Saturday, June 2, 2012

God doesn't really hate divorce

I have heard many Christians say "God hates divorce", but then they will go on to say "divorce is permitted in the case of adultery", but which is it?  Either God hates divorce and does not give permission for us to do something He hates, or He does not really hate divorce.  God never says I hate this particular sin, but you can commit it  if . . . 

The "exception clause" in Matthew 19:9 (and Matthew 5:32), as I have blogged about before, is not permitting divorce, but rather it is stating what happens when you divorce and remarry, namely adultery is committed. Unless adultery was already committed, which lead to the divorce.  

As a side note: please find me where there are other exception clauses, you can't!  Only in Matthew's gospel do you find it and a good case can be made that Matthew had Jewish betrothal laws in mind, as he wrote to a Jewish audience.  A word study on "porneia" and "moichaƍ" is helpful.

IF IF IF, the exception clause really means what most people think it means, and it could and I could be wrong, then why would the disciples say to Him in verse 10 "If this is true it is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry."  Why would it be better not to marry IF you could simply divorce for unfaithfulness?  That is not a hard saying is it?  Just divorce and move on, but it must not be that way since Jesus says in verse 11 "Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given." 

So at the least I would say the hard saying is no matter what happens you can never remarry after divorce.  NOW THAT IS HARD!

Finally Matthew 5:32 says that if you divorce your wife you will make her an adulteress, and if you marry a divorced women you (male person) commit adultery; unless there is already marital unfaithfulness then the unfaithful person made themselves an adulterer.

I guess my problem is reconciling God hates divorce with God saying "well go ahead and divorce if there is unfaithfulness"  It doesn't make sense.  To quote Piper "Divorce tells a lie about God"


  1. If marraige is a picture of Christ and the Church, as the Bible says it says. We are constantly unfaithful to Christ. But He says He will never divorce us. Shouldn't we extend the same grace to our spouses and not divorce them? Even if only to try to portray an accurate picture of the gospel?

  2. Anonymous6:05 PM

    You are overlooking the obvious fact that under the Law the adultering spouse would be put to death. The reason why Jesus says "He that divorces his wife and remarries commits adultery and causes her to commit adultery EXCEPT in the case of fornication" is because according to the Law the fornicating spouse is already considered dead, hence the marriage is already annulled. In this case and only this case, the divorce is only a recognition of what has already occurred.

    1. That is an interesting perspective and I will have to think about that some more. I can see your point on the surface, but will have to study more. Thanks for the thought.

  3. Anonymous 6:05 PM I just looked at the Word and you are partially correct, in that the adulterating spouse is stoned. However, nowhere in the law is a fornicating spouse "considered dead" because they are in fact dead.


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