The title of this post shares the title of book by Michael Dutfield. Written in 1990. It is the account of the 1948 marriage between Ruth Williams, a young white English woman, and Seretse Khama, an African Prince. And their union was inconvenient for the British government as well as the Bamangwato tribe of more than 100,000 over whom Khama was head. The story itself is a fascinating study.
While the Willams/Khama union was fraught with difficulties because of racial, cultural and political factors, their issues were purely on the human plane. Interracial marriage shouldn’t be an issue to us any more. Though for many, sadly, it still is. And even on the purely human level, it brings a host of problematic considerations. But our text in Genesis 6 raises a far more serious concern when it comes to marital unions where those from 2 different worlds join together. One which grows in seriousness in an age where the spiritual ramifications of marriage seem to take a back seat to everything else – especially personal preference. After all – doesn’t love conquer all?
No. It doesn’t.
Now the passage in Gen. 6 is itself one which generates a lot of speculation. The exact nature of what is happening there is difficult to discern. The 2 most prominent views are that the “sons of God” are fallen angels (or Watchers) who married and cohabited with human women; or that the “sons of God” were righteous men who married and co-habited with unbelieving women. I won’t settle that argument. For I don’t want us to lose the forest whilst focusing on some particular trees. Irrespective of which of the 2 views you take here, the basic problem is that of marriages between those from two different spiritual spheres, which should not be. And the application then for us – still holds regardless of which view one might take.
Here is the concern for us: Marital unions entered into without regard for the spiritual state of the partners, but based solely on what each finds attractive. The basic principle is in verse 2 – “the sons of God saw that the daughters of man were attractive. And they took as their wives any they chose.”
The connection here with taking the forbidden fruit is obvious. The fact that it was pleasant to the eyes – “he/she looks good to me” – was part of the argument of why it should be partaken of. So here. The daughters of mankind are beautiful, and so that seems sufficient motive to act. But beauty, whatever metric of attractiveness, in and of itself is not a warrant for specific action. When it is, we reduce everything to its lowest level. We make mere appearance indicative of good. Whether that attractiveness is purely physical or rooted in personality, intelligence or other attractive traits. The issue remains the same – disregard for proper order under God, and willingness for spiritual mismatch. With the result in Genesis being, this situation was the immediate precursor to producing generations of those disregarding God, increasing societal wickedness and ending in the flood.
Did you get that? When we disregard God in this most fundamental area of life – marrying without regard for the soul status of the other – disaster cannot be avoided. It invites God’s judgment in a unique way. We simply cannot ignore this. Eligible professing Believers must be careful to marry other eligible professing Believers. We are not free to take wives (or husbands) of any we choose. We must choose carefully, righteously, and from among those God has providentially provided within His parameters. And it is not a matter of mere Church culture or religious dogma – it is a matter of proper order, of keeping to our assigned station under God.
When one is born again, regenerated by the Spirit of God and transferred out of the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of God’s beloved Son (Col. 1:13) we cannot marry outside of that station. We cannot leave the new order we’ve been brought into (like the Watchers if that is the case of Gen. 6). “God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” (Eph. 2:4-6) This is not some sort of religious snobbery – it is learning to live at last, restored to God’s order of things. And it is our charge not to bring chaos back into God’s order. Chaos which is in the first place rebellion against His right of supremacy over us, and in the second place, the very root of the sin which so plagues and destroys mankind. Sin for which Jesus died both to forgive us on, and free us from.
Young Believer, guy or gal, please hear me – this is no light matter. Older Believer, man or woman, this is not an area where compromise affects only you. Marriages between Believers and un-Believers are a matter of cosmic importance, with far reaching and very real consequences, far beyond yourselves. It is as disordered as fallen angles mating with human women. God hasn’t given us this instruction with some dark motive to prevent our happiness. But with holy love to provide for our perpetual flourishing. Be sure the one you decide to set your love upon, has their first love set upon Christ. I can, with Paul here write: “I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord.” (1 Cor. 7:35) Consider carefully what I say. Please.