According to a study released by the Pew Research Center earlier this week, 39 percent of Americans say marriage is becoming obsolete, up from 28 percent in 1978. Though, according to the study, the majority of Americans still have a positive view of marriage, the idea of marriage becoming obsolete is what made the news this week.
What interests me in the study is the word obsolete. This is a strong word. It denotes something that's no longer practical or usable. So, in effect, about 40 percent of Americans see marriage as irrelevant, something that we can write off, according to the study. Through what kind of lens would a person be looking to view marriage this way? Since God came up with the idea of marriage, and He never does the irrelevant, obviously those who regard marriage as becoming obsolete do not have a perspective consistent with God's on the subject.
Take, for example, our society's concept of morality versus God's laws that define morality. He regards sex before marriage and sex outside of marriage as sin. Remember adultery and fornication? So to Him marriage will always be essential to society because it is the legitimate means through which a man and a woman through their union can bring forth children and replenish the earth. In our society, on the other hand, it is totally acceptable for unmarried couples to live together and to bear children. Looking at things that way, one can see how many Americans might conclude that marriage is obsolete.
The thirty-nine percent referred to in the study is a high number of Americans who see marriage as becoming obsolete. That's approximately 2 out of every 5 persons. The survey has a total margin of error of plus or minus 2.6 percentage points. Even on the low side, we are talking tens of millions of adults. But the trend regarding marriage that was highlighted in the report is consistent with something the Bible says about what people's attitude toward marriage will be in the last days. It says that as the end nears that there will be those who "forbid people to marry" (1 Timothy 4:3).
Forbidding others from marrying is much stronger than simply regarding marriage as obsolete. Forbidding marriage is tantamount to seeing marriage as the enemy. My point? It is that with time, society's view toward marriage will become less and less favorable. This suggests a continuously increasing departure from God's perspective on the significance of marriage. This study by the Pew Research Center is simply a microcosm of our society's continual drift from God on all fronts, and it will continue with time.
I am persuaded that God knows more about what's best for our society than people do. He created man and woman. He created the earth and everything that is in it. Marriage was His idea. In the Bible, He gives us priceless guidance on how to have a rewarding and lasting marriage. This in turn is a fundamental building block to our society. For stable marriages promote stable families. And stable families promote stable neighborhoods, and stable neighborhoods promote stable cities and a stable nation. That's not obsolete. That's essential. I'm sticking with God's plan. What about you?
Frank King is a former church pastor. He is currently an evangelist and an author. Frank holds a Master of Theology degree. Through the grace of God, Frank has been blessed to cross cultural lines in his preaching. Website: http://www.efrankking.com
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