Is the Red Pill Concept of the Male Imperative Biblical?

In the first two parts of this series “Is Red Pill Biblical?”, we established the fact that some observations in Red Pill do indeed match with Biblical teachings on gender roles.  We also showed that Red Pill is not just objective intersexual behavioral theory even though its most vocal advocates would like to think it is.  While Red Pill is built on observations of nature, specifically human biology and behavior, it also interweaves these findings with its own philosophy and its own moral judgements as to how we should act based on these observations.

Now that we have looked at Red Pill from a very high level we will dive into more of the specific concepts in Red Pill starting with the Red Pill concept of the Male Imperative.

What is the Red Pill Concept of the Male Imperative?

Rollo Tomassi wrote an article for his Red Pill blog, TheRationalMale.com, entitled “The New Paternity”.  In that article he states that “Men’s biological, masculine, imperative is to spread the seed – unlimited access to unlimited sexuality”.  In “Pseudo-Virginity” he writes that men have “polygynous sexual strategy”.

Tomassi writes in “Women & Sex” , “One of the single most annoying tropes I read / hear from men (more so than women) is the “Women are just as / more sexual than men” canard… Patently false. A healthy male produces between 12 to 17 times the amount of testosterone a woman does. It is a biological impossibility for a woman to want sex as much as, or as often as men. Trust me, when a woman says, “I don’t understand why sex is so important to guys” she’s speaking the literal truth”.

And in “The Truth About Standards”,  Tomassi states “Men are so motivated by sexual experience that it supersedes the need for food. Research shows brain cells specific to men fire up when mates are present and override the need to eat. Take this as you will, but it does reinforce the idea that for men, sex is in fact a biological need”.

So, to summarize what Tomassi has stated, Red Pill teaches that the Male Imperative is for a man to spread his seed to as many women as possible and as a direct result of this men are polygynous in their sexual strategy.  And a man’s sex drive is more than 10 times what a woman’s sex drive is and it is a biological need.

Is the Male Imperative Biblical?

Some people wrongly think a need is only something you will die from if you do not meet it but this is untrue.  There are many human needs that left unmet will not kill us, but they will indeed cause greater    or lesser psychological damage depending on the person.  Some men, if their sexual needs are not met, will lash out and commit rape or other wrong actions.

The Bible agrees with Red Pill that sex is indeed a need unless a man or woman have the gift of celibacy as seen in the Scripture passage below:

“7 For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that. 8 I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, it is good for them if they abide even as I. 9 But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.”

1 Corinthians 7:7-9 (KJV)

In the follow passage speaking to the needs of women, God compares a woman’s need for sex to that of her need for food and clothing:

“10 If he take him another wife; her food, her raiment, and her duty of marriage, shall he not diminish. 11 And if he do not these three unto her, then shall she go out free without money.”

Exodus 21:10-11 (KJV)

Would a woman physically die from not having food? Certainly.  Would a woman die from not having clothing and being constantly exposed to the elements? Probably.  Would a woman physically die from not having sex with her husband? Not at all.  But yet it is still shown as a need for a woman to have sex with her husband.  Why? Because while she may not physically die from not having sex with him, her intimacy with her husband would certainly die and this could in fact end the marriage as God allowed.

But then God goes even further when speaking of a man’s need for sexual relations with his wife in the following passage:

“15 Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well… 18 Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth. 19 Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love.”

Proverbs 5:15 & 18-19 (KJV)

God built a much greater need for sex in the masculine nature than in feminine nature.  Rather than comparing a man’s need for sex to the human need for food like the Bible does for a woman, instead the Bible compares a man’s need to for sex to the human need for water.

With a constant supply of water, a human being can go 60 days to 70 days with no food.  However, the average human being can only go four to seven days without water.  The human body is made up of 60 percent water.  Our cells, our joints and every organ in our body needs water to operate.

Just as water is a fundamental driving force in the human body, so too sex is a fundamental driving force in the masculine human nature.

Tomassi is absolutely correct that while women need sex too, a woman can never truly grasp the substantially greater physical and psychological need for sex in men.

The Bible also agrees with Red Pill that men have a polygynous sexual nature and the drive to “spread the seed” to as many different women as possible.  And this polygynous sexual desire in men is not a corruption of the masculine nature by sin as many Christian teachers and preachers have falsely claimed over the centuries.

The Bible shows that God blessed and rewarded Leah for giving her servant girl to her husband as another wife.  God allows for polygamy and sets rules for its practice in Exodus 21:10-11, Deuteronomy 21:15-17 and Deuteronomy 25:5-7.  God warns kings against multiplying wives or hording wives in Deuteronomy 17:17 but tells King David in II Samuel 12:8 that he gave him the wives of his master (King Saul) and would have given him many more wives.  In Ezekiel 23:1-5 God pictures himself as polygamist husband to two women – the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah.  And in the New Testament in Romans 10:19 God says he is taking on a new bride the form of the New Testament church to make his first wife, the nation of Israel, jealous so that she might return to him one day.

So, as we can see from an abundance of the Scriptures, polygamy is not sinful corruption of the masculine nature but it is in fact by God’s design.

For more on subject of polygamy and answers to objections some Christians may still have to it, see my series “Why Polygamy Is Not Unbiblical” .

What the Bible says About Man’s Sexual Nature that Red Pill Does Not

A fundamental flaw of Red Pill, one which we will continually remind the reader of, is that it takes an evolutionary approach to analyzing human biology and behavior. Red Pill’s natural science approach to analyzing human behavior and biology as it currently exists can reveal interesting facts about human beings.  But once they get into evolutionary science, which is a forensic science, they are just guessing in the wind.

This is where the Bible offers something Red Pill cannot.  Red Pill using scientific analysis of human biology and behavior can often (but not always) tell us the “What” of human behavior and biology but it can never provide us with the “Why”.  Only the Bible can do this.

The Bible reveals to us that the male sexual nature is about much more than reproduction.  In fact, while the Bible commands us to “Be fruitful, and multiply” it never tells us that God made sex primarily for reproduction.

The Bible tells us in 1 Corinthians 11:7 of the male human being that “he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man” and then in verse 9 of that same chapter it says “Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man”.   God created man to image him, to display or live out his attributes with his life.  And this is why God made woman.   Man needed someone upon which to play out the image of God in him.  He needed someone to love, lead, provide for and protect as God exhibits these attributes.

Another attribute of God’s nature is that he longs to be one with his people.  Man’s desire for sexual union with woman helps him to live out this aspect of God’s nature.

But there is still one more aspect of God’s nature that many Christians throughout the centuries have ignored or just plain denied due to their ascetism.  And that aspect of God’s nature is that he actually seeks out and enjoys pleasure.

The 8th century theologian John of Damascus wrote “But God, Who knoweth all things before they have existence, knowing in His foreknowledge that they would fall into transgression in the future and be condemned to death, anticipated this and made “male and female,” and bade them “be fruitful and multiply.”  What he was saying is that God only created the male and female sex organs knowing that sin would enter the picture and they would need some way to reproduce.  In other words, sex in human beings, and by extension sexual pleasure, was a result of sin in human beings and never God’s perfect intention.

Such a position is of course not supported by the Scriptures.  If sex in human beings was only an allowance by God for reproduction because of sin, then God would never have commanded men to satisfy themselves sexually with their wives’ bodies in Proverbs 5:18-19 nor would he have given us the entire book of the Song of Solomon which is dedicated to sexual love in marriage.

The Bible tells us God’s desire for the beauty of his people when it states in Psalm 45:11 “So shall the king greatly desire thy beauty: for he is thy Lord; and worship thou him”.  And in Psalm 149:4 we read “For the Lord taketh pleasure in his people: he will beautify the meek with salvation”.

So, man’s sexual desire toward woman does not just display God’s desire for oneness with his people, but it also fully displays God’s desire for the beauty of his people and his desire to take pleasure in his people.

The Corruption of Man’s God Given Polygynous Sexual Nature

We have just shown from the Bible how a man’s desire to take pleasure in the beauty of and bodies of women is a reflection of God’s nature within him.  However sin corrupted the masculine nature as God originally designed it.  And one of the ways sin corrupts man’s God given polygynous sexual nature is by tempting men to become whoremongers and adulterers.

And this is why the Bible warns that God will punish men if they act on this corruption of their sexual natures when it states in Hebrews 13:4 “Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge“.

God also shows that men can allow their sexual nature to control their lives causing them to make wrong decisions.   In Proverbs 6:26 the Bible states  For by means of a whorish woman a man is brought to a piece of bread: and the adultress will hunt for the precious life”.  A man can literally be led to the slaughter by his sexual nature if he allows it to happen. 

Ecclesiastes 7:26 states And I find more bitter than death the woman, whose heart is snares and nets, and her hands as bands: whoso pleaseth God shall escape from her; but the sinner shall be taken by her”. And this is why men are exhorted to flee from this temptation and escape the corruption of their sexual nature which would enslave them to women.

Conclusion

The Bible would agree with Red Pill that sex is a much stronger need for men than women when it compares a man’s sexual desire to the human desire for water.  The Bible would also agree with Red Pill that man’s sexual nature is polygynous.

But as we can see based upon the teachings of the Bible, man’s imperative is much more than simply reproduction.  Instead the Bible reveals that man’s sexual desire is only a part of his larger true “imperative” which is to image God and live out or display all the attributes of God’s nature in his life.

And while God indeed created man with a polygynous sexual nature, he also intended for man to bond with each of the women he had sex with and be a husband to each of those women and a father to their children.

Biblical Gender Roles vs Quranic Gender Roles

Both the Bible and the Quran teach the inequality of women to men, the subjection of women to men, the allowance for polygamy and the allowance for slavery. This is probably a shock to many American Christians because so few Christians in these modern times know the very Scriptures which form the basis for their faith.

It would be obvious to anyone who lives in America that American gender roles are in fact very different from those practiced by Quran believing Muslims.  But there is not so large a divide between the gender roles practiced by Bible believing Christians in America and Quran believing Muslims.

Since I started this site more than two years ago I have been regularly accused of being a Muslim pretending to be a Christian because I have highlighted the Biblical teachings that men and women are not equal in God’s creation and the fact that the Bible says women were made for men.

“7 For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man…

9 Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.”

I Corinthians 11:7 & 9(KJV)

In both Christianity and Islam – there are liberal theologians and conservative theologians. Conservative Christians believe every word of the Bible is the Word of God, and conservative Muslims believe every word of the Quran is the Word of God.  Liberal theologians in both faiths believe that their holy texts may contain the Word of God – but it also contains a lot of cultural opinions that can and should be dismissed in the modern world.

So it should be no surprise that only conservative Christians and Muslims who believe the entirety of the texts which form the foundation for their faiths would still embrace the gender roles taught in these texts.

The origins of the false religion of Islam

Before I continue I want to make it abundantly clear that I believe Muhammad was a false prophet. Many years ago after the 9/11 attacks I studied the history of Islam and the Quran. However I do not claim to be an expert on Islam and there are many Christian sites that could do a far better job explaining in detail why Muhammad was a false prophet and I will link to some of those in this article.

With that being said,  this is my attempt for my readers to understand why I believe Islam is both a false and dangerous religion when practiced in accordance with the entirety of the Quran. I also want to show that while the Bible and the Quran may have some similar commands regarding gender roles – the basis and reasons for these commands are very different.

Roughly six centuries after Jesus Christ’s death, burial and resurrection and the birth of the Christian faith a man named Muhammad (570 AD to 632 AD) came on the seen in Arabia claiming to be the next prophet of God following in the same faith as Adam, Abraham, Moses and Jesus.

Muhammad claimed to receive miraculous revelation from the one true god over a 23 year period which he orally gave to his companions who acted as scribes and wrote down these sayings in what we now know as the Quran.

In the beginning of his ministry Muhammad tried to peacefully convince his fellow Arabs to convert from their paganism (worshiping over 200 different gods) to monotheism (the belief that there is one god).  He even tried to convince Jews and Christians that he was a true prophet of the same one true god that they worshipped.  But since his teachings were in complete contradiction to the teachings of the Old and New Testaments both Jews and Christians rejected him as a false prophet.

