Malachi 2:16 God doesn’t hate divorce

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MrMarried
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Re: Malachi 2:16 God doesn’t hate divorce

Post by MrMarried »

mwpastor wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 4:57 am
Claymore wrote: Mon Jan 23, 2023 6:00 pm
mwpastor wrote: Sat Jan 21, 2023 10:09 am How does the way you live out this theology help those who are feeling enormous weight of abuse, abandonment, addiction, pornography, infidelity, etc?
Are we talking about someone who commits these things or someone who has suffered them? You're framing it as though breaking a wedding vow by filing for divorce is equivalent to suffering abuse, abandonment, or infidelity at someone else's hands.

Judging by your handle, there's a good chance you are a pastor. How do you handle such things? If someone comes in with a drug addiction or a porn habit, do you avoid telling him that he must repent? I imagine you confront it head on, and do your best to help.
I am asking you specifically, because you are insisting on drawing the harshest line in dark red ink. If God hates divorce, and therefore divorce is ALWAYS the wrong choice, what good news do you have to offer those most impacted by horrific actions of their spouses? What do you say to the woman whose husband has repeatedly abused her?

You are right. I do do my best to help, and that will sometimes mean telling a spouse that divorce is the best choice they have. I don't like it, and I don't take that lightly, but sometimes it is true. Do you care enough about this woman to help her get safe? Will you tell her it's ok (and likely even better for her) to get free from him? Does what you believe about God and what God says allow her that measure of freedom free from guilt? Does your version of God have any good news for her today?
Where is there any provision at all in the Bible for a woman to divorce her husband? The Old Testament required the man to give the certificate. Jesus mentioned a woman putting away her husband only once in scripture to forbid it, in a verse that does not contain the exception clause. This was after a conversation about the Deuteronomy 24 passage about a man giving his wife a certificate. The Jews Jesus was speaking with would not have accepted a divorce certificate from a woman to be legal, nor would Orthodox Judaism today.

Paul said let not the wife depart from her husband. But if she departs let her remain unmarried and be reconciled to her husband.

Why would a legal divorce (in a secular sense) be necessary to keep her physically safe, especially in our legal environment?
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Re: Malachi 2:16 God doesn’t hate divorce

Post by mwpastor »

MrMarried wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 5:51 am
Why would a legal divorce (in a secular sense) be necessary to keep her physically safe, especially in our legal environment?
I don't know enough about what the legal ramifications are to remaining married indefinitely while separated, so I won't comment on that part.
MrMarried wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 5:51 am


Where is there any provision at all in the Bible for a woman to divorce her husband? The Old Testament required the man to give the certificate. Jesus mentioned a woman putting away her husband only once in scripture to forbid it, in a verse that does not contain the exception clause. This was after a conversation about the Deuteronomy 24 passage about a man giving his wife a certificate. The Jews Jesus was speaking with would not have accepted a divorce certificate from a woman to be legal, nor would Orthodox Judaism today.
Should we consider the social architecture of the ancient world? Why are these laws around divorce, etc significant? Who did the existing structures benefit, and who was most vulnerable in the existing system? Who does the OT law and Jesus protect that otherwise might not be protected?


This gets back to the questions about how we understand scripture. Is it wooden? Do we believe "God said it, I believe it, that settles it," or is it more complicated than that? Does understanding and applying scripture as the inspired word of God require us to ask some more questions? What does it mean for scripture to be living and active? Does the historical context mean anything to our understanding and application? Is God simply protecting the institution of marriage with these words, or are the biblical instructions about marriage and divorce first about protecting actual people in actual situations?

Lots of questions that are really important, (and a worthy discussion for this board, which is why I'm still interacting on this thread today after I said I would probably be done). The theology we hold on to, and insist on, and proclaim to others will shape the picture of God that they see. How does insisting on using the translation "God hates divorce" help others see the love and grace of God revealed in Jesus?
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Re: Malachi 2:16 God doesn’t hate divorce

Post by newwifenewlife »

mwpastor wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 1:21 pm ...
Should we consider the social architecture of the ancient world? Why are these laws around divorce, etc significant? Who did the existing structures benefit, and who was most vulnerable in the existing system? Who does the OT law and Jesus protect that otherwise might not be protected?

This gets back to the questions about how we understand scripture. ... Does understanding and applying scripture as the inspired word of God require us to ask some more questions? What does it mean for scripture to be living and active? Does the historical context mean anything to our understanding and application? Is God simply protecting the institution of marriage with these words, or are the biblical instructions about marriage and divorce first about protecting actual people in actual situations?

Lots of questions that are really important, ... The theology we hold on to, and insist on, and proclaim to others will shape the picture of God that they see. How does insisting on using the translation "God hates divorce" help others see the love and grace of God revealed in Jesus?
Well said mwpastor!

