In the Texas Penal Code under Offenses Against The Family, Bigamy is illegal. An individual commits a felony offense if (e) the person whom the actor marries or purports to marry or with whom the actor lives under the appearance of being married is (1) 16 years or older is considered a 2nd degree felony or (2) younger than 16 years of age a 1st degree felony. Comments to 25.01 under the code read: Based on reports that a polygamist cult in Texas has some parents regularly consenting to marriage of their 14 and 15 year old children, in 2005 the legislature raised the age to 16. Thus, anyone under 16 may marry only with judicial approval. Bigamy is a crime when an actor attempts to enter into a second-marriage (of any kind). The parents consenting to such an act and the person conducting such a ceremony have no provisions under the law and are therefore in violation of the Family Code. 

So why would a people encourage and value the idea of multiple marriages? This is truly an offense against the family. Family, by definition, must be rooted in a one man, one woman relationship.  Marriage, therefore, must refer to the bedroom and the consummation of such a sacred union. These ideas must remain objective.  Yet, in our western culture these ideas have become more fluid. To illustrate the point consider this narrative from an encounter with a Samaritan woman and Jesus.

Jesus revealed that he possessed something of great value that every person needs in order to have eternal life. Jesus told the woman, “Go, call your husband and come back.” Knowing who she was and how she lived, the woman responded, “I have no husband.”

“You are right. The fact is, you have had five husbands and the man you now have is not your husband,” replied Jesus. This was not to condemn the woman but to point to the truth that Jesus knows every detail of our lives and knows the heart behind every thing we do. Our wrong thinking about marriage and about God condemns us already. There was no need for Jesus to scold the woman.

The woman was amazed and the conversation led to the true identity of Jesus and a true understanding of marriage. Jesus offered the woman living water that produces a spring of life by way of his Spirit which gives life to thirsty people. Jesus uncovered her shame and guilt with tenderness which invites us to come to Him for forgiveness and a new way of thinking. Jesus invited her to know God through himself (Christ) who satisfies and leads us into all truth.  

The life the woman was looking for was not found in multiple relationships like trying on a pair of shoes until one finds the right fit. It is our sinful nature to get tired of something and want to exchange it for newer, more improved substitutes. When we meet the real Jesus our thirst for satisfaction finds its ever flowing spring.

If polygamy or bigamy were permissible then Jesus would not have addressed the issue of multiple sleeping partners which he called “husbands.”  The woman knew she was unhappy with her current arrangement or else she would not have returned to her town and joyously spread the good news like an engaged bride who just met the perfect man.  The whole town came out to hear Jesus and many will never thirst again.

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