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Author Topic: A Marriage Made In Heaven  (Read 3191 times) Average Rating: 0
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Justin Kissel
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« on: May 01, 2010, 10:54:02 PM »

"I have given her in marriage to seven men, all of whom were kinsmen of ours, and all died on the very night they approached her. But now, son, eat and drink. I am sure the Lord will look after you both." Tobiah answered, "I will eat or drink nothing until you set aside what belongs to me." Raguel said to him: "I will do it. She is yours according to the decree of the Book of Moses. Your marriage to her has been decided in heaven! Take your kinswoman; from now on you are her love, and she is your beloved. She is yours today and ever after." - Tob. 7:11

I have two questions that I'm curious about...

1) Are marriages really made in heaven? Does someone have a person that they are supposed to be with according to God's plan?

2) Does the marriage bond, in some fashion, stay for eternity?

I'm assuming that a passage like Matt. 22:23-32 is going to come into play in this conversation, but to what extent? to what end?

"The same day came to him the Sadducees, which say that there is no resurrection, and asked him, Saying, Master, Moses said, If a man die, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother. Now there were with us seven brethren: and the first, when he had married a wife, deceased, and, having no issue, left his wife unto his brother: Likewise the second also, and the third, unto the seventh. And last of all the woman died also. Therefore in the resurrection whose wife shall she be of the seven? for they all had her. Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven. But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living."
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« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2010, 11:12:23 PM »

1) Are marriages really made in heaven? Does someone have a person that they are supposed to be with according to God's plan?
I'm not sure how credible I am on this subject, since I've never been married, but this idea that there's one special someone that God has set aside for me seems to me to be nothing more than a nice, romantic notion with no basis in reality or in Church doctrine.
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« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2010, 12:42:03 AM »

1) Are marriages really made in heaven? Does someone have a person that they are supposed to be with according to God's plan?
I'm not sure how credible I am on this subject, since I've never been married, but this idea that there's one special someone that God has set aside for me seems to me to be nothing more than a nice, romantic notion with no basis in reality or in Church doctrine.

Fair enough, you may be right. Any thoughts on the other question? I'm sure we've discussed this before, but I don't recall coming away with an answer--or at least one that I remember.
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« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2010, 01:13:18 AM »

My answer to both would be no. Certainly, it is God's action in the marriage service, but before and after that, it's very much in the hands of the two people preparing for marriage and living a married life. If there were only one person for you to marry, and that person left or died, then there would be no need for second marriages (not that the Holy Fathers were all that enthusiastic about second marriages in the first place, but even so).

As for the eternality of marriage, there is a lot of misunderstanding. St. Gregory of Nyssa and others, not to forget the Lord Himself, say that in Heaven they are like the angels of God. So, the relationship between a husband and wife will be like that of Adam and Eve before the fall--not carnal. So, to the extent that the state of marriage, being a path to salvation blessed by God, is carnal in this world, it will not be in the next. What does that specifically mean? Will there still be special relationships in Heaven? I don't see why not. But I would conjecture that our relationship with each other there will be free of the various dividing lines which we live with here. We would all be one family. There would be no "other." That is my thought.
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« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2010, 03:49:58 AM »

So, the relationship between a husband and wife will be like that of Adam and Eve before the fall--not carnal. So, to the extent that the state of marriage, being a path to salvation blessed by God, is carnal in this world, it will not be in the next.
If by "not carnal" you mean they didn't have marital relations, that's debatable, as this thread should show:  Was There Sex Prior to the Fall?
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« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2010, 04:07:51 AM »

1) Are marriages really made in heaven? Does someone have a person that they are supposed to be with according to God's plan?
I'm not sure how credible I am on this subject, since I've never been married, but this idea that there's one special someone that God has set aside for me seems to me to be nothing more than a nice, romantic notion with no basis in reality or in Church doctrine.
Consult the Book of Tobit.
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« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2010, 06:09:19 AM »

Fwiw, I just came across the following quote...

"But she who was given by God to my father became not only, as is less wonderful, his assistant, but even his leader, drawing him on by her influence in deed and word to the highest excellence; judging it best in all other respects to be overruled by her husband according to the law of marriage, but not being ashamed, in regard of piety, even to offer herself as his teacher." - St. Gregory the Theologian, Oration 18, 8
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« Reply #7 on: May 02, 2010, 09:37:29 AM »

1) Are marriages really made in heaven? Does someone have a person that they are supposed to be with according to God's plan?
I'm not sure how credible I am on this subject, since I've never been married, but this idea that there's one special someone that God has set aside for me seems to me to be nothing more than a nice, romantic notion with no basis in reality or in Church doctrine.
Consult the Book of Tobit.

