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What is a Christian view on divorce?
Christians believe the Bible teaches that marriage is for life. During a Christian wedding ceremony, the bride and groom make promises before God to live faithfully with each other until death. Christians believe the husband and wife become 'one flesh' when they get married, that God actually unites the couple in a spiritual way. This unity is expressed through sexual intercourse.
What does the New Testament teach about divorce?
(i) "What God has joined together, let not man separate." (Mark 10:9).
The New Testament teaches that divorce is wrong as it is separating what God has joined together. As humans, we are God's creation. We have no right to destroy what God has made.
(ii) "Whoever divorces his wife and marries someone else commits adultery against her. And if a woman divorces her husband and remarries, she commits adultery." ( Mark 10:11 - 12)
Once a Christian has divorced, the New Testament suggests remarrying is the same as committing adultery. You cannot separate what God has joined together, so if you divorce you are still married to the person God united you with (your first husband or wife).
(iii) "A man who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery - unless his wife has been unfaithful." (Matthew 19: 9)
There is a suggestion in this verse that if your husband or wife commits adultery, then the bond that God made between you can be dissolved, as your husband or wife has already broken the unity between you. The New Testament, therefore, suggests that divorce is not what God intended, and to marry after a divorce in the majority of cases, or to marry a divorced person, is the same as committing adultery.
Divorce is not God's ideal, as it is separating those that God has joined together and made one. The majority of Christians, therefore, accept that divorce goes against God's ideal plan. However, at the centre of Christianity is the teaching of God's mercy, love, and forgiveness.
In the New Testament of the Bible, Jesus forgave people who had done wrong. Christians believe that they must forgive each other as Jesus forgave them when he died on the cross. Many Christians then, whilst not liking divorce, don't totally forbid it.
In a nutshell:
Divorce is not what God intended for humans
In the New Testament, divorce is seen as trying to separate what God has joined together and so falls short of God's ideal
The New Testament considers marrying after a divorce to be like committing adultery
Christian teaching does not encourage divorce
Some Christians do not allow it under any circumstances
Some Christians believe that although the failure of a marriage is not what God intended, Christians should show God's forgiveness and love to divorced people
Many churches will allow people to marry again in church