Marriage: Civil Contract or Holy Covenant?

Jerald Finney
Born Again Believer and Attorney at Law
Copyright © April 10, 2020

God ordained marriage in the Garden of Eden, prior to the fall (Jesus, in Mt. 19:3-6 EN [i], quotes and explains Ge. 2:23-24 EN [ii]). Like all things, God created marriage for His pleasure (Re. 4:11 EN [iii]). God desires that marriage be holy, set apart to the service and worship of God. Marriage is a covenant, established by God, between a man, a woman, and God. God is to be the controlling party.

Marriage is also a picture of the relationship of Christ and His church (See, for full explanation, Christ, the Head/Husband/Bridegroom of His churches, and Christ-Church-Husband-Wife, Bridegroom-bride). God, in His Word, lays out all matters concerning the marriage relationship. Of course, the man or the woman, according to their God-given free will, can rebel and dishonor the covenant. Anytime that happens, bad consequences come to the man, the woman, and any children born to the marriage.

God ordained civil government, man ruling over man under God, at the flood (Ge. 9:5-6 EN [iv]; See also, for a Bible study on the four God-ordained governments, The Biblical Doctrine of Government). He ordained civil government to provide direct control over those who commit crimes against others. Civil government is to be the minister of God for good, and as a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. (Ro. 13:3-5, 9 EN [v]).

God never gave civil government jurisdiction over marriage, yet, in the “common law” which traces its roots to Protestantism and Catholicism, marriage was treated as a civil contract. America adopted the common law treatment of marriage. EN [vi]. Early on, even the first dictionary published in America gave one definition of “CONTRACT” as “The act by which a man and woman are betrothed, each to the other” (AMERICAN DICTIONARY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE, NOAH WEBSTER (1828)). Compare that with the covenant marriage of a man and woman under God. Contract is a humanistic or enlightenment principle which has been used to attack and destroy, among other things, the God ordained institutions of marriage, family, church, and state:

  • “The idea of government remaining neutral over values coincided with the use of contract law as a means of restructuring society. Contract law accords the individuals to any bargain the right to assert their own goals, values, and priorities. The law enforces the bargain, not the values contained in it. Yet implicitly, contract law enforces individualism over communitarianism by its refusal to impose a communitarian ethic upon contracting parties” (Mark Douglas McGarvie, One Nation Under Law: America’s Early National Struggles to Separate Church and State (DeKalb, Illinois: Northern Illinois University Press, 2005), p. 86).

4The contract clause of Article I, Section 10 of the United States Constitution has been used by civil government to control and destroy the two basic institutions ordained by God—the family and the church—and the two types of marriages—the marriage of a man and a woman and the marriage of Christ and His church. The contract clause applies Satanic principles in dealing with those marriages. How? To answer succinctly, contract law leaves God and His principles out of the equation.

Under contract law, two or more equal persons, alone and without God and His principles, supposedly, but not actually, form a contract of marriage as opposed to a biblical covenant in which God is an active party. Under contract law, a marriage is an agreement between two equal people with equal voices. Violation of the contract allows one or both parties to petition the sovereign state, the controlling party of the contract, for a divorce. Originally in America, civil law and courts reflected, to a great degree, Bible principles for marriage and divorce. That was changed. Today, no violation of terms is needed—the state has provided for “no-fault” divorce. Thus, a spouse can petition the state for a divorce for no reason at all.

Under contract law, the family is treated as a democracy in which all members of a family, including the children, are to be equal, with equal rights and equal voices. Innumerable numbers of good parents get caught up in state programs which teach “child abuse prevention.” These programs mix some truth with a lot of error. The overall effect is Satanic. For example, “[in] 1987 in Texas, DHS [Department of Human Services] investigated 63,204 reports of suspected child abuse and neglect. Investigators confirmed physical abuse of 14,177 children”  (“Child Abuse Prevention Program” Manual, p. 6, used by the Austin Stress Clinic, Austin, Texas, in the mid-1990s).

The author handled two cases, in the mid-1990s, in which two Christian mothers were not only forced to take part in state indoctrination programs, but also were charged with criminal injury to a child, a third degree felony, for spanking their children with a switch on the behind. Both cases were successfully resolved, by the grace of God, without the children being permanently taken, but both parents suffered extreme stress at the prospect of going to prison and possibly losing their children. One case went to criminal trial. God gave the victory. The jury found the accused “not guilty,” but the injustice of her having to go through such an ordeal was tragic.  In neither of those cases did any abuse occur when judged from a biblical perspective. Yet those mothers were forced by civil law, “family law,” to go through Satanic counseling. Of the approximately 50,000 investigations that resulted in no confirmation of physical abuse in 1987 in Texas, one may safely assume that almost all or all of those parents had to take counseling ordered by the state.

