Rampant Divorce = National Suicide

Is there a connection between America’s tragic divorce rate and other growing national problems?
From the March-April 1998 Trumpet Print Edition

Divorce is no longer a bad word. Here is what I mean. I grew up in the 50s. You seldom heard the word “divorce” spoken then. When it was spoken, it always carried the connotation of shame or failure. Not today.

Divorce is now a very common thing. It is the popular theme in country songs. What afternoon TV “soap” would seem normal without it? Divorce has become a casual part of conversations. We often hear: “When did she divorce?” or “When did he divorce?” Today, divorce is accepted as a normal part of life.

According to Melvin Belli and Mel Krantzler, authors of The Complete Guide for Men and Women Divorcing, “Divorce is now widely seen as a normal though painful life event, since one out of every two marriages end in divorce. Each year, two and a half million American men and women get divorced, which signifies that every person you meet has been touched by divorce—if not their own, then that of someone in their families or among their friends, co-workers, or acquaintances” (p. 59).

Is divorce normal? Should it be so widely accepted?

Marriage-for-life is an endangered species. Recent statistics show that for every ten marriages, six will end in divorce. That is an unbelievably high number. This means six out of ten marriages will fail. This fact represents a sobering national tragedy: in America, divorce is becoming more common than marriage. Yet, this is not just an American tragedy. High divorce rates are also evident in other Western countries. The survival of marriage as an institution is now seriously threatened. All should be alarmed. Too few are.

What is a Family?

Experts agree, society is a reflection of its families. Stable families produce stable societies. Does our world have stable societies? The truth is, our prosperous societies are not stable. They are down-spiraling out of control and our family life is the center of the vortex. Many seem to be asleep to this fact. Divorce is a painful sickness in our modern families and the sickness has spread into society. It appears that few are now able to stop our spiral downward. And each day our society grows more sick and more violent.

Man is proving that he cannot solve his own problems. Instead of correcting the problem, often we allow the problems to changeus. This is true with divorce. A recent newspaper article proves this point. It was titled, “France asks ‘What is a Family?’” Here is an excerpt: “The French are breaking new legal ground in dealing with changing notions of the family.

“Divorce is on the rise, as is the number of single-parent families. More unmarried couples are living together, and more people approve.

“The result is a radically different society than from a generation ago, a change the French government is acknowledging with new legislation that would give unprecedented legal rights and benefits to unmarried couples. But the plan has provoked strong resistance from some, who feel it would weaken France’s social fabric. It has also raised difficult questions about who and what constitutes a family.

“‘The nature of family is changing,’ says sociologist Eric Fassin. ‘When you have a revolution of gender relations as massive as it’s been in this country and others—contraception, women in the workplace—it’s not surprising’” (Gaoutte, The Christian Science Monitor, Nov. 28, 1997). There are some shocking statements made in this article. It tells us much about our modern world.

As a society, we are changing our notions and beliefs about marriage and the family. But why? Change can be either positive or negative. Are these new notions good? The family used to be viewed as a rock-solid, well-established, long-standing institution. Should the institution be changed? We must ask, are our changing beliefs improving the institution, or tearing it apart?

Similar to the United States, the author shows that the divorce rate is rising in France. In addition, so is the number of single-parent French families. (We would naturally expect the two to rise together: a divorce with children involved leaves behind single-parent families.) Notice that the author also shows that there is an increasing number of couples living together outside of marriage. Couples no longer recognize the need to get married. And, as the author states, more people approve. This is the most alarming point.

Divorce is on the rise, and more people approve. Single-parent families are on the rise, and more people approve. Couples are living together outside of marriage, and more people approve. Now the government of France wants to give more approval by giving new legal rights to unmarried couples. French conservatives are upset, and rightly so. The new French law is written so openly that homosexual or lesbian couples could qualify for government protection. In other words, homosexual and lesbian couples could be defined as a family.

Isn’t the above article a warning that we are succumbing to tragic problems instead of solving them?

Isn’t this all a sad statement about our modern society? We can’t solve our family problems, so we redefine the family. And our society simply grows ever more sick.

