Resolving Remarriage Paradox

We discussed about Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage in the previous post which was written with the condition of not breaking  the teachings of Jesus, law and Scripture. However, there is a paradoxical situation not discussed in detail in the previous post. Here, we will resolve that paradox.

Paradox: Adultery or Another man’s wife?

Matt 5:32 “But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery.

Deut 24:3-4 “if the latter husband detests her and writes her a certificate of divorce, puts it in her hand, and sends her out of his house, or if the latter husband dies who took her as his wife, then her former husband who divorced her must not take her back to be his wife after she has been defiled; for that is an abomination before the LORD, and you shall not bring sin on the land which the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance.

  • If a woman was divorced not for sexual immorality, who then remarries another, realizes that the remarriage is adultery, she cannot come back to her former husband because it is an abomination to God (Deut 24:1-4). She cannot marry any one else because that would still be adultery as per teachings of God (Matt 5:32). In this situation, the divorced woman is stuck and cannot marry anyone else.
  • If a man was divorced not for sexual immorality, who then remarries another, realizes that the remarriage is adultery, he cannot come back to her former wife if she had become another man’s wife since that would be an abomination to God (Deut 24:1-4). He cannot marry any one else because that would still be adultery as per teachings of God (Matt 5:32). In this situation, the divorced man is stuck and cannot marry anyone else.

The problem with the above logic can be easily explained as follows:

  • The law considers remarriage after divorce as a new “marriage” and the divorced woman who remarried becomes another man’s wife. (Deut 24:1-4)
  • Jesus considers remarriage after divorce (except for sexual immorality) as “adultery” and not as a new marriage (Matt 5:32)

It’s a catch-22 situation where the solution cannot be arrived without rejecting one.

  • If we reject the law, we can consider remarriage as adultery and the divorced woman can go back to her former husband.
  • If we reject the teachings of Jesus, remarriage is a “new” marriage and the woman had become another man’s wife and cannot go back to her former husband.

When God the Father considers something as an abomination to Him in the law, we cannot use Christ’s teachings to “indirectly” infer a point which Christ never said “directly” to make an abomination acceptable.

Taking Examples from God

Matt 19:4-5 And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?

As Jesus taught, marriage is always between one male  and one female which God joined as one flesh. Anything outside of this is adultery, sexual immorality and sin.

Jer 3:1 God says, “If a husband divorces his wife, And she goes from him, And belongs to another man, Will he still return to her? Will not that land be completely polluted? But you are a harlot with many lovers; Yet you turn to Me,” declares the LORD.

Jer 3:8 “Then I saw that for all the causes for which backsliding Israel had committed adultery, I had put her away and given her a certificate of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear, but went and played the harlot also.

God is comparing Israel as a divorce wife belonging to another man. To resolve the paradox and arrive at a solution, we must look for God did regarding His adulterous divorced wife, Israel. Can God take Israel back?

Ezek 16:38 “And I will judge you as women who break wedlock or shed blood are judged; I will bring blood upon you in fury and jealousy.

Ezek 16:62 -63“And I will establish My covenant with you. Then you shall know that I am the LORD, that you may remember and be ashamed, and never open your mouth anymore because of your shame, when I provide you an atonement for all you have done,” says the Lord GOD.’ ”

God cannot take Israel back without judging her as a women who break wedlock and the the requirement of atonement. For God to take Israel back, cost His own life. The Father sent His own Son to take the place of Israel. Just as an adulterous wife must be stoned at the door of her father’s house according to the law (Deut 22:21), Jesus was crucified outside of the gates of Jerusalem (Heb 13:12) fulfilling the judgment on the adulterous divorced wife, Israel. Jesus is that atonement which the law cannot provide for any adulterous wife (Matt 26:28). This is why Jesus said, no one can come to the Father except through Him (John 14:6). Now, God can take Israel back through Jesus Christ, not using the old covenant, but through the new covenant.

Hos 2:2 “Rebuke your mother, rebuke her, for she is not my wife, and I am not her husband. Let her remove the adulterous look from her face and the unfaithfulness from between her breasts. … (7) She will chase her lovers, But not overtake them; Yes, she will seek them, but not find them. Then she will say, ‘I will go and return to my first husband, For then it was better for me than now.’…. (13-14) I will punish her For the days of the Baals to which she burned incense. She decked herself with her earrings and jewelry, And went after her lovers; But Me she forgot,” says the LORD. Therefore, behold, I will allure her, Will bring her into the wilderness, And speak comfort to her. …. (16) “And it shall be, in that day,” Says the LORD, “That you will call Me ‘My Husband,’ And no longer call Me ‘My Master,’ …. (19-20) “I will betroth you to Me forever; Yes, I will betroth you to Me In righteousness and justice, In lovingkindness and mercy; I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness, And you shall know the LORD.

The prophesy of Hosea is identical to Ezekiel. Yet, in the end, God is marrying Israel again through a new covenant even though He divorced her and she became another man’s.

The same atonement of Jesus Christ through which God atoned Israel’s adultery to take her back is now available for all who committed adultery, who want to repent and turn back to God. While the previous post discusses about the teachings of Jesus and the law, it does not discuss forgiveness, atonement and what God did in such situations. Hence, the right solution is to stop committing adultery by breaking the adulterous marriage, ask forgiveness to God through Jesus Christ for adultery. Then, the couple who initially divorced not for sexual immorality can live again as one flesh.

Conclusion

Let’s rephrase the initial statements: If a man or a woman was divorced but not for sexual immorality, who then remarries another, realizes that the remarriage is adultery based on Christ’s Teachings, both must stop committing adultery by breaking the adulterous marriage, ask forgiveness to God through Jesus Christ. If they marry someone else, that marriage too is also considered adultery by Jesus. Hence,  both must pursue to restore their broken initial first marriage and live as one flesh. What God joined, let no man separate. It is also worth reading this post where divorce law is discussed. You can also read what gentiles are required to follow in this post. Hence, in the new covenant, there is only one marriage possible between one male and one female for their entire life. The only exception to this rule is death of the other spouse. Therefore, you must choose your spouse wisely, who fears God and obeys Him, be faithful to you and will come with you until death separates.