As a staunch Christian who has studied Theology, I am keenly interested in the contemporary debates in the Christian circle regarding the acceptable practices for believers, especially those key to their eligibility to enter heaven. One of the notorious subjects in the present era is polygamy. In my final year at theology school, I decided to research God’s verdict on polygamy. I studied the scriptures and engaged church leaders from different denominations and religious scholars to get their input on this subject. While I was teaching The Biblical Principles of Marriage in my college theology class last semester, a student asked whether polygamists would go to heaven. There were varying answers from the rest of the students. Having researched the topic extensively, I had reliable answers to this question. So then, will polygamists go to heaven?
According to the Bible, Polygamists will not go to heaven since they are sexually immoral. Since the beginning, we see God’s approval of monogamous marriage patterns as implied in Genesis 2:22-24. Jesus reiterates this in Matthew 19:4-6 where he uses the term wife in its singular form. Despite a record of several instances where polygamy existed, even for patriarchs and people so close to God, we still see this being portrayed as just God’s permissive will rather than His perfect will for humanity. 1 Corinthians 7 implicates polygamy as an act of Adultery, and as regards adultery in Revelation 21:8, the sexually immoral shall not inherit the Kingdom of Heaven.
I invite you to read on and find out what God says about polygamy, why He permitted such in the Old Testament, where exactly in the scriptures monogamy is emphasized, and perhaps, the fate of believers who have already found themselves in polygamy.
What Does God Say About Polygamy?
Even though several instances of polygamy are recorded afterward, even for people who had a close relationship with God, we don’t see any direct approval of the same. In 1 Kings 11:3-4, we see the emphasis on the negative effects of polygamy, which were contrary to God’s will. This passage indicated that Solomon’s heart was turned away from God when he married many wives. We can therefore infer from this that God disapproved of polygamy.
In Deuteronomy 17:17, we see God warning governing kings against multiplying wives for themselves, as this is likely to cause them to turn away from Him.
The account in Genesis 2:22-24 introduces God’s original idea of marriage in which He created one man and then created one woman for the man. In Genesis 2:24, the specific term used here is “wife” in its singular form, which implies only one and not more.
Why Did God Allow Polygamy In The Bible?
The scriptures imply that God only permitted polygamy, but this does not translate to approval of the same. In Matthew 19:8, Jesus reveals one of the reasons why men were permitted to do things that were against God’s original plan. The last part of this scripture says, “…which was not so from the beginning.” Considering what God purposed from the beginning, as implied in Genesis 2:22-24, where he created one woman for the man, we can say that the hardness of the hearts of men is one of the reasons why God permitted polygamy.
In Genesis 9:7, we see that one of the assignments of God to humans was to multiply and fill the earth. Most instances of polygamy started in the early times, not so long after creation, with the first incident being recorded in Genesis 4:19, where Lamech took two wives for himself. Perhaps, marrying many wives helped in faster multiplication and filling of the earth. We see in the scriptures that men with many wives, such as Solomon, David, and Jacob, had many children.
Does The Bible Directly Teach About Monogamy?
Yes, the Bible in several scriptures implicates monogamy as the acceptable and intended practice for humans. Genesis 2:24 talks about the man leaving his parents to be united with his wife. The fact that wife is used as a singular term emphasizes the monogamous nature of the union God intended between a man and a woman. Jesus makes reference to this as God’s establishment for marriage in Matthew 19:4-6 where he emphasizes the two (man and woman} becoming one flesh in marriage.
One of the key commandments among the ten is the seventh one, which forbids Adultery (Exodus 20:14). Adultery is defined as a sexual union outside the bounds of marriage. Malachi 2:14-16 also emphasizes the singular nature of the wife and condemns sexual involvement with another woman other than the wife of one’s youthful days.
Where In The Bible Does It Say A Man Can Only Have One Wife?
Several scriptures emphasized having one wife as a major qualification for leadership in the church. In 1 Timothy 3:2, Paul directs that an overseer must be the husband of one wife. In 1 Timothy 3:12, Paul also emphasizes that a deacon should have only one wife to be eligible for that office. In the Book of Titus 1:5-8, Paul also directs Titus to set things right by appointing elders to lead the church. He specified that an eligible man must be a husband to only one wife.
In Romans 7:1-4, Paul makes it clear that it is considered Adultery if a man divorces his wife and then marries another woman while the divorced one is still alive. If, in the event of divorce, God still forbids a man from marrying another wife, how much more illegal is it to marry another wife while still married to his first wife? (Polygamy). We, therefore, see that God expects a man to have only one wife.
Can A Christian Have Several Wives And Still Be Saved?
The Bible is clear that faith in Jesus is the ticket to salvation. John 3:16 states that anyone who believes in the Son shall not perish and shall be entitled to eternal life, which is salvation. The Bible implies that all men have sinned (Romans 3:23) and need God’s saving grace through Christ. If found in polygamy before receiving Christ, they, too, are candidates for salvation if they believe in Jesus. 1 John 1:7 states that the blood of Jesus can cleanse men from all unrighteousness, including Adultery, through polygamy.
Also, a Christian can fall back to sin even after accepting Christ. In John 1:9, the Bible states that God can cleanse us from all unrighteousness and sin if we confess. A polygamous man can, therefore, still be saved if they confess.
As a devout Christian, I have always been passionate about the Christian faith. This inspired me to pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology in college. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Since I am dedicated to spreading the word of God, I am actively involved in the Church. Additionally, I share his word online and cover diverse topics on the Christian faith through my platform. You can read more about me on the about us page.