which phrase is used to denote common ethnic or national identity elsewhere in the Bible. Like the Pharisees’ inadequate use of a Mosaic accommodation, the alienist’s response is likewise inadequate.
The Alienist Appeal to a Mosaic Accommodation
The alienist often responds by suggesting that the argument elaborated in the previous article is irrelevant, and usually provides a couple of different rebuttals to the kinist position. The first is to suggest that many godly men in the Bible were involved in interracial marriages, but there are a couple of problems with this viewpoint. First of all, we cannot establish the morality of something simply by providing examples of godly people doing what we are defending. No traditional Christian advocates for practicing polygamy, for instance, simply because the godly patriarchs practiced it. An additional problem is that many of the examples to which the alienist makes recourse tend to be wishful thinking at best.1 Another way of they respond to kinists is to provide Deuteronomy 21:10-14 as a prooftext:
10When thou goest forth to war against thine enemies, and the LORD thy God hath delivered them into thine hands, and thou hast taken them captive,
11And seest among the captives a beautiful woman, and hast a desire unto her, that thou wouldest have her to thy wife;
12Then thou shalt bring her home to thine house, and she shall shave her head, and pare her nails;
13And she shall put the raiment of her captivity from off her, and shall remain in thine house, and bewail her father and her mother a full month: and after that thou shalt go in unto her, and be her husband, and she shall be thy wife.
14And it shall be, if thou have no delight in her, then thou shalt let her go whither she will; but thou shalt not sell her at all for money, thou shalt not make merchandise of her, because thou hast humbled her.
Notice how this alienist response mimics the response of the Pharisees to Jesus when they were discussing divorce. The Pharisees tried to use Deuteronomy 24:1 to justify their case for the permissibility of divorce, and the alienists try to use Deuteronomy 21:10-14 to justify their case for the permissibility of miscegenation. Like the Pharisees’ argument, the alienist’s argument is problematic. In the same way that the Pharisees argued that divorce was a matter of moral indifference based upon a concession in the Mosaic law, so too do alienists argue that miscegenation is a matter of moral indifference based upon an analogous concession in the Mosaic law. Like Jesus, kinists should refer the alienist back to God’s original intention for marriage. Whatever concessions the Mosaic law provides because of the hardness of men’s hearts, these concessions should never be allowed to replace what God intends for marriage. Ethnic homogeneity is clearly advocated based upon comparing the way that “bone and flesh” is used in the Bible with its use in Genesis 2:23.2 Just as the Pharisees misapplied the concession in Deuteronomy 24:1, the alienists misapply the concession given in Deuteronomy 21:10-14.
It is true that Deuteronomy 21:10-14 provides us with an example of Israelites marrying foreigners. But like the Pharisees, the alienists make overgeneralizations. This passage in Deuteronomy is referring to women taken in battle, and thus, obviously, did not give anyone a blank check to marry any foreigner he wanted. The Israelites would not have been permitted to marry Canaanites, for instance, since these nations would be driven out by total war (Deut. 7:1-4). Moreover, this concession naturally would have presumed that the war in question would have been a just war, lest Israel be charged with wanton kidnapping and murder. These wars would have likely been fought against nations in their immediate vicinity, who were also descended from Shem. These would have been brother nations due to their close common ancestry.3 Thus it is unlikely that Deuteronomy 21:10-14 is dealing with what we consider interracial marriage in the first place.
But even if it could be construed in such a way to include more distant non-Semitic nations, such marriages would have been rare and certainly non-normative. Another factor to consider is that the binding nature of these marriages was less than what was normally expected. An Israelite could divorce a foreign captive wife only if he had “no delight in her,” whereas he would have only been allowed to divorce because of “uncleanness” under normal circumstances (where, again, “uncleanness” refers to sexual immorality).4 This further demonstrates that this is a mere concession, and nothing should be generalized from this regarding God’s will for marriage. This concession would not have allowed women to marry foreigners, especially when they stood to inherit property. In this case, they would have been required to marry someone within their father’s tribe (Num. 36).
Finally, we should also note that this concession did not apply to priests. Levitical priests were required to set a good example for marriage, and so their standards were set higher than for Israelites in general (Lev. 21:14; Ezek. 44:22). All of this demonstrates that 99.9% of racially-mixed relationships and marriages do not fall under the concession given in Deut. 21:10-14. It is apparent that the majority of divorce cases today are not based upon a proper application of Deut. 24:1 or Matthew 19:1-9, in the same way that the majority of racially-mixed marriages do not fall under the concession given in Deut. 21:10-14. And even when this concession can be applied, it does not mean that it would not be better to marry under traditional circumstances according to the example that God has given us in Adam and Eve.
Application of this Argument to Polygamy and Other Issues
This same logic is used frequently by Christians without their even realizing it. If we consider the question of whether it is permissible for a man to have more than one wife, we use a very similar argument to show that polygamy should generally not be practiced. Most Christians correctly point back to the monogamous marriage of Adam and Eve to indicate that God intends for Christian marriage to be monogamous. There is no Bible verse that explicitly prohibits a man from having more than one wife, and we could also find plenty of godly patriarchs who had more than one wife. Like divorce and miscegenation, the Mosaic law provides a concession to this as well (Deut. 21:15-17).5 In spite of a concession given in the Bible and examples of godly men who practiced polygamy, virtually no one argues that polygamy should be permitted today on this basis. Would a pastor consider it legalism to insist that a man have only one wife? After all, with a possible exception for clergy (1 Tim. 3:2), there is no clear prohibition of polygamy in the Bible, and it seems that the law allows for it under some circumstances. The Church properly considers polygamy to be contrary to God’s intention for marriage, and thus does not allow her members to practice it. In doing so, the Church appropriately applies Christ’s logic that He used to confound the Pharisees.
