In a previous blog post, I dealt with a Biblical argument against Pedophilia and Child Marriage. My reason for writing such an article is that I fear a coming cultural battle over the topic, as the nation and western world become more pagan, self-absorbed, and defiant of God’s laws. If this is coming, as with homosexuality, invariably, Christians are going to be asked the question “Where in the Bible does it say pedophilia is wrong?” I’d like to get ahead of the curve and already have some answers prepared, as it’s never explicitly condemned in the Scriptures, but only by implication (for Biblical evidence that implied commands are just as important to follow as explicit ones, see my blog post on Biblicism here). Today’s blog post will deal with whether or not there is an age after which it is appropriate to engage in sexual relations. We’ll be looking at Ezekiel 16:3-8, in which God instructs Ezekiel to tell Jerusalem about their wicked deeds.
And say, Thus saith the Lord God unto Jerusalem; Thy birth and thy nativity is of the land of Canaan; thy father was an Amorite, and thy mother an Hittite. 4 And as for thy nativity, in the day thou wast born thy navel was not cut, neither wast thou washed in water to supple thee; thou wast not salted at all, nor swaddled at all. 5 None eye pitied thee, to do any of these unto thee, to have compassion upon thee; but thou wast cast out in the open field, to the lothing of thy person, in the day that thou wast born. 6 And when I passed by thee, and saw thee polluted in thine own blood, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live; yea, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live. 7 I have caused thee to multiply as the bud of the field, and thou hast increased and waxen great, and thou art come to excellent ornaments: thy breasts are fashioned, and thine hair is grown, whereas thou wast naked and bare. 8 Now when I passed by thee, and looked upon thee, behold, thy time was the time of love; and I spread my skirt over thee, and covered thy nakedness: yea, I sware unto thee, and entered into a covenant with thee, saith the Lord God, and thou becamest mine.
Here, God is using a metaphor to describe His relationship with Jerusalem. He says that Jerusalem was like a neglected child that He took care of. Later, after Jerusalem matured under his care, He entered into a covenant with her. God’s relationship to Israel is frequently compared to a marriage with God being the husband. However, because of Israel’s idolatry toward other gods, God tells them they’ve committed adultery while He remained the faithful husband. A little later on in chapter 16, God says,
Thou hast played the whore also with the Assyrians, because thou wast unsatiable; yea, thou hast played the harlot with them, and yet couldest not be satisfied. 29 Thou hast moreover multiplied thy fornication in the land of Canaan unto Chaldea; and yet thou wast not satisfied therewith. 30 How weak is thine heart, saith the Lord God, seeing thou doest all these things, the work of an imperious whorish woman; 31 In that thou buildest thine eminent place in the head of every way, and makest thine high place in every street; and hast not been as an harlot, in that thou scornest hire; 32 But as a wife that committeth adultery, which taketh strangers instead of her husband! (Ezekiel 16:28-32)
So it very clear that the covenant being entered into is comparable to a marriage covenant in this metaphor. The idea of God being in a covenant like a marriage to Israel isn’t merely found in Ezekiel, but in other spots in the Old Testament:
Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the Lord: (Jeremiah 31:32)
So, what does this have to do with pedophilia or child marriage? God waited until after it was “the time of love” to make his marriage covenant with Jerusalem. He had caused her to grow to a certain point, and afterwards, He saw it was the time of love, which shows that it’s not always the case. Although in different times of history the age of when it was acceptable to marry may be different, and indeed in the cultural context of the Bible men and woman got married much earlier than we do now, the passage here indicates there needs to be a physical maturity before doing so. It specifically says that God waited until after Jerusalem was physically mature (after her breasts had been fashioned) before entering into this relationship, only then seeing it was the time for love. I recognize the whole thing is a metaphor, but a metaphor needs a backing in reality for it to be valid. When Jesus, in the parable of the sower, says that the seed that fell on stony ground died because it had no root, that’s because of a physical reality. The parable doesn’t make sense if seed grows well on rocky soil. Likewise, the imagery of a time for love makes no sense if there is no time for love in human relationships. So, if Jerusalem as a child was not yet at “the time of love,” neither are physical children.
To conclude, it’s obvious from the nature of things that pedophilia and child marriage are wrong and that children are not ready for sexual relations. God has written such truths on the heart of man (see Romans 2:14-15). Even though its obvious to man, scripture is the all-sufficient word of God and we would expect the Bible to teach that these things are wrong, even if only implicitly. Even though it is wrong, mercy, forgiveness and freedom from sin can be found in Jesus Christ. If you would like to learn more I would encourage you to read this blog post on the Gospel.