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In die Skriflig

versão On-line ISSN 2305-0853
versão impressa ISSN 1018-6441


VORSTER, Jakobus M. (Koos). The Christian marriage - a social construct or a covenantal relation. In Skriflig (Online) [online]. 2015, vol.49, n.2, pp.1-10. ISSN 2305-0853.

In the postmodern ethics of marriage several christian theologians plead for a contemporary definition of the concept of marriage. They choose as a point of departure that the concept biblical marriage cannot be accepted as valid, because marriage is a social construct determined only by tradition and culture. Alternative forms of cohabitation should also be accepted by christians as valid in the contemporary postmodern environment. Following a discussion of the works of some of these authors who hold this opinion, this article attempts to make a case for the view that marriage should regarded as an institution of God and a covenantal reality, where husband, wife and God are bonded in an interdimensional relationship that overarches the patriarchalism and androcentrism that is usually ascribed to a christian marriage. By paying attention to the creational character of marriage (imago dei and covenant) and the christological and pneumatological perspectives on this institution, the article argues that marriage cannot be seen merely as a social construct, but that it is a divine institution that should be constructed according to the higher moral principles derived from the unfolding biblical revelation. If churches minister the idea of marriage as a covenantal relation, they can contribute to the establishment of christian marriages qualified by human dignity, love, faithfulness and the development of the spiritual gifts of both husband and wife.

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