Is Marriage Eternal?

Is Marriage Eternal? September 29, 2016

Is marriage eternal and will it exist in heaven?

The First Marriage

When God created the heavens and the earth and declared “it was very good” (Gen 1:31), everything was in a state of perfection. Death had not yet entered into human history and perhaps even the creatures He created may have then had eternal life, but only one thing was not good was that man was alone. God had “God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Gen 1:27) but Adam needed someone, as we all do, because we’re created for relationship, so “the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man” (Gen 2:20-21). All Adam could say was “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man” (Gen 2:23). As a result, God joined the man and the woman together, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed” (Gen 2:24-25). Of course the fall would eventually happen and paradise would be lost…at least for several thousand years.

Leave and Cleave

There are some important words describing the joining of Adam and Eve. One was that the man was supposed to leave his father and mother, and since Adam or Eve had no parents, we know that God was saying that the two were to leave their own families to create a new one, and that meant, leave their families out of their own marital affairs. Sadly, many divorces have resulted from in-law interference. The couple’s parents were in effect, commanded to stay out of the new couple’s marriage so that they would not create problems from without. Another key word was that the man should “hold fast to his wife” and the two would become one flesh, or one single-unit family as one new family. The word “hold fast” is actually one word from the Hebrew (dabaq) which means “to cling to, to stick to” as if they were both glued permanently together. And to become “one” flesh is better understood if we see what the Hebrew word for “one” (“’echad”) means, as “one in number,” so they are no longer two in the sense that they have now become one in purpose, union, and destiny. God married the first couple and He intended it to be forever, at least until death would part them.

Therefore-a-man-shall (2)

Jesus on Marriage

On the question of marriage, the “Pharisees came up to [Jesus] and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?” He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’” (Matt 19:3-5)? Jesus also said “they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate” (Matt 19:6). So the idea of marriage is that what God has joined together, He intends to stay together. The Greek word Jesus used for “joined” (syzeugnymi) literally means “to fasten to one yoke” like you would join two oxen on one yoke. As such, they are to both carry the load together and work toward the same direction and for the same purpose. This means they’re not two anymore, but now “one flesh.” Divorce among the first century Jews was so common that many of the men had several wives in their lifetimes, and they would divorce their wives over simple little things like burning his dinner or saying the wrong thing in public. That’s why Jesus warned them that “whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery” (Matt 19:9). The Pharisees already knew this, but they were only trying to trip Jesus up (Matt 19:3). They didn’t really care about divorce and remarriage. They only wanted to cause Jesus to say the wrong thing, but He said exactly what was true in quoting Genesis. They were to remain married forever, at least until one of them died.

No Marriage in Heaven

Next, the Sadducees came to test Jesus to cause Him to stumble as they also asked him about marriage, asking, “If a man dies having no children, his brother must marry the widow and raise up offspring for his brother.’ Now there were seven brothers among us. The first married and died, and having no offspring left his wife to his brother” (Matt 22:24-25), so they ask Him, “whose wife will she be” (Matt 22:27). The interesting thing is that the Sadducees didn’t even believe in the afterlife or miracles or eternality, so Jesus corrects them by saying, “You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven” (Matt 22:29-30). Marriage is not eternal in the sense that after a believer dies they remain married in heaven, rather, they are like the angels in the sense that they no longer marry or are given in marriage. Marriage is a death—till-you-part arrangement here on earth, but in heaven, the marital relationship will cease. That doesn’t mean that husbands and wives won’t have a relationship in the kingdom, but that they will have a different relationship in the kingdom, and they are no longer bound to one another for life. Their relationship will never end, but it’s certainly going to change.


God is the originator of marriage and He intended it to be forever, at least in this life. It is only in the event of unrepentant and ongoing adultery that a man or woman is freed from their marital arrangement. A person who’s spouse has committed adultery and has refused to repent of it and stop, is free to divorce and remarry, although the person they marry must either be in the same situation or must have not ever married. Of course, there are exceptions like when physical abuse occurs. The abused spouse should leave for their own personal safety and protection. God would not expect a married spouse to remain where they are if they’re being physically abused. The same goes for any children in the home that are sexually or physically abused. The non-offending spouse should take the children to another, safe location, and the abuser should be reported to the police and face the full penalty of the law. The only thing that’s eternal is for believers who were married is eternal life, and it’s only for those who’ve trusted in Christ. All other things will pass away, but the children of God, never will.

Article by Jack Wellman

Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.

"The moderator of this blog needs to consider civility when determining which comments are to ..."

What The Bible Says About Caring ..."
"This is a great book! :) Get it while it's hot!"

What Does The Number Ten (10) ..."
"So Susan Jane Elohim has deleted all her posts. She's done this several times under ..."

Top 13 Bible Verses About Virtue
"No.The Plymouth Brethren were founded in 19th C England and based principally on the Dispensational ..."

The Uniqueness Of The Brethren Church

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • pud

    Human beings entered long term bonding relationships for 10’s of thousands of years before your “god” was invented. It is a biological necessity. We know this for a FACT vs. your made up fairy tale nonsense.

