Birds of a Feather
I was recently challenged with the following statement: "Creationists and polygamists belong together. You both believe in outdated ideas which retard rather than progress Christianity."
Improving on Yahweh
Firstly, I am grateful that creationism and Christian plural marriage have been placed together (even though some creationists might not like the idea) because both are biblical truths that cannot be 'progressed', anymore than one can improve on Elohim's (God's) holiness.
Taking Christ Seriously
If we do not take Genesis 1 (concerning the origin of the world and universe) seriously, then how can we be expected to take any other part of the Bible seriously? And since the Saviour of mankind, Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ), unquestioningly and consistently endorsed the whole Tanakh or Old Testament as the literal truth and revelation of Elohim (God), how, then, can we take Yah'shua (Jesus) seriously? There are serious implications for thinking Christians and Messianics, and for the Christian faith itself, if we reject any one part of God's Word, yet the excuses I hear from anti-biblical Christians (is that possible?) are legion.
For Then But Not Now?
For example, I heard this one recently: "It was culturally acceptable (for a man to have more than one wife) in those (Old Testament) days but not today (for Christians)." Since when has the truth been subject to the changes of fickle culture or tradition? Either something is true or it isn't. Either the earth was created or it evolved. Either polygamy is a sin or ir isn't.
The Thinking of Foolish People
Look at it this way. The year is 10 B.C. It is the Old Testament time and I am living under the law of Moses. The law permits me to have three wives, which is what I have. The Christians looking back into my time says: "That was culturally acceptable and therefore not a sin." Enter Yah'shua (Jesus). He teaches the Good News of the Kingdom and in A.D.33 He dies and is resurrected. The day of Pentecost comes and the Church/Messianic Community is anointed with the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit). The Old Covenat is brought to completion and the New Covenant is inaugurated. I have been married to my three wives for nearly 50 years and have many children and grandchildren. But suddenly, at a particular point of time, I am told that I am suddenly living in sin, even though my conduct and behaviour has not changed. RUBBISH! This is the thinking of foolish people.
The Law Contained No Falsehood
Let's consider some other arguments. There are some who maintain that the Law given though Moses was imperfect and that some of its statutes were only provisional until Christ, the Perfect One, came. This is true provided it is a question of incompleteness versus completeness, and not error versus truth. It is one thing to say that the Law was incomplete, but it is quite another to say that it contained falsehood.
The Sacrificial Ordinances Were Not False
The Law required the offering of animal sacrifices as pointers to Christ. When Christ offered Himself, the animal sacrifices were no longer required. He thus fulfilled the types, or ordinances, which, because they were types, were incomplete. One cannot, therefore, look at ordinances this side of the Cross and say they were false!
An Illustration using Education
I completed my education at the University of Warsaw because that is as far as one can go in one's education in my field. Was I, as a school boy in Lublin, in error, or just 'incomplete'? Do we seriously need to answer that question?
Polygamy Originally Allowed Because of Hard-Heartedness?
And yet we hear the traditionalists of the Western Church attacking a principle which was provided for, and protected by, the Law, as though it were a capital crime. We are asked to believe that polygamy was something 'tolerated' in the Law "because of the hardness of [the people's] hearts" (Matthew 19:8)  and that when Christ came it was finally abolished. Yet the Bible nowhere teaches such a doctrine.
It Ought to Have Been Abolished from the Beginning
What are the defenders of the Western Christian tradition actually saying? They are not saying that polygamy was 'incomplete' (like animal sacrifices) needing to be replaced by something better or 'complete', because the supposed 'better thing' -- monogamy -- co-existed with polygamy from the beginning, even before the Law. If the 'something better' was already there (monogamy), and if polygamy is a sin today, then it must have been a sin then, and should have been abolished without beating around the bush of supposed tolerance.