Agree.  I believe that God, who bestows all blessings, will also bestow upon His servants a spouse (a Godly spouse is the highest of our Earthly blessings).  At least for those whom He ordains to be married.  Not all are called for marriage.  As with all of God's blessings, what we do with them is up to us.  I believe that it is clear in the Scriptures that a man is to be the husband of one wife.  In addition, the Church has made it clear that only one marriage is to be allowed.  The other two "services of repentance", as with Moses' divorce instructions, are due to our sin and weakness, not because God does not have a plan for us.  I know with absolute certainty that my wife was chosen for me by God, and after 28 years of marriage, I'll take my reality over those who have not been so blessed.  I am too old for "romantic notions".
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« Reply #8 on: May 02, 2010, 02:18:15 PM »

1) Are marriages really made in heaven? Does someone have a person that they are supposed to be with according to God's plan?
I'm not sure how credible I am on this subject, since I've never been married, but this idea that there's one special someone that God has set aside for me seems to me to be nothing more than a nice, romantic notion with no basis in reality or in Church doctrine.
Consult the Book of Tobit.
But why do you think we're supposed to use that specific story as the foundation for some doctrine that this is how God always works?
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« Reply #9 on: May 02, 2010, 02:26:20 PM »

And if the marriage is made in heaven, does that mean that all these divorced couples are divorced because they married the wrong person? And how are you to know if the person you marry is the person God wants you to marry?

Do they come with a special seal that says "Heaven Approved"?  Wink  Cheesy
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« Reply #10 on: May 02, 2010, 05:08:28 PM »

1) Are marriages really made in heaven? Does someone have a person that they are supposed to be with according to God's plan?
I'm not sure how credible I am on this subject, since I've never been married, but this idea that there's one special someone that God has set aside for me seems to me to be nothing more than a nice, romantic notion with no basis in reality or in Church doctrine.
Consult the Book of Tobit.
But why do you think we're supposed to use that specific story as the foundation for some doctrine that this is how God always works?

God's hand in the choosing of a mate is all over the Bible, starting with the creation of Eve from the rib of Adam.  You can use whatever you want as your foundation.  Some of us still use the Bible.
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« Reply #11 on: May 02, 2010, 05:34:10 PM »

From the Coptic perspective, the passage in Matthew was in answer to those who use marriage not in the same sense as the Christian marriage, for marriage was mostly property rights.  In Christian marriage (at least in the Coptic Church) man and woman resembles the eternal relationship of Christ and the Church.  If man or woman were to go through a second marriage by the Church, there is no crowning ceremony, but merely a consecration of the unity between man and woman.

But for those who marry the first time, there is a crowning ceremony, and the husband puts on the priestly robe as the priest of the house "Church" he is to be in charge of, and the charge of the eternal unity (in Coptic marriages, there is no "until death do us part").  So it's as if there was an ordination, a consecration of a Church, and a heavenly marriage ceremony all in one service.  Therefore, Coptic marriages are a powerful concept, and it's not mere marriage.  You are united here and in heaven.  For there is no death in the beliefs of the Coptic Church, but a departure.

Just as a priest is a priest forever even in heaven, so is the married married forever.
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« Reply #12 on: May 02, 2010, 08:27:10 PM »

So, the relationship between a husband and wife will be like that of Adam and Eve before the fall--not carnal. So, to the extent that the state of marriage, being a path to salvation blessed by God, is carnal in this world, it will not be in the next.
If by "not carnal" you mean they didn't have marital relations, that's debatable, as this thread should show:  Was There Sex Prior to the Fall?

Well, it's debatable only insofar as there are people who choose to disagree with the teaching of the Fathers.
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« Reply #13 on: May 02, 2010, 08:36:24 PM »

1) Are marriages really made in heaven? Does someone have a person that they are supposed to be with according to God's plan?
I'm not sure how credible I am on this subject, since I've never been married, but this idea that there's one special someone that God has set aside for me seems to me to be nothing more than a nice, romantic notion with no basis in reality or in Church doctrine.
Consult the Book of Tobit.
But why do you think we're supposed to use that specific story as the foundation for some doctrine that this is how God always works?

God's hand in the choosing of a mate is all over the Bible, starting with the creation of Eve from the rib of Adam.  You can use whatever you want as your foundation.  Some of us still use the Bible.
And yet, why is it necessary to articulate a doctrine that God has set aside a single person to be my mate (assuming, merely for the sake of this example, that I am to marry), even if I do use the Bible as the foundation for this doctrine?  God's hand is certainly seen over the many mate selections we see in the Bible (e.g., Isaac and Rebekah, Jacob and Rachel, Ruth and Boaz, etc.), but the story is so different each time.  Are we to read from these biblical examples proof for some pointless romantic doctrine of mate selection?  Why do we even need such a doctrine?
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« Reply #14 on: May 02, 2010, 08:37:46 PM »

So, the relationship between a husband and wife will be like that of Adam and Eve before the fall--not carnal. So, to the extent that the state of marriage, being a path to salvation blessed by God, is carnal in this world, it will not be in the next.
If by "not carnal" you mean they didn't have marital relations, that's debatable, as this thread should show:  Was There Sex Prior to the Fall?

Well, it's debatable only insofar as there are people who choose to disagree with the teaching of the Fathers.
Yes, we've discussed this before, along with the fallacies in your approach to the Fathers.  Let's not discuss that subject again here.
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« Reply #15 on: May 02, 2010, 09:04:15 PM »

So, the relationship between a husband and wife will be like that of Adam and Eve before the fall--not carnal. So, to the extent that the state of marriage, being a path to salvation blessed by God, is carnal in this world, it will not be in the next.
If by "not carnal" you mean they didn't have marital relations, that's debatable, as this thread should show:  Was There Sex Prior to the Fall?

