Blogs » J.Q. Tomanek of Victoria » Grace builds on nature, or the difference in natural marriage and Christian marriage


Through the comments on my case for marriage as defined by nature and on the Victoria Advocate article, many have concluded that to define marriage as between “man and woman” is only believed because it is biblical. This response is a red herring fallacy in the debate. In this post, I will take you on a journey to the other side of the moon.

A common held theological Christian practice is the understanding that “Grace builds on nature.” Yes, Christian marriage recognizes marriage is an institution between one man and one woman. But it did not make this up; it simply recognized it as a natural relationship for unity and procreation. To say that the “one man, one woman idea” is only Christian or religion would be the same as saying that to believe “Water is good for the body” is religion and therefore only one opinion among many others. But water is good for the body, regardless if religion recognizes it or not.

Of course, when we use the water example, we see that religion has simply observed the natural characteristics of water and added grace to it. Water is not only good for the body; it is also harmful to the body. Hence, as Christians, we see water used in Baptism. Baptism is not only a washing away of original and actual sin, but also a death of the old self and a rebirth of a new. But I never hear anyone say, “I don’t think water is good for your body, it is only made up by a guy sitting on Peter’s Chair in Rome.”

So I defined marriage a couple of days ago as “a male and female coming together in unity and procreation.” This is according to nature by recognizing among many things, that man and woman are created for complementary purposes. The biblical understanding recognized this natural institution and built on it. It is like finding a foundation in the field and simply constructing on it.

So what is the religious Christian understanding of marriage? It has taken the definition of marriage and upped the ante. What was before a natural relationship for unity and procreation now becomes lifted higher as a covenant in which grace pours forth. According to our Faith, now marriage can make you holy. Holy sex Batman. Yes, the conjugal act is now not just a union of man and woman with the potential to generate offspring, but a poetic exchange of love or mutual self-gift that creates another person. See the difference? One is based on the natural relationship, the other builds on it. We can disagree with the latter because it involves Faith (I haven’t found a more beautiful or true understanding when I include the Divine). The former simply recognizes or observes that the sexes are complimentary, appropriate for each other, designed to fit together for unity and procreation, and is necessary for the common good.