Who should define marriage?

Governments around the world are seemingly defining marriage, however, the question to be asked is should they really be doing this and what is the real basis for this?

The biblical teaching on marriage is clear and explicit; it is a life-long covenant only between one man and one woman. God created marriage at the beginning. In the first chapters of the Bible we read God created Adam and Eve and told them that together they should bear children (Genesis 1:26-27).

The Bible actually views the relationship between Adam and Eve as the pattern for all marriages to follow on the earth. This is clear from the more detailed description of their creation that comes in Genesis 2:21-24.

The phrase “a man shall leave his father and mother” pictures a situation in which the man departs from the household of which he was a part, and implies that a new household is being established. The phrase “hold fast to his wife” indicates that this new relationship between a man and a wife, is the basis of a new household that is established. Therefore marriage in general is defined as a union between a man and “his wife.”

This is also Jesus’ understanding of Genesis 1-2 when responding to a question from the Pharisees about divorce in Matthew 19:3-6.

Jesus understands that the essence of marriage was established when God created them from the beginning and made them male and female and also said that a man should leave father and mother and cleave to his wife (Matthew 19:4-5). He also affirms that marriage is therefore an institution God creates between a man and a woman, because he call marriage between two people “whom God has joined together” (v 6).

Jesus also affirms that God intended to be a lifelong relationship, not a mere temporary agreement, for He specifies, “What therefore God hath joined together, let no man separate” (vs 6). This perspective is given further emphasis when the Pharisees ask him in response, “Why then did Moses allowed you to divorce your wife ,but from the beginning, it was not so, “(vs 8).

In other words, God’s purpose in marriage from the beginning was a lifelong commitment, faithful relationship between one man and one woman. Through sin, God allowed divorce. It was the hardness of the heart and the unforgiving spirit, which cause separation.