Well, it's debatable only insofar as there are people who choose to disagree with the teaching of the Fathers.
Yes, we've discussed this before, along with the fallacies in your approach to the Fathers.

What fallacy? Believing them?

Quote
Let's not discuss that subject again here.

Why not? It's relevant to the present topic and the old thread is locked.
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« Reply #16 on: May 02, 2010, 09:30:01 PM »

1) Are marriages really made in heaven? Does someone have a person that they are supposed to be with according to God's plan?
I'm not sure how credible I am on this subject, since I've never been married, but this idea that there's one special someone that God has set aside for me seems to me to be nothing more than a nice, romantic notion with no basis in reality or in Church doctrine.
Consult the Book of Tobit.
But why do you think we're supposed to use that specific story as the foundation for some doctrine that this is how God always works?

God's hand in the choosing of a mate is all over the Bible, starting with the creation of Eve from the rib of Adam.  You can use whatever you want as your foundation.  Some of us still use the Bible.
And yet, why is it necessary to articulate a doctrine that God has set aside a single person to be my mate (assuming, merely for the sake of this example, that I am to marry), even if I do use the Bible as the foundation for this doctrine?  God's hand is certainly seen over the many mate selections we see in the Bible (e.g., Isaac and Rebekah, Jacob and Rachel, Ruth and Boaz, etc.), but the story is so different each time.  Are we to read from these biblical examples proof for some pointless romantic doctrine of mate selection?  Why do we even need such a doctrine?

Not to mention Proverbs 19:14 and others.  Not sure why there is a need to reject it.  As you very accurately state, perhaps it is not God's will that you marry at all, but that you seek an even higher calling.  And simply acknowledging that God would choose a mate for you (if it is His will that you marry) does not limit the available choices to a single person out of the six billion people in the world.  How is submitting yourself to the will of God in this matter pointless?  Should this not be the goal of every Christian?  I really do not understand where you are coming from.
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« Reply #17 on: May 02, 2010, 09:35:15 PM »

The thoughts of St. John Chrysostom on this aspect of marriage...

Quote
Just as Christ will be married to His Church eternally in unbroken continuity, with each believer experiencing the unity of his marriage with Christ more and more in Heaven, so too a Christian marriage is meant to last forever, accrording to Chrysostom and the Tradition within which he lived. [108] He often reminded widows of this fact as he encouraged them to remain true to their husbands by not marrying again. For example, in his Letter to a Young Widow, he writes:

"But if you wish to behold him face to face (for this I know is what you specially long for) keep your bed in his honour sacred from the touch of any other man, and do your best to manifest a life like his, and then assuredly you shall depart one day to join the same company with him, not to dwell with him for five years as you did here, nor for 20, or 100, nor for a thousand or twice that number but for infinite and endless ages." [109]

In one of his famous marriage sermons, Chrysostom imagines a new bridgegrood speaking to his bride in this way:

"I fell in with the excellence of your soul, which I value above all gold. For a young damsel who is discreet and ingenuous, and whose heart is set on piety, is worth the whole world. For these reasons then, I courted you, and I love you, and prefer you to my own soul. For the present life is nothing. And I pray, and beseech, and do all I can, that we may be counted worthy so to live this present life, as that we may be able also there in the world to come to be united to one another in perfect security. For our time here is brief and fleeting. But if we shall be counted worthy by having pleased God to so exchange this life for that one, then shall we ever be both with Christ and with each other, with more abundant pleasure." [110]

He closes his Letter to a Young Widow with these words, as he exhorts her to imitate the virtue and godliness of her deceased husband:

"Wherefore desisting from mourning and lamentation do thou hold on to the same way of life as his, yea even let it be more exact, that having speedily attained an equal standard of virtue with him, you may inhabit the same abode and be united to him again through the everlasting ages, not in this union of marriage but another far better. For this is only a bodily kind of intercourse, but then there will be a union of soul with soul more perfect, and of a far more delightful and far nobler kind." [111]

His dearly held ideal of a one-per-lifetime, eternally lasting marriage, however, does not lead Chrysostom to diminish the goodness or value of second marriages, or at least not to the extent that some Western theologians did so.... he greatly praises any widow who resists the temptation to remarry, and stays true to her deceased husband. [114]

Yet he still neer disparages second marriages as being inherently evil, even in these early works: "I repeate that I do not say these things wishing to condemn those women who refuse to remain widows." [115] And in his later writings his tone is more moderate, as he realistically faces the fact that many widows of his congregation, especially younger ones, simply do not have the determination, or the desire, to remain widowed...


[108] Here we see another difference between the Eastern and Western approaches to Christianity. Jerome, for example, states that "marriage indeed must end in death" (Letters XXII, NPNF 2, VI, p. 29). In contrast to Protestant and Roman Catholic wedding services, the Orthodox marriage service does not have the words "till death do us part." Rather, the priest prays to God to "receive their crowns into Thy Kingdom, preserving them spotless, blameless, and without reproach, unto ages of ages."

[109] Letter to a Young Widow.3, SC 138, pp. 128-130 (NPNF 1, IX, p. 123). See also Homily LXIX on St. John, NPNF 1, XIV, p. 256 ("So if you put off all this vanity you shall have a double crown, wearing your crown and triumphing with your husband through those unalloyed ages"); and Homily VIII on I Thessalonians, which refers to men standing with their wives and children on the Day of Judgment (NPNF 1, XIII, p. 356).

