His Mercy Endureth Forever illustrated by Kathleen DeJong To him which led his people through the wilderness: for his mercy endureth for ever. —Psalm 136:16 (KJV) "Not all illustrations of Scripture are lawful or tasteful. However, Kathleen’s book of pictures carefully captures...
We have seen that the use of the passive (or middle) voice in the Greek of Matthew 5:32, 19:9 and Mark 10:11, 12 (even if we accept the translation in the passive or middle, which we do not) does not justify remarriage after divorce (at most it increases the guilt of the man who divorces his wife, but it does not permit the divorced woman to remarry). Luke records the teaching of Jesus on divorce in a different context, and in the active voice.
Since in Luke 16:18 Christ uses the active voice (andmoicheuooinstead ofmoichaoo), a different argument is required to justify remarriage after divorce. In Luke 16:18 our advocate for remarriage clings to the present tense of the participles and the verbs: “Everyone putting away…and marrying…commits adultery.” This supposedly refers to the Pharisees who “were continually divorcing and continually marrying…The actions of divorcing and marrying resulted in continual adultery, actively destroying the very institution of marriage.”
Perhaps, to capture the fullness of the present tense, we could render it thus, although it would be an over-translation: “Everyone (who keeps) putting away his wife and (who keeps) marrying another (keeps on) committing adultery and the one (who keeps) marrying her who has been put away from (her) husband (keeps on) committing adultery.”
Nevertheless, I do not see how an appeal to the present tense helps the case of our remarriage advocate. In Matthew 5:32a the same phrase appears: “Everyone (who keeps) putting away his wife…” The point of the present tense is that when remarriage occurs the relationship that results (the second or subsequent marriage) involves the remarried persons (both of them!) in continuous, ongoing adultery. This is true whether the remarrying person is a Pharisee on his second or seventeenth relationship or whether he or she is a modern Westerner (even a church member or officebearer) on his or her second or third marriage. If the original spouse still lives, any subsequent relationship (second, third, fourth marriage) is adultery.
Can believers and their children understand more about God’s covenant fellowship with his people with his people if they have a better understanding of the inner, triune life of God in himself? Does the life of Jesus Christ revealed in the Holy Scriptures help? What have Augustine, John Calvin, Karl Barth, Leonardo Boff and others offered on this topic?
Trinity and Covenant: God as Holy Family by Professor David Engelsma answers these questions and more.
In the light of profound insights of Augustine, following the lead of certain theologians in the Reformed tradition, and on the basis of the Holy Scripture, this book conceives the life of God in himself as fundamentally family fellowship. The fellowship of the Father and the Son in the Holy Spirit determines the nature of God’s works in the creating and redeeming humanity. The reader of this book will grow in the understanding of God’s covenant fellowship with his people.
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