A biblical view of marriage

July 12, 2012

Post by Edwina Hine

The last few weeks have seen vigorous debate about the institution of marriage in Australia, particularly 'marriage equality' for gay couples. I was reminded of Case Magazine #12 with the theme Family Foundations: What’s important for marriage, parenthood and family life.

This edition of Case did not cover much of the debate surrounding "marriage equality", yet the first article of the publication was a very insightful read on marriage, comparing economic and biblical covenant descriptions of what marriage is. The article entitled Economists, Christians And The ‘Marriage Wars’ (Donald Hay & Gordon Menzies) details the increasingly common economic approach to marriage, and highlights the analysis of Nobel Prize winning economist Gary Beckers. Beckers concluded from his research that it is

“based on the ‘productive’ gains that are available from specialisation in market production and household production, and in the production of children. In the writings of more recent theorists, the gains are then shared on the basis of an implicit contract between the husband and wife.”
The authors then compare the economic view to the biblical or covenantal understanding of marriage, concluding that this relationship is

“an inbuilt goal of male/female relationship ‘…a fact of creation, and therefore not negotiable’…..The biblical understanding of marriage as an ideal social institution identifies five separate ‘goods’ that it promotes—relationship (Gen. 2:8), procreation (Gen. 4), social order (Gen. 2:24), sexual intimacy (1 Cor. 7:3-7) and the provision of material goods that meet the needs of the spouse.”

Again, whilst this article doesn't deal specially with some of the current hot topics surrounding the marriage debate the article is a good introduction to a biblical perspective on marriage. Regular Case readers might enjoy reviewing the article again.

Photo sourced from SMH article 
In the same issue of Case Magazine Professor Trevor Cairney writes about families. The essay is titled The Role of Fathers: Aligning biblical wisdom and research. It is an in-depth look at fatherhood and explores many issues that affect parents particularly dads. Two central aims of the article is to spur

“fathers (and mothers) develop an understanding of what God expects of fathers as men of God; and, second, to encourage further discussion relating to how we can work at reshaping our lives so that those of us who are fathers spend time with our families, loving them, teaching them, instructing them in God’s ways and modelling what it means to “love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.”
This is a timely article in a month, when it was announced fathers will get two weeks' government-funded parental leave from next year, after legislation passed through Federal Parliament only a few weeks ago. (SMH)

Both articles are available as free downloads from the CASE Website. CASE Associates receive Case magazine 4 times per year as part of their benefits. For blog followers who are yet to be CASE Associates you can sign up HERE or order a single copy HERE.

Edwina Hine (New College and CASE)

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