Promoter of this current controversy- Karen King- is confident that Jesus did indeed have a wife. Is confident that this was “not merely a spiritual wife”. That Jesus did indeed have “sexual intercourse”.
And Karen seems oblivious to the implications. Implications which leave her precariously- At The Brink. Implications which no one seems to be discussing.
Let’s examine those implications. Implications that I generally examine at my adult blog... but this has soteriological implications. Has fatal implications.
Now, as Karen rightly recognizes, the implications of having a wife are indeed “sexual intercourse”. Are indeed “conjugal rights” (Exodus 21:10 NASB- contrary to some translations which prefer the obscure “marital rights”)… but there are other requirements as well.
Requirements that are discussed in the above passage in the Old Testament. Requirements that were re-affirmed numerous times in the New Testament. Requirements that were pertinent in those times… and remain quite pertinent in our times.
So, according to Exodus 21:11 (just after the Ten Commandments) there are actually “three things” required for a wife (the NET notes call it a Threefold Maintenance Clause). The wife is also to be provided with food and with clothing.
And is to be maintained with food, clothing and sex (and the reasonable enjoyment thereof) by her husband. This O.T. passage suggests that being unable (or ‘unwilling’ in the NASB) to maintain a wife reasonably (and equitably in the case of more than one wife) indicates unfaithfulness and voids the marriage contract. Permits divorce with no strings attached.
Now, I just don’t see Jesus with the time or temperament of maintaining a wife reasonably in any gospel account (either canonical or apocryphal accounts). Of providing food and clothing to anyone on a regular basis. Seems to me that this is a huge gospel opportunity missed- unless of course this scenario was problematic!
And it is problematic. I just don’t see where Jesus might be under the illusion that he might possibly maintain a wife. Particularly when he knew that His earthly life would be chaotic. That His earthly life would be nomadic. When He knew that the Son of Man would have “nowhere to lay his head” (Matt. 8:20)… let alone lay His wife.
When He knew that His life would be cut quite short. When He knew that He MUST be in His “Father’s House” from a very early age (Luke 2:49 and no, not ‘a house that His earthly father built’ as some suggest). When He knew that He could spend little time with a wife… let alone children.
And for Jesus to marry based on this foreknowledge… would be fraudulent. Would be sinful. Would have disastrous implications.
Now, has Karen King considered those obvious implications?
If so, how does Karen King reconcile a sinful savior? Reconcile a deluded savior? Well, I don't see how she can… unless she completely denies His claims to foreknowledge. Unless she completely denies His divinity.
In contrast, the apostle Paul argues that he was certainly qualified to marry. Qualified in a general sense. Qualified- as were the other “apostles and brothers of the Lord” (1 Cor. 9:5). Yet, the Lord is not mentioned as being qualified to marry. A far stronger argument that Paul could have used.
An argument from silence, no doubt- yet it is implicit that the Lord was certainly not qualified to marry in the subsequent verse. That Jesus did not "have a right" to refrain from working as did Paul. That Jesus must needs work incessantly while He remained on this earth (John 9:4). That metaphorical "night was coming' for Jesus.
So Paul was indeed qualified to marry- qualified since he was not divine. Since he was not the Lord, and since he did not have the specific foreknowledge of the Lord. Of a clear and present "night" coming for Paul.
However, Paul was disqualified from marriage for a very different reason. Disqualified since it was not Paul’s actual desire to marry.
Disqualified- since it seems that Paul actually had very little passion for a wife (unlike Gandhi who held contempt for his wife and women).
That Paul had no significant “burning” for a wife (1 Cor. 7:9).
Disqualified since Paul was unusually gifted (1 Cor. 7:7) with eunuchy.
Was actually made a eunuch for the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 19:12).
That Paul’s actual “burning” was for the earthly minded… and a wife was simply ‘no heavenly good’ for Paul.
Now, an earthly wife would have been ‘no heavenly good’ for Jesus either. And though He may have been somewhat tempted to take a wife (Heb. 4:15) - a wife would have seriously compromised His clear and present mission. Would have seriously compromised His testimony of a far more intimate relationship.
As Rabbi Rosenblatt wrote recently, “Judaism celebrates the monogamous, intimate relationship with a spouse as the prototype of the intimate relationship with God”. And an earthly marriage for the Son of God- would have modeled something far less intimate.
But mostly, if counterfactuals may be made (and they may even be made by Calvinists :)- an earthly wife would have fatally compromised the Son of God's pre-existing marriage. A marriage made in heaven.
An existing marriage with the Father and Spirit. A marriage needing nothing else and no one else.
A marriage needing neither food, nor clothing nor conjugation- since the Father, Son and Spirit constantly feed, clothe and cuddle each other. Never deprive each other (not even at the cross, where Jesus continued to commit His human spirit to the Father-Luke 23:46).
A marriage of continuous maintenance. A marriage of consummate maintenance. A marriage with no Threefold Maintenance Clause required.
What a magnificent marriage to consider. A marriage that we might revel in- when our human spirit is with Christ.
When our spirit recognizes His divinity. When our spirit recognizes His salvation.
Pray that Karen’s spirit revels in His Spirit- and that Karen be clothed with Christ.
As he clothes the lilies and the nebula.