The Boundaries of Government

And so, the parliament of the United Kingdom has voted in favour of marriage between same-sex couples. That’s that then … Or is it.

It is beyond dispute that there are aspects of our lives that are beyond the control of our legislators. If, for example, they voted that never again would anyone in the UK suffer loss of life or property owing to flood damage – a worthy aspiration no doubt – it would be regarded as futile and pointless. The parliament of the United Kingdom simply has no locus in the case of controlling the weather.

The Bible explains the origin of marriage from almost its very first page, “And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.  Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (Genesis 2.22-24).

Without getting into the detail of the creation story, it is clear that the Biblical account of marriage places God himself as the principal agent. It was He who brought the first man and the woman together and in doing so created a precedent that is echoed throughout the Bible, including by the Lord Jesus Himself.

Notice that this marriage took place before Christianity, Judaism, Islam or any other form of religion existed. It was an original act of the creator intended to stand for all time and apply to all peoples.

The state did not create marriage, God did. The state recognises marriage and makes provision for it in law – just as it does with death and many other areas of life that it could no more legislate to change than wish the tide to stop.

Parliament may have voted on this subject, but ultimately this is an area of life that they have no locus to legislate on. Whatever label we may choose to put on these relationships, its not marriage.

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