As never before, today’s world is plagued with broken marriages blighting the lives of parents and children, and bringing confusion, suffering, broken health, and disillusionment to so many. The divorce rate is the highest it has ever been and is steadily rising. All too frequently marriage as an institution is a failure—a source, not of satisfaction, joy, fulfillment, and blessing, but of conflict, unrest, dissatisfaction, and bondage.
Yet we find that the rising generation is entering into the relationship with unabated eagerness and the undiminished confidence that, though all others may fail, their marriage will be the initiation into lifelong bliss. In fact, our Saviour’s prophetic commentary on these last days is that men and women would be “. . . marrying and giving in marriage . . . .” just as they were back in Noah’s day. Matthew 24:38.
Despite their abounding belief that theirs will be a happy and successful alliance, the witness of reality declares emphatically that they have very little chance of realizing their dream. It is far more likely that they will end up with a broken marriage, disillusioned, and unhappy.
In the light of these facts, one would expect that marriage would be abandoned by the majority, that the stream of brides and grooms flocking to the altar would dry up, and the family system break down. But it does not! The question is: Why not?
In the first case, the Creator has built the very powerful mating instinct and need into every human being. Men and women are driven by this to come together for the purpose of reproduction. So strong is the impulse that it blots out the negative indications shouting at them from uncounted millions of unhappy marriages.
Others are obsessed with the urge to ensure that the family name lives on in perpetuity. Happiness in marriage, the compatibility of the marriage partner, and such things are of minor importance to this class of person.
Many have other reasons besides these, but we believe that the Christian motive for marriage stands high above all human considerations and earthly and fleshly desires. So it must, for the Creator did not provide this relationship simply for the gratification of physical needs, or for the satisfaction of the social instincts, important and right as these factors are. He had in mind a much higher, purer, and holier purpose. It is when human beings understand what God designed marriage should achieve, and work with Him toward the attainment of these ideals, that true happiness in marriage can be found, and real fulfillment realized. To grasp something of the meaning of this, let us journey far back in time to a period long before marriage between man and woman was first instituted anywhere in the universe. That institution took place in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve were first created. “Then marriage and the Sabbath had their origin, twin institutions for the glory of God in the benefit of humanity.”Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 63.
The marriage relationship as we on this earth know it, in which the human being is divided into two complementary parts, the male and the female, with the capacity to reproduce themselves, is not shared by the angels in heaven. Christ made this very clear when He answered the caviling Jews over the question of marrying to preserve the inheritance of a childless, dead brother. He said: ” . . . You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God. “For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels of God in heaven.” Matthew 22:29, 30. This is confirmed in the Spirit of Prophecy.
“There are men to-day who express their belief that there will be marriages and births in the new earth, but those who believe the Scriptures cannot accept such doctrines. The doctrine that children will be born in the new earth is not a part of the ‘sure word of prophecy.’ The words of Christ are too plain to be misunderstood. They should forever settle the question of marriages and births in the new earth. Neither those who shall be raised from the dead, nor those who shall be translated without seeing death, will marry or be given in marriage. They will be as the angels of God, members of the royal family.” Medical Ministry, 99, 100.
Between the beginning of God’s created works and the fall of Lucifer, there were no marriages of individuals to individuals, but only the all- embracing union between Christ and all created intelligences. The purpose of that arrangement was to make available to every created being the fullness of every development, the achievement of the highest aspirations, the realization of every worthwhile ideal, the entry into the closest possible union with the Almighty Creator, and the satisfaction of the sweetest and highest joys beyond imagination.
But to achieve all this, the beneficiary must remain within the marriage relationship, understanding its principles, obeying its laws, and following its procedures. Failure to do so was to invite and be plagued with the loss of these blessings beyond comparison, and to be cursed with every possible misery and failure including the termination of ones very existence. There can be no other outcome, for there is no pathway to eternal security apart from that devised in the secret councils of the Godhead. Remember that God’s way of life and happiness is not the best way. It is the only way. There are no alternatives with which to compare it. God’s way is the only path of life. It is not so because He arbitrarily designed His government in order to please Himself, but because, in the nature of the case, there was no other way.
Once we recognize that God’s way is the only way, we will realize the truth that only one form of government—only one divine order—can ever be established in the life of one of God’s true children, or in the Christian family, a holy community, a righteous nation, a sinless solar system, a spotless galaxy, a perfect heaven, or an unblemished universe.
This is not so in the realms which have cast off the perfect divine system, and turned to their own ways. Individuals do not all operate by the same principles; the order and organization found in one family is foreign to another; local governments differ from county to county; and the traveler moving from land to land will come under a variety of authorities ranging from freedom loving democracies to restrictive and oppressive despotisms. No matter what system is adopted in human government, there is always dissatisfaction with it. Family members grumble; local and state governments are continually criticized; and national ruling bodies generate endless complaints.
