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Is divorce a sin?

Q: Is divorce a sin? I didn't want to get divorced but he forced it on me, due to a 3rd party. What effect will this have on my life ahead and my children's lives? Can I marry again?

A:  

Thanks so much for your note to us here at TruthBook. You have not mentioned whether you are a Urantia Book reader/student, but I hope that you are, since you asked your question from our website. If not, I do invite you to come by often and visit! The Urantia Book is a treasure of important information for our 21st century world, and for each person in that world.

You asked: Is divorce a sin? I guess that depends upon who you ask. If you ask someone who believes that marriage is a sacred institution you'll probably get a yes. But The Urantia Book calls marriage one of those things that is "humanly sacred." In other words, it is not instituted by God; it is a man-made institution that has been elevated to humanly sacred status. That could be because marriage is such an important basis for society itself, and religious leaders and even civil leaders have tried to make it into the ideal that it could be by sanctifying marriage and making divorce difficult, or even forbidding it as sinful.

These next quotes are teachings of The Urantia Book from Paper 83, The Marriage Institution

83:8.4 It is also unfortunate that certain groups of mortals have conceived of marriage as being consummated by divine action. Such beliefs lead directly to the concept of the indissolubility of the marital state regardless of the circumstances or wishes of the contracting parties. But the very fact of marriage dissolution itself indicates that Deity is not a conjoining party to such unions. If God has once joined any two things or persons together, they will remain thus joined until such a time as the divine will decrees their separation. But, regarding marriage, which is a human institution, who shall presume to sit in judgment, to say which marriages are unions that might be approved by the universe supervisors in contrast with those which are purely human in nature and origin?
83:8.5 Nevertheless, there is an ideal of marriage on the spheres on high. On the capital of each local system the Material Sons and Daughters of God do portray the height of the ideals of the union of man and woman in the bonds of marriage and for the purpose of procreating and rearing offspring. After all, the ideal mortal marriage is humanly sacred.

But the discussion of the sacredness of marriage does not answer the question about whether the dissolution of a marriage constitutes a sin. To answer that question, one has to understand what constitutes "sin." In the book, we are taught that:

89:10.2 Sin must be redefined as deliberate disloyalty to Deity. There are degrees of disloyalty: the partial loyalty of indecision; the divided loyalty of confliction; the dying loyalty of indifference; and the death of loyalty exhibited in devotion to godless ideals.
89:10.3 The sense or feeling of guilt is the consciousness of the violation of the mores; it is not necessarily sin. There is no real sin in the absence of conscious disloyalty to Deity.

I think there's a general sense that divorce is sinful in many churches, but if we use the criterion above, there's more to sin than someone in authority telling us that something is sinful. Sin is something that we decide to do, in knowing opposition to God.

You are really the only one who can decide whether there's been any sin regrding this divorce on your part. But, if you were brought to divorce through the decision of another, there would seem to be no deliberate disloyalty to God on your part; in fact, you tell me you did not even want to be divorced.

As to what effect this will have on you and your children, that's impossible to say from my vantage point. I would think that it will be up to you and your ex-husband to continue to provide for yourselves and your children, both materially and spiritually. If you make a plan to do that with the father of your children, future problems will be minimized.

Divorce is very, very common in our world; people deal with it everyday - not always well, but you have the oportunity to plan and make sure that the transition is smooth, even after the fact. Both of you are responsible for the children and hopefully you are both mature enough to put aside your differences as far as the welfare of your kids is concerned. If that is not the case, then you would benefit by looking for some support from your family, your church, or your community until you can get yourself settled again.

Can you marry again? If you do get divorced, you will be completely and legally free to pursue other relationship that might lead to marriage. If your church or your religion forbids divorce and/or remarriage after divorce, you will have to decide whether you will live within those rules or not.

The Urantia Book reference that I gave you above regarding marriage is a good one to read, if you have not done that yet. It gives a lot of historical information, insight, and common sense thinking about marriage - and divorce. I encourage you to have a look, so that you can determine the values in your own situation more clearly. Once you know more about such things from a Urantia Book perspective, it may relieve a lot of anxiety that you have regarding these concerns.

Thanks again for your note. I hope that this reply has been helpful; please feel free to write back anytime! And best wishes!!!

:: Date published:
:: Author: Staff