You are here

Holy Matrimony

Holy Matrimony


The Problem: Many Christian denominations do not fully understand the covanental nature of marriage, or the outpouring of the Spirit which occurs in marriage. They consequently permit the offenses of contraception and divorce to be undertaken against this covenantal act.

The Truth: Marriage is the type by which God's plan of salvation is made known to all. It is the first sacrament in temporal terms, uniting Adam and Eve into flesh of one flesh and bone of one bone, it is found constantly in the Old Testament as the living example God uses to express His covenant with His Chosen People, and is the means by which Jesus Christ, the Bridegroom, unites Himself with all who will be saved through the New Covenant, making believers in Him, through baptism, flesh of His flesh, and bone of His bone, one Body with His Bride, the Church.


Divorce, Birth Control/Contraception, Abortion


Gen 1:26-28,31 Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth." 27So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. 28And God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth."...And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, a sixth day.

Gen 2:18-25 Then the Lord God said, "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him." 19So out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20The man gave names to all cattle, and to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for the man there was not found a helper fit for him. 21So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh; 22and the rib which the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23Then the man said, "This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man." 24Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh. 25And the man and his wife were both naked, and were not ashamed.

The Hebrew word "holy" means "set apart." It is also the word for "marriage." Note that the use of sexuality was ordained prior to the Fall - the first couple were told to "be fruitful and multiply." As Paul is at pains to point out, marriage is not a sin. It is, in fact, the first sacrament in the temporal order, elevated by Christ to the level of sacrament, and is the created model for the Trinity.


Eph 5:2,21-33 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God... Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ. 22Wives, be subject to your husbands, as to the Lord. 23For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24As the church is subject to Christ, so let wives also be subject in everything to their husbands. 25Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28Even so husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29For no man ever hates his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, as Christ does the church, 30because we are members of his body. 31"For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh." 32This mystery is a profound one, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church; 33however, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

Note that marriage is the only one of the seven sacraments to be referred to by Scripture as a "mystery." Yet the Greek word for "sacrament" is "mysterium," that is, mystery. In matrimony, the spouses are united by the very same bond that unites Christ to the Church. Thus, all sacraments are a sharing in the central mystery, the mystery of the Bridegroom and the Bride.


Gen 24:48-51,58-67 Then I bowed my head and worshiped the Lord, and blessed the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, who had led me by the right way to take the daughter of my master's kinsman for his son. 49Now then, if you will deal loyally and truly with my master, tell me; and if not, tell me; that I may turn to the right hand or to the left."

50Then Laban and Bethuel answered, "The thing comes from the Lord; we cannot speak to you bad or good. 51Behold, Rebekah is before you, take her and go, and let her be the wife of your master's son, as the Lord has spoken."... And they called Rebekah, and said to her, "Will you go with this man?" She said, "I will go." 59So they sent away Rebekah their sister and her nurse, and Abraham's servant and his men. 60And they blessed Rebekah, and said to her, "Our sister, be the mother of thousands of ten thousands; and may your descendants possess the gate of those who hate them!" 61Then Rebekah and her maids arose, and rode upon the camels and followed the man; thus the servant took Rebekah, and went his way.

62Now Isaac had come from Beer-lahai-roi, and was dwelling in the Negeb. 63And Isaac went out to meditate in the field in the evening; and he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, there were camels coming. 64And Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac, she alighted from the camel, 65and said to the servant, "Who is the man yonder, walking in the field to meet us?" The servant said, "It is my master." So she took her veil and covered herself. 66And the servant told Isaac all the things that he had done. 67Then Isaac brought her into the tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her. So Isaac was comforted after his mother's death.

Tob 7:9-14 So he communicated the proposal to Raguel. And Raguel said to Tobias, "Eat, drink, and be merry; 10for it is your right to take my child. But let me explain the true situation to you. 11I have given my daughter to seven husbands, and when each came to her he died in the night. But for the present be merry." And Tobias said, "I will eat nothing here until you make a binding agreement with me." 12So Raguel said, "Take her right now, in accordance with the law. You are her relative, and she is yours. The merciful God will guide you both for the best." 13Then he called his daughter Sarah, and taking her by the hand he gave her to Tobias to be his wife, saying, "Here she is; take her according to the law of Moses, and take her with you to your father." And he blessed them. 14Next he called his wife Edna, and took a scroll and wrote out the contract; and they set their seals to it.

Tob 8:4-9 When the door was shut and the two were alone, Tobias got up from the bed and said, "Sister, get up, and let us pray that the Lord may have mercy upon us." 5And Tobias began to pray, "Blessed art thou, O God of our fathers, and blessed be thy holy and glorious name for ever. Let the heavens and all thy creatures bless thee. 6Thou madest Adam and gavest him Eve his wife as a helper and support. From them the race of mankind has sprung. Thou didst say, 'It is not good that the man should be alone; let us make a helper for him like himself.' 7And now, O Lord, I am not taking this sister of mine because of lust, but with sincerity. Grant that I may find mercy and may grow old together with her." 8And she said with him, "Amen." 9Then they both went to sleep for the night.

