Why Divorce?

From the July 2004 Trumpet Print Edition

Why is there divorce in the first place?

As Jesus Christ said, from the beginning, men and women were meant to marry and become “one flesh”—living together as mutual partners, bound for life (Matthew 19:4-6). God didn’t intend married couples to divorce. Rather, they were to “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it …” (Genesis 1:28).

Marriage is a natural union, but a divine institution, ordained by the Creator God (Genesis 2:18, 24). It was not established by man. God also established immutable, unchangeable laws governing marriage and family (Exodus 20:12, 14, 17). These laws were designed to perpetually uphold and preserve the family unit, which is the basis of any healthy, stable society.

God hates divorce (Malachi 2:16). Yet, in His great wisdom and mercy, He has made allowances for intolerable situations in a marriage. There are times, for example, when it is necessary and advisable to part company with a violent or abusive spouse.

But “from the beginning it was not so” (Matthew 19:8).

At the foundation of this present evil world, our first parents, Adam and Eve, rejected God’s revealed knowledge (including knowledge of how to have a happy, abundant marriage and family). Using observation, experimentation and human reasoning, they decided for themselves right and wrong, taking from the forbidden tree. As a result, they died! (see Proverbs 16:25). Plus, they reared the first juvenile delinquent, the first criminal and murderer. Yes, Adam and Eve produced the first shattered home.

And from that ignominious beginning, mankind built its own civilization with customs and laws concerning marriage.

Fast-forwarding a few centuries, we see divorce was a major problem in Noah’s time (Matthew 24:38). Did you know this is one of the reasons God decided to wipe out all humanity—save Noah and his family—and start afresh with a new civilization after the great Flood? (see Genesis 6:1-2, 5-7).

Later in history, during the days of Moses, marriage problems erupted among God’s chosen nation of Israel. The Israelites’ stubborn carnality forced Moses to permit divorce (Matthew 19:7-9).

Years later, during the first century, divorce had become rampant in the Roman Empire. Seneca, a well-known statesman of the time, wrote, “They divorce in order to remarry, they marry in order to divorce.” According to the Roman writer Martial, marriage at that time had merely become a form of legalized adultery. This tendency even rubbed off on the true Church. The Apostle Paul, while cautioning the brethren at Corinth to not seek divorce from unbelieving mates, had to make concessions in cases when the unbeliever left (1 Corinthians 7:12-15).

Still, though divorce is almost unavoidable in some cases, it always produces pain and agony. And tragically, children are often caught in the crossfire—forced to suffer along with their parents.