[110] Homily XX on Ephesians, PG 62.446D-447A (NPNF 1, XIII, p. 151)...

[111] Letter to a Young Widow.7, SC 138, p. 158 (NPNF 1, IX, p. 128)...

[114] See his Letter to a Young Widow.2-3, SC 138, pp. 116-132 (NPNF 1, IX, pp. 122-124)...

[115] On Single Marriage.6, SC 138, p. 198

--David C. Ford, Women and Men in the Early Church: The Full Views of St. John Chrysostom, (St. Tikhon's Seminary Press, 1996), pp. 69-71
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« Reply #18 on: May 02, 2010, 09:47:47 PM »

The author says this is an "Eastern Orthodox" concept.  Is St. John Chrysostom the only one who mentions the eternality of marriage, or are their other fathers?
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« Reply #19 on: May 02, 2010, 09:57:23 PM »

1) Are marriages really made in heaven? Does someone have a person that they are supposed to be with according to God's plan?
I'm not sure how credible I am on this subject, since I've never been married, but this idea that there's one special someone that God has set aside for me seems to me to be nothing more than a nice, romantic notion with no basis in reality or in Church doctrine.
Consult the Book of Tobit.
But why do you think we're supposed to use that specific story as the foundation for some doctrine that this is how God always works?

God's hand in the choosing of a mate is all over the Bible, starting with the creation of Eve from the rib of Adam.  You can use whatever you want as your foundation.  Some of us still use the Bible.
And yet, why is it necessary to articulate a doctrine that God has set aside a single person to be my mate (assuming, merely for the sake of this example, that I am to marry), even if I do use the Bible as the foundation for this doctrine?  God's hand is certainly seen over the many mate selections we see in the Bible (e.g., Isaac and Rebekah, Jacob and Rachel, Ruth and Boaz, etc.), but the story is so different each time.  Are we to read from these biblical examples proof for some pointless romantic doctrine of mate selection?  Why do we even need such a doctrine?

Not to mention Proverbs 19:14 and others.  Not sure why there is a need to reject it.  As you very accurately state, perhaps it is not God's will that you marry at all, but that you seek an even higher calling.  And simply acknowledging that God would choose a mate for you (if it is His will that you marry) does not limit the available choices to a single person out of the six billion people in the world.  How is submitting yourself to the will of God in this matter pointless?  Should this not be the goal of every Christian?  I really do not understand where you are coming from.
And you won't as long as you keep assuming so much about me as to put words into my mouth.

I'm not rejecting any biblical doctrine on mate selection, if there really is one; I just question your apparent need to see such a doctrine in the Bible.  Like you, I also believe that God participates fully in every aspect of my life, including the selection of a mate, but I don't understand this to mean that He has chosen and reserved for me a single woman to be my wife.  I simply don't know, and I don't think the Bible makes anything clear on this.  All I care to know is the God-given wisdom for me to be able to know when the time is right in God's eyes for me to marry and to know how to choose a mate in a way that pleases God.

I also never said that submitting to the will of God in the matter of mate selection is pointless, so I'd like you to point out what you see in my words that supports your claim that I did.  The only thing I called pointless is the idea of dogmatizing the silly romantic notion that God has reserved one and only one woman for me to be my wife.
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« Reply #20 on: May 02, 2010, 10:01:48 PM »

The author says this is an "Eastern Orthodox" concept.  Is St. John Chrysostom the only one who mentions the eternality of marriage, or are their other fathers?

I'm not sure. The book is about St. John Chrysostom, and while he does do a brief overview of the beliefs of other Fathers on some topics, it's generally involving sexuality. The primary people that Mr. Ford was trying to refute were feminists, but he also spends time building a case that western and eastern fathers disagreed on matters sexual/marital. It's possible that other Fathers echo the thoughts of St. John, but I just don't know where to find those quotes.
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« Reply #21 on: May 02, 2010, 10:04:40 PM »

So, the relationship between a husband and wife will be like that of Adam and Eve before the fall--not carnal. So, to the extent that the state of marriage, being a path to salvation blessed by God, is carnal in this world, it will not be in the next.
If by "not carnal" you mean they didn't have marital relations, that's debatable, as this thread should show:  Was There Sex Prior to the Fall?

Well, it's debatable only insofar as there are people who choose to disagree with the teaching of the Fathers.
Yes, we've discussed this before, along with the fallacies in your approach to the Fathers.

What fallacy? Believing them?
No.  The fallacy of building a dogma on the foundation of a patristic consensus that has never been proven for this particular issue.

Quote
Let's not discuss that subject again here.

Why not? It's relevant to the present topic and the old thread is locked.
According to the OP, this discussion is about whether there is a specific person God has intended for each of us to marry and if the marriage bond is eternal.  If you can show us how belief that Adam and Eve didn't have sex before the fall is pertinent to this discussion, then go ahead and post your ideas here.  Otherwise, let's not turn this thread into yet another discussion about sex and whether our first couple got any before they fell.
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« Reply #22 on: May 02, 2010, 10:40:39 PM »

So, the relationship between a husband and wife will be like that of Adam and Eve before the fall--not carnal. So, to the extent that the state of marriage, being a path to salvation blessed by God, is carnal in this world, it will not be in the next.
If by "not carnal" you mean they didn't have marital relations, that's debatable, as this thread should show:  Was There Sex Prior to the Fall?