We could apply this logic to other issues important to marriage as well. Should a couple who wants to marry be similar in age? Of course; that should not even be controversial. We should be able to say this without a Bible verse to tell us this. The fact that couples ought to be similar in age should simply make sense to us. This could also be justified by appealing to Adam and Eve: Adam and Eve were very similar in age, with Adam being slightly older than Eve. Can a man marry a woman who is younger than him? Of course: married couples do not have to have to be born on the same day. However, we should be able to extrapolate from this that married couples should be suitably similar, and age is included in this. Historically, most married couples have been within ten years of age.
Can a couple who is more than ten years apart marry each other? Absolutely they can, particularly if the couple is similar in other ways, including race and religion. However, we should be able to say that it is wrong for an eighty-four-year-old man to marry a nine-year-old girl! This clearly goes against the intent of marriage that God established in the example of Adam and Eve. Can a woman marry a younger man? Sure, but again, there must be other essential similarities that balance this out. It can certainly be more difficult for a woman to submit to a younger man, which is required of her (Num. 30; 1 Cor. 11:3, 14:34; Eph. 5:22-24; Col. 3:18). The order of creation was intrinsic to the roles of marriage itself (1 Cor. 11:8-9; 1 Tim. 2:13). This is why marriage gaps are even more critical when a woman is older than her husband. Historically, “cougar” marriages were completely anomalous, and are only promoted today in the entertainment industry as a means to further undermine Christian order.
After discerning that there are indeed similarities in the way that the Bible treats divorce, miscegenation, and polygamy, we can easily see that the way that the alienist approaches the question of miscegenation is clearly flawed. The alienist wants to remove any moral prohibition or taboo from the practice of miscegenation. Indeed, some alienists like John Piper argue that miscegenation actually glorifies God. Like divorce and polygamy, miscegenation should be prohibited in all but the most extraordinary circumstances. Divorce and polygamy might be permitted by the general equity of Deut. 24:1 and Deut. 21:15-17, respectively, but these would be considered exceptions to the rule that God has given us in the example of Adam and Eve. It is the Church’s duty to ensure that these practices are not allowed to be considered acceptable under normal circumstances.
We can say the same thing about racial intermarriage. There may be rare circumstances in which intermarriage can be justified on the basis of the general equity of Deut. 21:10-14, but the Church should make sure that this too does not become the norm. Even when they might be justified due to extraordinary circumstances, mostly dealing with displacement due to war or crisis,6 they should still be actively avoided. Acceptable circumstances are indeed rare, and especially so today. Demographically speaking, whites are staring down the barrel of a gun, and we cannot afford to allow these demographic trends to continue. What we should be able to conclude is that the modern church is certainly wrong to follow the pop-cultural trend in promoting racially mixed marriages. Mixed marriages clearly violate the standard that God provided for us in the marriage of our first parents, Adam and Eve, on the basis of the bone-and-flesh principle taught in Gen. 2:23. The sooner the Church wakes up to this fact, the better it will be for everyone.
- This article will not deal with all of the examples of interracial marriages that alienist frequently cite. For a refutation of common alienist arguments along these lines, the reader should consult “Is Interracial Marriage Scriptural?”, located at the kinist blog Spirit, Water, Blood: http://spiritwaterblood.com/2008/08/is-interracial-marriage-scriptural/. ↩
- Some might demur at this point by observing the way that “bone and flesh” is used in Eph. 5:30: “For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.” This is the only use of the bone-and-flesh idiom in the New Testament of which I am aware. Some argue that because all Christians, as members of the Church, are connected to Christ in a bone-and-flesh relationship, this nullifies the Old Testament’s more physical use of the term. But context is critical, as with any other passage. We must be careful not to use this verse as a mere prooftext. The Apostle Paul is speaking in a passage which metaphorically considers the relationship between Christ and the Church to be a marriage (Eph. 5:22-33). Just as Christ loves the Church, men ought to love their wives, and just as the Church ought to submit to Christ in all things, so too should wives submit to their husbands in all things. Paul is simply continuing this metaphor of marriage by referring back to the bone-and-flesh principle. This demonstrates that Paul considers this principle to have continuing validity for marriage today.
It is important not to carry metaphorical language beyond what is intended by the author. By comparing the relationship of Christ and the Church to marriage, Paul is highlighting an important pair of attributes in this relationship, namely the love of Christ for the Church and the Church’s submission to Christ. That is all. It would be incorrect to try to apply other aspects of marriage to the identity of the Church. An example of this would be to say that because the Church is the bride of Christ, the Church is therefore essentially female in character. That would be a category fallacy, as metaphors or analogies are never intended to conceptually replace what is being compared. In other words, the marriage of Christ and the Church does not replace or do away with individual Christian marriages. It would be absurd to argue that because all Christians are members of the body of Christ, we therefore do not have physical bodies of our own. Thus, while all Christians have an important connection as members of the body and bride of Christ, this does not replace individual bodies or marriages. Paul’s usage of the bone-and-flesh principle in his analogy to marriage clearly indicates that Paul considered this principle as an essential part of marriage even under the New Covenant. ↩
- See, for example, Numbers 20:14 and Deuteronomy 23:7. ↩
- Compare Deut. 21:14 to Deut. 24:1. ↩
- Interestingly enough, this concession appears right after the possible concession for miscegenation given in Deut. 21:10-14. It is strange how people do not seem to suggest that Deut. 21:15-17 constitutes a blank check for polygamy in the same way that many argue that Deut. 21:10-14 supposedly provides a blank check for miscegenation. ↩
- One historical example might be the Confederados of Brazil, who are descended from some Confederate expatriates that fled the South after the War Between the States in 1865. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confederados ↩