I am glad I do not have to defend such weak logic else I would be forced to defend a proposition such as -- 'sodomy (homosexuality) should or could have been tolerated in Old Testament times' "because of the hardness of [the people's] hearts" until such a time as Christ got rid of it, saying, "Well, it was culturally acceptable then, but not any more." (Actually they say the reverse today). Or worse, why not allow adultery "because of the hardness of [the people's] hearts" and do away with it later? Or theft? Or murder? Yet, as we fully know, both homosexuality and adultery are unequivocably condemned by Elohim (God) from the very beginning, even before the Mosaic Law.
Flaws of the Cultural Acceptance Argument
Well, I hope you are beginning to see the stupidity of the 'cultural acceptance' argument. The traditionalists are telling us that Elohim (God) tolerated polygamy because of the hardness of the people's hearts whilst the stoning of adulterers and sodomites was mandatory and without reprieve. What are they in fact saying? In effect, that Elohim (God) was playing games, saying, "It's O.K., you polygamists, you carry on sinning for now, because I am incapable of dealing with this issue right now, even though I can deal with a thousand other ones, so we'll review it again in a few thousand years," whilst executing sodomites and adulterers. Were a human to devise such a system of judgment we would unhestitatingly call him a hypocrite. Are they saying that Elohim (God) is a hypocrite?
Accusing the Most High of Being a Liar
Worse, there are some Christians who deny the 'cultural acceptance' protective screen and say right out that polygamists like Abraham, Jacob and David were sinners and are this day in hell because of their polygamy. In making such stupid, ill-thought out statements, they are digging their theological graves (and perhaps their spiritual ones also) because they are, in fact, calling Elohim (God) a LIAR, forgetting that Yah'shua (Jesus) Himself used the polygamist Abraham as an illustration of heaven in the story of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19ff.).
I do seriously wonder at the intellectual, emotional and spiritual integrity of those who maintain the infallibility of Elohim's (God's) Word and who yet manipulate and massage it in order to accommodate the false beliefs of their forefathers. The Word of Elohim (God) condemns them in no uncertain terms and they are furious when they see how secure Christian polygamists are. And we are. We know what Elohim (God) has decreed, but they choose to ignore it because have "let go of the commands of Elohim (God) and are holding on to the traditions of men" (Mark 7:8, NIV).
A Question of Obedience
I will be gentle on the anti-polygamists for in truth the eternal destiny of their soul is in question if, having been presented with the truth, they then choose to deny it. I have greater respect for those (and they are increasing in numbers) who admit it is a godly principle but do not believe they are called to practice it. That is fair enough because it is biblical. Polygamists have never said that polygamy was a condition of salvation for any but those who have been called to practice it. Though living polygamy (and more than monogamy) does not put a person right with Elohim (God), to deny any call of Elohim (God) mostly certainly does put him outside the pale of grace. It is therefore a question of obedience. And if there has been no definite call, then men and women are free to choose which form of marriage they will live.
Polygamy a Natural Extension of Monogamy
I think it is a fundamental mistake to pitch monogamy against polygamy because they are but different aspects of the same principle, namely holy matrimony (marriage), which Elohim (God) established in the Garden of Eden (notice that Elohim/God did not establish monogamy in Eden but marriage, that is, the lawful cohabitation of men and women). Polygamy is such a natural extension of the monogamy principle that biblical concepts of the relationship between man and Elohgim (God) are suffused with with polygamous thinking.
Polygamy is in Creation
The one-to-many principle is everywhere. Elohim (God) is the allegorical bridegroom of Israel, which is many (people), as is Christ of the Church/Messianic Community (which is also many people). This male-female principle is, moreover, attested to not only in scripture but in Creation itself, in the structure of the atom, the Solar System, the cell, and so on, for those who will take the time and invest the effort to look for it. It is the way the Creator established all things, and to say He didn't is to rebell against natural wholeness.
The Numbers Game
Polygamy is the natural outgrowth of monogamy, and is not in opposition to it, any more than having two more children is contrary to the right of parents to have one child. We must, however, be wary of playing the 'numbers game'. For instance, most would agree that a President or a King has the right to govern more than one person, and no sensible person would say that the citizens of a large country like the United States were of less worth or value than the citizens of a small country like my own simply because the U.S. president governs more people. Worth is not, in any case, measured in numbers but in the quality of relationship. Thus few would dispute that President Roosevelt was loved more by American citizens than fascist Generalissimo Franco was by Spanish citizens.
