New Zealand’s Prime Minister lives in a de facto marriage with her ‘partner’ Clarke Gayford. What is wrong with that? To answer this question, we need to notice the difference between an ordinary traditional marriage and a de facto marriage?
Traditional marriage was founded by God at the creation of the human race. Marriage is a union of a man and a woman. But exactly what was the nature of the man and the woman when God created them? Firstly they were created in God’s image (Gen. 2:26). Since God is a Spirit, this image should be understood as character. We are to image or reflect the character of God. God relates to man by way of covenant. He makes promises and commitments and requires the same of us. Marriage itself is called a covenant relationship in Scripture(See Prov. 2:17 and Mal. 2:14) and it is the only marriage relationship God sanctions.
What are the commitments and duties in marriage as God has decreed it?
- It is a commitment to ‘Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion..’ (Gen 2:28).
- The woman is to help her husband in this great task. (Gen 2:18) As Matthew Henry puts it ‘That the woman was made of a rib out of the side of Adam; not made out of his head to rule over him, nor out of his feet to be trampled upon by him, but out of his side to be equal with him, under his arm to be protected, and near his heart to be beloved’.
- They are to be united in this great task. They are to leave their parents and become ‘one flesh’.
- The wife is to submit to or be subject to the husband and the husband is to love the wife as Christ love the church (Eph. 5.21ff). There is a hierarchy in marriage which comes about as a result of sin (Gen. 3:16).
- The marriage commitment is until death. The idea of being one flesh teaches this, as does the rest of Scripture. When Jesus was asked about divorce, he responded: ‘Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder (Mt. 19:6).’ Therefore sex outside of marriage is called the sin of fornication, and a sexual relationship of a married person with another person outside of that marriage is adultery. Marriage is also unequivocally heterosexual.
What are the commitments and duties in a de facto marriage as man has decreed it?
- It is a temporary agreement to live together in order to satisfy lust and enjoy human company without lasting commitment.
- The man and the woman are to live autonomous lives and negotiate any common decisions on an equal basis. The woman is not subject to the man, but uses him for her own purposes.
- They are not permanently united to image God, but temporarily become one flesh, leaving the option open that they will temporarily become one flesh with others in the future. The children have no guarantee that the father or mother will be around to guide them and love them in the near or distant future.
- Fornication, or sex outside marriage is considered a good thing. Previous relationships are considered over, and the lack of commitment in the previous union is carried over into the new de facto relationship. Adultery is therefore not considered a sin.
A Strong Society is Built upon Strong Marriages
A strong society is built upon strong marriages, and a society where fornication and adultery are the norm is thoroughly destructive of that society. We see the myriad of social problems stemming from single parent families (which does not mean that some find themselves as single parents through no fault of their own). However, usually the single parent is someone who was not married, but who had lived in a de facto relationship which has gone sour. The children suffer, poverty is entrenched and all of society is affected.
Evils like abortion are sanctioned as something good. Jacinda Ardern is one who wants to decriminalise the killing of little babies in the womb.
The great responsibility of our political leaders in society is to govern and set an example according to the principles God has established. Yes, even those have the responsibility to do so who claim that they do not believe in God, or who reject the Bible and therefore reject biblical marriage, for they ‘are without excuse’ See Romans 1:20.
The Result of Rebellion
As a result of this rebellion against God, the Holy Spirit describes in the same chapter how this rebellious rejection of God and His law leads to the destructive immorality which devastates whole societies: ‘29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, 30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: 32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.’
Plainly a society led by people who qualify for many of these evils, and the society itself which follows them will enter a destructive downward spiral to the gutter invoking God’s judgement. The lives of the vulnerable become unprotected. Thus baby killing and euthanasia (so called) become ideals and virtues. Homosexuality, fornication, inventors of evil things, marriage-covenant-breakers and much more begin to characterise a society which once lived according to Christian ethics.
When a Prime Minister like Ardern and other political leaders normalise these evils and promote them and show by their example the disdain for marriage, society will even more willingly embrace the same views and actions. What was once good has become evil, and what was once evil has now become ‘good’.
A Special Responsibility
Psalm 2 makes it plain that governments or rulers have a special responsibility to both live their lives and govern according to the way God intended.
God promises to destroy the nation that rejects His Word: ‘At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it (Jer 18:7-8)’. However, if the nation, and of course its government, repent and turn from such evils, God says, ‘I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them.’
Of course, Jacinda Ardern is not on her own. The National Party leader Simon Bridges claims to be a Christian, yet approves of abortion and homosexual unions. The future looks very bleak for New Zealand, as it does for any nation that rejects God and His moral law.
Ardern will no doubt say that she does not criticise marriage and supports it. However, her sinful unwillingness to marry and make the commitment God requires will only accentuate the devaluation of marriage, especially as her child will be born out of wedlock.
I would not be surprised if stating these obvious facts will soon be called ‘hate speech’ and that those who see the moral decline of our society and world will be subject to persecution and criminal charges for merely holding to biblical morality and having the audacity to proclaim it.
The church, the media and others in government have a grave responsibility to do whatever they can to influence society for good and not for evil.