Adultery vs Polygamy. Bigamy, polygamy, adultery … aren’t they all the same?
It may sound contradictory but there are positive and negative elements to this..
Someone who is a bigamist has more than one “legal” spouse at the same time.
Polygamy encompasses a variety of different “multiple marriage” arrangements, some of which could technically constitute bigamy, but the key term is “arrangement”.
What is Polygamy?
The term polygamy refers to a relationship between two people who marry more than one partner. Polyandry refers to a relationship between two women who marry more than one man. Monogamy involves only one marriage, whereas polygamy involves multiple marriages.
Is polygamy considered adultery?
Your definition of adultery will determine what constitutes adultery. Some people define it as having sex with someone other than their spouse. In Jesus’ words:
Adultery is prohibited, according to biblical teaching. In my opinion, anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her.
Adultery is often perceived as cheating by many people. In my opinion, cheating means breaking the rules of a relationship (which is what the above quote is referring to; it’s about breaking the rules, not about specific sexual acts). It would not be considered cheating in a polygamous marriage since the rules would most likely permit sleeping with other spouses.
All spouses in a polygamous relationship are aware of and accept the multiple-partner structure. All the parental, financial, and marital responsibilities are shared among polygamists, whether in one household or adjoining homes. They work together as one unit, raising all the children together and making all the major decisions together.
It is common for polygamists to only be legally married to one spouse, bringing their subsequent spouses into the fold with a private ceremony. Alternatively, each spouse will be married and divorced so that bigamy charges cannot be brought against them.
Bigamists, on the other hand, are typically those who have married more than one spouse without informing their spouses.
In this situation, the bigamist would maintain more than one household and each spouse would be unaware of the other relationships.
Although both types of relationships satisfy the technical definition of adultery, adultery isn’t limited to other marriages. Extramarital affairs are considered adultery as well, even if they are only one-time affairs.
Polygyny vs Polygamy
It is forbidden for a woman to take multiple men, but it is permissible for a man to take multiple women. The distinction between polygamy and polygyny will be explained shortly.
He [a man] shall not deprive another woman of food, clothing, or marriage rights if he takes her. (Exo 21:10)
There is a connection between this verse in the Torah and Isaiah’s description of the 144,000 men chosen and sealed by Yehovah in the last days.
It will happen on that day, when seven women will take hold of one man and say, “Let us be called by your name, for we will eat our own food and wear our own clothes, and we will remove our reproach.” (Isa 4:1).
The practice of polygamy is a man-made deception designed to turn us away from polygyny, which is an eternal and unchanging plan of Yehovah.
This is one of those topics that our Babylonian minds find difficult to comprehend. For the sake of better understanding, I would like to point out the following technical points.
Polygamy or Poly-gamy
More than one SPOUSE at a time is the condition or practice. This implies that same-sex marriages will be included as well. Therefore, it is not in accordance with Yehovah’s Word.
Polygyny or poly-gyny
The practice of having more than one wife (woman) at a time. The Greek word poly means “many” and “gune” means “woman.” This is what Yehovah’s word teaches us!
While subtle in appearance, this distinction between polygamy and polygyny (the same word as a gynecologist) is very important. A LEGALLY married couple with a state marriage license is in a SPOUSAL relationship with the state, one man, and one woman; in this situation, the state’s Elohim (the man) says that polygamy (multiple spouses) is illegal. It should be noted that any or all of your children born from this relationship belong to the state, so you can take them away at any time.
But the man who does not have a covenant with the state (usually through a driver’s license) and has not applied for and received a marriage license does not need to ask the state permission to be legally married. Under Yehovah, that man is lawfully married to more than one woman, or “poly-gune” (a.k.a. “polygyny”).
Impact of Polygamy
The impact of polygamy on society has been debated over the years. There are pros and cons to both, and each can be argued.
There is a belief that polygamy violates the rights of women
According to the United Nations Human Rights Committee, polygamy violates women’s dignity and should be abolished wherever it exists. According to them, polygamy violates the freedom of women.
Women are often forced to marry men they do not wish to marry in areas where polygamy is prevalent. Laws that allow polygamy are typically skewed in favor of men as well. Sharia Law, practiced in some parts of West Africa, allows men to take on multiple wives while women cannot.
Some people believe that polygamy is beneficial for children
It is also possible to argue that polygamy allows for the creation of larger family units. According to a small 2015 study conducted in Tanzania, polygamy may benefit women and children in polygamous families by increasing their health and wealth
Conclusion: Adultery vs Polygamy
Does polygamy constitute adultery? Yes, it is, and the church should take this into consideration when counseling polygamists who have been converted and want to join the church. Church leaders should, however, approach this issue with humility, gentleness, and prayer due to its sensitivity.