Is Polygamy A Sin?
Why Polygamy A Sin?
In recent days traditional marriage, the union between one man and one woman has come under great attack. Many states are wrestling with the issue of whether to recognize same sex unions as an alternative form of marriage. What many do not understand is that the legalization of same sex unions will also legalize other types of unions between two or more consenting individuals. Therefore those who practice polygamy, see the potential growing for the reintroduction of this practice as well. It is clear that wherever same sex unions are recognized, so also polygamous unions must also be recognized. Such laws not only undermine the most stabilizing force in a healthy society, traditional marriage, but they also open the door to the legalization of all types of perversions including marriage between an adult and a child.
Some will respond that polygamy is biblical and thus should be legalized. After all polygamy was practiced by many famous individuals in the OT and God even included laws governing the participants in such unions. This was the argument used by the Mormons in the early years of their religion and it was only when the federal government put pressure on them to give it up that they turned to traditional marriage. However, this does not mean that the Main Mormon Church has given up on its belief in polygamy. Even though they speak highly of the traditional family, yet they allow “spiritual marriages” between single women and married men. This is of extreme importance for single women for if they die never married, they will not be able in the next life to the level of a god.
Mormon doctrine teaches that God the Father has many wives and through them all the souls of men are brought into existence. These souls dwell in heaven as spirits until their earthly parents conceive a physical body for them to dwell in. If for some reason they are found disqualified to inhabit a body they become an angel. Those who are followers of the Mormon Religion who never marry become angels when they pass from this life.
Two of the most famous sons of the Father are Jesus and Satan. They were given the opportunity to come up with a means to redeem man and the Father chose Jesus’ plan and so Satan in anger for being rejected, has carried on a battle against the Father. All good Mormons who are married in this life, when they die become gods equal with God the Father. As Gods they are each given a world in another solar system that is uninhabited. There, they with their wives (polygamy) will become God the Father of that world and will produce billions of children to inhabit it. Likewise, God the Father was once a man like us in another world and who by being a good Mormon rose to the level of God. Doesn’t sound much like the Christianity you have been taught! So polygamy is still an important doctrine of the Mormon Church, if not in this life then in the life to come.
However, this does not answer the question, why does God permit polygamy in the Old Testament if He is opposed to it? Let me pause to point out a very important point at this juncture. You will not find polygamy practiced in New Testament times. At the time of our Lord’s first coming, monogamy or traditional marriage was practiced and this is evident from three facts. Number one, divorce was a common occurrence. One does not need to divorce if one can have more than one wife. Number two, nothing is taught in the New Testament about polygamy or its practice. Number three, all references in the New Testament are to traditional marriage (Eph. 5:31; I Tim. 3:2). This puts an end to the speculation of the Roman Catholic Church that the “brothers and sisters of Jesus” were actually the children of Joseph’s other wives. Sorry, no polygamy at this time! Joseph was only married to Mary. The brothers and sisters of Jesus were born to Mary and Joseph.
Polygamy was not the original order of God’s creation. If God intended for a man to be married to more than one wife then God would have created several wives for Adam rather than one. However, in the words of Adam after the creation of Eve, it was God’s intention for marriage to be between one woman and one man (Gen. 1:27, 2:19-25). This view of the biblical form of marriage is restated by our Lord when addressing the matter of divorce (Matt. 19:4-6).
Note also, though God put up with His Saints being married to multiple wives He never promoted it and every man who did so paid a heavy price for their sin. One must realize that God sometimes punishes sin by allowing the individual indulging in it to have to live with its consequences. Not one polygamous relationship in the OT was a happy one. For example:
Abraham married Hagar and had Ishmael, a son he loved I believe as much as Isaac. But this caused a feud between Hagar and Sarah which resulted in Abraham abandoning his son Isaac to die in the desert.
Jacob married sisters who each gave him their maids as wives. The price Jacob had to pay is seen in all the discord and strife in his family and favoritism for one child over another. The sisters were always trying to out do each other and to promote their sons over the other. This lead to his sons being scoundrels who sold Joseph into slavery and reported him killed to their father. One can imagine the heart ache Jacob felt when he learned Joseph was dead
Elkanah who was married to two wives, one of which bore him several children and the other was barren. 1 Samuel 1:1-8 speaks of the jealousy and strife this caused among the wives and Elkanah had the unhappy duty of dealing with it.
David, was married and divorced from Saul’s daughter who when he became king he made her his wife again. By this time he already had several wives, and Saul’s daughter hated David for the remarriage and in rebuking David, caused him to shun her for the rest of her life. Then there was his oldest son who feel in love with one of his step sisters. In raping her he sends her away and her brother Absalom eventually kills him for doing so. Absalom then becomes an outlaw and latter seeks to kill his own father. And can we forget the trouble Bathsheba created for David.
Solomon who was married to 300 wives and had 700 concubines. The testimony of Scriptures is that his wives moved him to build temples to the idols of the other nations and to worship them. Solomon who wrote proverbs understood what it was like to have infighting among wives when he writes,
Prov 19:13, “A foolish son is the calamity of his father: and the contentions of a wife are a continual dropping.”
Prov 21:9, “Better to dwell in a corner of a housetop, Than in a house shared with a contentious woman.“
Prov 21:19, “Better to dwell in the wilderness, Than with a contentious and angry woman.”
Prov 25:24, “It is better to dwell in a corner of a housetop, Than in a house shared with a contentious woman. “
Prov 27:15-16, “The continual dripping on a very rainy day And a contentious woman are alike; Whoever restrains her restrains the wind, And grasps oil with his right hand.”
We may think that we are getting away with sin, as did the polygamist, but there is always a price to pay for sin. They practiced this sin because it was the normal practice of the world they lived in and so the Saints accepted that it was alright with God. And so it is with us as Christians in a modern sinful world. Often we pick up sinful behaviors because everyone is doing it. Even though God may not bring down direct judgment does not change the fact there will be a price to pay.