Monday, July 26, 2010

A.A. Hodge on Marriage

Look what I just read from A.A. Hodge in his commentary (1869) on the Westminster Confession-

Marriage was ordained of God, and is therefore a divine institution. This is so -- (1.) Because God created man male and female, and so constituted them, physically and morally, that they are mutually adapted to each other and are mutually helpful to each other under the law of marriage, and not otherwise; and (2.) Because the law of marriage, the conditions of its contract, continuance and dissolution, are laid down in the Word of God.

Hence it follows that marriage is a religious as well as a civil contract. No State has any right to change the law of marriage, or the conditions upon which it, may be lawfully constituted or dissolved, as these have been ordained by God. Neither has any man or woman a right to contract any relation different in any respect, as to its character or duration, from that which God has ordained as marriage. Hence marriage is a human contract under the limits and sanctions of a divine constitution, and the parties contracting pledge their vows of truth and constancy to God as well as to each other and to society.

But it is also a civil contract, because every State is bound to protect the foundations upon which social order reposes, and every marriage involves many obvious civil obligations and leads to many civil consequences touching property, the custody of children, etc. The State must therefore define the nature and civil effects of marriage, and prescribe conditions upon which and modes in which it shall be publicly acknowledged and ratified or dissolved. It is of the highest importance that the laws of the State do not contravene the laws of God upon this subject, but be made in all respects to conform to them.


Bill Burns said...

I'd be interested, given their relatively contemporaneous lives, how much, or if at all, Hodge's views expressed here could be said to been influenced by the thinking of Kuyper with regard to the state.

Any? Hodge was more than a decade older than Kuyper, but Kuyper's position would have made him more high-profile, and so maybe arguably more influential.

Of course, none of this is to say whether Hodge is right or wrong... ;0)

Woody Woodward said...

Obviously Hodge never had the opportunity to meet the far superior, progressive, highly advanced thinking elitist that heads up the Democratic party.

lance said...

Of course if we took his comment seriously then perhaps the Church would need to be just as concerned about no-fault divorce as it is about same sex marriage. While government is in the process of changing the terms for entering into marriage, it long ago cast away any meaningful limits on dissolving a marriage, with hardly a whisper of protest from the Church as far as I can tell.

Reepicheep said...

Excellent and tragic point Lance.