Monogamy, Monotheism, and Playing out the Story of Redemption
In the Torah, and the History and Writings of the Patriarchs and Kings we see polygamy as a regular practice. It would therefore seem that my view of monogamy as a ritual practice modeling monotheism would be a pleasantly attractive, but potentially unbiblical model. Yet I believe that Monogamy is the Biblical preference, and being the ideal pattern established by God it is therefore the more perfect model of both His character, and His redemptive work with humanity.
My reasons for feeling this way are outlined below.
1. References to marriage in commandment form, or in reference to God's plan for the institution are always described in a monogamous pattern.
2. Leaders in the New Testament are required to be monogamous, showing us that those who are set aside specifically to model the Christian life, are modeling something positive and godly in their monogamous lifestyle.
3. I place polygamy into the pattern of things allowed, but not celebrated by God. Things which are allowed do not carry the same value of ritual lifestyle which model the character of God, as those things which are preferred. Monogamy was established "from the beginning," and becomes the pattern of preference which models something of God's character and plans.
Though I certainly do not hold the view that monogamy is necessary for salvation, or that polygamy is rejected fully by God, I do see polygamy as a far less than optimal lifestyle in respect to the development of a life modeling the character and redemptive story of our Savior.
Modeling Redemptive History
The redemptive story of Christ bringing salvation to humanity, and calling a people to Himself is filled with intimate, romantic language. The people of God are seen as a woman being courted by the Lord in Jeremiah, and the Prophet Hosea lives out redemptive history in prophetic detail through his marriage to one woman who is unfaithful to him, and has kids by other lovers. As we come to the New Testament, Paul relates the mystery of the Gospel in terms of a marriage relationship between one man, and one woman. The church which is seen as many who yet are one are given the title the Bride of Christ, and a marriage supper to this one lover is arranged at the end of the redemptive story.
No institution of marital arrangement fits the picture of the jealous faithfulness of God for His one people, and the romance of the story of our redemption like the institution of monogamy. Monogamy becomes a lifestyle liturgy modeling the redemption history, and the jealous love of our God like no other pattern of living we know.