Marriage Isn’t About Children, Because Marriage Isn’t About Us

“I believe that [Katy Faust] makes the same mistake as many other well-intentioned conservatives by folding pragmatism into her definition of marriage.” - John Ellis


Good thoughts here. I can’t disagree w/Eph. 5:32 that marriage is about Christ and the church. But that passage doesn’t say the picture of Christ and the church is all marriage is about. Paul links his teaching about family relationships to that aspect of marriage because it’s the one that matters most in that context.

But in Genesis, when marriage is established, Christ and the church are not in focus, or even revealed, as part of the purpose. So it’s “about” multiple things, and one of them really is “us.”

As far as conservatives and social discourse goes, I think Katy and many others are closer to using the right arguments. The reason is that conservatism, as a political philosophy, must persuade majorities — and you have to do that using arguments that have the potential to resonate with broad swaths of people, not just Bible-believing Christians. Results arguments are some of the best on that score, because we frequently have thousands of years of history behind them that even secularists have to work a bit to explain away.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

Again, thank you for posting and for your thoughtful and charitible criticisms. I’m wondering if our disagreement (if it can be called that) is due to hermeneutical differences. I believe the Bible was composed and written as a continuous rolling out of how God saves His people back to Himself. In other words, the Story is all about Jesus (the OT points to Jesus, the Gospels and Acts reveal Jesus, and the Epistles explain Jesus). Because of that, I would argue that for the reader, Genesis 2 does have Jesus in mind because the Author of the Story had Jesus in mind when He was composing/directing/writing it. I would also argue that those of God’s people who lived during the Story knew that it was God Himself who was going to save His people, even if they couldn’t articulate all the specifics at the time.

I don’t disagree that aspects of marriage are about us. I do believe that God desires the flourishing of His people and that we should be thankful for His good gifts and not feel guilty for enjoying them. For me, the problem is that we tend to start with us and ultimately make it all about us. The title of my piece may say more than I intended. For what it’s worth, I was trying to mimic the title of the Katy’s article and I am becoming aware that I have been steeped in the need for click-bait titles due to my years writing for PJ Media.

It’s on my radar to write a piece about how someone who grew up immersed in Scofield-style dispensationalism came to embrace covenant theology (specifically progressive covenantalism - Wellum, Gentry, Schreiner, etc.).

One thought, regarding Aaron’s comments, is that you can have a subtext lurking in the text—it doesn’t have to be overt. You can infer this from John 1:1 and 1 John 1:1, among other passages. And while certainly God’s design for Christ and the Church isn’t the only thing going on there, the failure to note that our sexual ethic derives from God’s is indeed a huge gap in many churches.

How’s the theater experiment going, John?

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

John, I think we’re mostly on the same page, but probably there is a bit of difference in hermeneutical emphasis. I believe everything in the Bible relates to Christ and the overarching story of creation, fall, redemption, restoration. I definitely use a great deal of restraint in saying that passages are “about” Him, if we don’t have some specific evidence of that. So we would agree that Genesis 3:15 is about Jesus (mostly), but I see much of the creation and marriage narrative as being about man’s relationship to the created world as God’s stewards. I would see that stewardship is part of God’s plan to conquer sin and transform sinners for His glory and would see Christ as the center of that plan.

Maybe a good way to put it is that, to me, the social purpose of marriage, the creation-dominion purpose (I need a better word but the one I want isn’t surfacing at the moment), and the Christ-and-church-illustrative purpose are all parallel to eachother as parts of the redemptive plan. Even the Lordship of Christ is for the purpose of the glory of the Father (Php 2:11)… so I’m inclined to see multiple things as equally important pieces of that purpose.

I don’t know if that helps or is just a mess, but it’s what I can do right now. :-)

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.