Well, it's debatable only insofar as there are people who choose to disagree with the teaching of the Fathers.
Yes, we've discussed this before, along with the fallacies in your approach to the Fathers.

What fallacy? Believing them?
No.  The fallacy of building a dogma on the foundation of a patristic consensus that has never been proven for this particular issue.

As I said before, I never dogmatized about this and have neither the power nor desire to do so. For instance, I don't consider you a heretic if you have a different perspective.

As for patristic consensus, the testimony of at least 7 of the greatest teachers of the Church is good enough.


Quote
If you can show us how belief that Adam and Eve didn't have sex before the fall is pertinent to this discussion, then go ahead and post your ideas here.  

Shanghaiski seems to think it was worth bringing up. Part of the OP was the question, "Does the marriage bond, in some fashion, stay for eternity?"

The Fathers seemed to answer in the negative, using the passage cited from Matthew. They also considered the Resurrection to be a restoration of the state of man in Paradise. That's what St. Gregory of Nyssa says here:
Quote
Now the resurrection promises us nothing else than the restoration of the fallen to their ancient state; for the grace we look for is a certain return to the first life, bringing back again to Paradise him who was cast out from it. If then the life of those restored is closely related to that of the angels, it is clear that the life before the transgression was a kind of angelic life, and hence also our return to the ancient condition of our life is compared to the angels. Yet while, as has been said, there is no marriage among them, the armies of the angels are in countless myriads; for so Daniel declared in his visions: so, in the same way, if there had not come upon us as the result of sin a change for the worse, and removal from equality with the angels, neither should we have needed marriage that we might multiply; but whatever the mode of increase in the angelic nature is (unspeakable and inconceivable by human conjectures, except that it assuredly exists), it would have operated also in the case of men, who were "made a little lower than the angels ," to increase mankind to the measure determined by its Maker."
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« Reply #23 on: May 02, 2010, 10:48:07 PM »

You say the "Church fathers affirm the negative," but you only sited one Church father, while another Church father, St. John Chrysostom affirmed the positive.
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« Reply #24 on: May 02, 2010, 11:03:29 PM »

You say the "Church fathers affirm the negative," but you only sited one Church father, while another Church father, St. John Chrysostom affirmed the positive.

If the above quotes from St. John Chrysostom really do affirm an eternal marriage (and I think David Ford is reading too much into the quotes), it's certainly not the same kind of marriage we experience on earth. St. John explicitly says it's not marriage:

"Wherefore desisting from mourning and lamentation do thou hold on to the same way of life as his, yea even let it be more exact, that having speedily attained an equal standard of virtue with him, you may inhabit the same abode and be united to him again through the everlasting ages, not in this union of marriage but another far better. For this is only a bodily kind of intercourse, but then there will be a union of soul with soul more perfect, and of a far more delightful and far nobler kind."

Also, St. John doesn't seem to indicate that this bond is exclusive in the way that earthly marriages are. After all, as I understand it, all humanity is drawn together in a tighter union in the heavenly kingdom.

And St. John, of course, is among the Fathers who consider sexual relations to be a result of the Fall.
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« Reply #25 on: May 02, 2010, 11:12:44 PM »

As for patristic consensus, the testimony of at least 7 of the greatest teachers of the Church is good enough.
Is it really?  To me, the testimony of at least seven of the greatest teachers of the Church is just that: the testimony of at least seven of those men whom we regard as the greatest teachers of the Church.  But does this prove unanimity?  And why we do regard them as the greatest?  Even assuming that we have good reason to regard them as the greatest, does this make their teaching infallible?

Quote
If you can show us how belief that Adam and Eve didn't have sex before the fall is pertinent to this discussion, then go ahead and post your ideas here.  

Shanghaiski seems to think it was worth bringing up. Part of the OP was the question, "Does the marriage bond, in some fashion, stay for eternity?"
So how is your belief relevant?

The Fathers seemed to answer in the negative, using the passage cited from Matthew. They also considered the Resurrection to be a restoration of the state of man in Paradise.
I'm sure some of them did, but I recall others arguing on this forum that some of the Fathers saw life after the Resurrection to be just as much greater than the pre-fallen life in Paradise as the pre-fallen life in Paradise is greater than the fallen life we live now.  I seem to remember in my reading of St. Irenaeus that this is what he believed.
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« Reply #26 on: May 02, 2010, 11:20:37 PM »

If the above quotes from St. John Chrysostom really do affirm an eternal marriage (and I think David Ford is reading too much into the quotes), it's certainly not the same kind of marriage we experience on earth. St. John explicitly says it's not marriage:

Maybe St. John was indeed just talking generally about all of us being together in heaven, with "all humanity is drawn together in a tighter union". It's possible. Nonetheless, I still think St. John's argument (on widows not remarrying) makes the most sense if the relationship between the married couple remains unique and special in heaven, and it's in that light that I would read his words.
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« Reply #27 on: May 02, 2010, 11:26:18 PM »

And St. John, of course, is among the Fathers who consider sexual relations to be a result of the Fall.
I've also read on this forum documented arguments that St. John's views of marriage and sexuality changed over the course of his life, that he had a more positive view of sexual relations toward the end of his life than he did in his youth.
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« Reply #28 on: May 02, 2010, 11:47:48 PM »

You say the "Church fathers affirm the negative," but you only sited one Church father, while another Church father, St. John Chrysostom affirmed the positive.

