Marriage isn’t Magic

This is part of a collection of rebuttals, responses, and replies. See the index.

What is fornication? What is marriage?

Commentator John explains his difficulty:

Perhaps I have been misunderstanding this entire discussion: [consummation of marriage] nullifies fornication as a category [..] When Paul counseled to “flee fornication,” I have trouble conceiving what act he could be referencing.

Properly speaking, there is no Greek word equal to the English word fornication. The Greek word porneia, from which we derive the term pornography, refers to:

porneía — properly, a selling off (surrendering) of sexual purity; promiscuity of any (every) type.”

This includes any and all non-marital sexuality. It is not limited to unmarried individuals. There are many ways to engage in sexual impurity: surrendering your sexual purity for the illicit.

Fornication—which includes adultery, prostitution, incest, and rape—is essentially a marriage plus an implied divorce. It is always sin. The partners engage in the act of marriage and then go their separate ways (See: Amnon and Tamar). They do not stay formally married.

Marriage isn’t magic. If you live intimately with the person you call your spouse, you are married. If you don’t, you are not. If you engaging in non-marital intimacy, that’s illicit, whatever the form the fornication takes. What makes something fornication and not marriage is the fraudulent, illicit sexual nature of the (pseudo-)marriage. If two unmarried persons cleave to one another and stay together for life, it isn’t fornication, it is marriage.

Divorce is sending away or leaving a spouse.
Marriage is not divorcing: keeping you and your spouse together.

If we start thinking of N-count as equivalent to one’s divorce count (minus your current spouse, if any), perhaps it becomes clearer.

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  1. Pingback: Marriage isn't Magic, Part 2

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