Matt 22 & Eternal Marriage: Some Ideas

Matthew 22:23-33

23 ¶ The same day came to him the Sadducees, which say that there is no resurrection, and asked him,
24 Saying, Master, Moses said, If a man die, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother.
25 Now there were with us seven brethren: and the first, when he had married a wife, deceased, and, having no issue, left his wife unto his brother:
26 Likewise the second also, and the third, unto the seventh.
27 And last of all the woman died also.
28 Therefore in the resurrection whose wife shall she be of the seven? for they all had her.
29 Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.
30 For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.
31 But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying,
32 I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.
33 And when the multitude heard this, they were astonished at his doctrine.

Here I’ve gathered some ideas from various individuals on how to understand this verse from an LDS perspective. If you know of any others, please let me know. I’m a bit conflicted about how to best interpret this passage, so any comments would be appreciated.

Ben McGuire (FAIR): Here.

Consiglieri (MADB poster): Here & Here.

T-Shirt (MADB poster): Here.

Faith-Promoting Rumor Blog (The Yellow Dart): Here.

W. John Walsh: Here.

Marc Shindler (FAIR): Here.

*UPDATE*  I’ve found another resource that discusses this issue, this time from a non-LDS source. The writer provides a fantastic quote from a biblical scholar: Here. I also quote the relevant portion below, but I highly recommend the entire article in which it is cited.

The case put forward by the Sadducees is particularly extreme. Not only had six brothers attempted and failed to impregnate the woman in question, but she had also outlived them all and was single when she died. It is perhaps this last fact which prompts the question: Whose spouse will she be in the resurrection?  ..Jesus stresses that in the age to come people will neither marry nor be given in marriage. Notice what Jesus does not say. He does not say there will be no marriage in the age to come. The use of the terms “γαμουσιν” (gamousin) and “γαμιζονται” (gamizontai) is important, for these terms refer to the gender-specific roles played in early Jewish society by the man and the woman in the process of getting married. The men, being the initiators of the process in such a strongly patriarchal culture, “marry,” while the women are “given in marriage” by their father or another older family member. Thus Mark has Jesus saying that no new marriages will be initiated in the eschatological [resurrection] state. This is surely not the same as claiming that all existing marriages will disappear in the eschatological state. Jesus, then, would seem to be arguing against a specific view held by the Sadducees about the continuity between this life and the life to come, a view involving the ongoing practice of levirate marriage.  In the eschatological state we have resurrected beings who are no longer able to die. Levirate marriage existed precisely because of the reality of death. When death ceases to happen, the rationale for levirate marriage falls to the ground as well. When Jesus says…that people will be like the angels in heaven in the life to come, he does not mean they will live a sexless identity (early Jews did not think angels were sexless in any case; cf. Gen. 6:1–4!), but rather that they will be like angels in that they are unable to die. Thus the question of the Sadducees is inappropriate to the conditions of the eschatological state…In Mark 10 Jesus grounded normal marriage in the creation order, not in the order of the fall, which is the case with levirate marriage (instituted because of death and childlessness and the need to preserve the family name and line). Thus Jesus is intending to deny about the eschatological state “that there will be any natural relation out of which the difficulty of the Sadducees could arise.”

         Ben Witherington III, The Gospel of Mark: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary (Grand Rapids, Eerdmans, 2001)328.

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3 comments on “Matt 22 & Eternal Marriage: Some Ideas

  1. GB says:

    Thank you so much for this collection. I am thoroughly enjoying it.

    The ones I have read so far make wonderful points.

  2. James says:

    Thanks GB. I’m glad to see someone out there actually reads this blog!

  3. GB says:

    I have been a lurker for some time now.

    Thanks again!

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