What do Presbyterians say about marriage?

– David H. Jensen

For Presbyterians the primary resource for understanding marriage is Scripture. The creation story implies one purpose of marriage, companionship: “it is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper as a partner” (Gen. 2:18). This purpose is connected, though not synonymous, with the earlier injunction for humanity to be fruitful and multiply. The subsequent forms of marriage recorded in the Old Testament are surprisingly wide. Many OT writers, for example, assume polygamy as part of God’s blessing for humanity. Some marriages occur as the result of morally reprehensible actions, such as abduction (Judg 21). And, in the longest sustained passage of human relationship in Scripture, the Song of Solomon celebrates the sexual love between a man and a woman without referring to marriage directly. These varied depictions suggest that God’s blessing is not confined to particular forms of marriage, but extends across culture and redeems fallen relationships whenever persons live in faithfulness to God’s covenant together. As God redeems humanity, no one cultural form of marriage emerges as normative for all others…

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