Standing for Truth and Defending Your Freedom
Standing for Truth and Defending Your Freedom

Nothing New Under the Sun

by Frank Wright, Ph.D.

This month we look at a culturally-defining institution, which appears to be on moral life-support—marriage between one man and one woman. Marriage, as we know it, is indeed facing troublous times, and its vital signs are weak and worrisome. Some, in fact, are fearful that its effective demise looms ahead.

Without overstating the matter, it seems almost impossible to imagine another cultural institution whose deconstruction would portend such woe for society. The history of human civilization bears a sad witness to times when the institution of marriage and the family were disrespected and undermined.

Not that marriage has been in the full bloom of health lately. In 1960 only 7 percent of newborn babies were born to an unmarried woman. In 2012 the percentage of newborns born to unmarried women stood at 41 percent. As astonishing as this is, a partial demographic breakdown is even more so. In 2012 the rate of births to unmarried women was 29 percent among whites, 53 percent among Hispanics, and 72 percent among blacks.

The stark picture painted here speaks of a crisis of fatherhood and families, but these are the cracks in the foundation of the citadel that we call marriage. And to the battered gates of this city, already under enormous duress, have come the siege ramps of same-sex marriage, with the robed judges of the city seemingly giving aid and comfort to those who seek its ruin.

The grim birth statistics cited above are proof positive that the Law of Unintended Consequences is everywhere lurking about. Changes in welfare policies and divorce laws in the 1960s and the 1970s were never intended to devastate families. Nevertheless, we have among us (and increasingly so) the multiplied generations of the fatherless, seeking to navigate life without the steadfast anchor of a dad in their lives.

Now, some will dismiss this view as hyperbolic, but plainly that is not so. It is not an unwarranted exaggeration to recognize that the dismantling of marriage (and same-sex marriage may well hasten its decline) will have devastating and far-reaching societal effects, even if those effects are difficult to fully catalog at this distance.

Others, of course, view the issue of same sex marriage as merely a question of law and equity, with still others arguing for it as a matter of what they call basic fairness. However, using a biblical lens to view this important matter yields a different perspective, with the reminder that there is nothing new under the sun.

At base, the debate over marriage has nothing to do with fairness. The animating force in this cultural controversy really is a spirit of rebellion—a pronounced unwillingness to submit to any legitimate authority.

Today the proponents of same-sex marriage hail the role of unelected judges in overturning the will of democratically elected legislatures. Tomorrow these same proponents will curse and call for the hides of those same judges, should any of their efforts be deemed an unwanted interjection of authority over them.

This, of course, is nothing new. In the Garden of Eden, Adam desired the knowledge of good and evil apart from God’s authority over him. In the end, the very fall of mankind was precipitated by Adam’s rejection of the authority of his Creator. He would not have God to rule over him in all things.

Christ came as the only one who ever fully submitted to God saying (among many other things): “I have come to do your will O God; I speak only the words the Father has given me; I do nothing on my own authority; and nevertheless not my will but your will be done.”

And yet Jesus made it clear that He would ultimately be rejected because the people “do not want this man to reign over us” (Luke 19:14).

In these latter days, little has changed. We still will not have “this man” to rule over us. In the end, the question of marriage has nothing whatsoever to do with fairness. The issue is one of submission to authority or rebellion against it.

Adam (with Eve’s help) was the first human to rebel against God. As his descendants, we all struggle against that same spirit within us.

When he contemplated his own rebellion against the law, and the power of sin in his own flesh, the Apostle cried out: “O wretched man that I am. Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:24-25).

We now see a culture in full rebellion against biblical authority, along with every other legitimate authority placed over it by God. We too are tempted to cry out: “Who will deliver us from this body of rebellion that surely leads to death?” The same answer echoes down through the ages: Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!

It is for us to lift up Christ before a watching world, to exalt Him who set His face as flint toward Jerusalem, to lift high His beacon of light and hope so that the whole world may know that the King of Glory is coming to receive those who will trust in Him.
And if He tarries, may the Spirit of the Living God be pleased to revive our hearts once again—that our light might shine brightly in dark places.