Some Iowa-based religious scholars have safely concluded that there is no biblical definition of marriage as being that of one man and one woman. We want to takeit further: marriage is a union between two people inclusive of other unions or exclusive , depending on the circumstances at hand.

The conclusion of the scholars is backed by evidence in the scriptures which mention about the numerous spouses most of the key characters of the Bible had.

The Bible is strewn with polygamy, bigamy, concubinage and monogamy . And to add more spice to the meal, gay marriage is also recognized.

This diverse state of affairs simply stems from the fact that the Bible is not a dictionary nor a science textbook but a book of human experience and relationships .That being the case, anything goes and thus there is no monoculture or monolithic thought as such.

Even the name of God is not one but is described with other terms such as Lord,Father,King etc. Diverse thought seems to be the reality in the scriptures.

A look at how Genesis writers, Jesus Christ and Paul deal with the marriage question proves the Iowa based scholars right.

Genesis 2:24 says , a man shall cleave to his wife and they shall be one flesh

Jesus in Matthew 19:6 says the same as in Genesis  but elaborates the point the two shall be one flesh.

But it is Paul that carries the day in 1 Cor 6 where he states in verse 16 that one  who is joined to a harlot aka prostitute is one body, “for two,says he,shall be one flesh” writes Paul.

Paul unknowingly defines so called biblical marriage as sexual union . And in Romans 1 , he confirms that homosexuality and lesbianism are sexual unions,albeit in his opinion , “unnatural”.

More so, he just states “the two” and not man and woman . Unions even if polygamous are always between two parties. A unites with B, A unites with C but B and C may not be united to each other but they are connected to A who has a union with each of them.

Meanwhile, the prostitute union was both heterosexual and homosexual both in the Old and New testament times .

So this solidifies the Bible’s affirmation of sexual diversity hence sexual unions  hence marriages.

This diversity is the reason why there is no one definition of marriage in the Bible .

Which brings us to tickle the minds of legislators to prepare to recognize many types of marriages including bisexual marriages where a bisexual man unites hence weds a man and woman , as a bisexual woman weds a man and woman.

The core of marriage is not the number of partners nor the gender,but the agreement to unite with another irrespective of gender .

Rex Arthur

Biblical Marriage Not Defined Simply As One Man, One Woman: Iowa Religious Scholars’ Op-Ed

A trio of Iowa-based religious scholars penned an op-ed in a local paper this week, reminding readers that despite popular opinion, the Bible does not simply define marriage as between one man and one woman.

The joint editorial was written by Hector Avalos, Robert R. Cargill and Kenneth Atkinson and published in the Des Moines Register on Sunday. The men teach at Iowa State University, University of Iowa and University of Northern Iowa, respectively.

“The debate about marriage equality often centers, however discretely, on an appeal to the Bible,” the authors wrote. “Unfortunately, such appeals often reflect a lack of biblical literacy on the part of those who use that complex collection of texts as an authority to enact modern social policy.”

The Bible’s definition of marriage can be confusing and contradictory, noted the scholars. They stated in their column that a primary example of this is the religious book’s stance on polygamy, a practice that was embraced by prominent biblical figures Abraham and David. Furthermore, Avalos, Cargill and Atkinson point out that various Bible passages mention not only traditional monogamy, but also self-induced castration and celibacy, as well as the practice of wedding rape victims to their rapists.

In an interview with The Huffington Post, Iowa University Professor Robert R. Cargill said the column was the brainchild of his colleague Hector Avalos, who suggested local scholars put together an “educated response” to the often-touted claim that the Bible defines marriage as solely between one man and one woman. “[T]hat’s not the only thing the Bible says,” Cargill told HuffPost.

He explained that it is obvious to scholars (and some religious leaders) that the Bible endorses a wide range of relationships. But he noted, however, that professors are “terrified” of the potential backlash that might result from opening a dialogue about these relationships. Cargill also noted that the initial response to the Register column has included its fair share of vitriol.

Ultimately, said Cargill, a Biblical “argument against same-sex marriage is wholly unsustainable. We all know this, but very few scholars are talking about it, because they don’t want to take the heat.”

He suggested that academics who continue to be cowed by a strident opposition do a disservice to their communities.

“Most people aren’t dumb, they want to make an informed decision” on religiously charged questions, Cargill said. “If scholars aren’t talking to them, they have to rely on talk show hosts and pundits, and that’s not the most reliable source of information.”

Cargill also realizes that there are some people he may never be able to convince.

Many politicians have made a career out of using the Bible to justify opposition to hot-button topics like same-sex marriage or abortion. Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), for example, told a crowd of evangelicals in April that Americans cannot “retreat from our values and fail to make the case on issues like marriage — because it is one man, one woman — because God said it is.”

Cargill said Bachman and her like-minded colleagues use a strategy he calls “cherry picking” to appeal to their base.

“Politicians who use the Bible aren’t necessarily interested in the truth or the complexity of the Bible,” he said. “They are looking for one ancient sound bite to convince people what they already believe.”

Anyone who argues that “the Bible speaks plainly on one issue, especially something as complicated as marriage … haven’t take the time to read all of it,” he added.


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