If the above quotes from St. John Chrysostom really do affirm an eternal marriage (and I think David Ford is reading too much into the quotes), it's certainly not the same kind of marriage we experience on earth. St. John explicitly says it's not marriage:

"Wherefore desisting from mourning and lamentation do thou hold on to the same way of life as his, yea even let it be more exact, that having speedily attained an equal standard of virtue with him, you may inhabit the same abode and be united to him again through the everlasting ages, not in this union of marriage but another far better. For this is only a bodily kind of intercourse, but then there will be a union of soul with soul more perfect, and of a far more delightful and far nobler kind."

Also, St. John doesn't seem to indicate that this bond is exclusive in the way that earthly marriages are. After all, as I understand it, all humanity is drawn together in a tighter union in the heavenly kingdom.

And St. John, of course, is among the Fathers who consider sexual relations to be a result of the Fall.

Well, I sense you're just turning this to a semantics game.  No where did I imply this was the same kind of marriage as we would experience on earth.  In fact, yes, eternity will be quite an experience.  I pray God has mercy on me to accept me among the saints, even if I were to be the last.  But yes, eternity is not the same as earthly experience, in any given situation, not just marriage.  There's no disagreement there.  Still, you have to concede the fact that St. John Chrysostom does advocate the eternity of marriage.  And you make quite a statement concerning "Church fathers" when you haven't even given your "seven best."
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« Reply #29 on: May 03, 2010, 01:11:15 PM »

Still, you have to concede the fact that St. John Chrysostom does advocate the eternity of marriage. 

Hmm? St. John says explicitly that the eternal bond is not marriage in the above quote.

Quote
And you make quite a statement concerning "Church fathers" when you haven't even given your "seven best."

You can find the "seven best" in the "Sex prior to the Fall thread" referenced above.
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« Reply #30 on: May 03, 2010, 01:13:04 PM »

I'm sure some of them did, but I recall others arguing on this forum that some of the Fathers saw life after the Resurrection to be just as much greater than the pre-fallen life in Paradise as the pre-fallen life in Paradise is greater than the fallen life we live now.  I seem to remember in my reading of St. Irenaeus that this is what he believed.

I think this is actually pretty generally accepted, even by the Fathers who extrapolated features of Paradise from the life to come. Yes, the resurrected life will be greater than the life in Paradise- it will have all the noble aspects of that pre-Fallen life and more.
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« Reply #31 on: May 03, 2010, 03:57:31 PM »

Still, you have to concede the fact that St. John Chrysostom does advocate the eternity of marriage.

Hmm? St. John says explicitly that the eternal bond is not marriage in the above quote.

Quote
And you make quite a statement concerning "Church fathers" when you haven't even given your "seven best."

You can find the "seven best" in the "Sex prior to the Fall thread" referenced above.

Why then would he ask the widow to "stay faithful" to her deceased husband?  It's one thing to say I will have a bond with all others in heaven, but am I also to "stay faithful" to them too in the same why I'm "faithful" with my spouse?

The "seven best" you give is from "sex prior to the Fall."  I'm asking for your "seven best" concerning this topic.  You said that the fathers affirm the negative, but you haven't given your "seven best" quotes.  You've only given one, St. Gregory of Nyssa.
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« Reply #32 on: May 03, 2010, 04:17:14 PM »

Call me crazy, but I'm not entirely thrilled about the idea of a couple being married beyond the grave. I mean, what if your spouse was really lousy during your life? What if you found their death as a great mercy of God rather than something to be mourned?

Do you think that person would be transformed beyond the grave?

I mean, this whole idea of "together forever" may appeal to some, but for others, I think it wouldn't provide much consolation.

Also, what if you divorced and remarried? Or what about if your spouse died and you remarried? Both of these things are permissible within the Church, so how is it addressed after the Resurrection?
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« Reply #33 on: May 03, 2010, 04:48:54 PM »

Well, one could say that it's the highest calling.  There's two ways one can look at marriage.  St. Paul in one area approached it at a level of great mystery, with much sacrifice and love from both partners, acting in the same way as Christ and His Church.

Then you have another level of marriage, where when one "avoids the burning desires of lust," it's better to marry.

I think the higher calling of marriage is what is desired.  Nevertheless, it's not against Church rules for their to be second marriages.  But in our Coptic Church for instance, if there's a widowed man who would become a priest, one of the requirements is that there was no second marriage in his past.  In our Church also, there is no crowning ceremonies for second marriages.  So there seems to be a distinction at least in my tradition.
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« Reply #34 on: May 03, 2010, 07:36:38 PM »

There is no mention at all in the hymnography of the Orthodox service of betrothal or matrimony which suggests any sense of a continuation of marriage in heaven.

