In the middle of ongoing cultural convulsions over the definition of marriage, I have found one question increasingly on the minds of many people: “Didn’t God in the Old Testament allow for polygamy? If that is true, then how can you say that marriage is defined as being only between one man and one woman?”
The truth is that the story of polygamy in the Old Testament is, well, a problem. Although monogamy was clearly God’s intent from the beginning, the picture blurs pretty quickly after Adam and Eve’s first sin and expulsion from the Garden. By Genesis 4, you have Cain’s son Lamech taking two wives. The patriarchs Abraham and Jacob themselves had multiple wives and concubines. Technically, the practice was polygyny. In other words, men could have more than one wife, but not the other way around (polyandry)….
How does one respond to this situation? The answer begins by seeing that God always points His creation back to the primacy and perfection of the original design. Next, you have to read every book to the end — especially if it is the biblical context.