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Law of the Land

A common argument often used as the last-resort "excuse", in trying to still assert that polygamy (polygyny) must somehow be a sin, is what is known as the "law of the land" argument.

In quoting Romans 13:1-7, Titus 3:1, and 1 Peter 2:13-26, this attempted argument asserts that, because polygamy is perceptibly against the "law of the land", and because these passages instruct Bible-believers to follow the "laws of the land", this itself makes polygamy a sin.

Before addressing this argument directly, it is important to first address the details by which no "law of the land" is actually being broken.

In a legal technical sense, polygamy itself is not usually specifically against the law. Rather, the legal term, "bigamy", is the outlawed act of a person having government-recognized existing marriages (i.e., government-recognized by "marriage license") with more than one living spouse at the same time.

As such, as long as polygamist families do not obtain government-recognition (e.g., seeking a marriage-license), there is no breaking of any law.

To Bible-believers, marriage is defined by God Who alone has the authority. It is not defined by any government.

In the Bible, there is not one single example of any marriage becoming "legitimate" because of definition or decree by government. The truth is, if marriage is defined by governments, then that would say that none of the men in the Bible were actually married.

That would be absurd, of course!

While the Churches have mistakenly acquiesced (even capitulated) their trust in God's authority (as sole definer of marriage), in their wrongly thinking that government has such authority to define marriage, even so, the reality is this:
It is not against the law to NOT GET MARRIED, in terms of any government definition of "getting married".

Cohabitation is no longer against the law of the land of most countries in the modern era.

If any government simply views a relationship as being that of cohabitating (which is not illegal), then even though Bible-believers and God know that the same relationship is indeed that of marriage before God, as defined by God alone, the truth remains: no "law of the land" is being broken.

The interesting thing to note about this attempted argument against polygamy, though, is the blatant obviousness of the "circular logic" which this "law of the land" argument employs.

Namely, the argument says this:
Polygamy is a sin beause it is against the law.

How did the bigamy laws come into existence in the first place?
They made polygamy against the law because they thought it was a sin!

Therein is the "circular logic". The argument has no external support supporting it. It goes round and round in trying to support itself, saying:

  • Why is polygamy against the law?
     Because it's a sin.
  • Why is polygamy a sin?
     Because it's against the law.
  • But why is it against the law?
     Because polygamy is a sin.
  • Why is it a sin?
     Because polygamy is against the law.

And round and round it goes.

Of course, as it is clearly proven that polygamy is not a sin, because polygamy really is Biblical, then that "circular logic" falls apart.

Since polygamy is NOT a sin, it should NOT be against the law!

And since most polygamist families are actually not breaking the law anyway, it is still not sin.

As such, there should be no "law of the land" against polygamy.

And that leads to the final irony that anyone would use the "law of the land" argument in the first place!

In countries such as the United States, Bible-believers take great comfort in knowing and acting upon the legislative process by which the "laws of the land" can be passed, amended, and even repealed.

If any law were passed, amended, or repealed which resulted in making things harder on true Bible-believers, they would (rightly) call it their Biblical DUTY to rise up to overturn the passing, amendment, or repeal.

Therein is the irony!

Even as polygamous Bible-believers are meticulous to not break any "law of the land", the bigamy laws are, nevertheless, truly burdensome. All the while, many non-polygamous Bible-believers would continue to look the other way and use the flawed "law of the land" argument to still oppose polygamy.

In using the "law of the land" argument, though, the very Bible-believers who would rightly work to make changes in law if it isolated or it made things harder for fellow Bible-believers are unwittingly relying on this flawed "circular logic" argument to NOT do their otherwise self-defined Biblical duty to overturn laws which do isolate and make things harder for fellow Bible-believers with polygamous families.

Thus, to not help such fellow Bible-believers with polygamous families to have freedom from the burdensome bigamy "laws of the land", such ones can be viewed as simply, albeit mostly unwittingly, continuing to fulfill the Spirit-given prophecy of 1 Timothy 4:1-3a.

While all this happens, of course, polygamous Bible-believers will continue to not break any laws, simply by means of cohabitation before government, but of marriage before God.

No doubt, should the bigamy "laws of the land" ever become changed and repealed, the "circular logic" will clearly require those who employ the "law of the land" argument to then have to wholly accept that polygamy really is Biblical.

Also See:

   Was Braveheart right to violate
    the "Law of the Land"?
  [A "Question to Ponder" at]

Abdon* Abijah Abraham Ahab Ahasuerus
Ashur Belshazzar Benhadad Caleb David
Eliphaz Elkanah Esau Ezra Gideon
Heman* Hosea* Ibzan* Issachar** Jacob
Jair* Jehoiachin Jehoram Jerahmeel Joash
Lamech Machir Manasseh Mered Moses
Nahor Rehoboam Saul Shaharaim Shimei*
Simeon Solomon Terah* Zedekiah Ziba*

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