He would then later explain the contradictions of his teachings with the Bible as God correcting the mistakes of the Bible through him. The fact is both Jews and Christians correctly recognized Muhammad’s teachings as nothing more than a horribly bad knockoff of the Bible.

The rejection of Christ by the Jews was not the same as the rejection of Muhammad

Some Muslims will try and point to the fact that the Jews rejected Jesus as a prophet as well as the writings of his Apostles in the same way Jews and Christians rejected Muhammad. But there is a huge difference between the rejection of Christ by his fellow Jews and the rejection of Muhammad by Jews and Christians.

Jesus said this:

“17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.

18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

Matthew 5:17-19 (KJV)

Jesus and his followers never claimed that there was even ONE mistake in the Old Testament Scriptures that the Jewish people still hold to today. Instead he and his followers claimed that Jesus was the one foretold of by Moses and Isaiah centuries before Christ came:

“The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken;”

Deuteronomy 18:15 (KJV)

“3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed…

10 Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. 11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”

Isaiah 53:3-5 & 10-12(KJV)

Isaiah foretold that the Messiah would be rejected by his own people but that God had determined this in accordance with his plan to save all mankind through the sacrifice of Christ of on the cross. By his death the righteous servant of God (Jesus Christ) would make intercession for the sins of all mankind.

So unlike Muhammad and the Quran – there is absolutely no conflict between the teachings of Christ or the New Testament with the Old Testament.  This is why Muhammad was correctly dismissed as a false prophet by both Jews and Christians alike.

It is also worthwhile to note that one of the greatest sins listed in the Quran is to ascribe person-hood to God.  The fact that Christians believe God became a man in the form of Jesus Christ is heinous to any Muslim who knows the Quran. So how in the world could true Bible believing Christians have ever accepted Muhammad as anything other than a heretic?

Muhammad turns to violence after being rejected by Arabs, Jews and Christians

After this repudiation by his fellow Arabs as well as Jews and Christians Muhammad became violent both with his fellow Arabs as well as with Jews and Christians.  Later he would lead a military conquest which forced people to either convert to Islam, die or pay a tax ( “jizya”).

Those today who try and teach that Islam is a peaceful religion are ignorant of the history of Muhammad and also the true order of the teachings of the Quran.

Is Islam really “a religion of peace”?

Often Muslims and even non-Muslim defenders of Islam present the religion of Muhammad as “a religion of peace” and they will point to passages in the Quran that show Muhammad admonishing Muslims to peacefully live alongside Jews and Christians:

“Not all of them are alike: Of the People of the Book are a portion that stand (For the right): They rehearse the Signs of God all night long, and they prostrate themselves in adoration. They believe in God and the Last Day; they enjoin what is right, and forbid what is wrong; and they hasten (in emulation) in (all) good works: They are in the ranks of the righteous.”

Quran 3:113-114

“And We caused Jesus, the son of Mary, to follow in the footsteps of those (earlier prophets), confirming the truth of whatever there still remained of the Torah; and We sent him the Gospel, wherein there was guidance and light, confirming the truth of whatever there still remained of the Torah, and as a guidance and admonition unto the God-conscious.”

Quran 5:46

See more of these kinds of passages and arguments at these websites:

http://www.islamicity.org/4659/can-muslims-be-friends-with-jews-and-christians/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ro-waseem/6-convincing-reasons-debu_1_b_5604068.html

But the truth is that Muhammad was only peaceful toward Jews and Christians at the beginning of his ministry.  Later after their complete rejection of him he became hostile and violent toward all who opposed him including Jews and Christians.  Muslim historians try and say Muhammad was just defending himself against Jewish and Christian aggressors but there is no historical evidence to back that up. Muhammad decided that if the world would not accept him as the prophet of God in peace then he would bring war on those who rejected his teachings.  And war he brought.

See this article from TheReligionofPeace.com that debunks the idea that Muhammad only fought in self-defense – https://www.thereligionofpeace.com/pages/muhammad/self-defense.aspx

The fact is there are few passages in the Quran that talk about living in peace with Jews and Christians while the vast majority of references to non-Muslims in the Quran advocate for their violent conversion and subjugation to Islam.

“The Quran contains at least 109 verses that call Muslims to war with nonbelievers for the sake of Islamic rule. Some are quite graphic, with commands to chop off heads and fingers and kill infidels wherever they may be hiding. Muslims who do not join the fight are called ‘hypocrites’ and warned that Allah will send them to Hell if they do not join the slaughter…

Quran (3:151) – “Soon shall We cast terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers, for that they joined companions with Allah, for which He had sent no authority”. This speaks directly of polytheists, yet it also includes Christians, since they believe in the Trinity (ie. what Muhammad incorrectly believed to be ‘joining companions to Allah’)

Quran (9:29) – “Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.” “People of the Book” refers to Christians and Jews. According to this verse, they are to be violently subjugated, with the sole justification being their religious status. Verse 9:33 tells Muslims that Allah has charted them to make Islam “superior over all religions.” This chapter was one of the final “revelations” from Allah and it set in motion the tenacious military expansion, in which Muhammad’s companions managed to conquer two-thirds of the Christian world in the next 100 years. Islam is intended to dominate all other people and faiths.

Quran (9:30) – “And the Jews say: Ezra is the son of Allah; and the Christians say: The Messiah is the son of Allah; these are the words of their mouths; they imitate the saying of those who disbelieved before; may Allah destroy them; how they are turned away!””

http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/pages/quran/violence.aspx

Quranic Islam is violent while Biblical Christianity is peaceful

President Obama and many other apologists for the false notion of Islam as “a religion of peace” have tried to point to the crusades as proof that Christianity can be just a violent as Islam.  What they miss is that God never called on Christians to militarily or politically force the world to become Christian.  Those in Christian history who tried to forcefully convert people to Christianity (or even a particular brand of Christianity) did so in direct contradiction to the teachings of Christ and his Apostles.

Unlike Muhammad, Jesus never tried to establish any kind of political domination in this world:

“Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.”

John 18:36 (NIV)

And the Apostle Paul wrote:

“3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

II Corinthians 10:3-5 (NIV)

These texts and many others from the New Testament prove that Christianity when practiced according to the Bible is NOT a violent religion.  The same cannot be said of Islam and the Quran with 109 verses advocating for violence as well as the example of Muhammad’s military exploits.

Now that we have established why Islam is both a false and dangerous religion and why Christianity does not conflict with the Old Testament but is the fulfillment of it we will discuss and compare Quranic gender roles with Biblical gender roles.

Similarities between the Bible and Quran on Gender Roles

It should come as no surprise that because the Quran is cheap knock off of the Bible that it would actually contain some Bible truths.

Here are some passages on gender roles from the Quran as well as Hadith (other sayings attributed to Muhammad and Sira (biographies of Muhammad) from TheReligionOfPeace.com which demonstrate how the Quran views women and marriage.

“Quran (4:34) – “Men are in charge of women, because Allah hath made the one of them to excel the other, and because they spend of their property (for the support of women). So good women are the obedient, guarding in secret that which Allah hath guarded. As for those from whom ye fear rebellion, admonish them and banish them to beds apart, and scourge them. Then if they obey you, seek not a way against them.”

Quran (2:228) – “and the men are a degree above them”

Quran (33:59) – “Tell thy wives and thy daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks close round them…” Men determine how women dress.

Quran (33:33) – “And abide quietly in your homes…” Women are confined to their homes except when they have permission to go out.

Quran (2:223) – “Your wives are as a tilth unto you; so approach your tilth when or how ye will.” Wives are to be sexually available to their husbands in all ways at all times. They serve their husbands at his command. This verse is believed to refer to anal sex (see Bukhari 60:51), and was “revealed” when women complained to Muhammad about the practice. The phrase “when and how you will” means that they lost their case.

Bukhari (88:219) – “Never will succeed such a nation as makes a woman their ruler.”

https://www.thereligionofpeace.com/pages/quran/men-in-charge-of-women.aspx

Islam allows polygamy

“Quran (4:3) – “Marry of the women, who seem good to you, two or three or four; and if ye fear that ye cannot do justice (to so many) then one (only) or (the captives) that your right hands possess.” This verse plainly allows a man to have up to four wives (Allah conveniently granted Muhammad an exception… on the authority of Muhammad, of course). According to the Hadith, the “justice” spoken of merely refers to the dowry provided the bride, not the treatment accorded following the wedding.”

https://www.thereligionofpeace.com/pages/quran/polygamy.aspx

So as we can see from the passages above (and there are more teachings like this in Islam) we see these principles:

God has made man and woman Unequal

God has placed men over women and women are to submit to their husbands (including in areas of how they dress and sexual submission)

Men are to be providers for women.

A woman’s place is in the home.

A man is allowed to have up to four wives and unlimited sexual partners through sex slaves

So the question then becomes does the Bible teach these same principles?

The answer is YES according to these Bible passages:

The Bible teaches that the male and female vessels are not equal

“For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man.”

I Corinthians 11:7 (KJV)

The Bible teaches the complete submission of wives to their husbands (which would include how they dress and sexual submission as well)

“22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. 24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.”

Ephesians 5:22-24 (KJV)

The Bible teaches the headship of men over women in the Church

“34 Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law. 35 And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.”

I Corinthians 14:34-35 (KJV)

The Bible teaches men are the head of women in all areas of life (which includes society, the church and the family)

“But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.”

I Corinthians 11:3 (KJV)

The Bible teaches that men are to provide for their wives

“28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. 29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:”

Ephesians 5:28-29 (KJV)

The Bible teaches that a woman’s place is in the home

“4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.”

Titus 2:4-5 (KJV)

The Bible teaches it is a shame for women to rule over men

 “As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths.”

Isaiah 3:12 (KJV)

The Bible allows polygamy

“10 If he take him another wife; her food, her raiment, and her duty of marriage, shall he not diminish.  11 And if he do not these three unto her, then shall she go out free without money.”

Exodus 21:10-11 (KJV)

“And David took him more concubines and wives out of Jerusalem, after he was come from Hebron: and there were yet sons and daughters born to David.”

II Samuel 5:13 (KJV)

The Bible while not placing an exact limit on how many wives a man could take – did condemn the hording of wives(which is what King Solomon did by taking 700 wives and 300 concubines).  Also we will discuss in more detail below that the Bible did NOT allow men to have sex slaves.

“Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away: neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold.”

Deuteronomy 17:17 (KJV)

Some differences between Islam and Christianity on the treatment of women and marriage

Islam requires women to completely cover themselves when in public

“Quran (24:31) – “And say to the believing women that they cast down their looks and guard their private parts and do not display their ornaments except what appears thereof, and let them wear their head-coverings over their bosoms, and not display their ornaments except to their husbands or their fathers, or the fathers of their husbands, or their sons, or the sons of their husbands, or their brothers, or their brothers’ sons, or their sisters’ sons, or their women, or those whom their right hands possess, or the male servants not having need (of women), or the children who have not attained knowledge of what is hidden of women; and let them not strike their feet so that what they hide of their ornaments may be known.” The woman is not only supposed to cover herself, except with relatives, but to look down, so as to avoid making eye-contact with men.”

https://www.thereligionofpeace.com/pages/quran/veils.aspx

As we can see from the Quran above Islam requires women to hide their beauty from all but their close relatives in private.

In stark contrast to the Quran, the Bible only requires women to cover their heads and be fully clothed when worshiping in the assembled church:

“4 Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head. But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven.”

1 Corinthians 11:4-5 (KJV)

In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array

I Timothy 2:9 (KJV)

But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.

I Timothy 3:15 (KJV)

The original Greek word that we translate as “modest” in the Bible literally means “appropriate” and the word we translate as apparel means “fully clothed”.  So what the Apostle Paul was literally saying in his letter to Timothy was that when women came to worship in the assembly they should be “fully clothed which is appropriate attire for worship”.

This in no way forbade women from being less than fully clothed when not in the assembly for worship. It also did not require women to wear head coverings outside of formal worship in the assembly.  In fact the work clothing for women during the week would have been less covering than the formal covering that the Apostle Paul mentions here.

For more on Biblical modesty see my article “What is Biblical Modesty?