If There Is No God

Experts admit our society has radically changed. But it is not for the better. Society’s problems are growing worse, especially in our families. As one example, look at the problems with our youth. Children are neglected and abandoned. Teen pregnancies are at an all-time high. Youth violence and crime are on the rise. A 1996 National Teen Violence Survey shows that even teens recognize they live in a violent world. Teens know that the further they move from their homes, the more violent their situation becomes. Many fear to go to school. Some carry a weapon for protection, yet this only increases the violence. Young people are killing each other. Something must be done—quickly! We cannot just look at these problems as if in a stupor. We cannot stand on the sidelines and say, “Yes, society is getting worse.” How do we solve these terrible problems? What is the root cause of our youths’ problems? Can’t we see that it is our broken family life? To resolve these problems, we must fix the family. Fixing the family begins by fixing failed marriages.

As a nation, we must begin to see our rising divorce rate as a huge failure. Divorce is not the solution to solving marriage problems. When a marriage is in trouble, it is easier to end the marriage than to work at solving the problems. Fixing marriage and family problems takes time and much hard work. Divorce is often used as the easy way out. However, does divorce really end problems? Often it creates more problems. We must motivate ourselves to stop the tragedy of divorce.

Where do we gain our motivation to stop divorce? Certainly not from this world’s educators. Our modern education system has wholeheartedly accepted the theory of evolution as its foundation. This theory conveniently gives us a creation without a creator. Since man “evolved,” the theory reveals no purpose for man. Educators reason that if man is in a continual state of evolution, so are his institutions such as marriage and family; all change is just a part of the process. Why has divorce become so rampant and so accepted? Let’s be honest—God has been left completely out of the picture. If there is no God, then divorce is a viable option. But if there is a great Creator God, then the picture of divorce changes completely.

If God created man, there must be a purpose for man. What is that purpose? If we recognize that God created man, we must also recognize that God created marriage. There must also be a purpose for marriage. If we are going to stop divorce, we must get God’s view on the subject.

In God’s Likeness

What does God say about divorce? Can we know what God thinks? Yes we can. God reveals His thoughts on divorce in His book, the Bible. What is God’s view of divorce? He hates divorce. “For the Lord, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away: For one covereth violence with his garment, saith the Lord of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously” (Mal. 2:16). The phrase “putting away” is one of the Bible terms for our modern word “divorce.” God views divorce as a violent and treacherous act. God warns that we should take heed to not be involved with divorce. Why? It deeply hurts all involved. Many experts recognize the serious negative emotional and financial affect divorce has on women and children.

But divorce also adversely affects men. Ellie Wymard discusses this in her book, Men on Divorce. Here is a quote from this landmark book: “Michael’s face grew red and he began to cry…. ‘I still love what she once was. I could have accepted her death because death is a part of life. When you’re in love and married, you fear and dread death for yourself and your spouse. But you know it’s inevitable. I hurt every minute and wanted it all to be just a nightmare. I was exhausted because I could never sleep. Yet I could never get out of bed in the morning. I would sit and stare out the window. I did nothing. My sister and brother would stop by every morning just to get me on my feet’” (p. 9). Divorce is a cruel destroyer.

In addition, divorce flies in the face of God’s ultimate purpose for man. Why did God create man on this earth? What is God’s purpose? “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them” (Gen. 1:26-27). The book of Genesis is viewed as myth to the highly educated of this world. But in this book, God reveals His purpose for the creation of man! This book contains vital knowledge. If every human being fully understood this book, what a different world we would have.

God reveals here that man was created flesh. However, man is not an animal. Man was specially created after the God kind. Man—male and female—has been molded into the form and shape of God. Man is flesh, but God is a spirit (John 4:24). God’s spirit body has a head, hair, eyes, a voice, hands and feet. Study Revelation 1:14-16 as proof. These verses describe Jesus Christ in His glorified form. In our flesh we share God’s likeness. And God intends that we also share in his image or character. This means that God put man on this earth so that we might grow to be like Him spiritually as well. Man was put on this earth to develop God’s character. Yet, there is even more that must be understood.