Song 2:8-10,14,16;8:6-7 The voice of my beloved! Behold, he comes, leaping upon the mountains, bounding over the hills. 9My beloved is like a gazelle, or a young stag. Behold, there he stands behind our wall, gazing in at the windows, looking through the lattice. 10My beloved speaks and says to me: "Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away;... O my dove, in the clefts of the rock, in the covert of the cliff, let me see your face, let me hear your voice, for your voice is sweet, and your face is comely. My beloved is mine and I am his, he pastures his flock among the lilies. ... Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm; for love is strong as death, jealousy is cruel as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, a most vehement flame. 7Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it. If a man offered for love all the wealth of his house, it would be utterly scorned.


Sir 26:1-4, 13-18 Happy is the husband of a good wife; the number of his days will be doubled. 2A loyal wife rejoices her husband, and he will complete his years in peace. 3A good wife is a great blessing; she will be granted among the blessings of the man who fears the Lord. 4Whether rich or poor, his heart is glad, and at all times his face is cheerful.. A wife's charm delights her husband, and her skill puts fat on his bones. 14A silent wife is a gift of the Lord, and there is nothing so precious as a disciplined soul. 15A modest wife adds charm to charm, and no balance can weigh the value of a chaste soul. 16Like the sun rising in the heights of the Lord, so is the beauty of a good wife in her well-ordered home. 17Like the shining lamp on the holy lampstand, so is a beautiful face on a stately figure. 18Like pillars of gold on a base of silver, so are beautiful feet with a steadfast heart.

Jer 31:31-34 "Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, 32not like the covenant which I made with their fathers when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant which they broke, though I was their husband, says the Lord. 33But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it upon their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34And no longer shall each man teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,' for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more."


Rom 8:31-35,37-39 What then shall we say to this? If God is for us, who is against us? 32He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, will he not also give us all things with him? 33Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies; 34who is to condemn? Is it Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised from the dead, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us? 35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?... No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Rom 12:1-2,9-13 I appeal to you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect..... Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; 10love one another with brotherly affection; outdo one another in showing honor. 11Never flag in zeal, be aglow with the Spirit, serve the Lord. 12Rejoice in your hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 13Contribute to the needs of the saints, practice hospitality.


1 Cor 6:13-20 "Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food"and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is not meant for immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. 14And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power. 15Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I therefore take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! 16Do you not know that he who joins himself to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, "The two shall become one flesh." 17But he who is united to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. 18Shun immorality. Every other sin which a man commits is outside the body; but the immoral man sins against his own body. 19Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God? You are not your own; 20you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

1 Cor 12:31-13:8 But earnestly desire the higher gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way. 1If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. 4Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; 5it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. 7Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8Love never ends; as for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.

1 Pet 3:1-9 Likewise you wives, be submissive to your husbands, so that some, though they do not obey the word, may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, 2when they see your reverent and chaste behavior. 3Let not yours be the outward adorning with braiding of hair, decoration of gold, and wearing of fine clothing, 4but let it be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable jewel of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious. 5So once the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves and were submissive to their husbands, 6as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are now her children if you do right and let nothing terrify you. 7Likewise you husbands, live considerately with your wives, bestowing honor on the woman as the weaker sex, since you are joint heirs of the grace of life, in order that your prayers may not be hindered. 8Finally, all of you, have unity of spirit, sympathy, love of the brethren, a tender heart and a humble mind. 9Do not return evil for evil or reviling for reviling; but on the contrary bless, for to this you have been called, that you may obtain a blessing.

1 Jn 3:18-24 Little children, let us not love in word or speech but in deed and in truth.19By this we shall know that we are of the truth, and reassure our hearts before him 20whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. 21Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God; 22and we receive from him whatever we ask, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. 23And this is his commandment, that we should believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. 24All who keep his commandments abide in him, and he in them. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit which he has given us.


1 Jn 4:7-12 Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God, and he who loves is born of God and knows God. 8He who does not love does not know God; for God is love. 9In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins. 11Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12No man has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.

1 Tim 2:15 Yet woman will be saved through bearing children, if she continues in faith and love and holiness, with modesty.


1 Thess 4:4 that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor,...


Hosea Through his unfaithful wife and broken marriage, he was a prophetic picture of apostate Israel. This entire book is the clearest image of Israel's condition and it was given to us by God through the image of a broken marriage. Marriage is a constant image of his covenant relationship with us. Many prophets refer to apostasy of covenant as "adultery."


Mt 19:1-9 Now when Jesus had finished these sayings, he went away from Galilee and entered the region of Judea beyond the Jordan; 2and large crowds followed him, and he healed them there.