Consider the following passage from one of the prayers at the crowning service:

Blessed are you, Lord our God, sacred Celebrant of the mystical and most pure marriage, Lawgiver of bodily marriage, Guardian of incorruption, loving Steward of our livelihood.

Last time I checked, the Mormon and Swedenborgian/New Church views on marriage were alien to Orthodoxy.

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« Reply #35 on: May 03, 2010, 07:41:58 PM »

Does your Church do crowning ceremonies for second marriages?

What is the symbolism behind the Greek wedding services' use of having the married couple circling the table three times?
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« Reply #36 on: May 03, 2010, 07:55:03 PM »

It looks like the Greek Orthodox Church also believes in the eternal marriage concept:

Quote
MARRIAGE
A Christian Marriage.

Orthodox theology has always presented Christian marriage as something absolutely unique, and, indeed eternal. In marriage, human love "is being projected into the Kingdom of God" (John Meyendorff), reflecting the intimate union between Christ and the faithful which St. Paul speaks of (Ephes. 5). Married life is a special vocation which requires the grace of the Holy Spirit; and it is this very grace which is conferred in the Marriage Service.

The contemporary Marriage Service of the Orthodox Church is itself divided into two parts: the office of betrothal and the office of crowning. In the first, the rite includes the exchange of rings, demonstrating that both partners enter into marriage of their own volition. At the second, "crowns" placed upon the heads of the partners signify the grace of the Holy Spirit. These crowns are crowns of both joy and martyrdom. Because the couple has been united for eternity, there is joy; but because every marriage involves enormous self-sacrifice on the part of each partner, both also become "martyrs" in their own right.

The complete love each of the partners has for the other, should be the motivating factor in Christian marriage. In such a context, marriage exists not only for the procreation of children, but also that a mutual love may be expressed, sustained and extended to others. While it is not to be denied that God commanded Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply, children must always be considered a gift from God and not the sole reason for marriage. Certainly, children do contribute to making marriages an authentic image of the Trinity; and St. John Chrysostom spoke of the family as "a little Church".

Divorce.

Because marriage implies a decision of free will on the part of both partners, there will always be the possibility of error. When a marriage fails, the Orthodox Church has generally declared that a true marriage had in fact never existed, i.e., the bond did not demonstrate its necessarily eternal character. It would not be totally accurate, however, to say that the Orthodox Church grants divorces, although such a practice has crept into the practice of some local Churches. Divorce is actually a civil matter which recognizes the breaking of a legal contract; the Church can merely recognize that an attempt at building up a true marriage has failed.

Without going into an exhaustive analysis of the historical and canonical developments, it should be mentioned that the Orthodox Church today normally allows the laity three attempts at establishing a true marriage. A fourth marriage is positively forbidden. Clergy, however, are permitted to marry only once and this must be prior to ordination. Finally, it remains only to comment upon the penitential character assigned to a marriage rite in which both partners are being married for the second or third time. A special service exists for these situations in which the prayers are more somber and the entire service far more subdued. In this way, the Church reminds both the partners and the entire people of God that one lasting marriage is the Christian norm.

http://goarch.org/ourfaith/ourfaith7106

This is exactly what the Coptic Church believes.
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« Reply #37 on: May 03, 2010, 08:23:16 PM »

Perhaps the seemingly contradictory statements stem from two different aspects of marriage: one, an interpersonal bond which is both physical and spiritual; the other, a divine sanctioning of  sexual intercourse for the purpose of procreation, which is often treated as synonymous with marriage. I think everyone agrees that the latter does not continue in the life to come.
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« Reply #38 on: May 03, 2010, 10:09:42 PM »

If the above quotes from St. John Chrysostom really do affirm an eternal marriage (and I think David Ford is reading too much into the quotes), it's certainly not the same kind of marriage we experience on earth. St. John explicitly says it's not marriage:

Maybe St. John was indeed just talking generally about all of us being together in heaven, with "all humanity is drawn together in a tighter union". It's possible. Nonetheless, I still think St. John's argument (on widows not remarrying) makes the most sense if the relationship between the married couple remains unique and special in heaven, and it's in that light that I would read his words.

Good point.  I think there is basis for both of the above.  A lot would have to do with a definition of what Salvation really accomplishes.  Since the Church is the Bride of Christ, all Orthodox Christians are bound together in some form of mystical marriage.  If Salvation is Unity with Christ, we would also be in unity with all who are in Unity with Christ.  All that I am sure of is the Earthly concept that "the two shall become one flesh".  If I am "one flesh" with my wife, then I do not exist without her, or her without me.  Perhaps that is why God says that He "hates" divorce - one of the few sins that He comes out so strongly against.  It seems like the breaking of the marriage bond here on Earth is really quite something perverse and unnatural that it would garner God's Hate.  It is hard to believe that something this sacred (and Marriage is a Sacrament) would end at our death.  If the departed still retain their mysteries in the next life (such as the Icons showing Bishops as Bishops in their glorified state), would not those who kept the Sacrament of Marriage, a form of Martyrdom, also retain this mystery after the grave?  I don't pretend to know the answer of what happens in the afterlife, but I could see it either way.
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« Reply #39 on: May 03, 2010, 11:44:07 PM »

Does your Church do crowning ceremonies for second marriages?

What is the symbolism behind the Greek wedding services' use of having the married couple circling the table three times?

