Marriageable Age

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In contemporary Western culture, at least in America, the age of adulthood for both men and women is about 18 years (depending on the country and/or state or province), also known as the “age of consent”. After this age they are no longer considered minors and are allowed to marry with or without their parents’ consent. In other words, the State has settled upon the age at which people may get married, has determined for itself when people may be considered adults, and at that age replaces the authority of God and the fathers by allowing them to marry no matter what God or the fathers might say to the contrary. This is, of course, violation of God’s authoritative system.

Biblically, the age of 18 is arbitrary, and not the Biblical age of adulthood for either the man or the woman. The State settled upon 18 simply for expediency in regard to the draft in wartime and for increasing the voter base. It had no grounding whatsoever in God’s declarations on the matter, nor in any form of biological science. Man once again tried to play god by creating their own laws and definitions through bureaucratic decree, and once again missed the mark.


THE AGE OF MATURITY FOR MEN

When the Israelites first arrived at Canaan under the leadership of Moses, twelve spies went into the land to spy it out. Ten returned with a terrifying report, while two urged the Children of Israel to have no fear and take the fruitful country God had promised them. The Israelites ignored the two, and rebelled. In consequence, God sentenced the Israelites to wander 40 years in the wilderness, until every Israelite 20 years and older who had rebelled against Him died. Those Israelites younger than 20 would be the generation who conquered Canaan.

God held responsible the Israelites 20 and older because in His eyes they were adults. Also, these were not men and women. He was only holding the men responsible for the rebellion. Why? Again, we return to authority. As the leaders of Israel and of their families, the men were held responsible for the rebellion of the people. Did boys 19 and younger rebel? Almost beyond doubt, especially if their fathers set that example. But God didn’t punish them because they were younger than 20 and thus under their fathers’ authoritative covering. Likewise, women and girls almost certainly complained, but because the men were their authorities, they were not held accountable.

This is further demonstrated as we explore the Bible and its repeated reference to men 20 and older. They were not counted among the men of Israel until that age, nor were they considered old enough to fight in war (Exodus 30:14, Numbers 1:3).

It is at this age that God considers young men to be adults, responsible for themselves and their actions. At this age of responsibility is a young man considered ready to marry. Never once in Scripture do we read of a man marrying before he turned 20. In fact, we read that most waited until well after that age, building up their wealth and social standing before taking on the additional responsibilities of being husbands. They understood that the role of a husband is one of leadership, and that it takes maturity to lead.

Science backs this up by demonstrating that the prefrontal cortex, the portion of the human brain which makes rational decisions, is not fully developed until around the age of 20. A teenager, driven by emotion and hormones, is almost incapable of fully rational thought, especially under pressure. Rational thought is essential for leadership, and thus for the foundation of society [3]. And so God in His wisdom set the age of accountability and adulthood at 20 years.

If America would return to the understanding of the age of accountability in men, rather than setting meaningless ages as the mark of adulthood, we might find fewer young men diving into marriages and other positions of leadership in which they have no business. More rational decisions would be made, and less confusion would come forth.


THE AGE OF MATURITY FOR WOMEN

While males are considered marriageable adults at the age of 20, the same does not hold true for females. Women are not held to the same responsibilities as are men. Their roles are not to be the leaders and rulers in family and society, but rather to be helpers. They are not the decision-makers. Their role is one of obedience to their fathers and husbands.

The idea that a husband and wife are a team of equals, making decisions together, is a very recent idea that has no basis in either Scripture or observation. The Bible, as well as unbiased fact, makes very clear that women are weaker, more prone to mistakes, and less rational than men. This is true whether the female is above or below the age of 20. The idea of “gender equality” is a socialist concept which has led to the rise of feminism and the tearing of an ugly, ragged breach in the human social fabric.

Thus it is that God’s specification of “20 years and older” applies only to males, and not females. No matter what their age, they will be under the authoritative covering of either their father or their husband, and not required to make the same leadership decisions as males. God does not base a woman’s adulthood on a specific age, but rather on a point in physical maturity.

Take a few moments to read Ezekiel 16:4-8. Here God is speaking to Judah, in terms of a husband to His adulterous wife. He recounts finding Israel, nurturing her to adulthood, and then marrying her. Did you notice the defining marks God specifically mentions as being indicative of her maturity? Her breasts had developed and her body had grown hair. Beyond question, this is the description of a girl who has passed puberty! It is also about this time of life in which her menstrual cycles begin, indicating that her body is ready for childbearing. All this happens well before the age of 18.

It is also a universally recognized fact that adolescent girls tend to mature emotionally and cognitively more quickly than boys of the same age [4]. Understanding that God considers them of marriageable age at this point in life helps us make sense of this. To be a wife a young postpubescent woman would need to be more mature than her male counterparts of similar age. God in His wisdom created the female mind to develop in harmony with her body.

The idea of a woman being considered marriageable prior to the age of 18 would be utterly horrifying to most people, including “conservative” Christians. Cries of “pedophilia!” would ring out. Accusations and pointing fingers would rain down like hail on anyone who might so much as suggest such a thing. But who sets your standards for deciding what is right or wrong: The State, or Yahweh God?

Many might also express revulsion at the thought of a young woman being married to an older man. But this is an irrational reaction. Why is it so terrible that she should wed a man with the maturity and experience to lead with wisdom and the income to provide? How is that worse than today’s norm, in which a young woman plays the harlot with multiple men who do not and often cannot provide leadership, protection, or sustenance, and often is left to raise her illegitimate children on her own? How dare we accept a life of sin and destruction while gasping in horror at a secure and godly marriage? Again I ask: By whose standards shall we abide: The State’s, or God’s? Sadly, the majority of “conservatives” choose the former.

Something is evil only if God declares it to be so. When we take it upon ourselves to decide what is good or bad, despite what the Author and Creator might say to the contrary, we are telling Him that He is wrong and we know better. What arrogance and outright blasphemy! This is a sin of which “conservatives” are profoundly guilty, and of which they should repent if they hope to defeat the sodomites.

To clarify, this does not mean it is wrong for a young woman to wait until the age of 18 or older to marry. In a society in which marrying at a younger age generally might create an uproar and perhaps land the husband in prison, prudence would suggest conforming with society’s expectations in this regard, in keeping with the admonition to “be at peace with all men” and to “be all things to all men”. (Romans 12:18, I Corinthians 9:22) Also, it is better for a father to wait until he finds a good man for his daughter rather than marry her off to the first suitor as soon as she’s eligible. My point here is that it’s wrong for us to condemn God’s standards simply because they happen to conflict with modern Western sensibilities. If God says a girl becomes a marriageable woman after puberty, then that’s the way it is, no matter what the State’s arbitrarily-set “age of consent” might be.

If Yahweh be God, follow Him. If Man be God, follow him.

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[3] “…We can now say that the human cerebral cortex is the specific organ of civilization… Foresights, purpose, and the ideals towards which we strive as individuals and as nations are functions of this same cortical gray matter.” – Brains of Rats and Men, C. Judson Herrick, University of Chicago Press, 1926

[4] This has been proven in a variety of studies, predominantly in one conducted at Newcastle University in the UK and published December 15, 2013 in Oxford University’s journal, Cerebral Cortex.