3And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, "Is it lawful to divorce one's wife for any cause?" 4He answered, "Have you not read that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female, 5and said, 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'? 6So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder." 7They said to him, "Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?" 8He said to them, "For your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. 9And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for unchastity, and marries another, commits adultery; and he who marries a divorced woman, commits adultery."

God treated Israel as the Israelites treated each other - they insisted on bills of divorce for themselves, so God showed them what bills of divorce meant.


Is 50:1-2 Thus says the Lord: "Where is your mother's bill of divorce, with which I put her away? Or which of my creditors is it to whom I have sold you? Behold, for your iniquities you were sold, and for your transgressions your mother was put away. 2Why, when I came, was there no man? When I called, was there no one to answer? Is my hand shortened, that it cannot redeem? Or have I no power to deliver? Behold, by my rebuke I dry up the sea, I make the rivers a desert; their fish stink for lack of water, and die of thirst.


Jer 3:8 She saw that for all the adulteries of that faithless one, Israel, I had sent her away with a decree of divorce; yet her false sister Judah did not fear, but she too went and played the harlot.


But Christ's covenant does not permit such ill-use of one another...


Mt 19:4-5 He answered, "Have you not read that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female, 5and said, 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'?

Mk 10:7-9 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, 8and the two shall become one flesh.' So they are no longer two but one flesh. 9What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder."


Heb 13:4 Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled; for God will judge the immoral and adulterous.


Mt 22:35-40 And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question, to test him. 36"Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?" 37And he said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. 38This is the great and first commandment. 39And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets."

Jn 15:9-16 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love. 10If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. 11These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.


12"This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. 14You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. 16You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide; so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.

Jn 17:20-26 "I do not pray for these only, but also for those who believe in me through their word, 21that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. 22The glory which thou hast given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23I in them and thou in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that thou hast sent me and hast loved them even as thou hast loved me. 24Father, I desire that they also, whom thou hast given me, may be with me where I am, to behold my glory which thou hast given me in thy love for me before the foundation of the world. 25O righteous Father, the world has not known thee, but I have known thee; and these know that thou hast sent me. 26I made known to them thy name, and I will make it known, that the love with which thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them."


Jn 2:1-11 On the third day there was a marriage at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there; 2Jesus also was invited to the marriage, with his disciples. 3When the wine failed, the mother of Jesus said to him, "They have no wine." 4And Jesus said to her, "O woman, what have you to do with me? My hour has not yet come." 5His mother said to the servants, "Do whatever he tells you." 6Now six stone jars were standing there, for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. 7Jesus said to them, "Fill the jars with water." And they filled them up to the brim. 8He said to them, "Now draw some out, and take it to the steward of the feast." So they took it. 9When the steward of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward of the feast called the bridegroom 10and said to him, "Every man serves the good wine first; and when men have drunk freely, then the poor wine; but you have kept the good wine until now." 11This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory; and his disciples believed in him.

The first miracle of the Incarnate Word was accomplished at a wedding feast. At a wedding, it was the bridegroom's obligation to supply the wine. This account tells us the name of both the Bridegroom and the Bride. It was here at the Wedding Feast, where the marriage between God and man is begun, that his disciples first began to believe. This union will not be broken. Even the Apostles will attest to it.


Acts 15: 28 For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us....


The Bride works in union with the Bridegroom.


The Wedding Feast is the icon for the whole public ministry of Christ, surveying the whole purpose of the Incarnation. The Bride and Bridegroom at the Wedding Feast is Christ's favorite description for the Kingdom of Heaven.


Jn 3:29 He who has the bride is the bridegroom; the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom's voice; therefore this joy of mine is now full.


Mt 9:15 And Jesus said to them, "Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come, when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.

Mt 25:1,10 "Then the kingdom of heaven shall be compared to ten maidens who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom... And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast; and the door was shut.


Mk 2:19-20 "Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. 20The days will come, when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in that day.


Lk 5:34-35 And Jesus said to them, "Can you make wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? 35The days will come, when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in those days."

Lk 12:35-36 "Let your loins be girded and your lamps burning, 36and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the marriage feast, so that they may open to him at once when he comes and knocks.


Lk 14:6 Now he told a parable to those who were invited, when he marked how they chose the places of honor, saying to them, 8"When you are invited by any one to a marriage feast, do not sit down in a place of honor, lest a more eminent man than you be invited by him; 9and he who invited you both will come and say to you, 'Give place to this man,' and then you will begin with shame to take the lowest place.


Mt 22:1-9 And again Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying, 2"The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a marriage feast for his son, 3and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the marriage feast; but they would not come. 4Again he sent other servants, saying, 'Tell those who are invited, Behold, I have made ready my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves are killed, and everything is ready; come to the marriage feast.' 5But they made light of it and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, 6while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them. 7The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. 8Then he said to his servants, 'The wedding is ready, but those invited were not worthy. 9Go therefore to the thoroughfares, and invite to the marriage feast as many as you find.' 10And those servants went out into the streets and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good; so the wedding hall was filled with guests.

