As part of the Christian doctrine of Anthropology all people regardless of skin color, social status, financial status, educational background, or gender are created in God’s image and as such are not bodies with souls, but souls with bodies. One and all of the human race since the creation of Adam are substantially the same as image bearers [Genesis 1:26-27].
For this reason, and certainly for others, the Christian is compelled to reject the evil and immoral practice of abortion. Indeed, we ought to seek it abolition. We ought also to regard the wanton slaughter of the Jews during the Holocaust as a blatant moral evil. The same goes for the horrors of Trans-Atlantic Chattel Slavery, the Armenian Genocide, the evils of Pol Pot, and the evils of Stalin’s Russia as vividly depicted by Solzhenitsyn. In all of these cases it is the substantive nature of each human, that of being created in God’s image, which marks these evils as evil.
But while we are substantively the same, we are in many ways accidentally different. We have different skin, hair, and eye color. We vary in height and weight. We each have different dispositions and aspirations as different instantiations of the human substance, as image-bearers. Then of course, we not only differ in these particulars, but we also differ in their combination. Some have blonde hair and brown eyes while others have brown hair and green eyes. All the while we are compelled to believe given the teachings of the Scriptures that though we are different in these ways we are all substantially the equal in essence.
Given all of the above I would now like to make a narrow comparison between the substantial equality of humans and the supposed substantial equality of Bible versions and particularly how this comparison relates to choosing and abiding by your mate and choosing and abiding by your Bible.
Let’s get the provocative stuff out of the way first. I’ll speak to husbands just to keep things simple. Assuming your wife is substantively the same as any other woman, then the reason for you choosing a particular woman is largely accidental. That is, you desire this or that hair color or this or that type of personality or this or that character trait. Furthermore, it seems to me that you stick by this woman because you love her. In fact, in many cases the man has made a vow that he is not going to leave no matter what.
Then through the course of your marriage you find out that you thought you understood something about her but really didn’t [i.e., a marital “false friend”]. Maybe there are parts of her person or personality that you simply cannot get your head wrapped around. It takes many long and meaningful conversations coupled with trial-and-error experience to understand that part of who she is. Even further, say you’ve been married for 40 years, and familiarity has bred contempt. You’ve grown tired of her, or worse, you hold her in contempt.
Let us say further that you hold her in contempt because there are other women out there with appealing accidental properties and by your lights may not need as many “long and meaningful” conversations to sort things out. Maybe where you once liked black hair you now like red hair. Maybe where you more interested in a curvy figure you now like a more slender figure.
Given the above you conclude that the best way to reconcile your relative contempt for your wife as well as enjoy the accidental properties of these other women is to, first, remain married. That’s right do not divorce her. Stay with her because in the end she does have some accidental properties that these other ladies do not have. In short, to meet your particular needs you need to be a Multiple Women Only kind of man.
Second, you make it clear to your wife that while she was your first and the woman with whom you learned about marriage and family, the fact is, by your estimation, that she has considerable faults and some worthy of contempt. As a result, the only option is to “consult” multiple women from this time forward. Third, if you are still alive at this point, remind your wife that all women are substantially the same and only accidentally different. This assertion will clear you of all fault in making the choices you have and all those going forward so long as they are in the same vein.
By this point I hope my attempted narrow parallel is clear. A godly Christian man would not perpetrate such an evil against the one whom his soul loves. And if a brother were to do this, it would be the role of his friends and of the ecclesiastical community to confront him for his infidelity.
The oddity of course is that many of the believing community would be appalled by such behavior between a human and a human but openly encourage such behavior between a human and the revealed word of God.
In case you missed the parallels:
1.) All women are substantially the same and we are told that all English versions are substantially the same.
2.) All women only differ as to accidents, and we are told that all English versions differ as to accidents.
3.) Especially for the newly married couple there exists “false friends” in the relationship and all versions contain “false friends” at one point or another for the reader.
4.) Familiarity can breed contempt in one’s wife as well as in one’s English translation of the Scriptures.
5.) There are different women than your wife and there are different versions than the one you hold to.
6.) Those differences can make you think it’s time for a new one.
7.) Those differences can make you think yours is inferior when it is not.
8.) Yet one is forbidden by God and the other is encouraged by the Evangelical Church of the 21st century.
1.) Well, marriage is a covenant between a man and a woman…
Well, the Bible is the record of a covenant between Christ and His bride so…
2.) A difference here or there doesn’t matter.
Try telling your wife that, and, of course, God is not as picky as your wife. Right?
3.) God prohibits adultery.
God prohibits adding to or taking away from His words.
Perhaps it is time for a new nomenclature:
1.) Polygamist = having more than one wife.
2.) Polyamorous = having more than one lover.
3.) Polylogown = having more than one word of God.
In sum, perhaps one day we could be as faithful to our Bibles as we are called to be to our wives.