God Is a Family

To fully understand God’s purpose for man, we must understand who and what is God. God reveals much about Himself in Genesis 1 by giving us His name as Elohim. Herbert W. Armstrong understood God better than any other religious leader in our time. He fully explains the meaning of God’s name in his final book, Mystery of the Ages. “Now once again in Genesis 1:1: ‘In the beginning God….’ This was written by Moses as God inspired him. Moses wrote in Hebrew. The Hebrew word translated ‘God’ is Elohim—a noun or name, plural in form, but normally singular in grammatical usage. It is the same sort of word as family, church, group—one family consisting of two or more members—one church composed of many members—one group of several persons.

“It is referring to precisely the same Persons, making up or composing the one God, as we found in John 1:1—the Word and God—and each of those two Persons is God.

In other words, God is now a family of Persons, composed so far of only the two—God the Father and Christ the Son. But if the Holy Spirit of God dwells in someone, and he is being led by God’s Spirit (Rom. 8:14), then he is a begotten son of God. But, at the time of Christ’s return to earth in supreme power and glory to set up the kingdom of God, restoring the government of God abolished by Lucifer, then all being filled and led by God’s Spirit shall become born sons of God. The God family will then rule all nations with the government of God restored!” (pp. 50-51). God is a family. God’s ultimate purpose for man is to be born again as spirit beings into the God family. Eventually all saved human beings will look exactly like Christ does today (I John 3:2).

Only when human beings grasp this knowledge can they understand why divorce is so wrong. God is a family. Man was made after the God kind. So man was also created to be family. The non-provable theory of evolution hides these vital facts.

God Created Marriage

At the creation of man, God also created marriage. Marriage is not an institution that evolved with man. It was created for the benefit of man. “And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him” (Gen. 2:18). Adam was not created complete in himself. So God created the perfect complement to him—Eve. Then God married them. After presenting Eve to Adam God said, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (Gen. 2:24). This is the history of the first marriage ceremony in its briefest details. But there is still a great lesson here, if we are willing to learn.

Herbert Armstrong wrote, “The marriage and family relationship is a God-plane relationship—higher than even an angel-plane relationship. And God bestowed it on man because man is being now prepared for the marriage and family relationship forever in the God family!

“Think of it! Of all life forms—whether plant, animal, human or angel, in all that God created, man alone was created for marriage and family life!

“In the Kingdom of God—in the God family—there will be marriage and family relationship—but no divorce!” (Marriage and Divorce, p. 20). God intended mankind to experience family life on earth, to prepare us for family life in the future as members of the God family.

In God’s Kingdom there will be marriage and family. Jesus Christ plans to marry the Church at His return (Rev. 19:7). At this point in time, the Church is being fashioned into a fit bride for Christ, just as God fashioned Eve for Adam (Eph. 5:30-32). We marry now so we can learn how to be married to Jesus Christ in the future. We have family life now so that we can learn to be a part of God’s family in the future.

Can we begin to see why God hates divorce? Divorce destroys the safety and security God intended there to be in families. Divorce will not exist in the future family of God.

From the Beginning

But didn’t Moses allow divorce? Yes, Moses did allow divorce. But God never intended it to be that way. In fact, Jesus Christ corrected what Moses had allowed. The religious people of Christ’s day had a liberal attitude toward divorce. “The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder” (Matt. 19:3-6). Jesus Christ always spoke with authority. He spoke with authority against divorce. The Pharisees were always challenging Christ. Here they tried to trick Him into speaking against Moses.

To answer their question on divorce, Christ went back to Genesis, to the creation of man and marriage. Christ relied on the authority of the Bible. God made man male and female and then bound them in marriage. No man can legally separate what God has joined together. These religious leaders should have been able to answer their own question. Even here they rejected Christ’s answer. They continued, “Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away?” (v. 7). Christ gave them an authoritative answer: “Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginningit was not so” (v. 8). Christ explained that Moses allowed divorce because the people had carnal hearts. But notice that Christ said, “From the beginning it was not so.” God intended for a man or a woman only to have one wife or one husband until death. God never intended for anyone to have multiple living wives or husbands.

