Some weighty religious authorities decide to test Jesus. If a man no longer looks with favor upon his wife, may he divorce her? (Mark 10:2).
As Jesus often does when confronted by others, he asks them what the Bible says. Alluding to Deuteronomy 24:1-4, they say, accurately enough, that Moses does allow a man to divorce his wife. To do so, a man simply needs to write a statement to that effect, give it to his wife, and send her away.
Venus is the goddess of self-centered, what’s-in-it-for-me, love. By her standards, we marry and divorce to our advantage. Do we find some young thing attractive for her beauty, wealth, or connections? We marry her. Is she now ugly, dull, or more irritating than not? Have we simply gotten all we can out of her? We get rid of her. Venus applauds our good sense. So do our weighty religious authorities.
Jesus looks at things differently. He even asserts that Moses looks at things differently. He too quotes Moses but chooses words from Genesis: “God created man in his own image…male and female” (1:27, English Standard Version) and “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (2:24, ESV). Yes, Jesus replies, Moses allows divorce—but only because of the hard-heartedness of our Olympian personalities. Unlike false Venus, however, true God does not regard marriage primarily as a means to an end; that is, as a relationship of convenience for the man. Rather, God always intended marriage to be a commitment, between a man and a woman, to mutual self-giving nurture and protection.
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