The oldest institution among the human race is the institution of marriage. It is the institution that defined the relationship between the first man and the first woman and the institution from which the second generation of men came. It is the physical union of husband and wife that is the vehicle that God uses to join the two into one. Through the marital act, God forges the family and through the marital act, God multiplies the family and the human race. The formula that we see in Genesis 2 and affirmed elsewhere throughout Scripture is a straight-forward and simple formula for the family. God’s design calls for one man and one woman joined through a sexual union that is designed to create life.
When questioned about divorce in Matthew 19, Jesus makes it clear that divorce is a part of the landscape here because of our sin. Man is the one who introduced this tragic evil into the world through his hardness of heart. Once a marriage is broken, complications arise. Where do children spend their time? Under what circumstances, if any, are the divorcees biblically eligible to remarry? How is marital property to be divided? What was designed to be a simple, directional, and fruitful relationship has disintegrated into chaos.
Even more chaos and complication attend the proposed union of same sex couples. No matter the circumstances, no same sex couple can ever produce children without the aid of a third party. No child in a same sex family can ever be biologically related to both parents. How, then, are we to define “father”, “mother”, and “parent”? What is society to do with the third party that attempts to assert parental rights? Once the courts impose a test for de facto parenthood, live-in boyfriends, roommates, nannies, and all sorts of people unrelated to the child will fall into the definition of “parent” whether that is the intention of any party from the beginning. How much more complex are the issues when polygamy comes into play?
God has created the institution of marriage for our benefit and not to impose upon us a rigid structure that defines our sexual function and desires. On the contrary, the institution of marriage as defined by Scripture is the only institution in which sexual complements find fulfillment and meaning. God created man as male and as female. There are only two variations and the institution of marriage is the context in which there can be perfect unity in complete sexual diversity. Both partners are necessary to form a family and to create life. Not only are both partners necessary, they are exclusively necessary. The two become one flesh through the marital act—there is no room for a third party.
God’s design is simple and indexed for the world that He has created. Male and female He has created us and in doing so, made husbands and wives perfectly matched pairs who compliment what the other lacks. It is only through the lens of our sin and our perversion that we view the biblical institution of marriage as anything less than a brilliant and perfect divinely-instituted structure for sexual union and the raising of children. Every marriage is a challenge, and raising children is not easy, but when we do these things God’s way, He will honor and bless us. When we don’t, He simply lets us slip into our own sin-induced chaotic fog in which we encounter questions that don’t have answers, and where we end up dismantling the very first institution that is nothing short of beautifully and perfectly simple.