But God’s principles and procedures are so perfect that they operate equally well in the government of the individual as in the management of the family, the nation, the planet, the galaxy, or the universe. Therefore, the one and only way to have a truly happy and successful family is to ensure that the divine order which operates so successfully in heaven, is established in the home. Let the prayer be answered; “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Matthew 6:10.
Even though the system had worked flawlessly throughout the eternity of the past from its smallest scale in the life of an individual to its grandest dimensions of the entire universe, Satan was able to cast a shadow over its operations. He contended that the constitution of God’s government restricts liberty, imposes a ceiling on progress and achievement, establishes the Godhead as an oppressive despotism, introduces untold misery and hardship, and denies all created beings the unrestricted right to be themselves.
When Adam and Eve were united in holy union, they were commissioned with the weighty privilege of demonstrating the truth of God’s claims before the studious eyes of the on-looking inhabitants of the entire universe. That was the specific and supreme purpose of their creation and marriage. By ordaining that they should fulfill this commission in a miniaturized, local setting, God provided a revelation of the operating principles of heaven’s order which was much more advanced than any previous demonstration.
At first, in the unblemished happiness emanating from Adam’s and Eve’s happy and successful life together, the angels and the unfallen worlds would have received verification that the divine design for living was in fact all that God claimed for it. Then, as Adam and Eve bore children, and they in turn other little ones, the interested onlookers throughout the universe would see that, in the ever enlarging human family , the system worked equally well to produce even greater happiness, security, harmony, achievement, and fulfillment. It was to have been an all-convincing demonstration.
Therefore, it was a very dedicated and purposeful God who devised the marriage institution for man as a new and distinct arrangement. Because the highest joy that can be found is in service, marriage had to be designed as an instrument of service. It cannot therefore be an end in itself but the means whereby the truest and highest ideals can be realized.
“God celebrated the first marriage. Thus the institution has for its originator the Creator of the universe. ‘Marriage is honorable’ (Hebrews 13:4); it was one of the first gifts of God to man, and it is one of the two institutions that, after the Fall, Adam brought with him beyond the gates of Paradise. When the divine principles are recognized and obeyed in this relation, marriage is a blessing; it guards the purity and happiness of the race, it provides for man’s social needs, it elevates the physical, the intellectual, and the moral nature.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 46.
But, as they saw children springing from the united lives of Adam and Eve, at least something of the mystery opened to their minds. They read, in the deepened love which the birth of the children imparted to the parents, the assurance that the marriage of Christ to creation had bound them in the closest ties of love to their heavenly husband, Jesus Christ. The utter helplessness of the child, and its total dependence on its parents proclaimed to them their constant need of their Creator Father, the infinite Source and Origin of all they had or could ever need. The marriages of Adam and Eve and subsequent men and women were to be priceless messages of hope and confidence to every created being.
That divine purpose has not changed. The Lord still intends that every home government shall be a miniature of the heavenly—a microcosm of the macrocosm. God’s will or system is to be maintained in the one as in the other, so that the same love, peace, unity, grace, beauty, and all the sweet unalloyed bliss of heaven found above, will be the all-pervading qualities in the earthly counterpart.
To build such a marriage, and establish a home government capable of meeting these specifications laid down by the Master Architect of the universe, is the solemn responsibility undertaken by every person contemplating marriage, yet how few are aware of what they are taking on when they contract such an alliance.
If you are fortunate enough to be married to a truly compatible and beautiful partner, with both of you understanding the divine principles and procedures for the successful building of a marriage, then you can show before the worlds both fallen and unfallen what the beautiful and desirable outworking of the divine order is. This is what God intended that human marriages should achieve when He placed Adam and Eve in Eden to live together as husband and wife.
This is the happiest and most satisfying witness to be called upon to give, but not the most noble. Should you find that the marriage has lost the unity and compatibility which you had hoped would be manifest in it, and the partner with whom you formerly exchanged such love has become a different person, unlovely, and undesirable, the time has truly come when you are to love your partner just as Christ loves you, one who is also unlovely and inefficient. You now can demonstrate just as He does, that you too can love what has become unlovely in your eyes, just as intensely as you can love the one who was once so beautiful and compatible in your sight.
How vital it is that every one already married, together with those yet to contract such a relationship, be brought to realize that there is a divine purpose in the alliance much higher and more important than the satisfaction of man’s social needs. When every Christian truly understands this and labors under the direction of the Holy Spirit and in His power to truly achieve God’s divine purpose in marriage, we shall see the most wonderful children growing up to the honor and glory of the Lord and His church in heaven and on earth.