Islam not only allows but encourages the rape of non-Muslim women captured during war

“It is against Islam to rape Muslim women, but Muhammad actually encouraged the rape of others captured in battle. This hadith provides the context for the Qur’anic verse (4:24):

“The Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him) sent a military expedition to Awtas on the occasion of the battle of Hunain.  They met their enemy and fought with them.  They defeated them and took them captives. Some of the Companions of the Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him) were reluctant to have intercourse with the female captives in the presence of their husbands who were unbelievers.  So Allah, the Exalted, sent down the Qur’anic verse: (Sura 4:24) “And all married women (are forbidden) unto you save those (captives) whom your right hands possess.” (Abu Dawud 2150, also Muslim 3433)

There are several other episodes in which Muhammad is offered the clear opportunity to disavow raping women – yet he instead offers advice on how to proceed.  In one case, his men were reluctant to devalue their new slaves for later resale by getting them pregnant.  Muhammad was asked about coitus interruptus in particular:

“O Allah’s Apostle! We get female captives as our share of booty, and we are interested in their prices, what is your opinion about coitus interruptus?”  The Prophet said, “Do you really do that? It is better for you not to do it. No soul that which Allah has destined to exist, but will surely come into existence.” (Bukhari 34:432)”

https://www.thereligionofpeace.com/pages/muhammad/rape.aspx

“Muslims are encouraged to live in the way of Muhammad, who was a slave owner and trader. He captured slaves in battle; he had sex with his slaves; and he instructed his men to do the same. The Quran actually devotes more verses to making sure that Muslim men know they can keep women as sex slaves (4) than it does to telling them to pray five times a day (zero).”

https://www.thereligionofpeace.com/pages/quran/slavery.aspx

So as we can clearly see – Muhammad not only allowed men to capture non-Muslim women as slaves during war but he also allowed the men to rape them and then trade them later.  He was only concerned that they did not withdraw (coitus interruptus).

It may surprise some Christian readers to know that Moses allowed Israelite men to take women as captives of war too:

“10 When thou goest forth to war against thine enemies, and the Lord thy God hath delivered them into thine hands, and thou hast taken them captive, 11 And seest among the captives a beautiful woman, and hast a desire unto her, that thou wouldest have her to thy wife; 12 Then thou shalt bring her home to thine house, and she shall shave her head, and pare her nails;

13 And she shall put the raiment of her captivity from off her, and shall remain in thine house, and bewail her father and her mother a full month: and after that thou shalt go in unto her, and be her husband, and she shall be thy wife.

14 And it shall be, if thou have no delight in her, then thou shalt let her go whither she will; but thou shalt not sell her at all for money, thou shalt not make merchandise of her, because thou hast humbled her.”

Deuteronomy 21:10-14 (KJV)

The major difference though between Moses’s commands and Muhammad’s is that Israelite men were NEVER allowed to rape women. If they captured a woman during war they had to give her a month to mourn for her father and mother (or other relatives) killed in the war.  Then the man had to take her as his WIFE – he couldn’t just rape her and then trade her to someone else.  In fact if an Israelite man found problems with a woman he captured and took as a WIFE (not a sex slave) he had to free her and could not trade her to anyone.

This is a MAJOR difference with Islam and the Bible. The Bible never ever allows men to rape women and it certainly does not allow men to rape women and then trade them to other people. This evil Muslim practice has recently been resurrected by ISIS.

Islam teaches that marriage and sex still exist in paradise

Men will still have their wives in paradise

“Verily, the dwellers of the Paradise, that Day, will be busy in joyful things. They and their wives will be in pleasant shade, reclining on thrones. They will have therein fruits (of all kinds) and all that they ask for. (It will be said to them): Salamun (peace be on you), a Word from the Lord (Allah), Most Merciful. Quran 36: 55-58”

http://www.muslimtents.com/aminahsworld/Verses_on_paradise.html

Men may also be rewarded with “houri” – beautiful virgins who will be totally dedicated to their pleasure

“In Islam, the concept of 72 virgins (houri) refers to an aspect of Jannah (Paradise). This concept is grounded in Qur’anic text which describe a sensual Paradise where believing men are rewarded by being wed[1] to virgins with “full grown”, “swelling” or “pears-shaped” breasts.[2][3] Conversly, women will be provided with only one man, and they “will be satisfied with him”.[4]

Contemporary mainstream Islamic scholars, for example; Gibril Haddad, have commented on the erotic nature of the Qur’anic Paradise, by saying some men may need ghusl (ablution required after sexual discharge) just for hearing certain verses.[5]

Orthodox Muslim theologians such as al-Ghazali (died 1111 CE) and al-Ash’ari (died 935 CE) have all discussed the sensual pleasures found in Paradise, relating hadith that describe Paradise as a slave market where there will be “no buy and sale, but… If any man will wish to have sexual intercourse with a woman, he will do at once.”[6][7]

It is quoted by Ibn Kathir, in his Qur’anic Commentary, the Tafsir ibn Kathir,[8] and they are graphically described by Qur’anic commentator and polymath, al-Suyuti (died 1505), who, echoing a hasan hadith[9] from Ibn Majah,[10] wrote that the perpetual virgins will all “have appetizing vaginas”, and that the “penis of the Elected never softens. The erection is eternal”.[11]

The sensual pleasures between believers and houri in Paradise are also confirmed by the two Sahih collections of hadith, namely Sahih Bukhari[12] and Sahih Muslim, where we read that they will be virgins who are so beautiful, pure and transparent that “the marrow of the bones of their legs will be seen through the bones and the flesh”,[13] and that “the believers will visit and enjoy them”.[14]

https://wikiislam.net/wiki/72_Virgins

So as we can see in Islam marriage and sexuality do not end in Paradise (or what Christians would call Heaven) but they continue on for eternity. Christianity instead sees marriage as only for this world and it does not continue in the next world:

“34 And Jesus answering said unto them, The children of this world marry, and are given in marriage: 35 But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage: 36 Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.”

Luke 20:34-36 (KJV)

The Reason for Biblical Gender Roles is Different than Quranic Gender Roles

The reason that Islam sees gender roles, marriage and sex continuing in the afterlife is because Islam does not recognize that God created gender roles, marriage and sex in this world to be symbols of the spiritual relationship between God and his people.

“22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.  24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.

25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. 29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:”

Ephesians 5:22-29 (KJV)

The Bible shows that women are not made to submit to men to suppress women or to be unfair to women. The reason women are called to be in subjection to men is because our male and female vessels represent spiritual symbols. God created woman to serve man in the same way he created all mankind to serve himself.

No person is worth more or less to God because they are born in a male or female body.  The Bible shows that we simply have a different role to play and a different race to run depending on the vessel we are born in.  The Quran does not offer any of these spiritual reasons for roles of men and women and in fact keeps the roles of men and women in their after life.

Conclusion

Christianity is based on the revelations from God to over 40 different men over a 1500 year time span and all of these revelations are progressively built upon the revelation that came before them.  While Islam is based on the supposed revelations of one man over a 23 year period which while claiming to be based on the Bible consistently contradicts and undermines the teaching of the Bible.

While Islam and Christianity do share some similar views such as the submission of wives to their husbands and the inequality of men and women they do so for different reasons.

There is ample historical evidence some of which is cited here but much of which is cited elsewhere that Muhammad was a false prophet who invented a new religion to profit himself and eventually unite the Arab peoples.  His teachings were a cheap knockoff of the Jewish and Christian faiths which proceeded his new religion.

Islam is not just a religion – but if it is interpreted literally according the Quran as well as Hadith (other sayings attributed to Muhammad and Sira (biographies of Muhammad) it is also a political movement which seeks to convert the world by force to Islam.

ISIS and other Islamist groups like Al-Qaida have not “hijacked a peaceful religion” but the real truth is that they have restored Islam to its roots and its founder’s intentions.

True Quranic Islam also does not see the clear distinction between things that belong to this world and what happens in the next. Islam in many ways has a very fleshly and worldly paradise with marriage and sex still existing in the afterlife.

This is not say that there are not peaceful Muslims that reject the ideology of groups like ISIS and Al-Qaida but to do so they must abandon many things in the texts that form the foundation for their faith.

It is interesting today that we hear many moderate Muslims on various new programs saying that Islam needs its own version of the Protestant Reformation. But what they do not realize is that in the Protestant Reformation the Reformers sought to return to the Bible to rediscover historic Christianity.

On the other hand with Islam, the only “reformation” that would bring peace and stability would be for them to do the very opposite of the Christian reformers – they would have to abandon large chunks of their own holy texts and renounce a great deal of their roots.

See these other articles for more on the subjects of gender roles, polygamy and slavery in the Bible:

Why Polygamy is not unbiblical

Why Christians shouldn’t be ashamed of slavery in the Bible

Did the Bible allow men to have sex slaves?

Why would God make men with polygynous natures when they cannot act on them?

“I’ve been thinking about this, and I have to wonder if God ever really intended for polygyny to be widespread or many men to have strongly polygynous designs. If He did, then one has to ask why he didn’t design us so that women conceive girls at least twice as often as boys. It seems unfair to make most men desire multiple wives and then not create enough women who could marry them.” – This was a question asked by Alex who is a Christian wife and one of my regular commenters on this blog.

This really is a great question and it is one that often stumps those who embrace the fact the God does allow polygamy in the Bible and that men naturally have polygynous natures.

Before I answer Alex’s question let’s first review the terms we are discussing.

Understanding the Terms

Polygamy refers to one man having several wives or one woman having several husbands. Polygamy is distinguished from polyamory in that polygamy is always a one to many relationship where polyamory is a group marriage with the possibility of multiple men and women all having sex with one another.

Polygyny refers to the type of polygamy where a man has several wives and polyandry refers to polygamy where a wife has several husbands.

The Bible only allows one type of polygamy and that is Polygyny. Polyandry and polyamory break the biblical model of marriage that women was made for man and that a woman can only have one husband at a time. If she were to attempt to marry a second husband she would be committing adultery against the first unless her first husband was dead or she was justly divorced from him(I Corinthians 7:39).

From this point forward I will use polygamy and polygyny interchangeably as there is only one type of polygamy that is allowed by God.

7 Biblical Facts about Polygamy

FACT #1 – God rewarded Leah with another child for giving her husband another wife (Genesis 30:18).  Some try to say she just thought God rewarded her but the Scripture does not EVER record God condemning her for this so we take the Scriptures at face value that God did indeed reward her for giving her maid to her husband as another wife.

FACT #2 – God expressly allows polygyny and set rules for its practice. (Exodus 21:10-11, Deuteronomy 21:15-17,Deuteronomy 25:5-7)

FACT #3 – God while allowing polygyny warns against Kings “multiplying wives” meaning they were not to horde wives as Solomon would later do. – (Deuteronomy 17:17)

FACT #4 – God tells tells David through his Prophet Nathan when he sinned and took another man’s wife(Bathsheba) that he had given David the wives of his master and would have given him more wives (II Samuel 12:8)

FACT #5 – Jehoiada the high priest gets TWO wives for the young king Joash (II Chronicles 24:2-3)

FACT #6 – God pictures himself as polygamist husband to Judah and Israel in (Ezekiel 23:1-5)

FACT #7 – God divorces his first wife which was Israel as nation(Jeremiah 3:8) and in his seeking of his second wife(the church) seeks to make his first wife Israel jealous(Romans 10:19) and one day his first wife Israel as a nation will also be restored in the New Kingdom of God.

Many great men of God including Abraham, Jacob, Gideon, David and Joash were polygamists and NOT once did God offer a word of condemnation to these men for their polygamy.

Israel was still one of the most polygamist nations in the world during the time of the Roman Empire. At first Rome passed some laws exempting Israel from its monogamy policies but later it removed Israel’s exemption and it eventually forced monogamy only marriage on Israel.

While women and men are roughly equal worldwide the distribution of genders by countries is not equal

While worldwide they estimate there are slightly more men than women the population of men to women is not distributed equally by countries.  There are far more women in eastern European countries like Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania and Russia then there are men.  This is why women are trying to leave these countries in droves to seek men from other countries to be their husbands.

