The Bible on Marriage Print
By The Rev. Canon Dr. George Sumner   
Monday, 22 June 2009

At the risk of belaboring the obvious, it may be pointed out that we are not talking about the introduction of a totally new doctrine, where nothing had existed before, but rather we are proposing the revision of an existing doctrine. And what do we find in our doctrine of marriage, in its unrevised state? Look at the wedding rite in the Prayer Book. The Exhortation cites the creation of the human in Genesis 1, which had the form of “male and female,” who then yearn for their joining. The wedding at Cana in John 2, and Paul’s meditation on the spiritual meaning of the marriage of man and woman in Ephesians 5, add to this relationship rooted in the creative intention of God an additional meaning in the new dispensation having to do with the bond between nothing less than Christ and the Church. This linking of divine intention in the order of creation and in the order of salvation is of great importance. God wills the creation in a particular form, and it is this very creation, in spite of its deformation in sin, which he wills to save through the work of Christ. The New Testament’s specific references to the marriage of male and female, then, stand as a crucial “outward and visible sign” for human being of God’s gracious intention at the very juncture of creation and redemption.