Anthropological Aspects of the Bible:
Considering the things of the previous sections, it becomes difficult to understand what the Bible is, or is not, conveying about the personal relationship or the Private Contract when our own SCECS influences the manner in which we read the Bible and when our own SCECS profoundly shapes our definitions, developments, understandings, accountabilities, and the responsibilities of the personal relationship and the Private Contract.
All of that makes it extraordinarily difficult to specifically identify and define which specific personal relationship or Private Contract is acceptable to God. It makes it difficult to determine if/when the Bible was providing direct statements about what God perceives as acceptable or unacceptable.
All of that means that to see the Biblical information about the personal relationship or the Private Contract requires an approach sensitive to contextual issues (historical, social, cultural – i.e. the ancient ‘scecs’) beyond just the information found in a literary narrative context or within the context of ecclesiastical understanding.
Some will debate that, thinking that I have lost grasp on Biblical reality.
But the reality is the Bible is far more complex in matters of any topic than many (most?) believers seem willing to accept.
Having said all that, I will state that we, as believers, know what we know about the personal relationship or the Private Contract because of how our own SCECS has shaped the definitions, developments, understandings, accountabilities, and the responsibilities of the personal relationship and the Private Contract.
No matter the length to which believers take issue with this, I will state that the ‘scecs’ of the ancient Near-Eastern world, and the ‘scecs’ of the ancient Israelite world, and the ‘scecs’ of the ancient Jewish world, and the ‘scecs’ of the first century influenced and shaped their understanding of the personal relationship and the Private Contract.
For us, that means that the Bible retains the mentioning (e.g. Genesis 29.13-30) of the Private Contract, and in some instances governances of the personal relationship (e.g. Exodus 21.16, Leviticus 18.18, Deuteronomy 21.15-17) and the Private Contract (e.g. Deuteronomy 24.1-4).
But the Bible is incapable of fully addressing the specificities of their ancient ‘scecs’ in order for us to fully know the extent to which their ‘scecs’ influenced and shaped their definitions, developments, understandings, accountabilities, and responsibilities of the personal relationship or the Private Contract.
That is why it is necessary to study research materials about their ancient ‘scecs’ from books and other materials, which can be encapsulated in publications like Study Bibles like the NIV Archaeological Study Bible (ISBN 978-0-310-92605-4) or the Jewish Study Bible (ISBN 0-19-529751-2).
Importantly, the Bible does not contain a singular definition, development, understanding, or accountability, or responsibility of the personal relationship or the Private Contract.
That reality might dismay some (many?) believers.
Because that reality is at odds with how those believers believe things should be.
That occurs because what believers believe is primarily influenced by the context of ecclesiastical understanding, which may or may not align with the contextual issues (anthropological, historical, social, and cultural contexts – the ancient ‘scecs’) surrounding the persons, places, and/or events found within the Bible.
Importantly, the Bible contains ancient ‘scecs’ that are relevant for having an understanding of the personal relationship and the Private Contract.
Importantly, within Biblical history and within anthropological history -in other words throughout all of human history- the personal relationship and the Private Contract have been found in all kinds of configurations.
Importantly, the Bible provides no clarity as to the preferences that God has toward the formalization of the personal relationship.
Instead, the formalization of the personal relationship is often influenced by the context of the ecclesiastical understanding or the cultural dynamics which become the social normatives.
Consider that God provides little to no Biblical guidance as to how individuals should govern their personal relationship.
For example, who is responsible for initiating the personal relationship?
Another example, when is the personal relationship to be formalized?
Another example, where is the formalization of the personal relationship to be accomplished?
Another example, what formally governs the personal relationship?
That is why there is so much argument and debate about the personal relationship, and the governance, the definitions, developments, understandings, accountabilities, and responsibilities thereof.
Since, there is no one specific anthropological or Biblical model for ascertaining the personal relationship and the Private Contract, then, it follows that God has permitted those things to remain in the purview of humanity, which gives some explanation as to why there are so many vast and varied cultural ceremonies that celebrate the formalization of the personal relationship.
Therefore, God has given liberty to individuals to establish their personal relationship and given liberty to govern their personal relationship through a method that matches their preferences and needs, whether the SCECS Accepted Marriage or the Private Contract.