Polygamy did not start today, is not an African thing and there were many polygamist in the Bible. But to say that polygamy is not condemned by God is an insult to the integrity of the Almighty. To quote the Bible to support polygamy is to subjugate the truth and promote personal bias.
First, how did marriage begin?
“And the LORD God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” (Gen 2:18).
Observe from this first verse of the Bible that speaks on marriage:
- Marriage did not originate from any human culture. Before what is called culture, there was marriage. Before what is called religion, there was marriage. Before the fall of man, when man was still in his purest form, there was marriage. Marriage did not originate from human ideas. Marriage was the idea of God and can only be perfectly understood from His perspective.
- God saw the need for companionship in man. He did not make ten or five or even two to accompany him. Did God has the power to make as many as possible? Yes He does. But He made one. If God made one, then, one is what he needed.
“Then the rib which the LORD God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man” (Gen 2:22)
God took one rib and made one woman and personally brought her to the man.
“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Gen 2:24).
This verse is repeated in other places in the Bible. It was quoted by Jesus in Mat 19:5 and Mar 10:6-8. It was also quoted by Apostle Paul in Eph 5:31.
This message here is:
One man will leave his father and mother and will be joined to his wife, one woman.
Jesus specifically said in Mar 10:8, “and the two shall become one flesh’; so then they are no longer two, but one flesh.”
The message is clear, two people, a man and a woman becomes one flesh. The two not three or four or more become one flesh.
Yes, David and Solomon had many wives. But that was in disobedience to what God commanded.
In Deut 17:14-20, God spoke concerning whoever would be king in Israel. This was when Israel was still in the wilderness. In verse 17, we read:
“Neither shall he multiply wives for himself, lest his heart turn away; nor shall he greatly multiply silver and gold for himself”.
Abraham had a child through Hagar, the handmaid of his wife. That was a wilful decision that was never approved by God. In fact, for about 14 years after that wrong step, God was silent to Abraham. Look at the number of years between the last verse of Gen 16 and the first verse of 17.
The next time God spoke to Abraham after the error, He demanded perfection from those who will walk with Him.
“When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless”.
The same God commanded the man to be put away.
“But God said to Abraham, “Do not let it be displeasing in your sight because of the lad or because of your bondwoman. Whatever Sarah has said to you, listen to her voice; for in Isaac your seed shall be called” Gen 21:12.
Abraham married Keturah only after the death of Sarah, his wife. Abraham was never a polygamist. He had only one wife, Sarah and after the death of the wife, he married another one wife. He committed an error in Hagar and Hagar was never his wife.
Polygamy was never the norm in the Bible; even in the Old Testament. Adam had one wife, Seth had one wife, Noah had one wife, Noah had one wife, Abraham had one wife (as explained earlier), Isaac had one wife, Joseph had one wife and so on. In the New Testament, Zacharias had one wife, Peter had one wife, Joseph the husband of Mary had one wife, Aquila had one wife and so one.
For anyone to say the monogamy is the culture of colonial master is to speak from an African traditions point of view and not from the point of Christianity.
On the issue of whether or not polygamist will make heaven. If they do it in ignorance before knowing the Lord, there is room for forgiveness.
“Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent” (Act 17:30).
But wilful disobedience by those who know the truth but are looking for frivolous excuses to justify their perverts are not excusable.
“For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame” (Heb 6:4-6).
Every man has the liberty to use the Bible to support whatever he wants. But that does not change the position of God.
God, who created marriage, created it as monogamy. He created one woman for one man and commanded them to multiply. Even after the flood, He commanded Noah with his one wife and his three children, each with one wife, to multiply. That God wanted the whole world to be occupied does not make Him to create several woman.
Using the argument of population is also erroneous. Sincere statistics shows that the difference between men and women population is not that significant. Even in culture where polygamists is the norm, there are still widows, single mothers and unmarried women.
Either wrest the Bible to support what you believe or believe just what the Bible says.