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Remarriage in Religious Studies

Introduction

The most scared institution of the human life is marriage. By marrying each other a man and a woman become one and enter the family life. The Bible and the other religions have separate views on marriage and instruct the followers in separate ways to enter and maintain the scared institution according to the rules and beliefs of that respective religion. But all of them have the same intention that is keeping the marriage happy and intact forever. But when there is an unfortunate event of breaking of the marriage due to divorce or loss of one of the spouses due to death, there raises the question of remarriage. Remarriage is actually not a very welcome event always as the Bible and the other religions have instructions about the situations only when remarriage can be permitted1. The essay intends to throw light on what the New Testament says about remarriage.

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Background

Remarriage is a sensitive and controversial topic that has been to some extent restricted by the New Testament except for some situation which is considered as valid grounds in the Bible. The term remarriage itself is the indicator that there had been a previous marriage which had ended unfortunately due to some reason or circumstances. Therefore before coming to the topic of remarriage it is necessary to know what the New Testament says about marriage. This will help to focus on why the New Testament does not permit remarriage in every circumstance.

Marriage in the gospels

The gospels have projected marriage as a celebrated event. A man and a woman once married is expected to stay together forever and never separate. A marital relation has been projected as a permanent one till the spouses are alive. Jesus had said about marriage “they are no more twain but one flesh….. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder- by unreasonable divorces2. The New Testament says about marriage that because God has made male and female at the beginning of the creation he has intended their union3.

For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh4. It is also stated in Mark 10:6-9 that “So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate5.

Remarriage

Remarriage can occur only after the first marriage is over. Marriage in the eyes of Jesus was permanent with man and wife never separating. For this reason remarriage in his eyes was adultery. A marriage ending in divorce does not allow the man or the woman to remarry. The New Testament says that leaving the spouse except for the ground of immorality is considered to be adultery and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery. We can quote the New Testament about marrying again after getting divorced6.

In Mark 10:11-12, it is stated that “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery” (Jensen 50). Again in Luke 16:18, Luke also quoted Jesus, “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery7.

Remarriage after divorce

Marrying once imparts the responsibility to the couple of maintaining it lifelong. God never intends to see a breakage in the marriage. So the thought of marrying again is an insult to or a sin towards the sacred institution. Remarriage after a divorce is therefore considered as a sin unless there are some specific grounds under which the spouses are allowed to marry again. There are only few grounds under which a spouse can be considered legally divorced and are allowed to marry again.

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  1. The Bible holds a divorce legal when one of the spouses finds out any immorality or sexual unfaithfulness in the other and wants to get separated. The spouse who is innocent can get the right of being released from the marriage and marry again8.
  2. A marriage is never intended to be dissolved. But when a Christian spouse is left by the other or divorces then the marriage is rendered dissolved. The spouse who was left alone or divorced gets the rights to marry again. But the same reason for dissolving the marriage and remarrying does not work in the reversed way.
  3. When one of the spouses is lost due to physical death there is a right for the other to get married again. It does not come under adultery when a widowed woman wants to marry again as a woman is intended to stay with her husband till he is alive. After he is no more she is not bound by any law of marriage and can become the wife of another man without becoming an adulteress who she becomes if she remarries while the husband is alive9.

In Romans 7:2-3, we find by law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law of marriage. So then, if she marries another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and is not an adulteress, even though she marries another man”.10

The same rule applies for the widower who has lost the wife and wants to remarry.

Conclusion

The New Testament therefore holds remarriage legitimate for widows, widowers or people divorced in the legitimate way as explained above. The other grounds of divorce and marrying again after that is considered adultery. Nevertheless, it is established that remarriage, according to the New Testament, is not sinful even though there is a thin line between legitimacy and adultery.

Bibliography

Benson, Joseph. The New Testament of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. New York: University of Michigan, 1854.

Finney, Charles G. Principles of union with Christ. Boston: Bethany House Publishers, 1985.

Jensen, Rosemary. Living the Words of Jesus: Meditations on 96 Crucial Topics of the Christian Life. London: Kregel Publications, 2003.

Marshall, Alfred. The interlinear NRSV-NIV parallel New Testament in Greek and English. London: Zondervan, 1993.

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Xiaohe, Xu. “The Role of Cohabitation in Remarriage”. Journal of Marriage and Family 68.2 (2006): 261-274.

Footnotes

  1. Xiaohe, Xu. “The Role of Cohabitation in Remarriage”. Journal of Marriage and Family 68.2 (2006): 261-274.
  2. Benson, Joseph. The New Testament of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. New York: University of Michigan, 1854. pg. 159.
  3. Xiaohe, Xu. “The Role of Cohabitation in Remarriage”. Journal of Marriage and Family 68.2 (2006): 261-274.
  4. Marshall, Alfred. The interlinear NRSV-NIV parallel New Testament in Greek and English. London: Zondervan, 1993. pg. 60.
  5. Marshall, Alfred. The interlinear NRSV-NIV parallel New Testament in Greek and English. London: Zondervan, 1993. pg. 60.
  6. Xiaohe, Xu. “The Role of Cohabitation in Remarriage”. Journal of Marriage and Family 68.2 (2006): 261-274.
  7. Jensen, Rosemary. Living the Words of Jesus: Meditations on 96 Crucial Topics of the Christian Life. London: Kregel Publications, 2003. pg. 50.
  8. Xiaohe, Xu. “The Role of Cohabitation in Remarriage”. Journal of Marriage and Family 68.2 (2006): 261-274.
  9. Xiaohe, Xu. “The Role of Cohabitation in Remarriage”. Journal of Marriage and Family 68.2 (2006): 261-274.
  10. Finney, Charles G. Principles of union with Christ. Boston: Bethany House Publishers, 1985. pg. 51.

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StudyCorgi. (2021, December 12). Remarriage in Religious Studies. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/remarriage-in-religious-studies/

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1. StudyCorgi. "Remarriage in Religious Studies." December 12, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/remarriage-in-religious-studies/.


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StudyCorgi. "Remarriage in Religious Studies." December 12, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/remarriage-in-religious-studies/.

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StudyCorgi. 2021. "Remarriage in Religious Studies." December 12, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/remarriage-in-religious-studies/.

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StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Remarriage in Religious Studies'. 12 December.

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