The reason I stated this fact is just so people understand that while worldwide the male to female population may be roughly equal that does not mean in various local populations of countries, provinces or states that it is equal.

3 Reasons God gave most men polygynous desires even if they may never be able to fully realize them

So now we come to Alex’s question.  Why would God give most men polygynous desires to a greater or lesser degree when most men in the world will never be able to act on these desires?

  1. To help populate the world. In the beginning of creation it is very likely that we had more women than men as this would help the world population to grow faster as one man could impregnate several women at the same time.
  2. Because some men were too lazy, too stupid, too poor or slaves and could not have wives this would leave many women without husbands. Only men who had the brains or means to take care of a family could marry (and that is the way it should be now but unfortunately western society has chosen to subsidize monogamy).
  3. War and early death of men would leave many virgins and widows in its wake. Man’s polygynous nature would allow him to easily come in and make up for the imbalanced sex ratio and quickly rebuild the population.

The last point about war killing off most of the eligible men is an interesting one. In fact one of the contributing factors to the rise of feminism after World War I was that fact that millions of women in Europe and America could not find men because of the millions of men who will killed in the war.  This same problem happened again after World War II. There were millions of young women that were never able to marry after both wars and many widows left to continue on their own with no male support.

God prescribed a way for women to be protected and provided for by men especially during times of war, famine and disease when men are being killed off. His answer was polygamy.  That my friend is one of the big reasons God gave men polygynous desires.  In fact if we practiced Levirate marriage as found in the Old Testament(Deuteronomy 25:5-10)  if a man’s brother was killed in war or some other way he would marry his brother’s wife to care for her and raise up an heir for his brother’s estate.  And no there was no prohibition of if he was married he could not do this – if did not do it – it would be a shame to him.

So yes during times of relative peace as the world has seen for several decades where we are not losing men by the millions we seem to question God’s wisdom.  But I can tell you if another world war broke out and millions of men were being killed over several years the truth of what I am telling you would be very real.

But let’s leave war and disease taking out all the men and talk about why polygamy is needed even in times of peace like we have today.

Even if there was an exact ratio of 1/1 males and females there is a great possibility that many men will not want to marry.  In fact a lot of women talk about this today- “Where are all the guys that want to marry?” That is a different topic for another post.  But I can tell you for a fact when I was going through my divorce they told us that divorced men had a far easier chance of getting married and often got married faster than the  divorced or widowed women.  It is just harder for divorced or widowed women to get married again especially if they have children for a variety of reasons.

Now if polygamy were legal it would solve this problem by allowing wealthier men to come along and have multiple wives and be able to care for them and their children.

So is it unfair that few men today can fully act on their polygynous natures in a Biblical way?

I think in some ways it is unfair(unjust) and in other ways it is not. If a man is lazy and lacks ambition and lives in his mom’s basement at the age of 30 – no it is NOT unfair that he can’t act on his polygynous desires. In fact he should not able to act on his sexual desires even with one wife because he cannot provide for a wife and family.

I think our ban on polygamy is unfair to a single mom whose husband was killed or abandoned her and she has to scrape by just to put food on the table and care for her children.  I am sure that if you gave many single moms who are in hard economic straights the choice to be a second, third or fourth wife to a wealthy man they would take that opportunity in second! But we don’t give them that choice.

I think it is unfair to men who are very successful in their business endeavors who in centuries past would have been able to not only to fully realize their dreams in business but their reward for being successful would have been to be able to have multiple wives and more children.

It is an utter waste to me that wonderful successful men are limited to only one wife when so many women out there struggle to make it alone on their own. Also it is a fact that most successful men whether they be in business or politics have very HIGH testosterone levels and very high sex drives.

So basically you have a man who has the means to take care of multiple wives and their children and has the high sex drive to want multiple wives. Many women would love to be one of his wives but our society stops this and then we wonder why these very successful men often have affairs when in Biblical times they could have just had many wives.

I am not defending men that go whoremongering – but our culture as well as our churches have set up men for failure with our attitudes toward male sexuality and specifically man’s polygynous nature.

What about men who can’t afford multiple wives or even one wife?

Well that is why God gave men such vivid imaginations when it comes to sex.  Men should be able to exercise their polygynous natures even if only through their fantasies. This is why I maintain the position that not all porn is wrong. Men should be able to look at normal heterosexual porn (that does not involve things like homosexuality, orgies, bestiality, child sex and rape).  Even if a man feels he cannot rightly look at porn because of all the fornication that serves as the inspiration for these images he can construct his own porn in his mind as men have been doing long before we had cameras.

In this way men can ward off the temptation to go whoremongering by exercising their polygynous desires that they may never be able to fully realize.  It is much the same reason that it is good for some men to play violent video games (contrary to what some say) because it allows men to exercise their aggressive and competitive natures in a healthy and controlled way.

Update 10-18-2016

But wasn’t polygamy only allowed because of sin in the world

I have been asked this very question in regard to this article and I thought it was a good one.  A reader pointed out that most of my reasons why God may have designed polygamy have to do with sin in the world.  We only have wars, famine, disease and other things that wipe out men and leave women with no support because of sin in the world and I agree with that.

However as I pointed out to the reader – the first reason I gave for man’s polygamous design was to populate the world. You would have a much slower world population growth if you had an even number of males to females born.  Also the fact that males were so prized in early civilization seems to be in indicator that in the early days of humanity males were more rare than females.

God’s first command to Adam and Eve was to be fruitful and multiply – he wanted lots of babies being born.  Now some have asked why did he not give Adam many wives if that was his design and that is a good question.  But original creation in the Garden of Eden also had these things:

Sibling marriage was made necessary by the creation of only one man and one woman. Adam and Eve’s children had to marry each other(sibling marriage). Later God would outlaw this practice.  So we all would agree that sibling marriage was only a temporary part of God’s design in the beginning.

God created Adam and Eve naked yet later in the Bible he commanded that clothing was to be worn. And the Bible never says clothing was only made necessary because of sin as we see in Revelation that the Saints and Angels are clothing in white robes.  If humans only needed to where clothing because of sin then we would all be naked in heaven and in the new world.

Instead we understand that God always intended to cloth Adam and Eve as clothing separates mankind from the rest of God’s creations.  Clothing is a sign of dignity and it sets humans apart.

So the first reason apart from sin in the world that God made man polygynous in his nature was to help populate the world.

But there is another reason apart from populating the world that I believe man was made with a polygynous nature.  Despite all the claims that “God only has only one bride” the fact is God has two brides. His divorced wife Israel and his new bride the Church.  The Bible tells us he took on his new bride the church to make his ex-wife Israel jealous(Romans 10:19). The fact is no matter how you cut it – we serve a polygamous God. It is a one to many relationship.  God has relationships multiple people, multiple nations and multiple churches.  Yet God expects all these groups to have only one God as wives are expected to have only one husband.

Did the Bible allow men to have sex slaves?

Did the Bible allow men to acquire women whose sole purpose was for sex? The real question that we are asking is did the Bible allow men to have sex with a woman without making her his wife?  Many people, even Christians, wrongly believe the answer to this uncomfortable question is “Yes”.  The reason they believe that is because of the existence of concubines in the Bible.

Concubines are wrongly thought by some to have been the Biblical equivalent of sex slaves. But a closer of examination of the Scriptures reveals that this is not the case. The term “concubine” in the Bible refers to a slave wife. There were two classes of wives in the Scriptures – free wives and slave wives.

A free wife was a woman born to a free man. She was acquired as a wife when a man approached her father and offered him the bride price.  If her father consented he would give her as a wife to that man usually accompanied by some kind of wedding feast.  While both free wives and slave wives were considered to be the property of their husbands a free wife held a greater place of social honor and her children had inheritance rights that were required to be honored. The concubine’s children had no inheritance rights unless they were granted under special circumstances.

How were slave wives acquired?

Slave wives were acquired in much the same way slaves were acquired in general. Sometimes slave women were captured as prisoners of war and later converted to concubines (Deuteronomy 21:10-14). Sometimes poor women whose fathers, brothers or husbands had died sold themselves as concubines so they could be taken care of.  A man could sell his daughter as a slave to another man (Exodus 21:7-11).  That man could either continue to use her only as a servant or he could convert her to his concubine or give her as a concubine to one of his sons. Once a woman was converted to the status of a concubine she had the right to have sex with her husband.  Being a concubine in many ways was a step up for a slave woman.

Also it was common for fathers to give their daughters slave girls (hand maids) as gifts as was the case with Rachel and Leah. In many households the free wives ruled over the slaves wives while ultimately the husband was the master of the entire home. Sometimes free wives would give their husband their hand maids to produce more sons as we see in the case of Rachel giving her servant Bilhah to Jacob and Leah giving her servant Zilpah to Jacob(Genesis 30:4-9).  It interesting to note that Leah stated God had rewarded her by reopening her womb and giving her another son “because I have given my maiden to my husband”.

Concubines sometimes served as surrogate mothers

The story of Jacob and his sons shows another interesting scenario when it came to slave wives. Some free wives would use their slave wives to act as surrogate mothers and after the children were weaned raised the children as their own.  This is why even though some of the twelve sons of Jacob were born of slave women they were all equally considered his rightful heirs.

Did slave wives have any rights?

Today when we think of slavery in any form we think of a person who has absolutely no rights.  In fact because of the abuses of slaves throughout history we think all slaves were treated as nothing more than animals.  But while God allowed slavery he also required slave owners to respect the rights of their slaves.

A female slave whether she was a concubine or not could not be physically abused by her master

“20 And if a man smite his servant, or his maid, with a rod, and he die under his hand; he shall be surely punished…

26 And if a man smite the eye of his servant, or the eye of his maid, that it perish; he shall let him go free for his eye’s sake.

27 And if he smite out his manservant’s tooth, or his maidservant’s tooth; he shall let him go free for his tooth’s sake.” – Exodus 21:20 & 26-27 (KJV)

Both free wives and slave wives(concubines) had to be provide with food, clothing and sex from her husband

“7 And if a man sell his daughter to be a maidservant, she shall not go out as the menservants do.

8 If she please not her master, who hath betrothed her to himself, then shall he let her be redeemed: to sell her unto a strange nation he shall have no power, seeing he hath dealt deceitfully with her.

9 And if he have betrothed her unto his son, he shall deal with her after the manner of daughters.

10 If he take him another wife; her food, her raiment, and her duty of marriage, shall he not diminish.

11 And if he do not these three unto her, then shall she go out free without money.” – Exodus 21:7-11 (KJV)

Whether a woman was born to a free man or taken as a slave if she were taken as a man’s intimate sexual companion she was to be treated as a daughter by her husband’s father and treated by him as his wife. She would have the right to have sex with her husband (“duty of marriage”).  The pledge of “food, clothing and bed” which was often used in Jewish wedding ceremonies was based on this passage from Exodus 21.

For more confirmation of the fact that concubines were not just slaves but were also considered wives see how Keturah is referred to as the “wife” Abraham took after Sarah died in Genesis 25:1-4 but then she is referred to as his concubine in I Chronicles 1:32-33.  Even within the context of Genesis 25 we can see she is considered one of Abrahams “concubines”(Genesis 25:5-6) all of which he sent away after giving their children gifts because he was giving his estate to Isaac.

The reason Abraham sent away his concubines and their children as he knew his death was imminent was to make it clear that Isaac was the only rightful heir to his estate being the son of his first wife who was the only “free” wife he had.

Were concubinage, slavery and polygamy sins that God overlooked?

In this post we have discussed some topics that are all very offensive to our modern cultural values. This is the part of the article where 99% of Christian writers will tell you that the practices of concubinage, slavery and polygamy were all sins God overlooked for a time but then God rid of in the New Testament.

The truth is that God never condemned the practices of concubinage, slavery or polygamy. He gave strict rules as to how these things could be practiced but he never condemned the practices themselves.

I invite you to look at these two articles that explore all the passages on slavery and polygamy in the Bible and you may be surprised as at what you find.

Was polygamy a sin God overlooked in the Old Testament?

