With every marriage covenant made between a man and a woman, there is also a Christian divorce option. If fact, the twenty-first century has taken divorce to a new level. This “modern” attitude is a far cry from the teachings of divorce found in the Old Testament as well as the New Testament. For the Christian in a monogamous marriage, divorce should not even be a question to consider, however it has certainly become one.
By definition, divorce is “a legal dissolution of the marriage relation.” Yet to the modern marriage, Christian divorce can be simply defined as a convenience.
In 1948, Harvard sociologist Pitirim A. Sorokin noticed a change and even a disintegration of the American Society. Of his findings he wrote:
An illiterate society can survive, but a thoroughly antisocial society cannot. Until recently the family was the principle school of socialization for the newborn human animals, rendering them fit for social life. At present this vital mission is performed less and less by the family.
Sorokin’s concern was triggered by what he thought was an alarming change in the divorce rate within America. He had seen the divorce rate rise from 1 in 10 in 1910 to 1 in 4 in 1948.
The divorce rate had risen from 10 percent to 25 percent in just thirty eight years. That is an increase of 150 percent. It would be nice to assume that the divorce rate has leveled off, but that is not the case.
By 1970, 2 out of 5, or 40 percent of marriages ended in divorce. In 1973 the number of marriages ending in divorce had grown to 50 percent. In the 63 years since 1910 to 1973, divorce has seen an increase of 400 percent. Now in the 離婚條件 twenty-first century, marriage breakups are an epidemic. Few people, including the children involved, are untouched by the lasting scars of divorce.
Divorce is so much common place in society today that even the laws of the land provide a variety of grounds for a legal divorce. Suffering physical and mental cruelty and adultery are all legal reasons for divorce. In fact, it is not uncommon in our nation to be granted a divorce for no reason at all. Adopted by society is the no-fault grounds for divorce in which the spouse no longer must prove that the other has committed a marital wrong.
Unlike the North American society, the Bible has taken a clear stance on Christian divorce. The divine ideal for marriage in scripture is clearly a lifelong bond which unites husband and wife in a “one flesh” relationship (Gen. 2:24; Matt. 19:5).
The marriage union is a holy condition founded by God and is not to be dissolved at the will of human beings (Matt. 19:6). In fact, separations of the marriage bond displease God. The prophet Malachi expressed this when he wrote, “And let none deal treacherously with the wife of his youth. For the Lord God of Israel says that He hates divorce, for it covers one’s garments with violence” (Mal. 2:15-16).
The Law of Moses seemed to allow a man to divorce his wife when she found “no favor in his eyes, because he has found some uncleanness in her” (Deut. 24:1). The main purpose of this law was to prevent the husband from taking her again after she had married another man, “an abomination before the Lord” (Deut. 24:4). This law was not intended to encourage divorce, rather it was meant to discourage it. A public document known as a “certificate of divorce” was granted the woman. This permitted her the right to remarry without civil or religious sanction. For the Jew in the Old Testament, divorce could not be done privately.