No. 19. >> Okay. I'm beginning to see that the distinction between the two realms of God's activity can have far reaching implications. But what about marriage; how does that fit? I mean, it seems like we treat marriage as a right hand church thing. But now in light of this discussion, I'm beginning to wonder. Is marriage a civil affair or a church affair? Pardon my choice of word. >>DR. JOEL D. BIERMANN: I think that's a good question, David. And I appreciate your follow-up. And I'm glad you were so easily convinced by my previous answer. Maybe you're not completely convinced. But I know you're thinking about these things. And that's good. Marriage. Wow. How important is marriage? Critically significant from a left hand side. But also has some right hand implications. Quick answer I would say: Primarily marriage is a left hand thing. God designed marriage as his fundamental building block, the basis for everything he was going to do in the left hand realm. So he brings Adam and Eve together. And establishes marriage. And then everything else grows out of that. Luther argued that the whole government of the world, all of the left hand, grows out of marriage. So marriage really is primarily a left hand institution. And we should look at it that way. So should governments have laws that make getting a divorce hard? Yes. And should governments be interested in upholding marriage? Yes. Because this is foundational to all of the function of society. Strong marriages make for strong societies. In the Reformation Era, weddings would happen at the City Hall. The couple would actually get married downtown at City Hall by the civil magistrate. And then they would come together at the church. And at the church door they would first recognize the civil union. And then they would go into the church and celebrate the wedding and seek God's blessing on the marriage. So there the right hand element is coming in as seeking the blessing. But marriage is fundamentally a left hand thing. And a lot of the functioning in the marriage is left hand stuff. Doing what you should do as a husband. Doing what you should do as a wife. Functioning as obedient children. And working together, together following God's will, following his law. And also together proclaiming the Gospel to one another. Forgiving sins. Showing mercy. Speaking of Christ to one another. It's all going on at once in that important unit called the marriage, called the family. So marriage is all about the civil realm. It's all about being a left hand institution that allows for good functioning in society. And good functioning in the home.