Divorce and the Divine Romance

7 thoughts on “Divorce and the Divine Romance”

  1. The biblical model of romantic love – often seen as an allegory for the relationship between Christ and the Church – is very sensual, in addition to being somewhat fraught and painful, and also joyous and full of scenes and expressions of enjoyment: Song of Songs. Life is certainly hard, and sin corrupts enjoyment of our salvation, but is the crucifixion truly the more significant metaphor for Christian life than the empty tomb? Aren’t they equally significant, being part of the entirety of Christ’s life and ministry on earth?

    And Jesus only died once. Jesus only died once! While we may meditate on the crucifixion whenever we like, and to our spiritual and moral benefit, he’s not perpetually up there dying (except maybe philosophically), and putting ourselves through constant emotional turmoil – in faith or in marriage – is not consistent with most readings of the gospel. Quite the opposite, I think. Read Romans 8 (all of it), for example: “The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace” (Romans 8:6). Even the night he was betrayed, Jesus told his disciples, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me” (John 14:1). And the fruit of the Spirit (that is, the nature of God) is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control… not perpetual agony, stoicism, and self-sacrifice in the face of cruelty and infidelity.

    Also, I do not understand why Christians persist in framing humanity’s depravity as fundamentally something that’s God’s problem – either torturing ourselves for having hurt poor, nice God’s sense of propriety, as though he were a beat-down and hysterical mama with smelling salts in her purse, or resenting having broken scary, mean God’s arbitrary rules, as though we were writhing under the discipline of a strict daddy who hates shirts that show more than a hint of cleavage and that sexy rock-and-roll music. Sin is that which truly harms us and others. Sin harms us. It’s a problem… for us.

    The Incarnation was a wake-up call and an act and offer of salvation, not a cosmic guilt-trip.

  2. Though it is true Jeremiah 3:8 says “[God] gave faithless Israel her certificate of divorce,” it is important to look at the context surrounding the verse. Israel, not the Lord, asked for the divorce by worshiping false idols . However, God then tells Israel in verse 12 that if they return to Him, He would accept them back, which was the point that Eric was making, in my opinion. He tells Israel in verse 14 that He is still their husband; this ‘divorce’ was not a permanent separation from God, because it would only last as long as the people continued to reject Him. The Lord was not the one who broke His promise to the people – it was the people that broke their promises to the Lord.

  3. Hi Laura, I agree with your point entirely that the resurrection is just as important (perhaps even more important) than the crucifixion. I mean, it shows that not only did Jesus die for us, but he also rose to show that he is God who conquered death and that we, too, can be resurrected after dying to our sins! I had no intention to belittle the significance of the third day. But for the purpose of this article, I wanted to focus more on the crucifixion and the pain Christ endured for us. Thank you for clarifying the other side of the story.

    As for your second point, I understand your assertion that we shouldn’t be guilt tripping ourselves since Jesus has already risen and the Spirit gives us comfort. However, it is necessary that we remember the agony on the Cross because it exemplifies how horrible our sins are. That’s one of the steps toward repentance–to understand the extent of our sins and that someone else carried them for us. Yes, Jesus only died once, but we can’t forget that he did in fact, die, and that the grace in which we rejoice through the blessings of the Spirit was costly. But in alignment with your argument, we must not stop there. The next step toward repentance is to understand that he lives! And to turn our remorse into praise, thanksgiving, and a commitment to him who loved us and continues to do so.

    Once we have made this commitment, we have also entered into a relationship with God, which addresses your last point. Sin does indeed harm us. Can’t argue with that. But does it stop there? When one loves another, any pain or harm that one experiences also hurts the other. Since we are in a loving relationship with God, when he sees us hurting ourselves through our sins, doesn’t it hurt him, too? The day we told God we loved him was also the day we vowed to be his, to keep his commandments, and to give him praise and glory. If we eschew sin only because it hurts us, we love ourselves before God, and we show that there is no relationship of intimacy between God and us.

  4. Hi Paul, I remembering reading the verse you brought up as I was writing this post, and frankly, I was a bit thrown off by it, but my take on it is similar to Wesleigh’s—that God did not forever “divorce” her but instead continued to woo her back.
    Wesleigh’s explanation is much better and clearer than what I had in mind, though.

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