Marriage, in America, is nearing its last breath. When marriage is not revered and protected as a vital institution of society it will be disregarded, redefined, and in time will become meaningless. Marriage is a commentary on culture. The state of marriage is a statement about the moral climate of a nation. Sexual behavior is either tied to sacred trust or it becomes the perversion of imagination. We are seeing this story unfold daily. Striking down proposition 8 and recognizing gay and lesbian union as marriage is but the final act of taking something holy and profaning it. This slow erosion of marriage has not been on the agenda only recently, it has been there, globally, for centuries. America is a relative newcomer to the stage. So how did we get here?
We failed to recognize the origination of marriage. Marriage was not born in a courtroom, but in a garden. It was Biblical before it was legal. God created the world. God also took man and woman and created marriage. If you read the original transcripts (Gen. 2:18-25), marriage, from the beginning, was to be a covenant commitment between a man and a woman for life. The moment sin entered the picture (Gen. 3), that ideal and definition of marriage was under attack (Gen. 3:12).
Adultery is a fundamental attack on marriage. A culture that is not serious about preventing adultery is doomed to an immoral slippery slope. There are alternatives to marriage. There are other men and other women. Focus less on commitment and more on what we really want, sex. When marriage is no longer the ideal, love is not measured by trust but by sex. You don’t have to commit to not leaving the one you love; you just need to have sex with the one you’re with. When you fall in and out of love, change partners. But who needs love? It’s complicated. Why not just have sex for the sake of pleasure? Sex is entertaining. When sex is measured by pleasure it becomes commercialized. Sex is big business. The predominant plot of American television is the predominant plot of ancient pagan culture, what would you do for sex? We are not entertained by characters who are celibate, monogamous, or married for 50 years. We want to know who and how many can be sacked in 50 minutes, preferably without commercial interruption.
What’s next? Marriage doesn’t work. Divorce is epidemic. Why marry? When marriage is no longer recognized as God ordained there is only one appropriate term to describe its origination. Exchange the term “Biblical” for “traditional.” Traditional marriage is an archaic societal institution that no longer fits the trends of an emerging culture. Redefine it to fit the current trends in sex. People can have sex but not be married. Reward them. Allow them to live together in an arrangement that has as much cultural validity as a traditionally married man and woman. Yet even the idea as marriage being defined as man and woman is passé, old school, traditional. If marriage is merely a legal arrangement, then the courtroom is the logical place to redefine it. The tradition of marriage is man and woman, but that is way too discriminatory for post-modern “non-traditional” men and women.
So here we are reaping what we have sown. God required only two words in Hebrew to write a law that would safeguard marriage, NO ADULTERY. The genius of the Ten Commandments is not only in what it forbids, but in what it promotes. It promotes devotion to a true and righteous God who has a heart for people. It promotes an honest work ethic that does not mistreat the laborer. It promotes life. It promotes wealth. It promotes truth. It promotes happiness. It promotes family. It promotes marriage! A society that values the original blueprint for covenant union between male and female will promote and protect marriage. For Israel, The Ten Commandments were the basis of theocratic law. They were the backbone, the foundation for every other law. Other, more specific laws would need to be written. How does “Do not kill” play out in everyday life? Use that saying as the basis of more specific laws that address issues of manslaughter, premeditated murder, and even the killing of the unborn. The Jews took these ten words or commandments and built a law code from them. America once did the same. Now imagine living in a society that promoted and protected covenant marriage between a man and a woman. It would make a strong statement about what we did with sex. It would define morality and social conscience. Adultery would no longer be entertaining. It would be a threat to the ideal.
Because adultery is such a commentary on the soul, God used it to describe how Israel related to Him. Idolatry was adultery. Sin was described as adultery. Adultery is not about the moment a man cheats on his wife. Adultery is about how we get to the place where we think breaking a covenant and having sex with someone else is the right thing to do. Commandment seven is not about what we do, it is about how we get there. Furthermore, because adultery is included in the commandments we should not fail to recognize that what we have done with marriage is not an issue for the courts; it is our issue with God. A nation that fails to protect marriage and promotes adultery has lost its soul. It does not know from whence it came. It has no idea where it is going. Once marriage is legally dead, there will be no end to the evil of our sexual imaginations.
We once thought a man having sex with a man was vile; now, not so much. We still think sex between a man and a child is vile. Will we still think so tomorrow? In case you should wonder, I implore you to read the article “Endorsement of Child-Sex Sex on the Rise” by Robert Stacy McCain of the Washington Times or a study recently published by NARTH (National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality) entitled, “Gay-Affirming Psychologists Propose Redefining Child Sexual Abuse.” We have legally redefined marriage. Next we will redefine the terms pedophile, abuse, and child molestation.We have lost our soul in the journey toward and past adultery. We need to return to being a people that not only protects, but promotes covenant marriage between a man and a woman. Adultery is not a single act, but a journey in immorality. God gave us a simple command to not only protect marriage, but morality. No Adultery.