“But ‘God made them male and female’ from the beginning of creation. ‘This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.’ Since they are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together” (Mark 10.6-9 NLT).

These words of Jesus state a fundamental principle; it is simple, straightforward and unequivocal, and at the same time peculiarly enduring.

Man has always challenged and twisted all of God’s principles and we see this in so many ways in our world. Matthew tells us that people will be “marrying and giving in marriage” at the time of the end. In this context the following information is interesting.

Dont ask, don’t tell

Last December US President Obama successfully delivered on one of his 2008 election promises with the overturning of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in the US military. He did this “not just because it seemed to be in line with public sentiment, but because he believed it was the right thing to do.”

A BBC news article from December last year continues:

“Attitudes to homosexuality have changed since the controversial policy was introduced under President Bill Clinton seventeen years ago. Polls conducted within the military, and society at large, consistently show that people are far less troubled by the issue of sexuality than they once were … Supporters of repeal portrayed it as a 21st Century civil-rights issue”.

This is but one indication of the tendency to recognise and even formalise homosexual relationships. These relationships are now largely regarded as “normal”.

“Who needs marriage? A changing institution.”

This was the title of an article recently in Time:

“The wedding of the 20th century, in 1981, celebrated a marriage that turned out to be a huge bust. It ended as badly as a relationship can: scandal, divorce and, ultimately, death and worldwide weeping.”

Royal weddingSo when the firstborn son of that union, Britain’s Prince William, set in motion the wedding of this century by becoming engaged to Catherine Middleton, he did things a little differently. He picked someone older than he is (by six months), who went to the same university as he, and whom he’d dated for a long time. Although she is not of royal blood, she stands to become the first English Queen with a university degree, so in one fundamental way, theirs is a union of equals. In that regard, the new couple reflects the changes in the shape and nature of marriage that have been rippling throughout the Western world for the past few decades.

In fact, statistically speaking, a young man of William’s age … might be just as likely not to get married, yet. In 1960, the year before Princess Diana, William’s mother, was born, nearly 70% of American adults were married; now only about half are. Eight times as many children are born out of wedlock. Back then, two-thirds of 20-somethings were married; in 2008 just 26% were.

When an institution so central to human experience suddenly changes in the space of a generation or two, it’s worth trying to figure out why. Recently the Pew Research Center, in association with TIME, conducted a nationwide poll exploring the contours of modern marriage.  The report included the following:

“What we found is that marriage, whatever its social, spiritual or symbolic appeal, is in purely practical terms just not as necessary as it used to be … yet marriage remains revered and desired … overwhelmingly, Americans still venerate marriage enough to want to try it. About 70% of us have been married at least once, according to the 2010 Census. The Pew poll found that although 44% of Americans under thirty believe marriage is heading for extinction, only 5% of those in that age group do not want to get married. Sociologists note that Americans have a rate of marriage – and of remarriage – among the highest in the Western world. (In between is a divorce rate higher than that of most countries in the European Union.)”

The current state of marriage in the Western world (including the increasing trend to allow same sex “marriages”) is what we would expect in the the period the Bible describes as “the last days” before the return of Jesus Christ.

A basic Bible teaching

Whatever interpretation people may choose to put on the opening chapters of the Bible, nobody can escape the fact that, according to the Bible, ‘from the beginning’ the concept and practice of marriage has been the union between one man and one woman:

“Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” (Genesis 2v24)

Since those words were written, if not before, it seems quite clear that the concept of marriage has been exactly as it is defined in the Oxford dictionary:

marriage – the legal union of a man and a woman in order to live together and often to have children.

For some time now that Oxford dictionary definition of marriage has been changing in the minds and practices of many people around the world.

But while everybody is entitled to hold whatever views they like on any matter, including a redefinition of ‘marriage’ as being the union of two people, including two men or two women, that is not binding for life, Bible teaching does not change with the passage of time.

And the fact that Jesus Christ himself endorsed the concept of marriage, as the Bible defines it, surely means that anyone wishing to call themselves a Christian must do the same. To do otherwise is effectively saying that the wishes and inclinations of people are more important than the guidance and instructions of God!!

As with so many things, by changing the definition of marriage and approving a union between two people that God clearly tells us is wrong, man is just doing what he wants while still expecting his creator to approve.