Following up on Pt. 1 and Pt. 2 of my Resurrection & Marriage series, there is a lot that I still want to say, and with midterms going on, less than optimal amounts of time for me to work on saying it!
Before I get into some broader issues relating to marriage and the resurrection, I thought I’d give a bullet-pointed summary of some additional textual clues that lead me to my interpretation:
1) The Sadducee incident occurs just after Jesus explains that we are to “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s”—a rather indirect answer to the question of whether one should pay taxes. It seems to me that the Sadducee episode is one of a longer string of stories in which Jesus is asked a tricky question and replies with a tricky answer which is open to interpretation. I think, then, that it is completely legitimate to carefully examine Jesus’s answer on marriage and the resurrection to see if it, also, seems less straightforward. As I explained in my last post, I think it is.
2) The only clear explanation of what it means to be “like the angels” is found in Luke, and here the similarity is that we will both be immortal. While the mention of this similarity does not mean that there cannot be others, we are merely guessing at what other similarities there might be. Of course, we can also learn something from the various views of angels present in Jewish society at the time, but regardless, since the text itself offers only immortality as a clue, we need to tread carefully.
3) When Jesus is asked about divorce in relationship to the law of Moses, he treats marriage as more than a simple legal issue. If someone divorces their spouse without proper justification, remarriage is adultery, he says. Because he views marriage as something that exists beyond the actual legality of who is married to whom, I think it would be legitimate to ask if marriage is less temporally bound than we are at first inclined to see it. Even more importantly, since Jesus himself says that “what God has joined, no one should separate,” it seems very odd that God himself would want to end marriages one day.
Next time, we’ll get into some of the more theological issues that relate to this discussion!