What makes a marriage official according to God?
I was recently asked if Christians can get married in the eyes of God without government registration. If so, should they or shouldn’t they? I think the obvious and immediate answer is “yes.” Of course Christians can get married in the eyes of God without government registration. They’ve been doing that for thousands of years. In fact, Adam and Eve obviously did not have a government to sanction their marriage. Instead, in the eyes of God, they were married.
Even today—my wife and I live in the United States. When we got married, our pastor married us. I would argue that in the eyes of God, that’s when my wife and I were actually married. Then, at a later time, we filled out the appropriate government forms—the marriage license—and got that to be a part of the government sanctioned marriage. So yes, Christians can get married without government registration, and in the eyes of God they are actually married.
God does not need government registration to recognize a marriage. However, Christians cannot get married in the eyes of the government without getting a marriage license. The reason why they might want to get married in the eyes of the government is because when you get married by the government standards, you get all the protections, benefits, and privileges that come with state-sanctioned matrimony. Of course, those are intended to help take care of and to promote and nurture families that are formed when people get together and get married. That’s why I would recommend for Christians to not only get married in the eyes of God, but also to go the next step and get married in the eyes the government and to get the marriage license. That way, they can participate with the government and get those protections and privileges that come with state-sanctioned matrimony.
I hope you recognize that the government is a God-given institution. God has given humanity three institutions to help it to flourish and to protect it. God has given us the church, God has given us the family, and God given us the government. So, the government is a God-given institution that is intended to help human beings flourish, to protect innocent people, and to punish evildoers. That’s why when governments fail to do their job or they become corrupt, evil thrives, and human beings don’t flourish.
Notice, because the government is a God-given institution, it’s appropriate for us to participate in this government sanctioned matrimony and to get the privileges and benefits that come with that. There’s nothing wrong with doing that, so long as the government has not gone completely awry and is horrifically evil. Then, maybe you could argue that you don’t want to participate with everything government does. At least in our country at this point, there is no reason why we can’t, as Christians, participate in getting married in the eyes the government with a marriage license.