13.3.1 Marriage as a divine institution

A monogamous marriage is a divine institution and not only a human institution. A polygamous marriage, that is marriage with multiple spouses, is not in accordance with Christian teaching and values.

The fact that God has explicitly anchored the protection of marriage within the Ten Commandments underscores the importance and value of marriage as a divine institution (see 5.3.7).

God created human beings as man and woman for one another. Significant statements on this are recorded in the history of creation:

  • "So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it'" (Genesis 1: 27-28). Both man and woman are thus created in the image of God. Different yet equal before him, they both stand under the blessing of God and live by the Creator's instruction to procreate, and shape and preserve the earth, as that part of the creation entrusted to them, in accordance with God's will.

  • "And the Lord God said, 'It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him'" (Genesis 2: 18). Human beings are created to have companionship. In their spouses, man and woman have counterparts whom they can support and help.

  • "Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh" (Genesis 2: 24). By entering into marriage, man and woman are amalgamated into a single entity intended to last for their lifetime.

Jesus also commented on the sanctity of marriage. In the context of the question of whether divorce is acceptable, he referred back to the aforementioned statements: "Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning made them male and female, and 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'? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate" (Matthew 19: 4-6).

Apostle Paul compared marriage to the relationship between Christ and the church. He calls upon husbands and wives to love and honour each other (Ephesians 5: 21-33).

See also