Marriage isn’t Magic, Part 2

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

Are illicit acts—prostitution, incest, and polygamy—marriage?

Since the recent publication of “Marriage isn’t Magic“, the Christianity and Masculinity blog made a post which describes three situations where the Bible supposedly contradicts my post, all describing illicit acts, …

  1. Judah and Tamar—prostitution and incest
  2. Rahab — prostitution
  3. Jesus and the Samaritan woman — fornication, prostitution, or polygamy

…and concludes…

“[C]ommenters like to gloss over the fact that most of the common law marriages in the past were people who agreed to live together as married [..] prostitution was not considered [marriage]”

Not only did I not gloss over this fact, but I precisely emphasized it:

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.


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. They do not stay formally married.

My phrase “call your spouse” refers to intention, not label (i.e. “live together as [if they were] married”). It doesn’t matter if you label your spouse ‘husband’ or ‘wife’ if you’ve aptly demonstrated by your actions that this is who they are to you. Intent (and consent) is what keeps you married. In short:

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

It’s really that simple. Prostitution undeniably creates the marital bond (1 Corinthians 6:15-17) without establishing or keeping a marriage, because the partners do not keep each other as husband and wife. Of course prostitution is not considered marriage! Not keeping your spouse is divorce.

Prostitution—as with rape—is a marriage that ends in divorce as soon as it begins. It is among the very worst kinds of fornication because it so casually and with full consent creates and destroys the marriage each and every time. That’s why it is such a deep sin. If it were not marriage—cleaving the two together for life—it would not be so serious.

It is invalid to conclude that because prostitution does not sustain a marriage that it did not create a marriage. When the Bible describes licit marriage formation, it does so without formal ceremony, so why would it describe a formal ceremony for fornication and divorce? Marriage is automatic and implicit in the act of marriage and it occurs even when consent—moral agency—is lacking (e.g. rape; seduction of a virgin daughter). God set up the act of marriage to accomplish this and no act of man can change this, with or without consent. So too is divorce a simple act of will.

Marriage and divorce are not mysterious and complicated acts. They are very simple concepts. For marriage, simply join with your partner and live out your life with them in unity. That’s it, that’s God’s entire plan. Deviation from God’s plan—including prostitution—is logically incoherent, so don’t expect explanations of it to make sense. You can’t look at illicit marriage formation and infer from it the nature of licit marriage formation. You can only infer the converse.

You might read the post at Christianity and Masculinity and think that we are saying the same thing. After all, what is the difference between “not being marriage” and “instant marriage and divorce?” Is there a practical difference between the two?

The first difference is that C&M reasons from illicit marital acts to make conclusions regarding licit marital acts, unjustifiably supporting a theory around moral agency. The second difference is that the created marital one-flesh bond is more than “it wasn’t marriage.” Saying “Prostitution isn’t marriage” is a decent approximation that helps with comprehension, but it isn’t a rigorous explanation.



  1. I think DS is right in making a connection to agency, but perhaps purpose is more to the point. Marriage fulfils God’s purposes for glorifying Himself through the union and family formation. If a union doesn’t do this, it falls short. All the odd case scenarios are instances in which God’s purposes are not fulfilled.

    1. Derek L. Ramsey

      By the way you’ve phrased it, “purpose” is not necessarily mutually exclusive with what I’ve written. Both could be true at the same time. But DS’s view is explicitly mutually exclusive. As such, while what you say may be true, it’s effectively a strawman.

  2. I tried to reason with “Deep Strength”, regarding God’s simple definition of marriage as an intimate union of two flesh meant to be ongoing for life, which you gave above (as opposed to how the church has institutionalized marriage into a lifelong Gnostic/satanic scam to defraud men of abundant sex, even while using the promise of unlimited sex as their bait) but he repeatedly employs silly faulty logic. He claimed that “Agreement of the Covenant” and other human “Witnesses” were absolute necessities to start a marriage. But when I showed from the Bible that God acknowledged marriages as valid which started without any other human witnesses, and marriages that occurred without any prior agreement by the virgin or her father, apparently that truth sailed through his head both unacknowledged and unaccepted. And he has resorted to censorship of my arguments, apparently to protect his own scripturally indefensible beliefs.

    1 Peter 3:15(NET) But set Christ apart as Lord in your hearts and always be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks about the hope you possess.

    His beliefs first originated from the church of Rome and not from the Bible, but he is still unwilling to sever his umbilical connection to that old apostate whore. He claimed my comments were too long, then when I was more concise, he claimed I cited Bible verses without adequate context. However, the context he claimed I had omitted was about a different situation and he seems to lack the intellectual honesty or willingness to acknowledge that there is a difference between taking (raping) a taken (betrothed) virgin and taking an available virgin. That the reason both situations are given in God’s law, with different remedies, is because they’re different crimes. One being considered a case of adultery and the other being firstly a usurpation of a father’s patriarchal authority over his daughter and secondly being an offense against the daughter.

