Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Seriousness of the Sin of Remarriage after Divorce, part 6

This is a series of posts designed to convince people of the Biblical truth that remarriage after divorce is adultery and that the fact that the modern American Christian church has by-and-large rejected this teaching is proof that it is in a state of apostasy.  This article is the sixth in the series.  Click here to read the first article.

I Corinthians 7:15

But if the unbeliever leaves, let it be so. The brother or the sister is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace.

This is the only passage in the New Testament which could possibly be construed as an additional exception by any stretch of the imagination.  But “not bound” (NIV or NAS translation) does not really mean “OK to remarry”. 

But before I get into the Greek, I would like to address a logical fallacy in a particular interpretation of this passage.  Some people (who believe that “not bound” means “OK to remarry”) say that this exception only applies if it is an unbeliever that leaves the marriage.  Others reason that “such circumstances” would extend this even to a believer.  The latter argument is a logical fallacy.  A mentioned earlier, some of the commandments (Matthew 5:32, 19:9, and Luke 16:18) specifically say that the woman who has been put away cannot be remarried without committing adultery and does not cover any other cases.  There is obviously no difference between a woman being “left” and being “put away”.  But if the “exception” to the rule says that a woman can generally remarry in that case, then it is no longer an exception because it renders these commandments utterly false and useless.  If a commandment covers no territory at all, due to an exception, then it is no longer an exception, but a contradiction.  But the fact that even the assertion of the narrower exception fails is proven as follows.

In Romans 7:2-3 it says that a woman is bound by law to her husband as long as he lives and if she marries another man while he is still alive, she is an adulteress.  The Greek word for “bound” (Strong’s # 1210) means “legally binding” or literally “to be bound as with ropes”.  In other words, the word for “bound” is chosen to indicate that the woman is prohibited from doing something.  The meaning of the word is in perfect agreement with the context. 

Note also that I Corinthians 7:39 says the same thing as Romans 7:2-3 and uses the same Greek word for “bound”.  This is important because someone might think that Romans 7:2-3 is just hypothetical because Paul is just using it as an analogy.  But it is clear from the context in I Corinthians 7:39 that Paul is here talking about a real commandment from the Lord which applies to all Christians.

But the word for “bound” in I Corinthians 7:15 is not the same Greek word.  The word used here means bound to slavery or servitude (Strong’s # 1402).  Even a slave has the right to marry (See Exodus 21:1-11, for example).  Therefore it is not saying that the deserted spouse is free from the type of bondage mentioned in Romans 7:2-3, but rather it is that he or she is free from the obligation to perform the biblical duties associated with a properly functioning marriage.  Some of these duties are mentioned in I Corinthians 7 (especially verses 3-5).  The main theme of that chapter is about the pros and cons of getting married and whenever reference is made to a woman considering marriage she is always referred to as a virgin or a widow (e.g. verse 8--It goes without saying that all other women shouldn’t even consider marriage).  There is also a strong implication that I Corinthians 7:15 releases the deserted spouse from his or her obligation to try to keep the marriage alive.  And notice the phrase at the end of the verse: “God has called us to live in peace.”  Certainly someone could live in peace without being remarried, but to have to try to fulfill the obligations of marriage in this situation certainly would rob someone of their peace.  God is not the author of confusion--I Corinthians 7:15 does not contradict or provide an exception to the rule that women can never remarry after divorce.

Click here for next article.

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