What does God have to say about divorce, does God allow for divorce? Now who better to answer this question than our Lord and God’s Son Jesus Christ.
Matthew 19:3-9 (ESVST)
And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one ‘s wife for any cause?” 4 He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, 5 and said, ‘ Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh ’? 6 So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” 7 They said to him, “ Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?” 8 He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. 9 And I say to you:whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.”
The Pharisees were obviously not looking for a good answer from Jesus in the passage above but rather, they were testing him, hoping to get an answer that will discredit him so that the people can stop following him and they can find something to accuse him of. Even with their evil intention, our Lord still gave them a brilliant answer. Instead of saying this is how I feel about the issue, he decided to go back to the beginning and quote God himself. This is probably a lesson to us as well when confronted with questions, our first and last stop, should be the word of God.
Jesus gives four reasons why God does not allow divorce.
1. Verse 4 says that God created a male and a female. One man, one woman. This is how God wanted it from the beginning. Here Jesus quotes Genesis 1:27. God did not create Adam and Eve and Mary in case Adam did not like Eve anymore, or Adam, Robert and Eve in case Eve did not like Adam anymore. just Adam and Eve. No other option was made available because God did not want a male and a female in marriage to have other options. No spares!
2. Verse 5 says that God said that a man shall leave his mother and father and hold fast to his wife. The word fast is a Greek word called “kollao” from the word “kolla” which means to glue together. This means that a man must glue himself to his wife. A man must get stuck with his wife. This is not just any glue but this is super glue. Once glued, always glued. Jesus here quotes Genesis 2:24.
3. Verse 5 continues to say, the man and the wife will become one flesh. This means they are literally made one flesh by God. They cease to be two people anymore and now become one flesh. This means the man and his wife become one body. Now if you separate one body into two, the body dies. The two parts of the body cannot live apart from the other. You cannot slice one body into two and expect the two halves to survive.
4. Verse 6 concludes by God saying that what God has joined together, let no man separate. This means what God has joined, let no man or my made rules or laws separate. This is a command from God and therefore not debatable. It does it have conditions at all.
Now as you can see, God himself simply does not like divorce and He did not like it from the very beginning. Did God ever change his mind on this at any stage? Well let’s look at the last book before the birth of Jesus.
Malachi 2:16 (ESVST)
“For the man who does not love his wife but divorces her, says the Lord, the God of Israel, covers his garment with violence, says the Lord of hosts. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and do not be faithless.”
As you can see, God never changed his mind on divorce since Genesis until the coming of Jesus and even during Jesus’s time, the status was still the same and never changed even during the apostolic era.
Now the Pharisee were completely stunned by this answer as now they were not in a position to counter or disagree with Jesus’s answer because he quoted the word of God. They were equally not happy with the answer either because now, not only was it the right answer but now, even their sin was exposed because they were teaching wrong doctrine of divorcing for what ever reason.
They had to counter somehow and the best they could do to save face was to ask Jesus why then did Moses command a man to give a divorce certificate when he wants to divorce. With this question, they were quoting Deutronomy 24:1 which we have already explained and showed in part 1, that it never gave anyone a command. Jesus answered them and said, the only reason why Moses “ALLOWED” you, not commanded you as they thought, to divorce, was because of the hardness of your heart. They wanted so much to divorce that Moses actually allowed them. Notice how Jesus does not say command but rather allow. This is simply because it was never a command in the first place. Jesus continues to say, it was never God’s intention that you should divorce from the beginning.
Jesus makes it very clear that it was never in God’s plan that there should be a divorce but because you hardened you hearts and wanted a divorce, Moses allowed you. Moses allowed you but he put a condition on remarrying the same women. Moses said that if you divorce your wife and your wife remarries someone else and then divorces again, you the original man, cannot marry her again. This is what Deutronomy 24:1-4 was about.
Does this mean we cannot divorce no matter what?