In the last podcast, we talked about Adam’s singleness and why it was not good. Of course, this raises the question of whether singleness itself is intrinsically bad. What would you say to singles, especially to those who may be called to a life of singleness?
I wrote two chapters on singleness in my book on marriage, and the reason I did is because I knew that if you are going to celebrate marriage, you are going to have single people reading it and saying, “Oh, so that is the great life, and I get the other life.” And my point there was, No, there are glories that can be shown in marriage that can’t be shown in singleness — given. There are glories that can’t be shown in marriage, but only in singleness — given.
Exalting Christ in Singleness
If God has called you to a life of singleness, there are ways in and by that singleness to display the glory of God which married people can’t. It does involve other people. So my point stays the same. God created the other, and I said other partly because I knew that it is not just a wife. It is not just a husband. It is another human, and single people are called into a life like this: “Welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you” so that “you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 15:5–7). That is talking about the true eternal family. And one of the things I stressed in those chapters was this: Marriage is temporary. The church is eternal.
So the relationships we form in the church with brothers and sisters who may be single last forever. The relationship between a man and a woman in marriage doesn’t. Jesus went out of his way to say in the resurrection that there is neither marrying nor giving in marriage (see Matthew 22:30), which is why my dad will not be a bigamist in heaven even though he had successive wives — 36 years with my mom, 25 years with my stepmom. He answered that question by saying, “There won’t be any marriage or giving in marriage.”
So thank you, Tony, for the clarifying question. Singleness doesn’t mean one has embraced a lesser life, because there are ways to display the corporate glory and the glory of dependence on God in unique ways in singleness that can’t be done by husband and wife.