We started yesterday, with a post of our own, a series on marriage by examining the recent book of John Piper’s called This Momentary Marriage: A Parable of Permanence.
Question added at 9:25am CT (find at bottom of post).
John Piper, pastor at Bethlehem Baptist in Minneapolis (or St Paul — the same to me), chooses to punctuate his biblical exposition with Dietrich Bonhoeffer — and he’s got me on his side with that. In prison, Bonhoeffer wrote some about marriage (see Letters and Papers from Prison
Piper’s angle on marriage is that it is not eternal, and he roots that idea in the Bible, and I quote from the TNIV: “When the dead rise, they will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven” (Mark 12:25).
Here are Piper’s opening statements about marriage as momentary and I’d like to know how you respond to these opening salvos:
In talking about Bonhoeffer, who was hanged before he could marry, Piper says he “skipped the shadow on the way to the Reality” (13). After quoting Mark 12:25, “The shadow of covenant-keeping between husband and wife gives way to the reality of covenant-keeping between Christ and his glorified Church. Nothing is lost. The music of every pleasure is transposed into an infinitely higher key” (15).
So, “The meaning of marriage is the display of the covenant-keeping love between Christ and his people” (15).
What are the implications? “High romance and passionate sexual intimacy and precious children may come. But hold them loosely — as though you were not holding them” (16). “Romance, sex, and childbearing are temporary gifts of God. They are not part of the next life. And they are not guaranteed even for this life. They are one possible path along the narrow way to Paradise.” (16-17).
Thus, “Marriage is a momentary gift” (17).
Added question: Does Mark 12:25 teach that there are no married couples after the resurrection or does it teach that there will be no marrying and giving in marriage? Does it teach that all will be celibates or that no changes occur after the resurrection? The balance clearly favors permanent celibacy, but with enhanced pleasure and fellowship with God and others, after the resurrection. But I wonder if this text actually says there is no marriage.