11"But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment; 12and he said to him, 'Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?' And he was speechless. 13Then the king said to the attendants, 'Bind him hand and foot, and cast him into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.' 14For many are called, but few are chosen."


Note that guests who treat marriage and the marriage feast lightly receive total destruction and death by fire from the king.


Rev 18:23 and the light of a lamp shall shine in thee no more; and the voice of bridegroom and bride shall be heard in thee no more;

The loss of the wedding couple is the last and greatest sign signaling the loss of salvation for Babylon.


2 Cor 11:2 I feel a divine jealousy for you, for I betrothed you to Christ to present you as a pure bride to her one husband.


Rev 21:2-4 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband; 3and I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold, the dwelling of God is with men. He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself will be with them; 4he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away...." Then came one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues, and spoke to me, saying, "Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb." 10And in the Spirit he carried me away to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God,

Rev 22:17 The Spirit and the Bride say, "Come."


Rev 19:1,5-9 After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, crying, "Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God... 5 And from the throne came a voice crying, "Praise our God, all you his servants, you who fear him, small and great." 6Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty thunderpeals, crying, "Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. 7Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; 8it was granted her to be clothed with fine linen, bright and pure" for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. 9And the angel said to me, "Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb." And he said to me, "These are true words of God."

The Wedding Feast is the reward for those who persevere to the end.


Divorce


The Problem: Many Christian denominations permit divorce.


The Truth: Divorce is impossible - what God has joined, no man may break asunder. In order for a valid marriage to have occurred, both parties must make full, free, and knowledgeable assent to entrance into the sacrament. A serious defect of understanding, freedom, or intent may erect such an impediment to the graces proper to marriage that the bond of marriage is never actually established to begin with, despite the appearance of such. If, after proper investigation of the circumstances surrounding the event, such impediments are shown to have been present, the Church may declare that a valid sacramental marriage was not, in fact, undertaken. This formal declaration is called an "annullment" - it is the formal recognition that one or both parties were operating under such impediments that the graces proper to the establishment of the bond of marriage were not conferred, and no marriage was ever established.


Mt 5:31-32 "It was also said, 'Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.' 32But I say to you that every one who divorces his wife, except on the ground of unchastity, makes her an adulteress; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

Mt 19:3-9 And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, "Is it lawful to divorce one's wife for any cause?" 4He answered, "Have you not read that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female, 5and said, 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'? 6So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder." 7They said to him, "Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?" 8He said to them, "For your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. 9And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for unchastity, and marries another, commits adultery."

Porneia, the word translated here as "unchastity" means "sexual unlawfulness." It probably refers to a couple living together without being formally engaged or married, or to an attempt to marry someone who is too close in consanguinity, that is, to close of a blood relative, to validly do so.


Mk 10:2-9 And Pharisees came up and in order to test him asked, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?" 3He answered them, "What did Moses command you?" 4They said, "Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of divorce, and to put her away." 5But Jesus said to them, "For your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment. 6But from the beginning of creation, 'God made them male and female.' 7'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, 8and the two shall become one flesh.' So they are no longer two but one flesh. 9What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder."

1 Cor 7:10-15 To the married I give charge, not I but the Lord, that the wife should not separate from her husband 11(but if she does, let her remain single or else be reconciled to her husband)and that the husband should not divorce his wife.


12To the rest I say, not the Lord, that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her. 13If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him. 14For the unbelieving husband is consecrated through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is consecrated through her husband. Otherwise, your children would be unclean, but as it is they are holy. 15But if the unbelieving partner desires to separate, let it be so; in such a case the brother or sister is not bound. For God has called us to peace.


This passage is the basis for the "Pauline privilege". Marriage is a sacrament. A sacrament may only be validly conferred onto a baptized person (except for baptism itself, which is the sacrament of entry into the Body of Christ, and the gateway to all other sacraments). Both partners must be baptized in order for a sacramental marriage to have occurred. If two unbaptized people marry, a natural, non-sacramental marriage occurs. If one member of a natural marriage is subsequently baptized, the natural marriage may, under certain circumstances, be dissolved in order to protect the faith of the baptized member.

Early Christians' comments on Divorce and Remarriage


Birth Control


Most of the Scripture and commentary in this section sumarrizes Brian W. Harrison "Onan's Real Sin", This Rock, April 1997, pp.40-42.


The Problem: From the foundation of Christianity, for the course of nearly two millenia, all Christian denominations without exception condemned the use of artificial birth control as an intrinsic evil. Within the last two hundred years, new concepts of social engineering and eugenics have run riot through European and American society. These concepts, which reached an apex in Europe in the early part of this century, influenced a 1930 conference of Anglican bishops held in Lambeth, England to such an extent that eugenicists actually took part in the conference. The Anglicans, after study and in light of social pressures, concluded that artificial birth control could be used by married couples only, and only under certain extreme circumstances. With this ruling, the Anglican Church broke ranks with all other Christian denominations and the constant teaching of all Christianity. The floodgates opened. Within twenty years, every major Christian denomination but one had fallen away from a teaching two millenia old. Every major Christian denomination but one.