Why Christians should not be afraid of slavery in the Bible

Conclusion

While it is true that many pagan nations may have had “sex slaves” the people of God in the Bible were forbidden from such practices. If a man were to buy a slave woman (or acquire her in war) with the intent of having sex with her had to make the commitment of a husband to her.  He could not simply have sex with her and have no intent of making her his wife.

While it is true that a concubine was indeed a slave the truth is she was a wife as well.  Another way of stating this is truth is that in Biblical times all concubines were wives, but not all wives were concubines.

We have proven here from the Scriptures that God did not allow men to have sex slaves. They could have free wives or slave wives (concubines) but they had to grant the basic rights of a wife to any woman whom they desired to have sex with.

A Rebuttal to Dr. Stephen Kim’s “Divorce and Remarriage”

While many Christian’s believe that adultery is the only reason that God allows for divorce few Christians take the position that Dr. Stephen Kim does in advocating for people to divorce their second spouse and either attempt to reconcile with their first spouse or remain celibate while their first spouse still lives.

Dr. Kim runs the NYPastor blog and his views on divorce and second marriages have caused a lot of confusion amongest believers.  I have had several friends contact me and ask me to review Dr. Kim’s teachings on this subject of divorce and remarriage.

In this post I will specifically be responding to Dr. Kim’s post “Divorce and Remarriage” which can be found here: https://nycpastor.com/2015/01/26/divorce-remarriage/

Dr. Kim is wrong in using Matthew 19:8-9 to cancel out all other Biblical teachings on divorce

Dr. Kim’s statement:

“The topic of divorce is, in my opinion, one of the clearest teachings of Christ in the entire New Testament.  Read the Scripture text above and you can quite easily see why I say that.  The text is very straightforward.  There’s not much ambiguity there.  There’s really not much to explain.  It is all quite self-evident.  For the sake of pedagogical efficiency , let’s just focus on Matthew 19’s teaching on this topic (other texts containing the same teaching include Luke 16:18, Matt 5:32, and Mark 10:12):

He said to them, “Moses, confronting the callousness of your heart, let you divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.” But I say to you, “Whoever divorces his wife apart from adultery and will take another, commits adultery, and whoever will take her who is divorced commits adultery.” (Matthew 19:8-9)

Dr. Kim’s entire doctrine of divorce is wrong because he sees all statements on divorce through the lenses of Matthew 5:32 and Matthew 19:8-9.

The Gospel accounts of Christ’s words on divorce (Matt 5:32, Matt 19:9, Mark 10:12 and Luke 16:18) have been sorely misinterpreted by many Christian teachers over the years. Remember that we must always interpret Scripture with Scripture and we must remember that this is not the only place the Bible speaks on divorce. It is wrong to take any one passage of Scripture and make that the lenses through which we must see all the Scriptures – instead we must take the revelation of God as a whole to truly understand God’s law allowing for divorce and what situations he allows it under.

Some wrongly taken Mark 10:11-12 and use this as the way they see divorce throughout the entire Bible. But these same people neglect the exception clause in Matthew 5:32 and Matthew 19:9. Dr. Kim in other posts he writes confronts those who try and use Mark 10:11-12 as their complete basis for the teachings of divorce in the Bible.

But Dr. Kim makes the same mistake with using Matthew 5:32 and Matthew 19:9 when he neglects the abandonment exception by Paul that we will see later in I Corinthians 7:15 and he goes to great lengths to explain that passage away in another post.

In another statement we will look at how Dr. Kim completely abandons the teachings of Exodus 21:10-11 and Deuteronomy 24:1-4 and wrongly believes Christ was setting these teachings aside in Matthew 5:32 and Matthew 19:9.

Dr. Kim is wrong in making “void the law” of Moses

Dr. Kim’s statement:

“Divorce and remarriage were permitted by the Law of Moses in the Old Testament (Deut 24:1-4). Hence, although divorce was not God’s original design from the beginning (i.e., “What God has joined together, let not man separate”), divorce and remarriage were permissible during the time of the Old Testament (which is why Jesus informs the Samaritan woman at the well that she indeed did have 5 husbands in the past (John 4:18)). However, by the time we get to Matthew 19, Jesus lays down His standard for all future believers: Marriage is for life and divorce (except for sexual immorality) is never permissible. (A woman may keep her distance–for the sake of safety–from an abusive husband, but she must not divorce him.) The man who remarries after his first marriage ended due to “irreconcilable differences,” is an adulterer (and the same goes for a woman).”

Dr. Kim in rejecting Exodus 21:10-11 and Deuteronomy 24:1-2 as still being authoritative on Biblical divorce does so based on an incorrect interpretation of Christ’s words when he said “Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.”(Matthew 19:8).

The words Moses spoke on divorce were just as much the Word of God as Christ’s words on the subject in the Gospels.

God hates divorce. But he has regulated and allowed divorce because human beings are sinful. Sometimes a sin is so great that it allows for divorce. God tells us which sins allow for divorce. When Christ said “from the beginning it was not so” he meant divorce was never needed before sin entered the picture. If we were not fallen sinners no man would ever have to divorce his wife and no woman would ever have to be freed from or divorce her husband. But because we live in a world where men and women do gravely sin against their spouses we must allow for divorce and that is why God created a system for divorce.

Think about it – would we need a death penalty if there were not heinous crimes like murder? We would not. But God knew there would be murders and that is why he allowed for capital punishment for murder in his law and this is the same reason he allows for divorce in certain situations.

As New Testament believers we understand that God canceled out the civil laws, the ceremonial laws, sacrificial laws and cleanliness laws given to Israel as a theocracy.  But God did NOT cancel out his moral law.  Moses’s words on divorce are part of the moral law of God.

Paul told us that we as Christians are to uphold the moral that Moses taught:

Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.” – Romans 3:31 (KJV)

The point is Christ did NOT cancel out Moses words on divorce.

To say that he did is to void the moral of God which we are not to do, rather we are to uphold the moral law.   Instead we understand that Christ CLARIFIED the commands that Moses received from God regarding divorce.

Moses was the first to give God’s law on Divorce.  Christ clarified Moses law on divorce. Later the Apostle Paul would further clarify Christ’s words on divorce. To have a proper understanding of God’s view of divorce we must look at Moses words, Christ’s words, Paul’s words and all the Scriptures on the subject.

Christ was not the first to teach that marriage was for life. Moses also taught that marriage was for life:

“Neither shalt thou take a wife to her sister, to vex her, to uncover her nakedness, beside the other in her life time.” – Leviticus 18:18 (KJV)

A man was forbidden from taking his wife’s sister as an additional wife (polygamy was permitted but did have some restrictions and this was one of them) during his wife’s “life time”.

Some Jews correctly understood Moses teachings that marriage was for life and only for the gravest of sins could a man divorce his wife. Other Jews believed they could divorce their wives for any reason (that marriage was not for life). The debate amongst these Jewish groups was over Moses words allowing for divorce “because he hath found some uncleanness in her” (Deuteronomy 24:1).

Some Jewish teachers taught this meant he could divorce his wife for any reason – even if it was just because she was a bad cook. This is why they asked Christ in Matthew 19:3 “Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?”

Christ was settling that argument. He was saying “No you cannot divorce your wives for just any reason you want. It must be for a very serious reason. He told men except your wife commits fornication against you cannot divorce her. But again let’s remember he is clarifying for MEN what Moses meant if they found something unclean in their wife. He was not canceling out the reasons a woman could be freed from (divorced) from her husband in Exodus 21:10-11.

Yes God hates divorce. And yes God does not want men divorcing their wives or wives divorcing their husbands. That is God’s general rule of divorce that he does not want it to happen. But God allows exceptions to his rule and he has created exceptions when he does allow for divorce.

Dr. Kim is completely wrong in making “void the law” of Deuteronomy 24:1-4 and Exodus 21:10-11 where God speaks on divorce. Any discussion of God’s allowances for divorce must include these two pivotal passages.

Dr. Kim is wrong in his gender neutral application of the adultery exception

Dr. Kim’s statement:

“An exception is clearly given for the case of adultery. By saying “apart from adultery,” Jesus allows the victim of adultery to divorce and remarry. In that situation, the second marriage is not considered adultery, but rather, is a valid marriage. However, the spouse who committed adultery does not receive the right to remarry. He/she must repent and remain single for the rest of his/her life. Furthermore, although Jesus grants the victim the right to divorce and remarry, it is not mandatory. The victim could choose to forgive the sin and continue on in the marriage.”

Let’s get one thing out the way first. The correct word in the exception clause is “fornication”, not “adultery” as his translation reads. Fornication (from the Greek ‘porneia’) refers to all sin that violates God’s laws regarding sexuality which includes premarital sex, homosexuality, incest, origins, prostitution, rape, Beastiality and sexual defraudment.

Dr. Kim here actually takes the common gender neutral approach to divorce passages in Scripture. Any time the Bible speaks on marriage and divorce we must look for gender specifics in commands. There are places where God gives men and women equal ground as far as rules on divorce but in other places there are specific reasons men have for divorcing their wives and specific reasons women have for divorcing their husbands.

“But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.” – I Corinthians 7:15 (KJV)

Notice how in the abandonment exception Paul says “a brother or sister” meaning this the abandonment clause applies equally to men and women.

But in other places like Exodus we see rights in divorce that a woman has that a man does not have:

“10 If he take him another wife; her food, her raiment, and her duty of marriage, shall he not diminish.

11 And if he do not these three unto her, then shall she go out free without money.” – Exodus 21:10-11 (KJV)

A woman could be justly freed (divorced) from her husband if he failed to provide her with food, clothing and sex. A man while having the right to divorce his wife for sexual defraudment, does not have the right to divorce his wife for her failing to provide for him because it is HIS job to provide for her.

So Dr. Kim’s unisex “he/she” approach to Christ’s words on divorce are wrong. We cannot ignore that Christ says “Whosoever shall put away HIS wife, except it be for fornication” – he means “his wife”, not “her husband”.

Also Dr. Kim is wrong in adding that the person (whom I would argue must be the woman) who has committed adultery must remain celibate for the rest of their life. If a woman is justly divorced from her husband even if for her own wrong behavior (such as adultery or sexual defraudment) nothing forbids her from remarrying.

In fact in Deuteronomy we are told:

“And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man’s wife.” – Deuteronomy 24:2(KJV)

When a woman is divorced from her husband for reasons God allows (either because of his behavior or hers) she may go and be another man’s wife – remarriage is clearly allowed by God.

You see when we take the whole counsel of God (Exodus 21:10-11, Deuteronomy 24:1-2, Matthew 5:32, Matthew 19:9, Mark 10:12, Luke 16:18, Romans 7:3 and I Corinthians 7:15) you get a very different picture of divorce then if you simply take one set of Gospel passages from Matthew as Dr. Kim does.

Are second marriages only allowed when divorce occurs because of adultery?

Dr. Kim’s statement:

“Whoever divorces his wife apart from adultery and will take another, commits adultery.” It is clear that any second marriage (outside of the exception) is not a valid marriage in the eyes of God because Jesus calls it, “adultery.” In the eyes of God, the first marriage is still valid and in full effect. By the way, let’s get this clear: Adultery is always adultery–the passage of time does not change the nature of the sin. The apostle Paul confirms the on-going status of “adulteress” for the woman who persists to live in a second marriage by stating, “Accordingly, she will be called an adulteress if she lives with another man while her husband is alive. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law, and if she marries another man she is not an adulteress” (Rom 7:3).”

Dr. Kim maintains that the only way remarriage is allowed is if your spouse commits adultery against you. Then you may divorce your spouse but only you may remarry and your ex-spouse must remain celibate for life and as I said before there is no scriptural basis for this narrow view of divorce and remarriage.

Five Biblical principles regarding “re-marriage”

First we must establish the fact that the entire concept of “re-marriage” in all cases but one applies to women and not to men. This is because God allows polygyny (a man to have more than one wife).

“If he take him another wife; her food, her raiment, and her duty of marriage, shall he not diminish.” – Exodus 21:10 (KJV)

“And I gave thee thy master’s house, and thy master’s wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things.” – II Samuel 12:8 (KJV)

A man may take more than one wife but he must make sure that he continues to take care of the needs of his previous wives as well.  But there is one case of re-marriage with men.