  • pud

    What ‘War on Marriage?’ Divorce Rates Are Highest Among Evangelicals
    Fox claims that traditional marriage is under assault, but it turns out Evangelicals have divorce issues of their own.
    By Steven D / Booman Tribune November 10, 2014
    Fox News loves to loudly proclaim that President Obama has declared war on traditional marriage. Oh really? Then why were divorce rates among Evangelical and Fundamentalist Christians the highest in the country since before someone even imagined that Gays and Lesbians should be allowed the same right to marry as other people? Those statistics came, by the way. from a Evangelical Christian research institute, the Barna Group, in the year 2000:

    Denomination (in order of decreasing divorce rate)
    Non-denominational** 34%
    Baptists 29%
    Mainline Protestants 25%
    Mormons 24%
    Catholics 21%
    Lutherans 21%

    Barna’s results verified findings of earlier polls: that conservative Protestant Christians, on average, have the highest divorce rate, while mainline Christians have a much lower rate. They found some new information as well: that atheists and agnostics have the lowest divorce rate of all.

  • Eduardo Aspland

    It’s difficult to imagine gender in heaven without some form of attraction between male and female and yes, even some form of “union” even without procreation/marriage

    In the Song of Songs we have come full circle, in the OT, back to the Garden of Eden. Several studies have penetratingly analyzed and conclusively demonstrated the intimate relationship between the early chapters of Genesis and the Song of Songs. But, In the nature of sexuality from the Song of Songs, we note one aspect that is not mentioned. The Song contains no reference to the procreative function of sexuality. The sexual experience within marriage in the Song is not linked with utilitarian propagation. McCurley expresses it nicely: “The love affair is by no means designed for the production of progeny. The pleasure of the bedroom rather than the results for the nursery occupies the poet’s concern here.” Lovemaking for the sake of love, not procreation, is the message of the Song. This is not to imply that Canticles is hostile to the procreative aspect of sexuality: The lovers allude to the beauty of their own conception (3:4; 8:2) and birth (6:9; 8:5). But in the Song sexual union is given independent meaning and value; it does not need to be justified as a means to a superior (i.e., procreative) end. We might say that marriage is only necessary because of mortality (i.e. to further the species), but Genesis seems to disagree.Isn’t the point of the resurrection and the new creation to restore all that has been corrupted by sin and death? So if the Song of Songs is a return to Eden and if salvation is to restore man and woman back to the creation design which received such a postive affirmation from God, in other words the resurrection means the restoring to the real life of human corporeity, which was subjected to death in its temporal phase, the new creation is, in essence, creation redeemed.
    My personal view just to be clear, I don’t think an immaterial existence in heaven is the plan. I think material existence without the stain of sin is the important eschatological goal. So that “marriage” would function in much the same way as it does now, but absent the selfishness, pride, and anger. Marriage is a representation of the relationship between Jesus and His bride (the Church), and is a bond where we share God’s love with each other – we will see Christ’s love in each others eyes. I believe that there will be “marriage” in Heaven as an eternal reminder of Christ’s love for the Church.

    • Jack Wellman

      Then why did Jesus say in the kingdom, they shall neither marry or be given in marriage but be as the angels in heaven? What you said, “you can’t imagine” says a lot my friend. We can’t even imagine who glorious this will be.

      • Eduardo Aspland

        Jesus’ answer to the Sadducees that, “at the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage” seems not to apply to marriage in general, but specifically to the subject of Levirate marriage. If we unpack this statement in a Levitcal context, Our Lord is saying no bridal price will be issued as no one will be given in marriage. In a perfect world, when God did the pairing, no law was needed. Adam and Eve were made to be man and wife while they were in an immortal state intended to be forever without death.

        Yes, heaven will be a perfect world, and no laws of marriage will be needed there either. Jesus made it very clear that in the age to come there will be no laws of marriage, no earthly ceremonies, no contracts being made where the father gets paid to sell his daughter (given in marriage). It is the business transaction of marriage, not the relationship of marriage, that Christ is here saying will not exist at that time.

    • J. Andrew De Leon

      Thank you for your insightful thoughts

    • Eric Breaux

      According to this article, the conditions of Eden are a moot point, because it wasn’t actually perfect and God had intended from the start to replace human marriage with marriage to Jesus and for us to be clothed forever, thus eliminating sexual desire and nude intimacy. Know of any evidence for the historical understanding of the implications of the creation account that contradict what She teaches?

  • J. Andrew De Leon

    “what Good has joined together let no man separate”… the verse doesn’t specify a term limit or an end condition ( like death)
    Other relationships persists in heaven…
    ” … And he slept with his fathers…”
    Rich man and Lazarus
    ” I have five brothers…”
    The marriage relationship is the only relationship that is so close that we become one flesh. Why would that be the relationship that would be diminished?

    Perhaps the term limit of death is like divorce. If the marriage is really not successful then you can cleanly terminate the agreement in death.