The Truth: The use of artificial birth control is an intrinsic evil, being an act which destroys not only the procreative but the unitive aspects of the sexual act. The use of artificial fertilization is also wrong, and made more heinous by the use of active elements, sperm or ovum, which derive from a third party, not least because it breaks the essential unitive aspect of the marital act. However, the use of medical treatment which permits the completion of the marital act between husband and wife, or which enhances the fertility of this act, is acceptable.

Gen 1:28 And God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth."


Consider the case of Judah and his son Onan. In the Old Testament, family lines had to be preserved. If a man died before his wife bore him offspring, it was the duty of the man's brother or father to bring forth offspring for his dead brother's/son's line by having relations with the dead brother's wife until she conceived.


Gen 38:6-10 And Judah took a wife for Er his first-born, and her name was Tamar. 7But Er, Judah's first-born, was wicked in the sight of the Lord; and the Lord slew him. 8Then Judah said to Onan, "Go in to your brother's wife, and perform the duty of a brother-in-law to her, and raise up offspring for your brother." 9But Onan knew that the offspring would not be his; so when he went in to his brother's wife he spilled the semen on the ground, lest he should give offspring to his brother. 10And what he did was displeasing in the sight of the Lord, and he slew him also.

Some argue that Onan was killed for his failure to do his duty, not because of his practice of birth control. However, after Onan's death, it was Judah's duty to bring forth children for his dead son's line. But Judah did not do his duty either, nor did he fulfill his promises.


Gen 38:11-18 Then Judah said to Tamar his daughter-in-law, "Remain a widow in your father's house, till Shelah my son grows up"for he feared that he would die, like his brothers. So Tamar went and dwelt in her father's house.


12In course of time the wife of Judah, Shua's daughter, died; and when Judah was comforted, he went up to Timnah to his sheepshearers, he and his friend Hirah the Adullamite 13And when Tamar was told, "Your father-in-law is going up to Timnah to shear his sheep," 14she put off her widow's garments, and put on a veil, wrapping herself up, and sat at the entrance to Enaim, which is on the road to Timnah; for she saw that Shelah was grown up, and she had not been given to him in marriage. 15When Judah saw her, he thought her to be a harlot, for she had covered her face. 16He went over to her at the road side, and said, "Come, let me come in to you," for he did not know that she was his daughter-in-law. She said, "What will you give me, that you may come in to me?" 17He answered, "I will send you a kid from the flock." And she said, "Will you give me a pledge, till you send it?" 18He said, "What pledge shall I give you?" She replied, "Your signet and your cord, and your staff that is in your hand." So he gave them to her, and went in to her, and she conceived by him.

Gen 38:25-26 As she was being brought out, she sent word to her father-in-law, "By the man to whom these belong, I am with child." And she said, "Mark, I pray you, whose these are, the signet and the cord and the staff." 26Then Judah acknowledged them and said, "She is more righteous than I, inasmuch as I did not give her to my son Shelah." And he did not lie with her again.


Though Judah did not do his familial duty, nor did he allow his son to carry out that duty, neither Judah nor his son Shelah were killed. Onan's death, therefore, did not result from his failure to do his familial duty, but resulted from some other aspect of his behaviour. Onan willingly undertook the act which would normally bring about new life, but he actively tried to close off the possibility that such a life would be engendered. Onan engaged in a form of birth control, Judah did not.

There is a further consideration. What are the penalties Scripture prescribes for failing to marry the wife of one's dead brother, as opposed to the wasting of seed?


Deut 25:7-10 And if the man does not wish to take his brother's wife, then his brother's wife shall go up to the gate to the elders, and say, 'My husband's brother refuses to perpetuate his brother's name in Israel; he will not perform the duty of a husband's brother to me.' 8Then the elders of his city shall call him, and speak to him: and if he persists, saying, 'I do not wish to take her,' 9then his brother's wife shall go up to him in the presence of the elders, and pull his sandal off his foot, and spit in his face; and she shall answer and say, 'So shall it be done to the man who does not build up his brother's house.' 10And the name of his house shall be called in Israel, The house of him that had his sandal pulled off.


If the man refuses to keep up the lineage, the man is simply struck with his own shoe and spat upon. He is not killed. The act which wastes seed is dealt with much more harshly:


Lev 18:22-23, 20:13 You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination. 23And you shall not lie with any beast and defile yourself with it, neither shall any woman give herself to a beast to lie with it: it is perversion.... If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall be put to death, their blood is upon them.

THIS is the act which warrants the death penalty. We are supposed to take the same joy in the generative act that God took in the act of Creation. Wasting or destroying the materials with which one creates is not joyful, it tears down creation just as the serpent attempted to tear down Creation.


