Maxey - Broking Discussion
A Critical Review and Defense of
Down, But Not Out

Wednesday, November 1, 2000

A Question Posed By Darrell Broking
And The Answer By Al Maxey


Well, let's see if we can get a grip on something concrete from the discussion thus far. Al Maxey teaches that divorce completely severs, terminates, yea it destroys all that has to do with the original marriage bond. Accordingly, divorced persons are as if they really never married. Al, do you agree with this assessment?


Darrell has made two statements and then has asked if I agree with his assessment in those statements. Well, I have to admit that I agree with some of it and disagree with some of it. As is typical with Darrell, he phrases things in such a way that a simple Yes or No answer is not always possible. I'll do my best to answer his question, however.

YES --- I agree that a divorce "completely severs, terminates, yea it destroys" the bond of marriage between a man and woman. I believe it ends the bond of marriage just as surely as the death of one of the spouses. The Greek words employed in Scripture clearly declare such. I pointed this out in some depth in Chapter Four of my book --- An Examination of Key Greek Words.

Apoluo, for example, conveys the concept of "releasing from, setting free, liberating, sending away, dismissing, and loosing from." An "unbinding" of that which had been previously joined together is indicated by the term. When Pilate "released" (same word) Barabbas, for example, was this man still bound in chains? Was he still a prisoner? Was he free or not? When "released" his condition completely reversed. He who was formerly bound, was now liberated, loosed from his bonds, set free. His former condition (imprisoned) had been terminated. In a marriage, the husband and wife are bound to one another; they are united as one; they are joined together. However, when a divorce occurs that bond is "loosed," an "unbinding" occurs, and the union is severed. The two who were one are now two again.

Chorizo is another word used for "divorce" in the NT writings. In fact, it is used five times with respect to a divorce. It signifies "to sever, disunite, put asunder, divide, separate." That which was united is now disunited; that which was joined is now divided asunder.

I think one would be hard-pressed to try and manipulate the meaning of these words in such a way as to suggest they convey the idea of a continuing union and bond. They clearly portray something that has come apart and is no longer joined together. They convey the concept of a complete and total severing of the bond of marriage. So, YES, Darrell, I believe that a divorce does indeed sever the original marriage bond. That is exactly what the words employed in Scripture state.

As for your second statement, however, I would have to disagree in part .... and agree in part. You wrote: "Accordingly, divorced persons are as if they really never married." If you are referring to their "single state," then I would agree with this statement. Yes, they are indeed single again. They are UNmarried, UNbound to a wife/husband.

This is seen dramatically in Numbers 30:9, for example. We know that under the old law a husband had the right to nullify a vow made by his wife (vs. 8). In other words, a wife could make a vow and NOT have it bound upon her if her husband chose to nullify it. She was under the authority of her husband. However, vs. 9 states: "Any vow or obligation taken by a widow or divorced woman will be binding on her." Both the death of the husband, or her divorce from him, had the same effect: she was no longer bound to him or under his authority; she was free. Thus, any vow she now made was binding upon her since she was now out from under the authority of her former husband. The bond between them was severed. She now was responsible for her own actions. This clearly declares that the marriage bond was just as terminated by divorce as it was by death!!!

Yes, Darrell, the divorced spouse is just as single and UNmarried as one who had never been married.

However, there is another sense in which your statement (as it is worded) is not entirely representative of reality. "Divorced persons are as if they really never married." They may indeed be SINGLE (just as single as one who has never married), but they will never be "AS IF they really never married." The divorced spouse, even if the "innocent party," will carry a wagon-load of emotional baggage with them for the rest of their lives. Their union with their mate, and the trauma of their marital breakdown, will forever affect every aspect of their lives .... and of their very being! They will never again be AS IF they had never married. It's too late for that. They have been victimized, traumatized, and will doubtless be stigmatized and ostracized, as a result of their experience. Thus, they are not even remotely in the same category (emotionally, physically and even spiritually) as those who have yet to enter a covenant of marriage.

It would be like saying, "Those who have served our nation in a foreign war and then been discharged from the military are AS IF they had never been in the military." Is that statement true, Darrell? Well, yes and no!! Yes, they are just as much a civilian now as one who has never served. Neither are bound to the military. But, that war-scarred soldier is light years away from the young man who never spent a day in uniform. Neither wear the uniform now, but that is where the similarity ends.

I served six years in the military, two of which were in combat in Vietnam. There was one occasion where I was the only person left alive after an attack. Those years have forever changed who I am. The Al Maxey who went to Vietnam is not the Al Maxey who came home. The same is true of those who have been "discharged" from a marriage. They may no longer wear the "uniform" of wife or husband, but they are forever changed. To in ANY way equate them to one who has never been in a marriage (other than the fact that they are both single) is tantamount to equating the discharged war-scarred veteran to an individual who never wore the uniform. It cannot be done!

Thus, I would have to qualify my answer to your question in the above manner.

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