God does NOT allow men to re-marry women they have divorced

“Her former husband, which sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after that she is defiled; for that is abomination before the Lord: and thou shalt not cause the land to sin, which the Lord thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.” – Deuteronomy 24:4 (KJV)

If a man divorces a woman he may not marry her if she ends up marrying another man.

God allows women who are divorced by their husbands to remarry

“And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man’s wife.” – Deuteronomy 24:2 (KJV)

If a woman is put away by her husband then no matter if he divorces her for right reasons or wrong reasons she is free to remarry another man.

God allows women to divorce their husbands and thus remarry for failure to provide and sexual defraudment

“10 If he take him another wife; her food, her raiment, and her duty of marriage, shall he not diminish.

11 And if he do not these three unto her, then shall she go out free without money.” – Exodus 21:10-11 (KJV)

If a woman seeks to be freed (divorced) from her husband then after she is freed she is free indeed to be remarried to another man.

God allows women to divorce and remarry if their husband abandons them

“But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.” – I Corinthians 7:15 (KJV)

Once again as in Exodus 21:10-11 the woman is freed from her husband and free to marry another if he abandons her. Actually if he departs from her he would in fact be failing to provide her with food, clothing and sex which are violations of Exodus 21:10-11. The husband is free from his obligation of husbandly duties to her.

God allows women to divorce and remarry if their husbands abuse them

“And if he smite out his manservant’s tooth, or his maidservant’s tooth; he shall let him go free for his tooth’s sake.” – Exodus 21:27 (KJV)

While this is talking about a man’s slaves this principle would also apply to a man’s wife as she had more rights than a slave. If a woman’s husband physically abuses and causes her any serious bodily harm she has the right to be freed from him and she is thus free to marry another man.

Did the Bible teach the concept of second marriages being “adulterous affairs”?

Now we will examine some key verses and phrases on divorce as it relates to this concept of marriages being considered “adulterous affairs”.

“whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.”

“But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.” – Matthew 5:32 (KJV)

The phrases “whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.” (Matthew 5:32), “whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.” (Matthew 19:9) and “whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery.” (Luke 16:18) should be understood by what Christ said in Mark 10:12 where he says “And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery.”

Christ is referring to a woman that wrongly departs from (divorces) her husband and goes to marry another man. If a woman wrongly divorces her husband and marries another man then she commits adultery with another man (and he with her). This is the ONLY WAY that a second marriage can rightly be considered an “adulterous affair”.

Christ is not punishing the woman who has been wrongly divorced by her husband and relegating her to a life of celibacy.  He is saying her husband commits adultery against by unjustly divorcing her. The adultery a husband commits against his wife is NOT in him marrying another woman. He is allowed to marry a second wife, a third wife or a fourth wife by the decree of God. The adultery he commits against her is his act of unjustly divorcing her. This is a new type of adultery defined by Christ. Previous to this it was impossible for a man to commit adultery against his wife.

The phrase “causeth her to commit adultery” in Matthew 5:32 should be understood by what Christ said in Mark 10:11 that a husband who unjustly divorces his wife “committeth adultery against her”. This is not saying he causes her to commit adultery by her marrying another man. If she is divorced by her husband whether he does this for just or unjust reasons “she may go and be another man’s wife.” (Deuteronomy 24:2).

A wife who has been divorced by her husband whether for just or unjust reasons “may go and be another man’s wife.” (Deuteronomy 24:2). The sin is on his head in this situation, it is not on hers. She is no longer his wife and therefore cannot be called an “adulteress” because her husband “still lives” (Romans 7:3). The reason is that he is no longer her husband. Yes the man that was PREVIOUSLY her husband still lives, but he is no longer her husband. He has freed her even if he did it for wrong reasons. God will judge him for this – his wife is innocent in his sin of HIM wrongly divorcing her.

“marry another”

“And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her.” – Mark 10:11

Does a husband commit adultery by marrying another woman? Some have tried to use this as a way to attack polygamy which is clearly allowed by God for men. But the situation Christ is describing is NOT that of a man marrying a second or third wife. This situation describes a man wrongly divorcing his first wife in order to please a potential second wife who wants to marry him but she wants him to get rid of his first wife.

This same situation was occurring in Israel when Malachi tells men they have “dealt treacherously” (Malachi 2:14-15) with the wife of their youth by putting her away without just cause.

“while her husband liveth”

“So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.” – Romans 7:3 (KJV)

“39 The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord.” – I Corinthians 7:39 (KJV)

Romans 7:3 and I Corinthians 7:39 are passages that have been wrongly used by many to forbid ANY second marriages by women while their first husband still lives. This is a faulty interpretation because it ignores Deuteronomy 24:2 which clearly states that a woman whose husband puts her away in divorce “may go and be another man’s wife.” (Deuteronomy 24:2).

Again we must look at the entire witness of Scripture and interpret Scripture with Scripture. So when we understand Romans 7:3 and I Corinthians 7:39 in light of the entire witness of Scripture then we understand that a woman can only be considered an adulterous if she unjustly divorces her husband and then marries another man. This the only case in which she could rightly be called and adulterous and the man she is with would be considered an adulterer.

“let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband”

“10 And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband:

11 But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.” – I Corinthians 7:10-11 (KJV)

I Corinthians 7:10-11 refers to a situation where wife a divorces her husband for reasons that God does not allow. For instance when woman divorces her husband for “irreconcilable” differences she is NOT free to marry another man. She must remain celibate or be reconciled to her husband.

Conclusion

Biblically speaking when a man marries another woman this is NOT adultery. He is allowed by God to have more than one wife. The only way a man can commit adultery against his wife is by unjustly putting her away whether it is to marry another woman who wants to be his only wife or just to put her away so he can be on his own and have no obligations to provide for her and have sex with her.

The only way “re-marriage” applies to a man is when a man marries a woman he had previously divorced and she was married to another man and he tries to re-marry her. This is forbidden by God. All other marriages a man engages in cannot be considered remarriages – but simply additional marriages as he can have more than one wife.

Just because a man wrongly puts away(divorces) one his wives this does not preclude him from marrying other wives.  If a man can find a way to reconcile with this wrongly put away wife before she remarries(which she can do) he should try to do that.  But once she is remarried he CANNOT remarry her even if her second husband dies or divorces her.

The only marriage in Scripture that could be considered an ‘adulterous affair’ or ‘adulterous marriage’ is when a woman unjustly divorces her husband and then marries another man. In this case she would be considered an adulterous and the man who married her would be considered an adulterer.

The Bible also talks about incestuous marriages (where someone marries a relative or a relative’s wife). Only in the case of this one type of adulterous marriage or in the case of an incestuous marriage would God demand as John the Baptist did of Herod that the marriage be dissolved.

Again the reason that Dr. Kim has come to this flawed conclusion regarding divorce and adulterous marriages is because he has chosen to use two passages(Matthew 5:32 and Matthew 19:9) to void or reinterpret all other passages on divorce in light of these two verses.

The only way we can truly understand God’s view of marriage and divorce is by examining his entire Word on the subject.

Was polygamy a sin in the Old Testament that God overlooked?

Was polygamy a sin God overlooked in the Old Testament but he finally got rid of in the New Testament?  A broader question might be “Does God regulate and authorize behavior he thinks is sinful?”

If you have read many posts on this blog – you will know that I believe based on the Word of God(the whole Bible, not just the New Testament) that God never regulates or authorizes something he believes to be sinful, and therefore polygamy was not(and I would still argue today it is still not sinful when practiced Biblically).

Ever since I was a young man I have always been fascinated by three subjects – theology, history and human nature.  Specifically I wanted to understand what parts of our human nature(and even more specifically our male and female natures) are by the design of God, and which ones come from our sin nature corrupting of the God’s original design.

So question that needs answering is – “Is man’s natural instinct to be drawn to multiple women a corruption of his nature or part of his original design by God? ”

Most Pastors and theologians since the time Augustine(who brought Christian asceticism into the Church) have promoted a belief that this is part of man’s sinful nature, and not the nature he was originally designed with in the garden of Eden.  They argue that man was originally made by God with a monogamous nature, and only because of sin did polygamy enter the picture.

I have held this position on Biblical polygamy for 20 years(and no I am not a practicing polygamist) .  It always bothered me when I was a young man growing up in Baptist Churches(which I still love and attend ) when the Pastor would come to a passage about polygamy and say something like “This was a sin God overlooked in ancient times, but he finally got rid of it in the New Testament”.  This just bugged me! Since when does the God of the Bible regulate and authorize a behavior he believes to be sinful?  I have always believed that the God of the Bible can never authorize or regulate sinful behavior and I always will.

Recently I had a little debate about this issue in another forum with a Christian woman when we were discussing the subject of men looking at women.  Her name was Lucy.  This is part of the conversation where switch to the topic of polygamy:

Lucy started by quoting a statement I am made:

“men are naturally polygynous as God designed them.” Can you please provide verse and chapter for us? It seems to me that if that were true, anything but polygamy would be cruel for men and that decans, pastors, etc, should not have to be the husband of only one wife.”

This was my response:

Lucy – I would be happy to respond with Bible passages that support the concept that men are naturally polygynous as designed by God.

God allows and regulates polygamy in Moses law

If a man takes a second wife, he cannot deny the first wife food, clothing or sex. He must continue being a husband to her as well, even if he has more romantic attachment to his second wife.

“If he take him another wife; her food, her raiment, and her duty of marriage, shall he not diminish. And if he do not these three unto her, then shall she go out free without money.” – Exodus 21:10-11

A man could not take his wife’s sister as a rival wife while his wife lived:
“Neither shalt thou take a wife to her sister, to vex her, to uncover her nakedness, beside the other in her life time.” – Leviticus 18:18

If a man had two wives, and he did was not romantically attracted to or did not get along with one as good as the other, he still had to acknowledge the rights of her son if he was firstborn:

“15 If a man have two wives, one beloved, and another hated, and they have born him children, both the beloved and the hated; and if the firstborn son be hers that was hated:

16 Then it shall be, when he maketh his sons to inherit that which he hath, that he may not make the son of the beloved firstborn before the son of the hated, which is indeed the firstborn:

17 But he shall acknowledge the son of the hated for the firstborn, by giving him a double portion of all that he hath: for he is the beginning of his strength; the right of the firstborn is his.” – Deuteronomy 21:15-17

Leah was blessed by God for giving her husband one of her hand maids as a wife:

“9 When Leah saw that she had left bearing, she took Zilpah her maid, and gave her Jacob to wife…17 And God hearkened unto Leah, and she conceived, and bare Jacob the fifth son.

18 And Leah said, God hath given me my hire, because I have given my maiden to my husband: and she called his name Issachar.
Genesis 30:9 & 17-18

Lucy – many Christians because this does not meet with their preconceived notion that God always intended for men to be in monogamous marriages will say that that God only “allowed polygamy, but it was still sinful”.

The God of the Bible does NOT all sin – EVER. What he allows, he approves of – to say anything less is to question the holiness of God.

Now does God sometimes change his laws?

Yes. For instance God allowed the sons and daughters of Adam and Eve to marry(what we would call incest) and this practice was not condemned until later in the Mosaic law.

There was no sin Jacob marrying two sisters(Leah and Rachel) even though he was tricked. God had not yet forbid a man from marrying sisters.

God never condemned polygamy, but rather he regulated it which means he approved of it.

Some will try to point to Deuteronomy 17:15-17 where God says that a King shall not “multiply wives to himself” to say God was condemning polygamy. The problem with that interpretation is that the same man – Moses that wrote that wrote regulations on polygamy! So he certainly was not contradicting himself. Instead what he was saying is that king is not to “horde wives” – much in the way King Solomon did with having 1000 wives! King Solomon abused the concept of polygamy and his heart was indeed lead astray.

As to your point that it would be cruel then to make men have only one wife – you are right that it does make things difficult for polygynous men living a world that has now confined men to monogamous marriage.

However even in Biblical times not all men were able to marry more than one wife, and many did not have any wife at all.  This is because male slaves and servants could only have a wife if their master allowed them to. Also poor men often did not marry because fathers would not give their daughters to a man that could not pay a bride price and could not care for their daughters. This left many women that needed husbands and this is why wealthier men had many wives.

