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Polygamy, Part 2

Posted by Matt Postiff August 31, 2007 on Matt Postiff's Blog under Interpretation 

I did get some feedback on the Polygamy entry from August 16. One query had to do with whether my use of Romans 7:1-3 is valid at all. That is, does Romans 7:1-3 really have any bearing on the issue of polygamy, since that is not at all what Paul is teaching about? Good question--since I am committed to the belief that we must teach the Bible in context and not lift passages out of context to make a point we desire to make.

The answer to this is basically that there is an implication in what Paul is teaching that does have to do with polygamy. It seems quite clear from the passage that polyandry is adultery. "Polygamy=adultery" seems to be a straightforward extension to this. Certainly Paul's point is not to teach about polygamy or polyandry. But based on this implication, a man who runs off with another woman and commits adultery with her, but remains married to his original spouse all the while, is in egregious sin. I don't see anything "sanctifying" about parading that adulterous relationship up to a civil magistrate, having him declare it a "marriage," and then pretending it is better than if you didn't have it legally declared a marriage. Just saying it is right doesn't make it right. Dressing up adultery with marriage vows and a marriage license does not make it any more righteous.

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