Vol. 7, No. 6
Since You Asked
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Names may be included at the discretion of the Editor unless querists request their names be withheld. Please check our Archive for the answer to your question before submitting it; there are over 1,000 articles in the Archive addressing numerous biblical topics. Submit a Question to GGO.
Brother Rushmore, May a woman separate from her husband because of his repeated drug use, live a celibate life, and still be pleasing to the Lord? The husband is repeatedly "sorry" yet does not change his behavior. Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you very much. [name withheld upon request]
Ideally, God intends marriages to last for life (Romans 7:1-3). God hates divorce (Malachi 2:16). Jesus re-instituted God's original plan for marriage (Matthew 19:4-6; Genesis 2:20-25), though he provided a single instance for which the innocent spouse of a marriage marred by adultery may divorce the adulterous spouse and has an option to marry a biblically eligible candidate later (Matthew 19:9). The apostle Paul reaffirmed the teaching of Jesus respecting the permanence of marriage (1 Corinthians 7:10-14). If a divorce (or separation) occurs, though, both spouses must be celibate or be reconciled (1 Corinthians 7:11). When a divorce is forced on a faithful child of God, that child of God is not guilty before God for the disruption of the marriage (1 Corinthians 7:15), though desertion alone still does not permit the deserted spouse to remarry.
Brethren typically refer to 2 Corinthians 6:14 when cautioning people, who are thinking about getting married, not to marry non-Christians. The passage of 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 does not specifically apply to but includes marriage, along with business or any other relationships where Christians are likely to be influenced to commit sin. Strictly speaking, the passage is not a prohibition from marrying non-Christians, entering business relationships with non-Christians or having other relationships with non-Christians, as long as those relationships are not likely to cause the child of God to sin. The point for our consideration has to do with verse 17, "Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you." More than warning Christians from initializing relationships with non-Christians whose corrupting influence is certain to cause Christians to sin, the passage addresses relationships that already exist between Christians and non-Christians where the corrupting influence of the non-Christians is certain to or is causing Christians to sin.
It is on the basis of the principle in 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 that a Christian woman, for instance, must in some instances remove herself (and possibly children as well) from harm's way (i.e., physical and spiritual). Drug abuse, alcohol abuse, illegal activities, physical and emotional abuse by one's spouse endanger one's body and soul.
Still, a future remarriage by either spouse where fornication is not involved is not permitted (Matthew 19:9), and separated spouses are biblically required to be celibate while apart and reconcile if they can (1 Corinthians 7:11). Sin occurs whenever spouses divorce or separate, though sin may not be attributable to both spouses (e.g., divorce because of adultery, Matthew 19:9; divorce or separation because of desertion, 1 Corinthians 7:15; divorce or separation for physical or spiritual safety reasons, 2 Corinthians 6:14-18). Much like 2 Corinthians 6:14-18, the apostle Paul warned Christians at Ephesus about intimacy with wickedness, and nowhere is intimacy greater than in marriage, and nowhere is there greater potential for the effect of wickedness than in the intimacy of marriage: "And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them."
bro. Rushmore I have consulted the works of bro. Woods and Foy e. Wallace jr. and they both say nature will not, cannot prove theres a loving God. They say it takes revelation, the Bible, to prove there's a God. Bro. Wallace says nature corroborates revelation. bro. Woods says it takes the bible to reveal God to man. I was wondering if you ever considered this, and if so, what would be your response.
Unaware of the contexts regarding general statements attributed to brethren Woods and Wallace, men for whom I have the utmost regard respecting their scholarship and faithfulness, let us concern ourselves with the basic question: "Does nature reveal the existence of God?"
The primary foundation of external evidences going by the name of Intelligent Design is that nature evidences intricate design for which there must be a matchless Designer, God if you will. Whereas evolution is a concoction of illogical and ever changing theories for which no evidence exists and no laboratory experiment can validate, Intelligent Design is verifiable upon closer examination of every living thing and many non-living things or circumstances. Therefore, there is a superhuman Designer of the universe and everything in it.
Yes, nature reveals the existence of God, if people pause and give thought to the universe around them. "For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse" (Romans 1:20). However, with Woods we must concur when he writes: "Were it not for the information vouchsafed to mankind upon its sacred pages, we would not know where we came from, why we are here, or where we are going when we pass from the scenes of this existence" (304). We might add that we would not know (1) many of the characteristics of our God (e.g., three persons in one Godhead), (2) how to secure salvation or that we even needed to be saved, (3) how to worship God acceptably or even that we need to worship God (i.e., aside from the seemingly innate tendency for every civilization to worship, howbeit, ignorantly), (4) how to live our lives in such a way that God is pleased, (5) how to serve God in a way he approves, etc.
The created universe is sufficient evidence to humanity that God exists. In my opinion, the created universe has built into it sufficient factors to verify that God is benevolent or loving (i.e., everything of which mankind is nature's beneficiary far outweighs the occasions of nature's retribution for the violation of natural law). Further, when the problem of evil is correctly understood and mankind acknowledges culpability for the consequences of evil in the natural world, the great Designer, our God, is seen to be more than benevolent and loving. Yet, without biblical instruction, awareness of Intelligent Design and its Designer (God) is not enough to secure true happiness on earth and eternal happiness after awhile.
Woods, Guy N. Questions and Answers. Henderson: Freed-Hardeman, 1976.