Hope everyone is starting off to a great year. Happy 2016!
Chapters 5-9 of Genesis teach us about Adam’s descendants, the corruption of the human race, the Flood, and a bit of Noah’s post-flood life.
What I want to examine today is a curious passage in chapter 6. We read:
- And it came to pass when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them,
- That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.
- And the LORD said, my spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.
Although there’s a lot of conjecture about what the first two verses mean (including angels mating with mortal women and producing hybrid offspring), I think what the language is referring to is the righteous men (of the line of Seth, or those of the line enumerated in chapter 5) marrying the daughters of the worldly men who didn’t share their understanding of the divine.
These men of a righteous line who had an understanding of the ways of the Lord were marrying women who didn’t share their beliefs. It important to note above that the following verse demonstrates God’s displeasure with what was going on. He says that” [His] spirit shall not always strive with man.”
Of course, we know what happens next. Mankind becomes so wicked that God decides to destroy it with a flood, leaving only Noah and his family alive. The consequence of righteous men choosing worldly women ultimately was the destruction of nearly all the human race.
After the flood dissipates, Noah and company start populating the earth once more. In chapter 9, we read that Noah’s son Ham “saw the nakedness of his father.” As punishment, Noah curses Ham’s son Canaan and his posterity.
There’s a lot of debate as to the exact nature of Ham’s sin. One I tend to favor is that Ham saw his father’s priesthood garments, perhaps while in the middle of conversing with the Lord. It was lack of respect of sacred authority.
In any case, we know Ham did something really bad. And the consequence was major. Why did Ham do what he did when his brothers, on the other hand, went to the length of walking backward with a garment on their shoulder to cover their father without seeing his nakedness (Genesis 9:23)?
Granted, this insight is tied to LDS scripture. We learn from the tome known as the “Book of Abraham” that Ham’s wife was a descendant of Cain (see Abraham 1:23-25).
It turns out that Ham was another son of God who married a daughter of man.
What conclusion do we draw?
One of the biggest decisions we make in life is our choice of spouse. Whether we want to admit it or not, the person whom we marry has a huge influence over our beliefs and conduct. And when we love our life partner, we’re willing to compromise our views to maintain peace at home.
The problem is that the Gospel isn’t something we should compromise. That’s why it’s so important to look for a husband or wife who’s just as committed to the Faith as you are.
Now, if someone happens to be married to a person who isn’t a believer, the Bible makes it clear that they should remain together.
12. But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away.
13. And the woman which hath a husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him.
14. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.
(1 Cor. 7:12-14).
However, if you have a clear understanding of the Gospel and want to make it the lifelong focus of your life, there’s no reason to get yourself in that situation. Not only can the contrary values create stress between spouses, but it sends children mixed messages.
Marriage is a constant push-pull. And it’s good to give in a bit. But not with respect to what’s most important–our devotion to the Lord. A man and wife committed to God and to each other have all they need to progress together, grow together, and find true happiness together.