So while most men are polygynous in their nature, that does not mean all men should were able to act on that polygynous nature by taking multiple wives.

Lucy replied:

“I’m so disappointed to hear you’re back in the Old T. You have mistaken an allowance in ancient times for “men are designed that way,” but the Bible presents monogamy as God’s ideal for marriage.

“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife [not wives], and they will become one flesh [not fleshes]” (Genesis 2:24). While Genesis 2:24 is describing what marriage is, rather than how many people are involved, the consistent use of the singularis used.

In the New Testament, 1 Timothy 3:2, 12 and Titus 1:6 give “the husband of one wife” in a list of qualifications for spiritual leadership.

While these qualifications are specifically for positions of spiritual leadership, they should apply equally to all Christians. Should not all Christians be “above reproach…temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money” (1 Timothy 3:2-4)? If we are called to be holy (1 Peter 1:16), and if these standards are holy for elders and deacons, then they are holy for all.

Also, note how Ephesians 5:22-33 speaks of the relationship between husbands and wives. “Husband” is always singular. “Wife” is always singular.

In the above verse, If polygamy were allowable,the entire illustration of Christ’s relationship with His body (the church) and the husband-wife relationship falls apart.

Even going back to Adam and Eve, polygamy was not God’s original intent. God seems to have allowed polygamy to solve a problem in brutal times, but it is not the ideal. I can certainly find no proof God designed men that way.

This was my response to Lucy:

Lucy, as Christians we can sometimes be disappointed or surprised by what our fellow brethren believe. I am always disappointed when I find my Christian brethren believing God tossed the Old Testament in the garbage can when he gave us the New Testament and that is not the case at all.

You are absolutely right that Biblically speaking we are no longer under the Law, but under grace- Praise God!

“For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” – Romans 6:14 (KJV)

But what “law” is Paul speaking of? He is speaking of the cleanliness law, civil law, the sacrificial law, the priestly law that Moses gave to Israel as a theocracy.  The Scriptures tell us in Hebrews 8:13 that the old covenant has been replaced with the New – praise God!

In Galatians 3:24-25 the Apostle Paul tells us that the law (the sacrificial part of the law, the civil and the priestly law) was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ – but now that Christ is come we are no longer under that school master – again praise God!

That means we don’t have to stone people who commit adultery, or stone rebellious kids.  We don’t have to make sacrifices to cover our sins.  We don’t have to follow the cleanliness laws anymore.  We don’t have to stay away from certain meats, or practice the festivals.

But this does not mean that God’s moral law – contained with the Law of Moses is also obsolete. For instance while Moses law may prescribe death for someone committing murder – we are not required anymore to do that – as that is part of the civil laws of Israel that have been made obsolete.  But is murder still sin? Is it still a violation of God’s moral law? Yes.

Paul said this about the moral law contained in Moses Law:

“Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.” Romans 3:31(KJV)

“What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet…Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.” – Romans 7:7 & 12

Over 350 times Jesus or his Apostles quote from the Old Testament – we don’t have New Testament without the Old Testament. We can learn many things about the character of God, as well as us as his creations through the Old Testament.  I hope and pray you and other believers will find a greater appreciation for the Old Testament as it is just as much the Word of God as the New Testament is.

Now on to the issue of polygamy – or to be more specific polygyny (a man having more than one wife).  Lucy you are absolutely right that God says they will become “one flesh” (Genesis 2:24).  He does not say “one fleshes” as you correctly point out. You know why? Because a man has an individual marriage with each one of his wives.  If a man and all his wives were one together that would be something called “Polyamory” where multiple live together and sleep with one another.  Wives could sleep with wives, or sleep with their husband.  In fact you could have several men, and several women in a polymorous relationship.  But that is NOT what polygyny is.

Polygyny is where a man has more than one marriage. He has several marriages.  But he has a separate and distinct relationship with each of his wives, and God points out in Exodus 21:10-11 he has a separate and distinct duty to provide food, clothing and to become ONE FLESH (have sex) with each of his wives.

Apparently God who inspired Moses to write about marriage being one flesh, and speaking of a husband and wife in the singular – saw no contradiction between that and a man having more than one wife.

Is the “husband of one wife” requirement (I Timothy 3:2, 12 and Titus 1:6) for a Pastor speaking of monogamy or divorce? I would argue based the qualifications of widows who could be supported by (and became servants of) the church that Paul was speaking of a Pastor or Deacon not having been divorced from his first wife:

“Let not a widow be taken into the number under threescore years old, having been the wife of one man.” – I Timothy 5:9 (KJV)

But let’s say you were right (which I don’t think you are), that Paul was forbidding polygamy by Pastors and Deacons.  If he was, then by forbidding it to Pastors and Deacons, he was acknowledging that Christians were actively practicing polygamy.  Why when he wrote so much about marriage and divorce, and he even forbid believers from marrying non-believers, why did he not just go ahead and tell believers “you cannot marry more one wife anymore(as God had previously allowed you too)”?”

As to Ephesians 5, I love that God designed marriage to a model of his relationship with his people.  In the Old Testament he pictures himself as a husband to his wife Israel, and in the New Testament he pictures marriage as the relationship between Christ and his Church. Beautiful!

However I respectfully disagree with you that polygyny destroys this beautiful model of Christ and his Church. In the New Testament the Church is often referred to in the singular, but other times it is referred to in the plural (churches).    Just as God referred to Israel as his wife (singular), he also referred to Israel as his wives (plural) when speaking of Israel and Judah in the book of Ezekiel:

“Son of man, there were two women, the daughters of one mother…And the names of them were Aholah the elder, and Aholibah her sister: and THEY were mine, and THEY bare sons and daughters. Thus were their names; Samaria is Aholah, and Jerusalem Aholibah.”  – Ezekial 23:2 & 4

In the same way while Christ often refers to his Church in the singular in the New Testament, he also refers to his Church in the plural much the same way God referred to Israel and Judah when he speaks of the 7 Churches in the book of Revelation.  He speaks to all but one of their unfaithfulness in different areas.  It appears that Christ has a separate and distinct relationship with each of his churches – does this somehow hurt the concept of Christ and his Church being a model for marriage – I think not.

When Christ speaks to his Church in the singular, it is in much the same way that a man with many wives would speak to his family (including all his wives) which is also what the Church is compared to in this passage:

“But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.”  – I Timothy 3:15

I say all this to say, from the OT to NT the concept of a man being married to more than one wife, and having a distinct relationship with each of his wives does not break the model of what God intended marriage to be. A man can be one flesh with each of his wives, as God is one with each of his churches.

As far as your assertion that God creating only one man and one woman (Adam and Eve) in the garden means that was his model for marriage, are you then saying that brothers and sisters marrying was his model for marriage? Because Adam and Eve’s children had to marry one another.  The fact is that God could have created two sets of couples so that incest would not have to occur just as he could have created more wives for Adam. He chose not to. But again I draw your attention to the fact that the same God who created Adam and Eve also gave Moses commands allowing men to take more than one wife – if that were a violation of his model he would not have allowed it.

I hope this helps clarify my position.

 

Why Christians shouldn’t be ashamed of Slavery in the Bible

Many Christians wish this issue would just go away. Atheists and other Non-Christians often bring up the topic of slavery in the Bible as a way to discredit the Bible as the inspired Word of God. Even some who claim to profess faith in Jesus Christ use slavery in the Bible as a way to discredit Biblical commands regarding gender roles. How can we as Christians believe that slavery in America was immoral but at the same time defend slavery in the Bible? Isn’t this a huge a contradiction?

The typical response that most Christians give about slavery in the Bible

“Well God overlooked many sinful activities in ancient society like polygamy and slavery, but these were not his perfect will. Later in the New Testament he told Christians not to practice slavery and polygamy anymore.”

Even though this post is about slavery, I include polygamy in the above statement because usually these two issues are used together to attack the morality of Christianity. I won’t be dealing with Biblical polygamy here but I have written an entire series on it and I will provide a link to it at the end of this post .

The vast majority of Christians, and sadly even many Ministers of the Gospel of Christ simply concede the modern western world’s notion that slavery is ALWAYS immoral. The other concession they make which is even worse is that God tolerated or even regulated an activity (slavery) that he believed was sinful. What these believers are doing is actually accusing God of overlooking sin.

Whenever I hear Christians saying God overlooked the supposed sins of slavery and polygamy this passage of Scripture comes to mind:

“The Rock! His work is perfect,
For all His ways are just;
A God of faithfulness and without injustice,
Righteous and upright is He.” – Deuteronomy 32:4 (NASB)

The God I worship who gave commands that allowed for the practices of slavery and polygamy is just and righteous in all he commands.

If we say that God’s commands allowing polygamy and slavery were anything less than just and right – then we open the door to say that anything other commands in Scripture can be dismissed “sins God chose to overlook”.

Some Christians who reject any type of inequality – be it social or economic and especially Biblical inequalities between men and women – will say things like this:

“God always hated the sin of inequality in any sphere it appeared in society, but he wanted to reveal his will on these issues slowly and not turn society upside down by trying to explicitly take on on the “sin of inequality” that existed in practices like marriage,polygamy,slavery and capitalism.”

In fact for many Christians who reject Biblical inerrancy, they will claim that Jesus was Socialist and Feminist. I wrote some posts a while back refuting the idea that Jesus was a Feminist.

If we as Bible believing Christians surrender on issues like slavery and polygamy, and concede that they were sins God just “overlooked”, then we are at the same time surrendering the inerrancy of the Scriptures and the justice and righteousness of God in everything he commands.

But I understand that as a believer – you may need a little more than my word on this. So we will look at what the Bible says about slavery and also compare and contrast that with slavery as it was practiced in the United States.

One type of slavery is still constitutional in the United States

Before we get into what the Bible says about slavery I wanted to point to an interesting fact that most Americans are completely unaware of. Believe it or not, the United States still allows slavery.

The 13th Amendment to the Constitution passed in 1865 gives this exception to our prohibition of slavery:

“neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for a crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction”

When a person is sentenced to life with hard labor for a crime they commit – that is a form of slavery. There are still some prisons that have forced labor, but it is not as widespread as it once was.

I actually believe this remaining form of slavery should be expanded in the United States. Imagine if every car thief, every drug dealer and especially those white collar criminals all knew they were going to have to do hard labor during their sentences instead of just being confined to a cell and given time in a yard with three meals a day?

This could bring down crime rates as well as help with the costs of prisons.

Does the Bible actually allow slavery or is it just silent on the issue?

The Bible not only allows the practice of slavery but it also regulates slavery in the laws that Moses gave to the nation of Israel. There are two primary passages in Mose’s Law that give us God’s regulations for how slavery could be morally practiced.

“If a countryman of yours becomes so poor with regard to you that he sells himself to you, you shall not subject him to a slave’s service.  He shall be with you as a hired man, as if he were a sojourner; he shall serve with you until the year of jubilee.  He shall then go out from you, he and his sons with him, and shall go back to his family, that he may return to the property of his forefathers.  For they are My servants whom I brought out from the land of Egypt; they are not to be sold in a slave sale.  You shall not rule over him with severity, but are to revere your God.  As for your male and female slaves whom you may have—you may acquire male and female slaves from the pagan nations that are around you.  Then, too, it is out of the sons of the sojourners who live as aliens among you that you may gain acquisition, and out of their families who are with you, whom they will have produced in your land; they also may become your possession.  You may even bequeath them to your sons after you, to receive as a possession; you can use them as permanent slaves. But in respect to your countrymen, the sons of Israel, you shall not rule with severity over one another. – Leviticus 25:39-46 (NASB)

“If you buy a Hebrew slave, he shall serve for six years; but on the seventh he shall go out as a free man without payment.  If he comes alone, he shall go out alone; if he is the husband of a wife, then his wife shall go out with him.  If his master gives him a wife, and she bears him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall belong to her master, and he shall go out alone.  But if the slave plainly says, ‘I love my master, my wife and my children; I will not go out as a free man,’ then his master shall bring him to God, then he shall bring him to the door or the doorpost. And his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall serve him permanently. “If a man sells his daughter as a female slave, she is not to go free as the male slaves do. If she is displeasing in the eyes of her master who designated her for himself, then he shall let her be redeemed. He does not have authority to sell her to a foreign people because of his unfairness to her. If he designates her for his son, he shall deal with her according to the custom of daughters.  If he takes to himself another woman, he may not reduce her food, her clothing, or her conjugal rights. If he will not do these three things for her, then she shall go out for nothing, without payment of money.” – Exodus 21:2-11 (NASB)

So it’s pretty clear in Moses’ Law that God not only allowed slavery, he regulated it. Slaves from pagan nations were automatically regarded as permanent property, and could actually be left as an inheritance to the children of their Hebrew slave owners.

