In Matthew 19:6, Jesus commanded mankind “not to separate what God has joined together” in marriage. Matthew 19:6 is a command of what not to do, it is not a statement of what is impossible to do. Jesus emphasized that man should not separate what God joined together indicating that man can separate what God has joined together.

Jesus Himself recognized the fact that many would be divorcing and remarrying for reasons other than fornication (Mt. 19:9). Therefore, Matthew 19:6 doesn’t teach that marriage can’t be dissolved unlawfully, but that it shouldn’t be. While Jesus taught that it isn’t permissible to dissolve the marriage for just any reason (Mt. 19:9), He taught that it was possible.

This is like arguing that since murder is wrong, it isn’t real. If you told a man that he can’t murder you because it is wrong and he decided to kill you anyway, then you would be dead. Dissolving marriages unlawfully is not right, but it nonetheless happens when a divorce takes place.

Jesus says that “no one should separate” those whom God has joined. The very fact God says not to proves that one can (even though it isn’t right). Grammatically, there is no way you can translate it as “no one can separate”. The fact that Jesus commands people not to break up a marriage proves the very fact you can.

Paul says that if you fornicate with a prostitute you become “one flesh” (1Cor. 6.16). Are we to conclude that if one has slept with a prostitute, then they are forever joined? No. According to the context, he is saying that sex is very special and it involves a bonding, just as “he who is joined to the Lord becomes one flesh with him” (v.17). We should not take sex lightly because our bodies are a temple of God (v.19). While this should never happen, it sadly so often does. However, Matthew 19:6 and the idea of someone becoming “one flesh” does not mean that an indissolvable union was just formed.

– Kevin Pendergrass

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