Those forced to take such counseling are taught, among other things:

  • “In order to deal more effectively with the stresses in your life, you will need to have a plan for replacing physical discipline with more positive behaviors…. It hurts to get hit. When someone hits you, you learn that it is OK to hurt other people…. Children who are physically disciplined are more aggressive than other children. Violent criminals in prison have a much higher incidence of physical abuse and cruel punishment as children by their parents than the population in general…. When children see violence, they believe that violence is a way to resolve differences/problems…. CAPP staff believes that any form of violence and especially physical discipline have no place in raising children. They must be eliminated from your life. This may mean a drastic change in the way you think and how you discipline your kids…. Hitting children and causing them pain teaches children to be afraid of parents rather than to respect them…. Spanking may stop misbehavior for a while, but in time it loses its effect as a way to control behavior. Spanking may relieve a parent’s anger, but most parents feel guilty afterward. Some children learn to use that guilt to get all sorts of privileges after a spanking. As you can see, there are many reasons to stop abuse and physical discipline” (Ibid., pp. 3, 6, 8).
  • “Times have definitely changed since we were growing up as children. Most of us accepted our parents’ rules and orders without question. We just did what they told us to do. If we didn’t, we could probably expect a spanking. Why are things different now? Why do our kids challenge us with ‘NO’ and ‘WHY’ so effectively? And why can’t our response simply be ‘because I said so’ or a spanking?
  • “We may need to look at how society has changed since we’ve grown up to get some answers to our questions.
  • “When most of us were growing up, society had an order to how it operated. The president ruled the country, men were the heads of the households, whites and people of color were segregated, and fathers were disciplinarians. People did not question the ‘order’ of things. If they did, they were told to stay in line…. “While we called it a democratic society, in many ways the majority of people (people of color, women, and children) were ruled by a minority (mostly white men). This is not really a democracy.
  • “[Movements mentioned that changed things.] Children also benefited from these movements. For centuries, children had been considered the property of their parents. They were supposed to respect their elders and follow their orders without question. Parents’ wishes were enforced through physical force. Children were often hurt both physically and emotionally by this….
  • “With the empowerment of other groups came questions about the rights of children. Laws about physical discipline and abuse were made. Children were no longer considered just ‘property’ but members of a democratic family with certain rights.
  • “How does a democratic family work? First and foremost, both parents and children are considered equal. They are considered equal in terms of individual worth and dignity. Both child and parent are entitled to receive love and respect. Thus, each must treat the other with love and respect.
  • “Secondly, in a democratic family, each person has a responsibility to make decisions for him/herself (within appropriate limits) and then to be accountable for the decisions that they make….
  • “Having a democratic family means taking more time to make decisions, encouraging opinions and listening to them, showing appreciation for good things people do, showing respect for personal territory, and showing interest and support for things that are important in people’s lives. It also means sharing power. But the end result is good: people feeling better about themselves and being able to ask for what they want appropriately.”

(“Child Abuse Prevention Program” Manual, p. 8-9, used by the Austin Stress Clinic, Austin, Texas, in the mid-1990s. The author still has a copy of this manual in his files.).

Any true Christian who is knowledgeable in Bible principles can readily discern the Satanic principles in the above excerpts. Some truth is injected in a lot of false conclusory statements. Issues having nothing to do with discipline of children and the operation of a family are misconstrued, exaggerated, and inappropriately applied. Behind all this is a total lack of understanding of the nature of man and the applicability of the principles of the Sovereign, which, when properly understood and applied, bring positive consequences. Unfortunately, the human instruments who teach these concepts have been duped by a being whose goal is being realized in America. That goal is the removal of God and His Word from society, destruction of God’s crowning creation, man, both temporally and eternally, and destruction of all of God’s institutions: marriage, family, church, and civil government.

Although God has given civil government no jurisdiction over marriage, civil government has assumed jurisdiction, with the willing participation of many pastors. When a man and a woman enter a state ordained marriage, or when the members of a church incorporate the church, they enter into a contract under and with the state and come under the jurisdiction of the civil government.

A civil contract of marriage allegedly gives the state jurisdiction over the marriage; but effectively, God is involved in any marriage, whether man recognizes it or not. Any marriage involves a covenant which includes a man, a woman, and God. All marriages are spiritual unions under God—the problem comes when one forgets or fails to understand and apply this.

