the wedding I officiated last weekend. Among them were:
1) Sex God by Rob Bell
2) Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage in the Bible by Jay Adams
Interestingly, the two authors disagreed on a particular point:
Does sex equal marriage?
Bell says that according to Jewish practice, people are married when they have sex (see Sex God, 134-135). According to his view, if there's no sex then there's no marriage; but if there is sex, then there is marriage.
Adams disagrees. He says, "The notion that the marriage begins on the honeymoon when sexual relations first occur, and not when the vows are taken is totally foreign to the Scriptures....A marriage is consummated when a man and woman exchange vows before God and each other, and they enter into a covenantal relationship....Sexual relations per se do not make a marriage and do not break a marriage" (page 6).
We seem to be in a bit of a quandary.
Bell or Adams? Adams or Bell?
Sex equals marriage? Sex doesn't equal marriage?
Then I came across John 4 where Jesus has a conversation with a woman from Samaria.
He tells her, "Go, call your husband and come back."
She replies, "I have no husband."
Jesus says, "You're right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you have now is not your husband."
From that passage, it doesn't sound like sex equals marriage. Granted, it's an argument based on what he means by "the man you have now," but it seems to me that sex is in his purview.
So I side with Adams on this point:
Sex does not equal marriage. Vows equal marriage.
The point is this:
The first thing you read might be right, but it might be wrong. It's wise to keep reading and keep searching until you find resolution that makes satisfactory sense of the situation.
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