The Nature of Marriage
I. Is marriage a civil act?
- A. Institution of marriage
- 1. Created by God
2. Defined by God
3. A covenant relation
B. A volitional act of the parties
- 1. Necessity of consent
2. The common law understanding
3. Lonang examples – Gen. 2:18-24; 24:41, 58.
C. Marriage – civil or religious act?
- 1. Modern & common law understanding – why?
- a. A covenant before God, but not with God
b. A covenant with legal (civil) consequences
c. Does marriage affect one’s relationship w/ God? If so, how? If not, then how can it be deemed “religious”?
2. Historic jousting between church and state over marital jurisdiction
3. Religious minister as civil agent (“by the authority vested in me … “)
|Key Thought: The family was instituted at creation, at least 4,000 years before the Church came along. How could the Church, which has no basis in the law of nature, possibly have gained jurisdiction over the family, i.e., nature? Where is any express grant of jurisdiction conferring Church authority over marriage/family to be found in the divine law?|
II. What is the civil jurisdiction over marriage?
- A. Solemnization, etc.
- 1. Public record
2. Official recognition of marital rights
3. Establishment of inheritance rights
B. What about marriage licensing?
- 1. To prevent disease?
2. To prevent incest?
3. To prevent bigamy?
4. Do we really need civil government’s consent to marry? Are the above public (legal) wrongs, or merely moral (non-civil) wrongs?
C. What about common-law marriage?
- 1. The historic understanding – a recognition of inherent (natural) authority
2. Modern abolition of common-law marriage – an assertion of state power and a denial of natural right
3. A more devious agenda – the legitimization of cohabitation?
- a. Under common-law marriage, mere cohabitation is not enough
b. Common-law spouses must at least publicly declare/claim to be married.
c. Modern cohabitants generally do not claim to be married.
Q: Would the existence of common-law marriage make it easier or tougher for cohabitants to argue they should be treated the same as married couples?
Key Thought: The family was instituted at creation, at least 1,600 years before the first nations existed. How could any civil government, which is the creation of man, possibly assert jurisdiction over the family, which is the creation of God? Where is any express grant of jurisdiction conferring civil authority over marriage/family to be found in lonang?