Comments/Questions from Readers

[NOTE: The following did not actually originate through e-mail, but during a personal conversation regarding the lawfulness of polygyny with a non-denominational, Evangelical, Christian pastor.]

Question #10: The first place in the Bible where a doctrine, idea or institution is mentioned, a foundational truth is set forth. In Genesis 2, God created one wife for Adam. He did not create multiple wives for him, which God certainly could have done if He had meant to. God was setting forth a pattern in this passage which defined His intentions for the institution of marriage. God’s plan was for a man to be married to one woman, and one woman only.

I guess remaining unmarried would be out of the question then. So if God had wanted to demonstrate the lawfulness of polygyny in Genesis 2, He should have given Adam two wives? Three? Then we’d be questioning the lawfulness of monygyny, since obviously, God intended all men to have three wives. I think this line of reasoning speaks for itself.

An argument for monogyny from creation is an argument from silence. It proceeds from the particular to the universal without establishing any rational basis or supporting evidence for doing so, and it does so in the face of a universal principle (patriarchy) with precisely the opposite implications. Your assumption is that since God did not specifically permit polygyny in Genesis, that therefore it is forbidden. The reality is that neither did He specifically and explicitly forbid it.

What is needed to demonstrate monogyny as a law is either an explicit prohibition against polygyny (which exists nowhere in Scripture) or a declaration of purpose concerning monogyny (which also exists nowhere in Scripture). That God gave only one wife to Adam can never, by itself, demonstrate that monogyny is the “law of creation”, any more than the fact that God gave multiple wives to King David can prove that God wishes all men to be polygynous.

If the creation narrative establishes monogyny as the standard, then we certainly should expect to see this implication plainly set forth in those sections of the Law of God where the commandments are specifically spelled out. Wouldn’t we expect to see an explicit prohibition against polygyny? Why, then, do we see precisely the opposite in God’s Law of specific ordinances permitting polygyny (Exodus 22:16-17; Deuteronomy 22:28-29; Deuteronomy 25:5-10)? Why would God institute that which is contrary to His Law in the very revelation of His Law?

God made the woman for the man (Genesis 2:18) and not the man for the woman. In other words, God’s creation purpose is to establish patriarchy. THIS is the “creation pattern” relevant to the question of the lawfulness or unlawfulness of polygyny.




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