The Real Issue is Gender Rôles
Realising this we must be careful to distinguish between biblical monogamy and secular monogamy because the two are not the same -- the relationship between the husband and wife are based on different principles. The latter is becoming progressively more unisexual as men become more feminine and women more masculine and end up losing their true identities. Biblical polygamy is a natural extension of biblical monogamy, as I have said, but it is not an extension of secular monogamy. And this is where the misunderstandings and true conflict lies -- in the rôle of men and women ordained by Elohim (God), and the expectations of a fallen world and its contradictory cultural systems.
Hypocrisies of the Western Church
The 'cultural' cop-out is a liberal idea rooted firmly in the doctrine of evolution. It demands, on the one hand, tolerance and acceptance of different cultural values whilst hypocritically trumpeting the superiority of its own (usually the secular values of North America and Western Europe). Liberal Christians (and sadly, many conservative ones will find themselves unwillingly in this camp as a result of what I am saying) adhere to (as they suppose) a 'pure' or 'superior' Christianity (Western, of course!) whilst reluctantly tolerating other systems in order to be 'politically correct'. Thus many conservative churches tolerate polygamy as a de facto way of life in many Third World countries whilst secretly looking down upon these nations as more 'primitive'. The truth of the matter is that it is the Western Church which is more 'primitive' than many of the nations in Asia and Africa in terms of moral and ethical norms and it is African and Asian Christians who in many cases ought to be evangelising the West! Western empires may have gone their way (having served their purpose) but western cultural and economic imperialism is very much alive, and backed by a massive national ego and pride. (Do not think I am whitewashing Africans and Asians (excuse the unintentional pun) for they too have their egocentric pride in other areas).
What I am saying will offend alot of Americans and Europeans (and as a European I feel less guilty about leveling my weapons against my own) but I would be less than honest if I did not. If you read the New Testament carefully and discern the kinds of people the Master Yah'shua (Jesus) most faulted (and often scathingly so) it was the religious leaders of the time, whom he condemned as hypocrites. The polygamy and creation issues, it seems to me, together with the equally imporant question of the infallibility of the Bible, are to be the grand exposers of religious hypocrisy in our day. And as Yah'shua (Jesus) was to heap praises on the faith of the unorthodox and irreligious of His day because of their pure faith and honesty (such as the Roman centurion and the Syro-Phoenician woman), so too I would not be at all surprised to discover that it is such issues as creationism, polygamy and Bible inerrancy that have kept honest believers at bay from traditional Christianity; and it is these very people whom I believe will be attracted to the unadulterated Gospel, which acknowledges and integrates these things, in the last days. The Hebrews loved their man-made traditions more than the Good News of Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) and the Church/Messianic Community became rapidly gentilised and westernised. A parallel situation exists today -- the Western Church, so steeped in paganism and hypocrisy, will eventually lose moral and theological control and the Gospel will return to its eastern, Asiatic roots where it all began. As a European I am glad because I want to go home. I never enjoyed living in a Western ecclesiastical orphanage anyway. Shalom!
 The "hardness of hearts" quotation was in the context of easy divorce, not whether a man could take more than one wife: "He said to them, 'Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so'" (Matthew 19:8-9, NKJV). The only other New Testament reference is in relationship to the leaders' legalistic view of the Sabbath in relationship to loving-kindness: "Then He said to them, 'Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?' But they kept silent. And when He had looked around at them with anger, being grieved by the hardness of their hearts, He said to the man, 'Stretch out your hand.' And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored as whole as the other. Then the Pharisees went out and immediately plotted with the Herodians against Him, how they might destroy Him" (Mark 3:4-6, NKJV). As always we must read Scriptures in context and not give them other meanings when we have not been given the licence to do so. There is no criticism anywhere of the Law or any indication of a change in Israel's marriage laws.