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Should a Christian man, who was a Muslim married to several wives, divorce his wives after he becomes a Christian?
Answers to a Question from Nigeria
How the Koran has Changed God's Old Testament and New Testament Commandments on Monogamy and Polygamy
(by Salam Falaki)


CASE 1 - MONOGAMY (one man marrying only one woman)
Torah: Allowed (God's standard by creating Adam and Eve as the first humans)
Gospel: Allowed (symbolized in Christ's relationship to the church as his bride)
Koran: Allowed

OLD TESTAMENT: Monogamy is the standard physical relationship that God instituted, when he created Adam and Eve. Monogamy is never explicitly enjoined (commanded), because it is taken for granted, being part of the way God created human beings: "God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them." (Genesis 1:27) God did not create them as one male and many females, nor as one female and several males, but as one male and as one female. This is God's creation order. Also in Genesis 2 we read how God made one woman out of one man (from one of his ribs: Genesis 2:21+22). The result is: "Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh." (Genesis 2:24) Here there is no talk of a man holding fast to his several wives, but only to his one wife. -- Now the first human was created "in the image of God", i.e. to exemplify deep spiritual realities about God himself. The deepest and most important aspect of being created in the image of God is communication: man and woman can hear and understand what God says to them and they can speak to God, and he understands them. This is what we call prayer. So prayer is rooted in our being created in the image of God. -- The first thing God communicated to Adam and Eve shows us, how they are to reflect God's glory in their physical union. His first communication to them were these commandments: "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth …" (Genesis 1:28) Here we have two aspects in which the glory of our triune God is reflected in the human being, which he created in his own image. The first aspect is: a) the physical union of one man and one woman has the power and authority to produce children out of themselves, thus bringing forth new life. This human power is in the image of God the Father, who is the source of all life. Every child born to them is in the image of God the Son, who is the uniquely born Son of the Father. The very notions, which God used in revealing himself as Father and as Son are thus exemplified as an image of himself in the creation order of marriage, in which one man, as father, through union with his wife, procreates a son. -- The second aspect is: b) each man and wife teach their children their language and thus the ability to communicate. They communicate to them the commandments of God: be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. They have the power and authority not to stay together forever, but to spread out to different parts of the world, ultimately filling the earth. This human power is in the image of God the Spirit, who also goes out into the whole earth, communicating to men the will of God and leading them. -- So with the first two commandments God, who created Adam and Eve, tells them how they should practically exemplify the image of God in their lives. Monogamous marriage thus was created by God to reflect the glory of our triune God himself as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. -- The Old Testament uses the phrase "Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived …" (Genesis 4:1) to describe the actual physical relationship between the spouses. Knowing your wife reflects a communion not only on a physical, sexual level, but also on a spiritual, even intellectual level. Here the Bible shows that "becoming one flesh" is much more and deeper than physical union.

NEW TESTAMENT: Monogamy is upheld in the Gospel as rooted in the creation order of God (Matthew 19:3-4). Christ, by calling himself the Son of Man, upheld the creation order of God in Genesis and confirmed it. By proclaiming that he is a descendant of Adam, he said that he was an exemplification of Adam being created in the image of God when he procreated sons, leading to Christ himself, who was born of Mary, a remote descendant of Adam. -- The one-to-one relationship between one husband and one wife is further elevated to becoming a symbol of Christ's relationship to his church: "23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. 31 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church." (Ephesians 5:23.25.31-32) Here again we have monogamous marriage reflecting deep spiritual realities about God. This time marriage reflects the glory of Christ's relationship to his church: When a man loves his wife, even to the point of sacrificing himself for her, he exemplifies the saving love of Christ, when he died for us to save us from sin, death and the devil. Even at the end of the age this image of God is upheld in the Bible: "Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb." (Revelations 21:9b) -- The result of all this is: In Christianity marriage is a union between one man and one woman; it is instituted and ordained by God as a life long relationship between one man and one woman; and it must be kept pure (Hebrews 13:4).

KORAN: Here monogamy is also allowed. Contrary to the Bible, the Koran does not include an account of the creation of the heavens and the earth in six days, with man being created on the sixth day. Nevertheless the Koran says that humans are creations of Allah. However, the institution and qualification of marriage has been radically changed with respect to the Bible:

a) It is true, the first humans were created by Allah (Sura 50:15a "We have created man …"), but they were not created in his image. There is no image of Allah in the Koran. He is totally unknowable: "(He, i.e. Allah, my Lord, is) the creator of the heavens and the earth. He has made for you out of your souls (i.e. out of yourselves) couples ... Nothing is like him. ..." (Sura 42:11)
b) Allah did not create the woman from the rib of Adam, but from his soul: "He created you (human beings) from one soul (Adam), then made from it its spouse (wife) …" (Sura 39:6)
c) Also the aim of Allah in creating couples was not that they should become one flesh, rather we read: "And among his (miraculous) sings (is): He (Allah) created for you out of your souls spouses (wives), so that you may repose unto them (i.e. cohabit or sleep with them). And he made (things in a way so that there is) affection and mercy between you. …" (Sura 30:21). The biblical "become one flesh" was changed to the koranic "so that you may repose unto them", and the biblical "a man … shall hold fast to his wife" was changed to the koranic "affection and mercy between you". The aim of marriage in the Koran is to have physical intercourse. This is why the Koran often uses the word Nikah for marriage, which literally means "entering" (a woman) e.g. in Sura 4:6.
d) A man and a woman according to the Koran do not have the power to procreate children out of themselves. For every living human being is a direct creation of Allah: "58 Then tell me (Allah): the semen that you emit (in intercourse): 59 is it you, who create it, or are we the creators?" (Sura 56:58+59); and "13 Thereafter we (Allah) created him (i.e. the human being) as a clot in a firm resting place (i.e. in the womb); 14 then we created the clot (to become) a hanging (embryo); then we created the hanging (embryo) (to become) a fetus; then we created the fetus (to become) bones; then we covered the bones with flesh; then we let him emerge as one more creation (at the birth of the baby)" (Sura 23:13-14; see also Sura 40:67). This is why Allah frequently in the Koran tells people that he created them, e.g in Sura 30:40 "Allah is the one, who created you", khalaqakum.) Nowhere in the Koran are Adam and Eve commanded to "be fruitful and multiply", because they do not have this power according to Allah. This has deep spiritual consequences: (i) a man can never really become a father, because Allah is the creator of the child; (ii) nobody is really the son of his father for the same reason; (iii) therefore there is no real concept of Father or of Son in the Koran, which could be used to describe Allah; (iv) and since Adam and Eve were not created in the image of God, their marriage can never reflect the glory of God in their koranically nonexistent power of procreation, which in the Bible is in the image of God the Father; (v) all this was changed in the Koran to make it impossible for Christ to be the Son of God; and finally (vi) for this reason, a koranic marriage can never be considered as a reflection of Christ's relationship to his church as revealed in the Bible.

The result of all this from Koran is the following: Marriage in Islam is a contract between a Muslim man and one or more women (as long as they are not more than four at the same time); women don’t have to be Muslims but could be Christians, Jews, or Muslims; and the purpose of the contract is to make sexual relationships lawful. (Suras 2:221,235 -- 4:3-4,19-27 -- 5:5)

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