Thursday, November 10, 2011

Polygamy (Part 1): Does God Allow It?

I would like to comment on an essay I've read about polygamy (the practice of having more than one wife.) This essay I've read is posted on

To briefly summarize the essay, it states that:
1. "Polygamy was an accepted custom" and God WAS okay with polygamy in biblical times (especially when having children and many descendents were more important than it is today).
2. Although God was okay with polygamy (at that time), he warned against taking many wives.

I agree with this essay mostly. However, this essay stops short in not clearly stating that polygamy is no longer accepted by God today. The essay does not state this maybe because this is an obvious fact. However, in case there is any misunderstanding, I would like to state clearly that polygamy is no longer allowed by God today. (1Corinthians 7:2)

The essay cites Deuteronomy 25:5-10 as proof that polygamy was allowed. This is not the correct passage to show that polygamy was allowed (although there are many other passages in the Old Testament that shows that polygamy was allowed by God in biblical times). What Deuteronomy 25:5-10 does show, is that marriage is binding only until death. That is why when a woman's husband died in those days, the woman is encouraged to marry the husband's brother to provide descendents from her husband's family. Since her marriage to her first husband is no longer binding after he dies, she is not practicing polygamy. (Even today, marriage is only binding until death as shown in 1 Corinthians 7:39-40. One possible reason why marriage is no longer binding after death could be found in Luke 20:34-36 but I digress.) Although Deuteronomy 25:5-10 is not a good passage to prove the case of polygamy in biblical times, it does show the importance of women having children or providing descendants for her husband (even after he dies) in those days.

Today, polygamy is not allowed. I could see why God forbids polygamy today. It is for our own good. In biblical times when polygamy was accepted, there were more conflicts within the families of more than one wife (Genesis 16:3-6). Even looking at circumstances today, I can see why forbidding polygamy is for our own good. Here's how I look at it. I can see how the married men of today already have their hands full, dealing with just one wife and kids from her. In most cases, there are more than enough problems and things to deal with, having just one wife and kids. I think all the married men could completely understand what I am saying here. I can already imagine how impossible one's life would be to have many wives. It is probably not easy to live with many wives. It is not easy living with many females. When I was growing up, I lived with five females (i.e. 4 sisters + my mother). I can tell you from experience that it is not easy (especially in the morning when there was only one bathroom).

A long time ago, the show 20/20 on ABC actually did a story on polygamy in America. There are actually a few men remaining in America who have more than one wife (although only one is legally registered). Most of these men that they interviewed on the show were fundamentalist Mormons. I believe they are remnant from the time when the Mormons still allowed polygamy not that long ago in history. Anyway, these men were mostly saying how tough it is to maintain more than one marriage and the kids from these marriages (in terms of finance, energy, and time). It is not that hard to see why God now forbids polygamy for our own good.

1. "Polygamy WAS an accepted custom" and God allowed with polygamy in biblical times (especially when having children and many descendents were more important than it is today).
2. Although God allowed polygamy in ancient times, he warned against taking many wives.
3. God now forbids polygamy (probably for our own good.)

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Polygamy, Does God Allow Polygamy, Legal, Lawful, Shu Chan 陳樹中 University of California, UC Davis, Brooklyn Tech, Amadeo Constanzo

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