Marriage: Divine Design or Devilish Deception by D.E. Christian

marriagelrReviewed by Douglas R. Cobb

With all of the sin and corruption in this world, this veil of tears, it’s often difficult to avoid being tempted by desires of the flesh. The Bible is the best guide, many people believe, to aid us in avoiding the pitfalls we daily face, and to help us from succumbing to temptation and sinning. Marriage is one of the holiest of institutions, and it is a covenant not to be entered into lightly, so it is fitting that there are many books written about this subject, and about how to avoid being divorced from one’s spouse and having premarital sex. One of the latest examples of this type of book is the short treatise by D.E. Christian, Marriage: Divine Design or Devilish Deception. Any book or treatise, sermon, hymn, scripture verse, etc., that aids us from sinning is worthwhile to know about, read, and learn from, so if you’re looking for a way to help boost your faith and learn more about the importance of marriage and how to avoid being deceived by temptation, then this is a book you ought to check out.

I am wholeheartedly on Christian’s side, as it were, in the belief that marriage is an important and holy institution. I hope to remain married to my wife, and to never get divorced form her, and I hope that my teenage daughter does not engage in sex before marriage. These are feelings that probably most people who are contemplating getting married or who are married hope for, and I am no different in that. I have a few arguments or questions about how the author handles the subject, and his combining of quotes in one paragraph from the Old and the New Testaments; but, his goal is one that I believe is important. Everyone who is considering marriage, is married, or has ever had questions about the subject of marriage, should find this book to be a valuable asset in their thirst for knowledge.

The short chapters range from ones titled “Husbands: Love Your Wives,” to ones like “The Role of a Wife,” and “Why Jesus Hates Divorce,” and “Rules for Holy Family Living.” Each chapter provides valuable information and interpretations of scripture which can be an immense aid to people who have questions about marriage or who want to learn more about this subject.

Now, having said this, and also having said I agree with the author’s overall goal and his moral intentions, I’ll mention a couple of criticisms I have with the book. I will do so because, of course, it’s what reviewers do – but, I hope and trust that my doing so will not foster the belief that in general, I agree with most of the points Christian discusses regarding marriage.

One aspect I had problems with is simply a matter of the book’s style, as opposed to its subject matter and substance. There were several cases of misplaced quotation marks, and of paragraphs that ran on for more than one page, combining ideas that should have been separated into their own, individual, paragraphs. This would have made the material the book presents a bit easier to follow along with, and more reader-friendly. Most books benefit from being checked over by one or more editors, and it is my belief that this book would also have benefitted from this.

Beyond matters of style and grammar, though the Old Testament can successfully be used in conjunction with the New Testament to support one’s arguments and cases about various issues of morality, I would have to say it needs to be done extremely carefully. It is the belief of Jewish people that, for instance, Deuteronomy is a book of the Pentateuch, and that it was written by Moses. On p.11 of his book, Christian appears to suggest that Jesus was the author of Deuteronomy, not Moses:

Throughout time the Lord Jesus has provided for all mankind, but more abundantly for those who open their hearts to him and follow his lead by learning his ways. A close look at Deuteronomy chapter 6 he tells his beloved Israel what he demands from his wife,” Love your God with all your heart and with all your strength. In affect love him
with everything you have, because that is how he is loving you!

In this example, there is also an example of a editing mistake, as I mentioned earlier in this review – a misplaced quotation mark. Though this is s quote Jesus would no doubt have agreed with, it is written by Moses, and I don’t believe it should be attributed to Jesus. Also, the subject quoted from is about loving God and obeying Him – which we should all do – but is not really specifically about the subject of marriage.

There are a few other aspects of the arguments Christian makes that I have a problem with, though, as I’ve stated, overall I agree with his main goals, and believe him to be a moral person who is presenting a case for the importance of marriage and morality that we all could learn from. The one point I’d like to make is in regards to divorce – the Bible does mention this subject, and there were some cases where it seemed to be okay to get a divorce. One example comes from the same book in the Bible I previously wrote about, Deueronomy:

If a man marries a woman who becomes displeasing to him because he finds something indecent about her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house, and if after she leaves his house she becomes the wife of another man, and her second husband dislikes her and writes her a certificate
of divorce, gives it to her and sneds her from his house, or if he dies, then her first husband, who divorced her, is not allowed to marry her again after she has been defiled. This would be detestable in the eyes of the Lord.

So, though I do not believe, in general, that married people should divorce, it appears that in some cases the Bible states that it is permissible. And, if what Christian meant when he attributed Deuteronomy to the hand of Jesus actually was that Jesus/God was directing Moses’s words, still it would imply that Jesus also recognized that there were certain cases when divorce was acceptable. I personally believe there are other cases, as well, like if the husband beats his wife/children, has committed murder, or has cheated on her, or has driven them into debt due to a drug/alcohol habit, just to name some examples. I know that not everyone will agree with me, and that despite a man having done these things, it is still possible he can be redeemed through Christ and become a changed person; but, before and unless this change occurs, I believe divorce is justified in such cases.

Marriage: Divine Design or Devilish Deception is a book that is very informative, and can help people learn more about the very interesting subject of marriage, and how Jesus/God would like mankind to believe about marriage. Despite the objections I briefly mentioned, I think that D.E. Christian makes a good argument for his case that it is far better for men and women to be guided by the words of God found in the Bible than by temptations they may face on a daily basis, be they ones that are created by man, woman, or the Devil. If you’d like to know more about marriage and what the Bible says concerning it, this book is a good complement to the Bible which you should find to be engrossing and beneficial to read.

A review copy of this book was supplied to the reviewer by the author.

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