But neither male or female Hebrew indentured servants could  be kept permanently.   We see that in this passage the following passage:

12 “If your kinsman, a Hebrew man or woman, is sold to you, then he shall serve you six years, but in the seventh year you shall set him free. 13 When you set him free, you shall not send him away empty-handed. 14 You shall furnish him liberally from your flock and from your threshing floor and from your wine vat; you shall give to him as the Lord your God has blessed you.”

Deuteronomy 15:12-14 (NASB)

The difference between male and female Hebrew indentured servants was that the woman had to be “redeemed“(Exodus 21:8) which is a reference to either her parents, brother or other male relative buying her back or another man purchasing her as a wife for himself.  But it is clear that God did not want Hebrew women being permanently kept as indentured servants but wanted them to have the opportunity to become wives and mothers.  So if the man did not want her for himself or one of his sons he had to allow her to be redeemed.

If a man bought a woman and gave her to his son he had treat her with the full rights of a daughter, and his son had to give her the full rights of a wife.

Biblical Rules for proper treatment of human property

“but the seventh day is a sabbath of the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you.” – Exodus 20:10(NASB)

“If a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod and he dies at his hand, he shall be punished. If, however, he survives a day or two, no vengeance shall be taken; for he is his property… “If a man strikes the eye of his male or female slave, and destroys it, he shall let him go free on account of his eye. And if he knocks out a tooth of his male or female slave, he shall let him go free on account of his tooth.” – Exodus 21:20 -21 & 26-27 (NASB)

“Masters, grant to your slaves justice and fairness, knowing that you too have a Master in heaven.” – Colossians 4:1 (NASB)

Slaves were to be treated fairly and justly by their masters. They were to be given rest one day a week when the rest of the family rested and they were able to participate in the various festivals. They were not allowed to be physically abused or murdered.

Does the New Testament maintain slavery or get rid of it?

The New Testament maintains slavery as an acceptable practice before God, provided that slaves were treated justly and fairly.

Some Christians have tried to say that the Apostles and especially Paul wanted to abolish slavery because of an issue with a runaway slave. Paul wrote a letter to a Christian slave owner named Philemon.  Paul had mentored a man name Onesimus who became a believer in Christ. He did mission work with Paul and was “useful” to Paul .  But at some point Onesimus revealed that he was a runaway slave and Paul sent him back to Philemon with this exhortation:

I appeal to you for my child Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my imprisonment,  who formerly was useless to you, but now is useful both to you and to me.  I have sent him back to you in person, that is, sending my very heart,  whom I wished to keep with me, so that on your behalf he might minister to me in my imprisonment for the gospel;  but without your consent I did not want to do anything, so that your goodness would not be, in effect, by compulsion but of your own free will.  For perhaps he was for this reason separated from you for a while, that you would have him back forever,  no longer as a slave, but more than a slave, a beloved brother, especially to me, but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.

 If then you regard me a partner, accept him as you would me.  But if he has wronged you in any way or owes you anything, charge that to my account;” – Philemon 1:10-18(NASB)

Some Christians point to this phrase “that you would have him back forever,  no longer as a slave, but more than a slave” to say Paul was commanding Philemon to free this slave, and by extension was against slavery and wanted him and all other Christian slave masters to free their slaves. But again whenever we look at a topic in Scripture, we have to look at everything written on that topic and not just one passage before we can truly understand God’s position on an issue.

Paul addresses Christian slave owners in these passages:

“All who are under the yoke as slaves are to regard their own masters as worthy of all honor so that the name of God and our doctrine will not be spoken against. Those who have believers as their masters must not be disrespectful to them because they are brethren, but must serve them all the more, because those who partake of the benefit are believers and beloved. Teach and preach these principles.” – I Timothy 6:1-3 (NASB)

“Slaves, in all things obey those who are your masters on earth, not with external service, as those who merely please men, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. Masters, grant to your slaves justice and fairness, knowing that you too have a Master in heaven.” – Colossians 3:22 – 4:1 (NASB)

“Slaves, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart, as to Christ;  not by way of eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart.  With good will render service, as to the Lord, and not to men,  knowing that whatever good thing each one does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether slave or free.

 And masters, do the same things to them, and give up threatening, knowing that both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him.” – Ephesians 6:5-9(NASB)

If Paul was against Christians owning slaves – he would have clearly said so.  He had every opportunity to tell at least Christian slave owners that they should free their slaves and stop using slavery in their businesses. Instead Paul exhorts Masters to treat their slaves with justice and fairness, and if they are believers to treat them as brothers in Christ even though they are still slaves. Some have said that Paul did not want to impede the Gospel by taking on slavery.  But this idea reduces the Pauline epistles to mere human letters – when in fact they were divinely inspired by God.  Remember what we said previously – every command of God is just and right and Paul was giving us God’s commands regarding slaves and their masters. If God had changed his mind about slavery from the law that he gave Moses, he would have said so through his Apostles, but he did not.

Paul tells slaves if they can be free, then be free but if they cannot they need to accept their condition as slaves:

“Were you called while a slave? Do not worry about it; but if you are able also to become free, rather do that. For he who was called in the Lord while a slave, is the Lord’s freedman; likewise he who was called while free, is Christ’s slave.” -1 Corinthians 7:21-22(NASB)

The Apostle Peter weighed in on slavery to when he told slaves they needed to submit even to Masters who were cruel.

Household slaves, submit with all fear to your masters, not only to the good and gentle but also to the cruel.” I Peter 2:18 (HCSB)

It is interesting in each of Paul’s exhortations to slaves, he always starts off with the slave needing to respect and obey their masters and then he goes to telling the masters to treat their slaves fairly. He also does the same thing when he speaks to wives and husbands.  He starts off telling wives to submit to their husbands and then ends telling husbands to treat their wives kindly.  The principle Paul was giving us under the inspiration of God was – our respect and obedience to our authorities is not dependent on how they treat us, but rather our obedience is to our authorities is based on our obedience to God.

I believe the New Testament Scriptures are clear – God did not get rid of slavery but simply made sure that Masters treated theirs slaves fairly and that slaves knew they needed to obey their masters.

Based upon the passages cited above, as well as other passages and principles of the Bible the test of whether a particular practice of slavery is moral is answered by the two sets of questions:

The First morality test of Slavery – How did the slave come to be owned by their master?

Did they voluntarily give themselves as a slave in exchange for protection and economic security?

Were they born from slave parents?

Were they sold as a slave by their father?

Did they voluntarily sell themselves to pay off debtors?

Were they forced into servitude by governing authorities either because of debts they owed or because of a crime they committed?

Were they captured as a prisoner of a just war?

Were they kidnapped and forced to be a slave?

Biblically speaking, if a person were to answer yes to any of the first six questions, then the way that they became a slave was not wrong. If however the person was kidnapped and forced into slavery, then this type of slavery would be immoral and wrong.

The Second morality test of Slavery – How is the slave being treated by their master?

Are food, clothing and shelter being provided to the slave?

Is the slave being treated justly and fairly?

Is the slave being given proper rest?

Is the slave not being physically abused?

If the answer to all these questions is yes regarding the treatment of slaves in a particular situation then this instance of slavery would be moral – Biblically speaking.

Comparing American Slavery to Biblical Slavery

As Americans we see the practice of slavery through the eyes of African Americans and how their ancestors were treated here in America. But we need to understand that the practice of slavery here in America was nothing like the slavery that God allowed and regulated in the Bible.

Before the modern era, people often had to choose between personal liberty and economic security in most cultures around the world.

For instance in Biblical times it was not uncommon for a father to have to sell one or more his children as slaves to a wealthier family. This served two purposes – it would ensure that his children would be feed and cared for and often times it would help to pull his own family out of poverty because of the money he would receive in return.

Other times young men who had lost their entire families and lived in poverty on the street might sell themselves to wealthy man in order to have food, clothing and protection guaranteed.

Another thing is the image we have of slaves. We have in our mind men, women and children in chains and rags working their hands to the bone each day. The truth is that in many instances in ancient Israel you might have had trouble distinguishing who in the household was a slave and who were family members.

On the other hand, the slavery in practice in America was completely different than the slavery that was allowed by the Bible. Chains were a very a common occurrence with slavery in America. It was based on the false ideology that one race was less human than others and they could be enslaved if for no other reason than their race.

The Bible dispels such a notion about slaves being less human than their masters:

“If I have despised the claim of my male or female slaves When they filed a complaint against me, What then could I do when God arises? And when He calls me to account, what will I answer Him?

“Did not He who made me in the womb make him, And the same one fashion us in the womb? – Job 31:13-15(NASB)

Job was clear that God made his slaves in their mother’s wombs just as he was made in his mother’s womb.

No person is less human than another, and no one deserves to be enslaved simply because of their race.

Besides American slavery being based on race – it massively failed the two tests of Biblical Slavery that I mentioned above. Africans were kidnapped from their homes. They were treated worse than animals and loaded on to ships without proper food, clothing and shelter. Many Africans died while on Ships coming to America. Many African women were raped by their owners, instead being given the full status of wives. They were often physically abused and even sometimes murdered. But because they were not considered fully human, no punishments were given.

Even in some American homes where slaves were treated more humanely – the origin of how they were brought here was tainted. Their parents did not nothing deserving to be enslaved, they were the product of kidnapping.

So here is the summary in regard to American slavery. The simple fact of one man enslaving another is not in and of itself an immoral act. The act of enslaving a person is not synonymous with treating that person as less than human if the enslavement occurs under just conditions as we noted earlier.

For instance prisoners being made into slave labors is not unjust and it is not treating them as a less than human by essentially turning them into a slave workforce.

But what the Bible did not allow in regard to slavery was simply kidnapping people and enslaving them based on their race. This was a violation of Biblical human rights and this was the first reason American slavery was evil and wrong.

The second reason American slavery was wrong was the treatment of blacks after they were enslaved. They were not just enslaved wrongly but in many cases they were treated more harshly than their owners treated their horses or their livestock.  This is why American slavery was evil and nothing like the slavery God allowed in the civil laws of Israel.

Was America wrong for outlawing slavery?

The Bible does not command that anyone must have slaves. It only allows slavery under certain conditions and then it stipulates what is considered fair and humane treatment for slaves.

I believe abolitionists were right in convincing Americans to end slavery (except for criminals as I mentioned previously) but as I have shown here in this post – I don’t believe all instances of slavery are immoral. However the slavery that was practiced here in America – both in how the slaves were acquired, and how they were treated as less than human was in fact immoral.

How should Christians respond to attacks on the Bible over the issue of slavery?

First know where the attacks on Biblical slavery will come.

Attack #1 against Slavery

“All instances of slavery abuses people and treats people as less than human, therefore slavery is immoral.”

Wrong – American slavery, and slavery practiced outside of Israel may have treated slaves as less than human and it was therefore immoral. But in Israel slaves were guaranteed certain human rights that God commanded.

Attack #2 against Slavery

“Even if Israel treated their slaves more kindly they still were treated as less than human because they did not have equal rights and were not free. All adult humans must have equal rights including full autonomy.”

Wrong – God is the one who grants our rights and while he has guaranteed certain human rights to all – he did not guarantee an equal amount of rights to all. It is not immoral, or treating someone as less than human to give some people more rights than others if we are following God’s Law in doing so.

I promised at the beginning of this post to give you the link to my series on Biblical Polygamy as this and slavery are often used together to attack Biblical morality.

Here is the series “Why Polygamy is not unBiblical part 1”