Early Christians' comments on Homosexuality


Scripture always refers to acceptable acts of intercourse in general terms, i.e., "going into" his wife or "knowing" her. When the description is more explicit, e.g., "lying with" someone or "uncovering ... nakedness", the reference is always to shameful or sinful acts. The description of Onan's act was very explicit.

Rom 1:25-27 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever! Amen. 26For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. Their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural, 27and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in their own persons the due penalty for their error.


Sexuality which is closed off to the possibility of procreation is sinful.


Jer 1:5 "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you...


God's greatest gifts are children.

Psalm 127:3-5 Lo, sons are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. 4Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the sons of one's youth. 5Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.


Psalm 128:3,5-6 Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table. 4Lo, thus shall the man be blessed who fears the Lord. 5The Lord bless you from Zion! May you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life! 6May you see your children's children! Peace be upon Israel!

Gen 18:13-14, 21:1-2 The Lord said to Abraham, "Why did Sarah laugh, and say, 'Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?' 14Is anything too hard for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return to you, in the spring, and Sarah shall have a son."... The Lord visited Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did to Sarah as he had promised. 2And Sarah conceived, and bore Abraham a son in his old age at the time of which God had spoken to him.


Gen 25:21 And Isaac prayed to the Lord for his wife, because she was barren; and the Lord granted his prayer, and Rebekah his wife conceived..


Gen 29:31-32 When the Lord saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb; but Rachel was barren. 32And Leah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Reuben; for she said, "Because the Lord has looked upon my affliction; surely now my husband will love me."

Gen 30:22 Then God remembered Rachel, and God hearkened to her and opened her womb.


It is no coincidence that the first three patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, all suffered from the curse of infertility. The curses meted out to Adam as a result of his infidelity towards God reverberated through the subsequent covenant between God and man. Mankind learns that it is only the Lord who gives life, and that life is a gift from God.


Is 45:9-11 "Woe to him who strives with his Maker, an earthen vessel with the potter! Does the clay say to him who fashions it, 'What are you making'? or 'Your work has no handles'? 10Woe to him who says to a father, 'What are you begetting?' or to a woman, 'With what are you in travail?'" 11Thus says the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker: "Will you question me about my children, or command me concerning the work of my hands?

Jn 15:1-17 "I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 2Every branch of mine that bears no fruit, he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3You are already made clean by the word which I have spoken to you. 4Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. 6If a man does not abide in me, he is cast forth as a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire and burned. 7If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you. 8By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be my disciples. 9As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love. 10If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. 11These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

12"This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. 14You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. 16You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide; so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. 17This I command you, to love one another.


Contraception expresses hatred for one's own flesh, a wish for sterility instead of the fecundity which is the natural order of a healthy body.

Phil 3:2 Look out for the dogs, look out for the evil-workers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh.


While Paul was talking here about the Jewish converts who insisted on circumcising Gentiles, the warning seems to be an uncomfortably accurate description of surgical sterilization.


Eph 5:29-32 For no man ever hates his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, as Christ does the church, 30because we are members of his body. 31"For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh." 32This mystery is a profound one, and I mean in reference to Christ and the church...

Fyodor Dostoevsky, in The Brothers Karamazov, put it best when he had the defense attorney at the trial of a man accused of parricide say: "The conventional answer to (the question "Who is my father?") is: 'He begot you, and you are his flesh and blood, and therefore you are bound to love him.' The youth involuntarily reflects: 'But did he love me when he begot me?' he asks, wondering more and more, 'Was it for my sake he begot me? He did not know me, not even my sex, at that moment, at the moment of passion, perhaps, inflamed by wine..."


"Did he love me when he begot me?" When we actively put up chemical or physical walls between ourselves, our lover, and the child which, perhaps, might be begotten, will we truly have loved that child into existence, as God loved us into existence? Are we acting in the image of the living God?


Early Christians' comments on Birth Control


Abortion

The Scripture quotes in this section, and the references to the Talmud, come from Brian Clowes', The Facts of Life, pp. 199-200, 219.


The Problem: Some Christians assert that abortion is a morally acceptable choice.


The Truth: Abortion is an intrinsic evil. Anyone who procures an abortion, or anyone who assists in the procurement of an abortion is guilty by that very act of a terrible abomination before God. Yet, it is also true that every sin can be forgiven. We need only turn again to God and ask His forgiveness, and it will flow like a river. As far as east is from west, so far will He cast away the sins of those who ask forgiveness, and He will remember their transgressions no more.


Gen 9:6 Whoever sheds the blood of man in a man, his blood will be shed...


The Talmud defines "man in a man" as a preborn baby in his mother's womb. In the Mishneh Torah, Maimonedes states "A descendant of Noah who kills any human being, even an infant in his mother's womb, is to be put to death."