    Deuteronomy 22:28(CEB) If a man meets up with a young woman who is a virgin and not engaged, grabs her and has sex with her, and they are caught in the act, 29 the man who had sex with her must give fifty silver shekels to the young woman’s father. She will also become his wife because he has humiliated her. He is never allowed to divorce her.

    Thus, God’s decreed punishment was firstly a sizable payment to recompense the wronged father and secondly the granting of uncontestable wifely rights to the daughter who got taken into that union by force.

    Deep Strength is adamantly opposed to what those above verses say! Because they destroy his point about “Agreement of the Covenant” always being necessary to form a marriage union. The rapist decided to take the available virgin, and that one man’s action, to have consummating sex, was all that was necessary to make them then belong united for life. His church derived Feminist belief system does not allow him to accept that part of God’s holy law. He claims it is taken out of context because he refuses to accept what it clearly shows, (marriage with no “Agreement of the Covenant”) and then the foolish fellow cites the preceding law about a wholly different situation (of a betrothed virgin) giving a wholly different resolution, as if God is somehow contradicting and negating His own words in adjacent passages of the law, when they’re separate laws for different clearly defined crimes.

    Deep Strength howls about “context” not because he means to use context to better understand the simple, logical, and clear passage, but because he seeks an excuse to cast doubt on the clear words of God and to recast them as being in agreement with the false dogma of his own church which has retained the unbiblical Roman dogmas first promulgated when no native language Bibles were allowed for the vast majority of Christians to read.

    Deep Strength once wrote that I couldn’t provide answers, a false testimony against me, and then left my almost immediate answers languishing for days in moderation. While I presume, he was trying to figure out how best to deflect my answers.

    Deep Strength accused me that I take God’s word out of context, and then he dodges after that blast of squid ink, by deleting my pending response illuminating the irrationality of his self-serving accusation intended to deflect from what God’s word clearly said and means, which isn’t altered or contradicted by the surrounding context.

    I believe the reason Deep Strength now wants to, and often does, block my admonishment from his website is because he can’t defend his unbiblical beliefs using the Bible, because his beliefs clearly contradict the Bible, and he can’t contend against my Biblical reasoning. But rather than change his beliefs, or even admit that he has already slightly changed his beliefs, he seeks to suppress those who disagree with his dogma rather than attempt to debate and refute them.

    Since marriage is also a symbolic union, which is probably of great delight to those like Jack, who also censors me, and his mentor, Ed Hurst, who seemingly prefer happy campers traipsing in and out of their own mystical realms, to allowing contentious rational debates that have the potential to soundly defeat false notions amongst rationally minded people, I wonder if the mystically inclined can ponder this and provide a reply:

    Acts 9:1 Now Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest, 2 and asked for letters from him to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them in shackles to Jerusalem. 3 Now as he was traveling, it happened that he was approaching Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him; 4 and he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” 5 And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” And He said, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting, 6 but get up and enter the city, and it will be told to you what you must do.”

    13 But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many people about this man, how much harm he did to Your saints in Jerusalem; 14 and here he has authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on Your name.” 15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; 16 for I will show him how much he must suffer in behalf of My name.” 17 So Ananias departed and entered the house, and after laying his hands on him said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road by which you were coming, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”

    And it was so!
    The relationship of Christ to the church is that of a bridegroom to a betrothed.
    Allow me to dabble in a little bridal mysticism here: Was Saul/Paul wooed to Christ, or did Jesus just pick Saul of Tarsus, blind him and take him and fill him with His Spirit? And if Christ did the latter, is that relationship not starting out more like a forced union than a voluntary union?

    Is the Son of the King not allowed to choose from among His people and to take whomever He pleases? Was that relationship not symbolically the taking of a dissenter? And Saul/Paul then later rightly decided to continue on abiding with Christ? (as Tamar would have stayed with Amnon)

    3…2…1… Feminist heads exploding!
    “Raped” into the family of God. LOL

    And if they agree, then I’ll let them try to woo Deep Strength around to that point of view with whatever methods they prefer.

  3. My father used to complain that churches expected men to check-in their brains at the door. I think it is a wrong move for Jack to try to quash rational debate at his site, to be more ecumenical, to become more like a women’s Bible study where the women can take turns spouting foolishness and then be affirmed for it. I have more respect for folks I disagree with, if they can at least articulate what they believe and defend it without trying to have you censored for questioning their beliefs. I’ve modified a lot of my beliefs over the last few years, as a result of things I’ve read between people debating. And I’m not too proud minded to admit I’ve changed my mind or to think I won’t still learn far more yet. Artisanal Toad has even taught me things from beyond the grave.

    I reckon that’s how smart folks remain smarter than others, by remaining more readily able to learn, and less likely to demand that all vehement debate be silenced to attain false unity.

    1. Derek L. Ramsey

      I admit I don’t understand the desire to censor. So what if your comment is twice as long as my original post? This doesn’t cause me any harm. You are on topic, and that’s good enough for me.

      I’m not running a Bible study for the neurotic.

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