Chapter 21. The Sacrament of Marriage • 279
GOD IS THE AUTHOR OF MARRIAGE
The vocation to marriage is written in the very nature
of man and woman as they came from the hand of
the Creator. Marriage is not a purely human institu-
tion despite the many variations it may have undergone
through the centuries in different cultures, social struc-
tures and spiritual attitudes.
—CCC, no. 1603
Sacred Scripture begins with the creation and union of man and woman
and ends with “the wedding feast of the Lamb” (Rev 19:7, 9). Scripture
often refers to marriage, its origin and purpose, the meaning God gave
to it, and its renewal in the covenant made by Jesus with his Church.
God created man and woman out of love and commanded them to
imitate his love in their relations with each other. Man and woman were
created for each other. “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will
make a suitable partner for him. . . . The two of them become one body”
(Gn 2:18; 24). Woman and man are equal in human dignity, and in mar-
riage both are united in an unbreakable bond.
But fidelity to God’s plan for the unity and indissolubility of mar-
riage developed gradually among the people of ancient Israel under
God’s providential guidance. The patriarchs and kings practiced polyg-
amy, and Moses permitted divorce. Jesus later cited this case as a tolera-
tion of human hardness of heart and taught God’s plan for marriage
from the beginning (cf. Mt 19:8). It was the prophets of ancient Israel
who prepared for Jesus’ renewal of God’s plan for marriage in their
insistence that the permanent and exclusive fidelity of marriage illus-
trates the unending fidelity of God to his covenant with Israel and his
will that Israel be faithful to him alone (cf., e.g., Hos 3 and Ez 16:59-63).
The books of Ruth and Tobit witness the ideals of marriage. They
describe the fidelity and tenderness that should exist between the spouses.
The Song of Solomon pictures a human love that mirrors God’s love,
which “many waters cannot quench” (cf. Sg 8:6-7).