I would add that we can still hold Biblical truth while offering empathy and compassion and we must as Christ-followers demonstrate the love, grace and mercy we've received by extending it to others. This has been a phrase my dad has used for decades and John Maxwell used it, "People don't care what you know until they know that you care". Jesus did that with the woman and the well and the woman caught in adultery. He saw her and her need rather than just quote Scripture and law like the Pharisees did. Can we ask questions and listen before, actually make that instead of, using Scripture as a billy club and piously with our nose in the air, look down on those we call sinners without the grace and love which Jesus extends to us so we can offer it to others?
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Re: Malachi 2:16 God doesn’t hate divorce

Post by MrMarried »

mwpastor wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 1:21 pm
MrMarried wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 5:51 am
Why would a legal divorce (in a secular sense) be necessary to keep her physically safe, especially in our legal environment?
I don't know enough about what the legal ramifications are to remaining married indefinitely while separated, so I won't comment on that part.
MrMarried wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 5:51 am
Where is there any provision at all in the Bible for a woman to divorce her husband? The Old Testament required the man to give the certificate. Jesus mentioned a woman putting away her husband only once in scripture to forbid it, in a verse that does not contain the exception clause. This was after a conversation about the Deuteronomy 24 passage about a man giving his wife a certificate. The Jews Jesus was speaking with would not have accepted a divorce certificate from a woman to be legal, nor would Orthodox Judaism today.
Should we consider the social architecture of the ancient world? Why are these laws around divorce, etc. significant? Who did the existing structures benefit, and who was most vulnerable in the existing system? Who does the OT law and Jesus protect that otherwise might not be protected?


This gets back to the questions about how we understand scripture. Is it wooden? Do we believe "God said it, I believe it, that settles it," or is it more complicated than that? Does understanding and applying scripture as the inspired word of God require us to ask some more questions? What does it mean for scripture to be living and active? Does the historical context mean anything to our understanding and application? Is God simply protecting the institution of marriage with these words, or are the biblical instructions about marriage and divorce first about protecting actual people in actual situations?

Lots of questions that are really important, (and a worthy discussion for this board, which is why I'm still interacting on this thread today after I said I would probably be done). The theology we hold on to, and insist on, and proclaim to others will shape the picture of God that they see. How does insisting on using the translation "God hates divorce" help others see the love and grace of God revealed in Jesus?
I'm not text expert, but it seems like translators are split over whether the verse in question says that the LORD says that He hates divorce/putting way, or where Yahweh speaks a message to him who hates his wife and covers his garment with violence or various other readings. If there is ambiguity in the Hebrew, we should also be open to the idea that both interpretations are true. We use plays on words in English that can have a double meaning.

But even if the verse isn't saying that the LORD hates divorce, we have no right to say that He does not if He hasn't revealed it. A lot of divorced people hate divorce, also. God's anger was against Job's friends who did not speak truth about them.

How do we interpret scripture? I wonder if you are coming at this from the perspective that we are to arrive at interpretations that benefit people in temporal and practical ways that we can observe? I think about this in terms of God's standards of holiness.

God wants His people to be holy, no necessarily comfortable. Our living lives free off suffering do not seem to be high on God's agenda. I don't know that it is on His agenda at all. My wife and I have taught our kids that if someone holds a gun to their head or threatens to shoot, harm or kill them if they don't deny their faith, that they still do not deny their faith. 'But if not....' as it says in Daniel.

Have you ever seen the movie Silence, where Andrew Garfield plays a Roman Catholic priest being compelled to step on an icon of Christ as a way of denying his faith. He refuses, but when they torture Christians by hanging them upside down with a slight cut to drain the blood so it doesn't quickly kill them or render them unconscious by the blood going to their head, he eventually relents and steps on the icon because he cannot stand their suffering and wants to free them, apostasizes, and works for his tormentor to keep Christian influences out of Japan. What do you think is the right thing to do in that scenario?

Christ's answer to the Pharisee's question about divorce did not touch on the issue of the injustice to the divorced woman, except as it relates to future adultery. Matthew 5 comes to mind--- in regard to causing her to commit adultery. His response had to do with the principle of marriage, established a very long time before, and dealt with marriage law from a later time at the law of Moses, drawing a principle that was still valid in His own day. Why would the principals of divorce and remarriage not apply today?

I see a kind of social-historical type reasoning in Bible interpretation that says such and such a command, teaching, etc. was given under X set of circumstances that are not the same as today, and therefore the scriptures do not apply. I see this with interpreting roles of men and women in marriage, also, for example. But same type of reasoning could be used to make the following argument.