Some argue that the book of Exodus permits abortion:


Ex 21:22-25 "When men strive together, and hurt a woman with child, so that there is a miscarriage, and yet no harm follows, the one who hurt her shall be fined, according as the woman's husband shall lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine. 23If any harm follows, then you shall give life for life, 24eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.


The Hebrew term used here for miscarried baby is y'ladeha which means "child," not u'bar or v'lad, meaning "embryo" or "fetus." The payment prescribed here does not mean that the child is deemed less than fully human, for the passage clearly describes an unintentionally caused miscarriage. A man could accidentally cause the death of another and not be condemned to death.

Num 35:22-34 "But if he stabbed him suddenly without enmity, or hurled anything on him without lying in wait, 23or used a stone, by which a man may die, and without seeing him cast it upon him, so that he died, though he was not his enemy, and did not seek his harm; 24then the congregation shall judge between the manslayer and the avenger of blood, in accordance with these ordinances; 25and the congregation shall rescue the manslayer from the hand of the avenger of blood, and the congregation shall restore him to his city of refuge, to which he had fled, and he shall live in it until the death of the high priest who was anointed with the holy oil.


While it is true that the man who causes miscarriage does not flee to a city of refuge as does one who kills an adult, yet this does not mean that Jewish law saw the preborn child as less than human.


Ex 21:20-21 "When a man strikes his slave, male or female, with a rod and the slave dies under his hand, he shall be punished. 21But if the slave survives a day or two, he is not to be punished; for the slave is his money."

The Law for harming a slave involved penalties different from either of the previous, but the Law clearly understood both free man and slave as fully human, for the Law had provisions for the freeing of the same slave on the year of Jubilee. The question in these cases does not concern a question about the humanity or worth of the victim, but of authority. Deliberate killing was an attack on the gift of life from God, while unintended killing was not.


Life begins at conception:


Gen 16:11 And the angel of the Lord said to her, "Behold, you are with child, and shall bear a son; you shall call his name Ishmael; because the Lord has given heed to your affliction."


Gen 25:21-26 And Isaac prayed to the Lord for his wife, because she was barren; and the Lord granted his prayer, and Rebekah his wife conceived. 22The children struggled together within her...

Rom 9:10-13 And not only so, but also when Rebecca had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, 11though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad, in order that God's purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of his call, 12she was told, "The elder will serve the younger." 13As it is written, "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated."


Hos 12:2-3 The Lord has an indictment against Judah, and will punish Jacob according to his ways, and requite him according to his deeds. 3In the womb he took his brother by the heel, and in his manhood he strove with God.

Psalm 51:5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.


Lk 1:35 And the angel said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God."


Jer 1:5 "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations."


Is 44:2,24 Thus says the Lord who made you, who formed you from the womb and will help you: Fear not, O Jacob my servant, Jeshurun whom I have chosen... Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, who formed you from the womb...

Is 46:3 "Hearken to me, O house of Jacob, all the remnant of the house of Israel, who have been borne by me from your birth, carried from the womb..."


Is 49:1,2 Listen to me, O coastlands, and hearken, you peoples from afar. The Lord called me from the womb, from the body of my mother he named my name. 2He made my mouth like a sharp sword, in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me a polished arrow, in his quiver he hid me away.


Job 10:8-12 Thy hands fashioned and made me; and now thou dost turn about and destroy me. 9Remember that thou hast made me of clay; and wilt thou turn me to dust again? 10Didst thou not pour me out like milk and curdle me like cheese? 11Thou didst clothe me with skin and flesh, and knit me together with bones and sinews. 12Thou hast granted me life and steadfast love; and thy care has preserved my spirit.

Job 31:15 Did not he who made me in the womb make him? And did not one fashion us in the womb?


Eccles 11:5 As you do not know how the spirit comes to the bones in the womb of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God who makes everything.


Lk 1:41-44 And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit 42and she exclaimed with a loud cry, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy.

God knew us from the very beginning:


Eph 1:4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.


Mt 25:34 Then the King will say to those at his right hand, 'Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world...


A child with a physical defect is no less a gift from God:


Jn 9:1-3 As he passed by, he saw a man blind from his birth. 2And his disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" 3Jesus answered, "It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be made manifest in him.

Acts 17:27-29 that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel after him and find him. Yet he is not far from each one of us, 28for 'In him we live and move and have our being'; as even some of your poets have said, 'For we are indeed his offspring.' 29Being then God's offspring, we ought not to think that the Deity is like gold, or silver, or stone, a representation by the art and imagination of man.


Psalm 94:9 He who planted the ear, does he not hear? He who formed the eye, does he not see?


Lev 19:14 You shall not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block before the blind, but you shall fear your God: I am the Lord.


