If a man and woman have committed themselves to each other for the purpose of union by marriage and have had sex, does this say that they are married under God, as seems to be the case in Old Testament times? What is the purpose of man's requirement to have a marriage license and ceremony?
The requirement for a marriage license and ceremony comes from the authorities. Each culture has had some requirements to meet before a couple was married, even in Old Testament times. God calls us to obey the authorities that "He has established" (Roman 13:1). The Bible reveals that any sexual activity between a man and woman, outside the bonds of marriage, is immorality and thus sin. So whatever the culture has established as a requirement to certify a marriage is what God requires. Just to have sex with a commitment is not marriage in God's sight--it is the willful sin of immorality. "Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God." [Romans 13:1]
Added to Bible Bulletin Board's "Tony Capoccia's Questions and Answers" by:
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