God’s rules always apply, whether civil government and/or man recognize them or not. Lies, false definitions, and Satanic principles do not change truth. “O praise the LORD, all ye nations: praise him, all ye people. For his merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the LORD endureth for ever. Praise ye the LORD” (Ps. 117.1-2). God joins a man and woman no matter what civil government declares. Neither man nor civil law can destroy that spiritual union, although civil law and the man and/or woman can ignore or be ignorant of that aspect of marriage and physically divide the union. That is, a wife and/or husband can separate and secure a divorce from civil government, but God recognizes no such divorce as destroying the spiritual union which He created.

“But I [Jesus] 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” (Mt. 5.32; see also, Mt. 19.9). “And he [Jesus] saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her” (Mk. 10.11). “And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery” (Mk. 10.12). “Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery” (Lu. 16.18).

9In a civil government marriage ceremony, a pastor or other state recognized official proclaims the bride and groom to be husband and wife by the authority given him by the state and maybe also by the authority of God. How could it be that God gave him authority to conduct a marriage under the authority of the state or the state and God when the principles of each are diametrically opposed? God did not tell man (civil government), “you have authority to institute marriage less than, coequal, or above my authority to join man and woman in marriage.” God told man (civil government) not to put asunder “what God [not civil government or civil government and God] hath joined together.”

In any event, state officials, which sadly includes many pastors, have ignored God’s principles and erroneously declared man and woman to be husband and wife by the authority of the state and God. If the contract of marriage is performed by a pastor who acts by the authority of both the state and God, even should the form of the ceremony and vows be somewhat in line with biblical principle, a marriage based upon a blend of Godly and satanic principles has been initiated. The pastor of that ceremony hands the authority over that marriage to the state and places the marriage and subsequent family under the Satanic principles of the state. Many were married in this manner, including this author, before they learned these truths.

The ultimate fruition of the application of contract law to marriage is being seen in today’s American society even among “Christians” in high divorce rates, high percentages of people who just “shack up,” and in the ultimate assault by Satan—the redefinition of marriage to include the union of two of the same sex (See, OBERGEFELL ET AL. v. HODGES, DIRECTOR, OHIO DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, ET AL (June 26, 2015); See also, The Proper Response by believers and churches to Obergefell, the United States Supreme Court same sex marriage decision.). Civil government is taking the nation toward an American Sodom and Gomorrah. This ultimate result, which is to be followed by the wrath of God, came about because men “hold the truth in unrighteousness” (Ro. 1.18) and was foretold in God’s Word:

  • ”Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.  For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;  Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:  Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them” (Ro. 1.21-32).

Of course, even though civil government now defines marriage in such a way as to allow the union of two men or two women or any other combination except one man and one woman, such unions are not marriage. God defined marriage in His Word, and that definition cannot be nullified by human law.

In conclusion, the contract clause has been used to attack marriage of a man and a woman and the marriage of Christ and His churches (See, Church Corporate/501(c)(3) Status: Union of Church and State). Like man and woman as husband and wife, Christ and a church, as Husband and wife, are one flesh: “For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bone” (Ep. 5.29-30). Any time man deviates from God’s principles, the slide down toward the moral cesspool has begun. As to both types of marriage, all, except for God’s remnant, practice and teach Satan’s  principles ((See, Satan orchestrates the world system).

Note. Family law regarding marriage and divorce vary widely from state to state. Some states, like Texas, still honor “common law” marriage; that is, no marriage license from the state is required. Other states do not honor such marriages and many inflict criminal penalties on a pastor or anyone who performs a marriage without a state license. In fact, a Bible honoring marriage has no officiant . However, in those states which do not recognize common law marriage, employer provided insurance will not cover the wife unless the couple lived in and claimed common law marriage in another state before moving to the non-common law marriage state.


Endnotes

EN [i] Matthew 19:3-9 “The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.”

EN [ii] Genesis 2:23-24:  “And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.  Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”

EN [iii] Revelation 4:11 “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.”

EN [iv] Genesis 9:5-6 “And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man’s brother will I require the life of man. Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.”

EN [v] Romans 13:3-5, 9 “For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. … For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”

EN [vi] WEBSTER’S 1828 DICTIONARY DEFINITION OF MARRIAGE: “The act of uniting a man and woman for life; wedlock; the legal union of a man and woman for life. marriage is a contract both civil and religious, by which the parties engage to live together in mutual affection and fidelity, till death shall separate them. marriage was instituted by God himself for the purpose of preventing the promiscuous intercourse of the sexes, for promoting domestic felicity, and for securing the maintenance and education of children.” Catholicism and Protestantism support union of church and state. The ideal for both was church and state working together, the state to be an arm of the state church. The “church” handled the religious part, and the state the legal part.