Is 45:9-12 "Woe to him who strives with his Maker, an earthen vessel with the potter! Does the clay say to him who fashions it, 'What are you making'? or 'Your work has no handles'? 10Woe to him who says to a father, 'What are you begetting?' or to a woman, 'With what are you in travail?'" 11Thus says the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker: "Will you question me about my children, or command me concerning the work of my hands? 12I made the earth, and created man upon it; it was my hands that stretched out the heavens, and I commanded all their host.

Children must not be sacrificed for any reason:


Ezek 16:20-21 And you took your sons and your daughters, whom you had borne to me, and these you sacrificed to them to be devoured. Were your harlotries so small a matter 21that you slaughtered my children and delivered them up as an offering by fire to them?


Jer 32:35 They built the high places of Baal in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to offer up their sons and daughters to Molech, though I did not command them, nor did it enter into my mind, that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin.


Ex 1:15-17 Then the king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah and the other Puah, 16"When you serve as midwife to the Hebrew women, and see them upon the birthstool, if it is a son, you shall kill him; but if it is a daughter, she shall live." 17But the midwives feared God, and did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but let the male children live.

Psalm 106:37-42 They sacrificed their sons and their daughters to the demons; 38they poured out innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan; and the land was polluted with blood. 39Thus they became unclean by their acts, and played the harlot in their doings. 40Then the anger of the Lord was kindled against his people, and he abhorred his heritage; 41he gave them into the hand of the nations, so that those who hated them ruled over them. 42Their enemies oppressed them, and they were brought into subjection under their power.


2 Kings 16:3 but he walked in the way of the kings of Israel. He even burned his son as an offering, according to the abominable practices of the nations whom the Lord drove out before the people of Israel.

2 Kings 17:17 And they burned their sons and their daughters as offerings, and used divination and sorcery, and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the Lord, provoking him to anger.


2 Kings 21:6 And he burned his son as an offering, and practiced soothsaying and augury, and dealt with mediums and with wizards. He did much evil in the sight of the Lord, provoking him to anger.


Deut 12:31 You shall not do so to the Lord your God; for every abominable thing which the Lord hates they have done for their gods; for they even burn their sons and their daughters in the fire to their gods.


Deut 18:10 There shall not be found among you any one who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, any one who practices divination, a soothsayer, or an augur, or a sorcerer...


Lev 18:21,30 You shall not give any of your children to devote them by fire to Molech, and so profane the name of your God: I am the Lord.... So keep my charge never to practice any of these abominable customs which were practiced before you, and never to defile yourselves by them: I am the Lord your God."

These children were sacrificed in order to attain material, temporal goods. To what gods of material, temporal good are today's children sacrificed? We have a duty to protect women and children, especially women and children abandoned or left without husband or father:


James 1:27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.


Zech 7:9-10 "Thus says the Lord of hosts, Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy each to his brother, 10do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor; and let none of you devise evil against his brother in your heart."


Is 1:23 Your princes are rebels and companions of thieves. Every one loves a bribe and runs after gifts. They do not defend the fatherless, and the widow's cause does not come to them.

Is 10:1-2 Woe to those who decree iniquitous decrees, and the writers who keep writing oppression, 2to turn aside the needy from justice and to rob the poor of my people of their right, that widows may be their spoil, and that they may make the fatherless their prey!


Prov 24:11-12 Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter. 12If you say, "Behold, we did not know this," does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not requite man according to his work?


Is 1:15-17 When you spread forth your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not listen; your hands are full of blood. 16Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your doings from before my eyes; cease to do evil, 17learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; defend the fatherless, plead for the widow.

Jer 7:5-6 "For if you truly amend your ways and your doings, if you truly execute justice one with another, 6if you do not oppress the alien, the fatherless or the widow, or shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not go after other gods to your own hurt, 7then I will let you dwell in this place, in the land that I gave of old to your fathers for ever.


Gal 6:9-10 And let us not grow weary in well-doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we do not lose heart. 10So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all men, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.


We sin by commissioning abortion, performing abortion, or assisting in the procuring of abortion. We also sin by refusing to provide the financial, emotional, or spiritual support we have available to a mother who is being tempted into the lure of this deeply evil act. All who strengthen abortion's appeal suffer from a heart hardened to the benificence of God, and the opportunities He gives us to give of ourselves and become like unto Him. Yet those who ask forgiveness of even these sins will be forgiven, if they are truly repentant.

Psalm 103:11-12 For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; 12as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.


Jer 31:33-34 But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it upon their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34And no longer shall each man teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,' for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more."


The real horror of abortion lies not in the destruction of a child's innocent life, heinous though it is, for the child does not go to eternal punishment. Rather, the horror lies in the depth of sin into which it plunges complicit souls. The broken bodies of the children are but crumbs which fall from the gibbering mouth of satan. He delights on the souls of those who participate in the whirlwind of killing. We can obtain forgiveness for ourselves and for those who participate by asking God to forgive our hardness of heart, to replace our hearts of stone with real hearts. We will be judged on this.


Early Christians' comments on Abortion