Lev 21-22; 1 Cor 7; Psalm 89:1-18
In the current war over marriage, something is missing from the debate in the church, and that is the recognition that we have come to make an ‘absolute’ of marriage. For some it is an institution of the Essence of life which must be defended, to others it is a Right which must not be withheld from any. However Paul does not make it the zenith of human relating – and speaks of marriage within the community of faith as much as a remedy for sexual urges as anything, expressing the desire that all would be as he, unmarried (we assume). What is more he sees it as an obstacle to the fullness of obedient life – for the married are concerned with pleasing each other rather than the Lord. (Paul we note has little place for living towards God through our relationships – rather we might say his position is that better relationships are the fruit of our life towards God)
Jesus similarly relativises marriage in the Kingdom of God – in the age to come which by his death and resurrection he has inaugurated ‘they are neither married nor given in marriage’
Another point of some note however relates to Paul’s understanding of what it means to be Christian, that it is a change in Being, and radically so. As we know Paul tells us that the Christian is the New Creation, thus he says that the children of Christians, even if one partner is not a Christian, is holy – they do belong to God. In the occasionally rumbling arguments for or against infant baptism, this revolutionary perspective should perhaps be brought to bear?