"Arranging Marriages?" - Paper proposal for ETS meeting on "Marriage and the Family"

I just submitted a paper proposal, to present at the 2015 annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society. This year's theme is "Marriage and the Family". Here is the abstract of my proposal.

“Arranging Marriages?”

An assessment of divine providence over the free choice of one’s spouse

There are approximately 3.5 billion people of the opposite sex on this planet, out of whom a Christian who seeks to be married is to pick one. Given the impact of this life-changing decision and the sheer improbability of finding a suitable spouse in that pool by chance alone, it is no wonder that Christians turn to the providence of God. But as they naturally do so, it is not always clear just how God’s input is to be sought. Does God have a will on the matter? And if He has such a will, does He ever reveal it? And if He does, how is a Christian to seek after it? The matter is further complicated by the fact that theologians notably differ on the issue of divine providence over human free will: how does the Calvinism/Arminianism debate affect divine involvement in a human’s free choice of a spouse?

The present paper seeks to sort out these issues, laying out the options and highlighting the commitments that come with each view, to see if conclusions can be reached as to whether God in a sense ‘arranges marriages’, and how, based on their view of providence, Christians are to enlist His help in selecting a spouse for a successful marriage.


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