God’s Laws Protect Family

God put into effect the Ten Commandments to ensure that man would enjoy a happy and successful life. Three of these commandments were specifically designed to protect the family. The fifth commandment, Honor your father and mother, ensures respect for parents (Exod. 20:12). This commandment also establishes authority in the home. Children must obey their parents. The seventh commandment, You shall not commit adultery, preserves the marriage bond (Exod. 20:14). This commandment was designed to prevent sexual infidelity. It was also designed to prevent premarital sex and sexual perversion. Few people, married or unmarried, follow this commandment today. The tenth commandment, Thou shall not covet, preserved a neighbor’s possessions (Exod. 20:17). The phrase “Thou shall not covet your neighbor’s wife” was designed to prevent remarriage while a spouse was still living. Statistics show that those who divorce and remarry are more likely to divorce and remarry again. Today it is normal for divorced people to be remarried two or three times. This is not only emotionally wrenching, it becomes total confusion when children are born into the separate marriages. Many children grow up with multiple step-parents and step-siblings. All of this shows the vital importance God places on the family and marriage. If we truly desire to fix our marriage and family problems, we need to get back to and obey these commandments.

America as a nation is at a serious crossroads. Our President’s alleged sexual infidelity is the topic of nearly every newspaper and news program worldwide. Yes, there is a crisis in the White House. But there is a far greater crisis in the nation. Most people do not care even if the President did commit infidelity. Why? If we look at our high divorce rate, we can easily assume that many, many people in this country are also committing some form of sexual infidelity! The moral fabric of our nation has seriously deteriorated. We have great economic prosperity—but we also have a high divorce rate. We have broken families. We have gangster youth. No wonder we are plagued with crime upon crime.

There is a great living God who deeply cares about our nation. We are the latter day children of the ancient nation of Israel. Mr. Armstrong proved this fact in his book, The United States and Britain in Prophecy. (You can have a copy of this book, free upon request.) The prophets of old warned ancient Israel about their many sins. But the majority of these warnings were intended for the people of our time, in our nation.

Land Full of Adultery

Through the prophet Jeremiah, God says, “For the land is full of adulterers; for because of swearing the land mourneth; the pleasant places of the wilderness are dried up, and their course is evil, and their force is not right” (Jer. 23:10). God says it all very clearly—our land is full of adulterers. This means our marriages are not right. Americans are marrying and divorcing and remarrying. But do we care? In this verse, God says there is a direct connection between our national divorce rate and our growing national problems. The phrase “their course is evil” implies that we are aggressively running after our evil ways like runners in a race. We are a nation that has lost sight of the purpose for marriage and family. The results are going to be disastrous. Our nation is going to suffer dire consequences. God will punish us for our sins.

Jeremiah says our land will mourn and the pleasant places will be ruined. The United States has been suffering intense natural disasters for the past five years. Our food crops and cattle have been seriously affected. Now El Niño has struck both the east and west coasts—in both Florida and California. Many in this country would consider these two states as very pleasant places. These states thrive on tourism. And they produce most of our vegetable and fruit crops. People hardest hit in California can’t take much more. But there will be more to come unless we repent individually and as a nation.

The phrase “their force is not right” implies a failure in military action. The Hebrew word for “force” means valor, victory, mastery, might, mighty (act, power), power, strength. It’s a military word. God warns us that our national sins are destroying our military might.

God states in the book of Leviticus, “And if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins. And I will break the pride of your power; and I will make your heaven as iron, and your earth as brass: And your strength shall be spent in vain: for your land shall not yield her increase, neither shall the trees of the land yield their fruits” (Lev. 26:18-20). Does God want to see our nation fall? No! God simply wants us to repent of our sins and return to Him. God wants us to start living His way. God would stop all of the evil that is prophesied to come upon us, if we would repent.

Is it too late to stop our national downslide? If we would listen and turn, and turn quickly, the answer is no. However, time is running out. As a people, we need to get back on track in our marriages and in our families. Our high divorce rate should wake us up. Herbert Armstrong wrote, “The very foundation of any nation’s solidarity, strength and power is a solid and stable family structure. When a nation’s family life is breaking down, that nation is disintegrating—committing national suicide!” (Marriage and Divorce, p. 9). Let’s heed these wise words. As a nation, let’s examine ourselves and correct our troubled family lives. Let’s not commit national suicide.