There has been a large and disturbing trend over the recent years: Polyamous Christians. “Christian” polyamory builds on this foundation of consent, but seeks to normalize the relationship by using misreading of scripture and twisting Christian doctrine. There is no point in the Bible where this practice is celebrated or encouraged.
What exactly is polyamory? The word "polyamory" is a compound of two words: "poly," which is Greek for "many," and "amor," which is Latin for "love." It refers to a relationship in which a person has multiple sexual partners. A polyamorous relationship is supposedly distinguished from swinging by the idea that polyamory involves love while swinging is simply recreational sex. Polyamory has long been common in dating relationships. Recently, the idea has expanded into "open marriages." An open marriage is a marriage in which one or both spouses are allowed to have extra-marital affairs.
Christians and non-believers alike are picking up on this practice and striving to normalize it in modern society. It has become so popular over the years, but the Bible speaks against such a practice. Here are the reasons why polyamory is a sin in God’s eyes.
The question is sometimes raised as to whether a polyamorous relationship should be considered adultery if the other spouse allows, approves, or participates in it. Many Christians that participate in polyamory today, believe that the Bible is too vague on if it is OK or not. If two consenting adults agree to the act, it shouldn’t be an issue given the Bible doesn’t talk much on the subject right? Wrong.
God is the one who defines what marriage is and what adultery is. God, in His Word, has declared sex outside of marriage to be adultery (Exodus 20:14). A spouse’s giving permission to sin does not overrule God’s Law. We do not have the authority to create exceptions to what God has declared to be sinful. While both partners in the marriage may be accepting of polyamory, that doesn’t mean God is. We cannot attempt to “read between the lines” of the Bible and make it acceptable. Just because Jesus was silent on it, doesn’t mean it is OK.
Another way that Christians may try and justify polyamory is by listing the characters in the Bible that were involved in the practice. It is true that many great leaders in the Bible, including Abraham, Jacob, David and Solomon, all had many wives. Further exploration of scripture reveals however that the Bible only states this as fact; it does not condone the actual practice. It simply describes the lifestyle that these men chose to live. The Israelites most likely picked up on the societal standard from pagan neighbors.
Furthermore, if you study these instances of polygamy in detail you notice that the Bible doesn't portray any of these unions in a positive way. Having a polyamourus relationship only brought difficulties to the King or person in question. Solomon is the best known and most extreme example of this principle. In the end, it was his many wives who led him into idolatry and destroyed his faith in the Lord. You will also notice that polygamy had been essentially wiped out by the time Jesus had arrived.
Aside from the biblical declarations that they are sin, polyamorous relationships cannot fulfill what the Bible says a marriage is to be. A married couple cannot be “one flesh” (Genesis 2:24) if multiple people, or “fleshes”, are involved. The Bible clearly and consistently declares that sex outside of marriage is immoral (Galatians 5:19; Ephesians 5:3; Colossians 3:5; 1 Thessalonians 4:3). A married couple cannot fully love one another if that love is divided among other people. There cannot be true intimacy if what is supposed to be intimate is shared with others. Polyamory is not marriage. In no sense is a marriage supposed to be open to sexual activity outside of the marriage.
“The Lord God said, ‘It is not good that man should be alone; I will make a helper comparable to him'” (Genesis 2:18). This never meant that God wanted us to have multiple partners. When you read into the verse further, you can see how God built us to be perfectly together as a single couple. God made men and women to complement each other—physically, mentally, and socially. He built into our being a desire for the companionship of a husband or wife. That’s why the Bible says, “He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favor from the Lord” (Proverbs 18:22).
“Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled” (Hebrews 13:4). We have already seen that God performed the very first wedding at the end of Creation week and blessed the new couple (Genesis 1:27, 28).Marriage is something that God Himself instituted and blessed. Marriage is a blending of two lives into “one flesh.” God wanted our marriages to be a certain way.
It should not surprise us that polyamory is increasingly being accepted in our society. There are scientific studies that claim that polyamory is genetic. However, sin is genetic. It's hard-wired into us to want to sin. "The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery" (Galatians 5:19). Our society rejects God and His Word, and as a result, there is no authoritative standard for what marriage is. We, however, can be armed with the Word of God and stand strong against such sin.