8. I would like to ask you a question on this biblical passage: “A man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife and the two shall become one flesh” (Matthew 19:5; Genesis 2:24 - NKJV). My question is this: ‘Should we interpret it literally (I mean a carnal relation) or allegorically (I mean that a man should attain such a harmony of purpose and behaviour with his wife that they are no longer two but one person who fulfills himself in Christ)?




The words “a man shall be joined to his wife and the two shall become one flesh” must be interpreted literally. In other words, they refer to a carnal union because Paul says to the Corinthians: “What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh” (1 Corinthians 6:16). What kind of union can be attained with a harlot but a carnal union? Surely a union in Christ cannot be achieved with her. Therefore if Paul takes that passage of the book of Genesis to show that if a believer lies with a prostitute he unites carnally with her (that is, the believer becomes one body with the prostitute), we don’t see any reason for interpreting this passage allegorically in relation to marriage, in which sexual intercourse is lawful.