So recently I have had a number of conversations amoung different groups about the nature of sex and marriage. Most of the conversations are with people that make certain assumptions about the two and call those assumptions biblical. While I agree for the most part with the general conclusions that are reached, it troubles me when people assume that their 21st century, American, evangelical ideas are the true biblical ones or "the way it has always been." How we view marriage today (a loving covenant between a man and a woman that implies longevity, commitment, submission, and love)is a fairly recent concept. For most of Western history marriage was based more on politcal and economic forces than personal choice. To assume that what we mean by marriage is what the bible means by marriage disrespects history and the context of the biblical writers.
For a brief and interesting overview of the history of marriage in western society check out this
As a tangent, one of the historical facts I discovered that fasinated me was the existence of compulsury marriage in Imperial Rome. Augustus imposed fines on single people and thus made marriage a political and economic transaction. So when Paul talks about remining single, he is not just refering to sexual and spiritual issues, but taking a stand against the empire.
Just some thoughts to ponder.
Labels: History, Reflections, Theology