"'Thou shalt not kill' in scripture was spoken and written to Jews and in some case Gentiles living before the second century. Therefore it does not apply to those of us who live after the second century."

or

"'Thou shalt not kill was' given as a command to those who lived in a time when people were killed violently with swords, spears, blunt instruments, and excruciating poisons. But now, we have near painless lethal injections and other substances that can be painlessly administered, so therefore this teaching does not apply to those of us who lovingly go around giving people lethal injections and painless poisons to end their lives."

It's reductio ad absurdum, maybe, but it is the same sort of reasoning I see on these other topics.
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Re: Malachi 2:16 God doesn’t hate divorce

Post by Claymore »

mwpastor wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 1:21 pm Should we consider the social architecture of the ancient world?
Was Jesus afraid to challenge social norms? What do you think he would have hesitated to say?
Do we believe "God said it, I believe it, that settles it,"
Words to live by. You won't always understand, but even when you don't, you must accept it.
or is it more complicated than that?
The Pharisees lived on complication. They had a loophole for everything.
Does understanding and applying scripture as the inspired word of God require us to ask some more questions?


Ask questions? Absolutely. Question it? Never.
Is God simply protecting the institution of marriage with these words, or are the biblical instructions about marriage and divorce first about protecting actual people in actual situations?
Who says these priorities are in conflict?
Lots of questions that are really important, (and a worthy discussion for this board, which is why I'm still interacting on this thread today after I said I would probably be done). The theology we hold on to, and insist on, and proclaim to others will shape the picture of God that they see. How does insisting on using the translation "God hates divorce" help others see the love and grace of God revealed in Jesus?
I suppose that depends on whether the truth is opposed to love and grace. Truth is that God does hate divorce. What if I came in here and stated that God hates drugs? I doubt anyone would disagree, even though there is no translation that actually says so. I trust you wouldn't hold back from telling anyone, even if he was drug-addicted.
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Re: Malachi 2:16 God doesn’t hate divorce

Post by mwpastor »

Claymore wrote: Wed Jan 25, 2023 6:06 pm

What if I came in here and stated that God hates drugs? I doubt anyone would disagree, even though there is no translation that actually says so. I trust you wouldn't hold back from telling anyone, even if he was drug-addicted.
Thank you for this. This is is a perfect example. I would definitely disagree, because "drugs" save lives. My wife has a different life today than she would have otherwise because of the drugs she takes. My life is better today because of the drugs I take. To be able to categorically say God hates drugs would mean getting more specific about which drugs. And sometimes even more specific about how those drugs are used. I take a drug that is a controlled substance every day. I have to call the office every month to get it refilled, and I have to show my ID at the pharmacy. Why? because it is also a drug that people abuse.

I would agree that God hates abuse of drugs, but "God hates drugs" is too simplistic. And these differences happen using common words in a language, we all speak. Now imagine someone in 2000 years reading the words "God hates drugs" after it is translated into klingon (or whatever language they speak in 2000 years) and trying to understand it? Is that simple or complicated?
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Re: Malachi 2:16 God doesn’t hate divorce

Post by Claymore »

Ok. Same thing, only I said "God hates drug abuse."
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Re: Malachi 2:16 God doesn’t hate divorce

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mwpastor wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 1:21 pm This gets back to the questions about how we understand scripture. Is it wooden? Do we believe "God said it, I believe it, that settles it," or is it more complicated than that? Does understanding and applying scripture as the inspired word of God require us to ask some more questions? What does it mean for scripture to be living and active? Does the historical context mean anything to our understanding and application? Is God simply protecting the institution of marriage with these words, or are the biblical instructions about marriage and divorce first about protecting actual people in actual situations?
This reminds me of the parallel with the Sabbath I mentioned in an earlier post. Here we have violations of an actual commandment directly from God, yet Jesus says that it’s okay because, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”

I think that the parallel between working on the sabbath and divorce is pretty obvious. (For the moment, let's assume that they mean "divorce" even though "send away" is written.) Should compassion be more important than sacrifice (for the sake of marriage) for someone who suffers in a terrible marriage? Or must their dream for a fulfilling married life be shattered and sacrificed because their marriage to an unrepentant person turned out to be miserable? Too bad for you, your one chance at life must now be celibate (if you divorce), or you can continue to stay in hateful marriage. Should they be further shunned and stigmatized? Would you really refuse to go to a wedding if this was a second marriage for one of them?

Is following the letter of the law always more important that compassion? Or is the point Jesus is making is that compassion is more important than the letter of the law, especially if the law was intended to show compassion for the ones you are now shunning? If there were any ambiguity here, Jesus then says, “But if you had known what this means: ‘I desire compassion, rather than sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent.” [NASB]. (Some translations use “mercy” rather than “compassion.”) I think that this is arguably a case of choosing between legalism and compassion.
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Re: Malachi 2:16 God doesn’t hate divorce

Post by Claymore »

Well.

I fervently hope that you will all stop counseling people to get divorced. Especially you pastors out there.

Once more, for posterity: God hates divorce.
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