Yes, at second marriages both the betrothal and the crowning take place. (In the case where it is a divorced individual remarrying, prayers of repentance over the first marriage are said during the ceremony.)

The circling the tetrapod (the table you speak of) is the Dance of Isaiah.

This article from Antiochian.org does a nice job of explaining the importance of the dance during weddings:
Quote
What is important about the dance of Isaiah at weddings?

Towards the end of the Sacrament of Marriage, the couple is led in procession around the sacramental table on which is the Gospel – the Word of God. The circle is a symbol of eternity and reminds us that marriage is a lifetime commitment. Christ is at the center of it. During the procession, three troparia are sung:

O Isaiah dance your joy, for the Virgin is with child; and shall bear a Son, Emmanuel both God and man! And Orient is His name, whom magnifying we call the Virgin blessed.

Holy Martyrs, who have fought the good fight and have received your crowns: entreat the Lord that He have mercy on our souls.

Glory to You, O Christ God, the Apostles’ boast, and the martyrs’ joy, whose preaching was the consubstantial Trinity.

These hymns remind us of the Scriptural qualities that ought to be present in marriage. The word martyria, in Greek, means to witness. The newly married couple is called to witness to the coming of the Kingdom of God, which came about through the birth of the Son of God from the Virgin, Mary. The joy that is celebrated through this uniting of man, woman and Christ is to parallel the joy that Isaiah had when he said, “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my whole being shall exult in my God” (Isaiah 61:10).

Fr. John Meyendorff in his book, Marriage: An Orthodox Perspective, writes “The hymn begins in fact by a call to execute a ritual khorodia, well known both to the Jews of the Old Testament (David danced before the Ark of the Covenant, II Samuel 6:14) and to the ancient Greeks; and the triple circular procession of the bridal pair led by the priest around the sacramental table can be seen as a proper and respectful form of ‘liturgical dancing.’ ”
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« Reply #40 on: May 04, 2010, 12:28:17 AM »

Thank you  Smiley
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« Reply #41 on: May 04, 2010, 11:32:46 AM »

1) Are marriages really made in heaven? Does someone have a person that they are supposed to be with according to God's plan?
I'm not sure how credible I am on this subject, since I've never been married, but this idea that there's one special someone that God has set aside for me seems to me to be nothing more than a nice, romantic notion with no basis in reality or in Church doctrine.

What about Abraham sending his servant to find a specific wife for his Only-begotten Son Isaac?

Also, arraigned marriages seem to elevate the idea of marriage up and beyond the boundary of mere human affections which are full of passions (testosterone and estrogen). 


As to the thought about the absence of mention of heaven in Orthodox ceremony...well, if it is taking place in the Church it is already being made in heaven; is it not?  What is bound on earth is bound in heaven, what is loosed on earth is loosed in heaven. 

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« Reply #42 on: May 04, 2010, 11:57:43 AM »

So, the relationship between a husband and wife will be like that of Adam and Eve before the fall--not carnal. So, to the extent that the state of marriage, being a path to salvation blessed by God, is carnal in this world, it will not be in the next.
If by "not carnal" you mean they didn't have marital relations, that's debatable, as this thread should show:  Was There Sex Prior to the Fall?

Debatable or Speculative?

I ain't got time to read about sex prior to the fall,  I'm too busy trying to purify my senses after the resurrection.
Nakedness was the relationship prior to the Fall between Adam and Eve;  this nakedness must be comprehended in the light of the Virginity of the Theotokos.  How so?  She was pure, holy and undefiled and this is not just about the physiology of her being, but the complete wholeness of her devotion towards God. 

Earthly marriages are weighed down with the cares of this life...through much effort of soul these cares together are laid aside like sacks of rocks which become increasingly and substantially heavier as you climb a high mountain. The Physiology of our sexuality is transformed in the light of the glorious face of Christ Jesus our LORD; albeit we see through a glass darkly now.

John
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Courteous is my name,
and I have always aimed to live up to it.
Grace is also my name,
but when things go wrong
its Courteous whom I blame;
but its Grace who sees me through it.
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« Reply #43 on: May 04, 2010, 07:58:00 PM »

1) Are marriages really made in heaven? Does someone have a person that they are supposed to be with according to God's plan?
I'm not sure how credible I am on this subject, since I've never been married, but this idea that there's one special someone that God has set aside for me seems to me to be nothing more than a nice, romantic notion with no basis in reality or in Church doctrine.

What about Abraham sending his servant to find a specific wife for his Only-begotten Son Isaac?

Also, arraigned marriages seem to elevate the idea of marriage up and beyond the boundary of mere human affections which are full of passions (testosterone and estrogen). 


As to the thought about the absence of mention of heaven in Orthodox ceremony...well, if it is taking place in the Church it is already being made in heaven; is it not?  What is bound on earth is bound in heaven, what is loosed on earth is loosed in heaven. 

John

Excellent points.
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O Holy St. Demetrius pray to God for us!


« Reply #44 on: May 04, 2010, 08:34:35 PM »

Does anyone have any info as to whether or not we are transformed after the grave?

I mean, if your spouse was lousy to you while they were alive, will they be able to be lousy to you in heaven?
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"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope." Jer 29:11
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