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There are several things to consider in this question. First of all, let's define "Christian." Many people assume they are Christians simply because they are not affiliated with any other religion....
Adam and Eve didn't go to a minister or a church or anyone else for that matter to be joined and be married as we use the term. Genesis 2:24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. So if a man leaves his father and his mother and cleave unto his wife, they shall be one flesh. So before civil ceremony or church sanction, etc., if a man or woman came together in order to be joined for life they were as we use the term married. Has anything changed. In Canada in every Province except Quebec; if two are living together they are considered to be in a common-law marriage. So a Christian does not have to go through a civil ceremony to be married. However, that being said, the laws vary depending on what country you live in or Province. There are a lot of legal problems that can present themselves if one is not married according to civic standards. It is really a personal choice, but one that should be done according to one having a clear conscience in doing whatever choice one makes. I personally have been in a common-law marriage with my wife, spouse for more than thirty years and in Canada our relationship is recognized as a marriage, with all the legal protections involved from the Federal and Provincial governments.
This question goes to the heart of what constitutes a marriage. Is marriage defined and determined by the state or country that you live in, or is marriage defined and determined by your personal commitment before God? If you say that marriage is determined by the state, then marriage is different in different countries for the have different laws. Some countries have no laws about marriage. And you're saying marriage is different in different ages as the states laws change from age to age. Some states even allow marriage between people of the same sex. So if you say that marriage is determined and defined by the state you have to accept the state view and not the Christian view of marriage. On the other hand if you say that real marriage is a simple commitment before God which the state has nothing to do with, then this is a unifying approach to marriage. It means that Adam and Eve, Abraham and Sarah, and Bill and Hillary Clinton are all equally married regardless of which country they married in, regardless of the laws or lack of laws of the land. Marriage is a personal covenant between two people before God. It does not have to have state approval, it doesn't have to have a ceremony, it doesn't have to have a licence, it doesn't have to happen in a church, it doesn't have to be agreed by state officials and recorded in a state database. All it needs is a genuine commitment between two people before God Philip
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