1) Creation vs. Evolution : Natural Law is Constant : St Augustine Presumably Refuting Sarfati on Sibling Marriages [after second generation of mankind] · 2) New blog on the kid : Moral or Ceremonial : Was it Against Moral Law to Eat Porc Between Moses and Jesus or St Peter? · 3) HGL's F.B. writings : Overpopulation Still Falsehood
Here is the solution given by Dr. Jonathan Sarfati:
Clearly God had not written any laws against sibling intermarriage on the human heart at the times of Cain and Moses. ... Thus sometime between Abraham and Moses, God was writing on human hearts that brother-sister intermarriage broke these now-set boundaries, so was now immoral. So God inscripturated His new standard in the Mosaic Law.
In other words, he presumes and even says the Natural Law is not a constant. It is.
CMI : Is brother-sister intermarriage intrinsically immoral? Published: 29 September 2012 (GMT+10)
The moral law against full sibling intermarriage in generations later than that of Adam's and Eve's children (an obvious dispensation) is eternal in God's mind and eternal in the heart of created man, since man is created in God's image.
The dispensation for that first generation after the first parents has not only an obvious motive, but also a reasonable possibility. Here is St Augustine, De Civitate Dei, Book 15*, Chapter 16, first half:
As, therefore, the human race, subsequently to the first marriage of the man who was made of dust, and his wife who was made out of his side, required the union of males and females in order that it might multiply, and as there were no human beings except those who had been born of these two, men took their sisters for wives—an act which was as certainly dictated by necessity in these ancient days as afterwards it was condemned by the prohibitions of religion. For it is very reasonable and just that men, among whom concord is honorable and useful, should be bound together by various relationships; and one man should not himself sustain many relationships, but that the various relationships should be distributed among several, and should thus serve to bind together the greatest number in the same social interests. "Father" and "father-in-law" are the names of two relationships. When, therefore, a man has one person for his father, another for his father-in-law, friendship extends itself to a larger number. But Adam in his single person was obliged to hold both relations to his sons and daughters, for brothers and sisters were united in marriage. So too Eve his wife was both mother and mother-in-law to her children of both sexes; while, had there been two women, one the mother, the other the mother-in-law, the family affection would have had a wider field. Then the sister herself by becoming a wife sustained in her single person two relationships, which, had they been distributed among individuals, one being sister, and another being wife, the family tie would have embraced a greater number of persons. But there was then no material for effecting this, since there were no human beings but the brothers and sisters born of those two first parents. Therefore, when an abundant population made it possible, men ought to choose for wives women who were not already their sisters; for not only would there then be no necessity for marrying sisters, but, were it done, it would be most abominable. For if the grandchildren of the first pair, being now able to choose their cousins for wives, married their sisters, then it would no longer be only two but three relationships that were held by one man, while each of these relationships ought to have been held by a separate individual, so as to bind together by family affection a larger number. For one man would in that case be both father, and father-in-law, and uncle to his own children (brother and sister now man and wife); and his wife would be mother, aunt, and mother-in-law to them; and they themselves would be not only brother and sister, and man and wife, but cousins also, being the children of brother and sister. Now, all these relationships, which combined three men into one, would have embraced nine persons had each relationship been held by one individual, so that a man had one person for his sister, another his wife, another his cousin, another his father, another his uncle, another his father-in-law, another his mother, another his aunt, another his mother-in-law; and thus the social bond would not have been tightened to bind a few, but loosened to embrace a larger number of relations.
Meaning, the relation of full siblings had already a generation after Cain and Seth got their wives, become immoral by the circumstances. When Cain married his wife, Adam and Eve from being their parents became also their parents in law, to same couple, but not uncle and aunt. When children of Cain and his wife were born, these were father and mother as well as uncle and aunt, so in-law parents should not be added to that.
Abraham and Sarah**, example given, were only half siblings, and when Abimelech heard she was a sister, not specifying half sister yet, he presumed it was not his wife.
Ver. 12. My sister, or niece, according to those who say she was daughter of Aran, who thus must have had a different mother from Abraham; (Menochius) or, as we rather think, Sara was truly his half-sister, born of Thare by another wife. His adding truly, seems to restrain it to this sense; and we know that in those countries, marriages of such near relations were allowed, though not when both had the same parents. Why should we not, therefore, believe Abraham, who certainly knew the real state of the question, and who would not tell a lie, rather than seek for improbable and far-fetched solutions? Said, who lived eight hundred years ago, mentions the name of Jona, Abraham's mother, as well as that of Tehevita, who bore Sara to Thare. The Hebrews, in general, give this explanation. (Calmet)
By calling Sara his sister without any addition, Abraham intended that the people should conclude he was not married: therefore he did not say she was his half-sister, as this would have frustrated his design, if, as St. Clement of Alexandria, asserts, such might and did marry under the law of nature. (Haydock)
Philo observes, the Athenian legislator, Solon, sanctioned the same practice, which was followed also by the Phœnicians. (Calmet)
Next part, however, St Augustine does seem to give some support for Sarfati:
And we see that, since the human race has increased and multiplied, this is so strictly observed even among the profane worshippers of many and false gods, that though their laws perversely allow a brother to marry his sister, yet custom, with a finer morality, prefers to forego this license; and though it was quite allowable in the earliest ages of the human race to marry one's sister, it is now abhorred as a thing which no circumstances could justify. For custom has very great power either to attract or to shock human feeling. And in this matter, while it restrains concupiscence within due bounds, the man who neglects and disobeys it is justly branded as abominable. For if it is iniquitous to plough beyond our own boundaries through the greed of gain, is it not much more iniquitous to transgress the recognized boundaries of morals through sexual lust? And with regard to marriage in the next degree of consanguinity, marriage between cousins, we have observed that in our own time the customary morality has prevented this from being frequent, though the law allows it. It was not prohibited by divine law, nor as yet had human law prohibited it; nevertheless, though legitimate, people shrank from it, because it lay so close to what was illegitimate, and in marrying a cousin seemed almost to marry a sister—for cousins are so closely related that they are called brothers and sisters, and are almost really so. But the ancient fathers, fearing that near relationship might gradually in the course of generations diverge, and become distant relationship, or cease to be relationship at all, religiously endeavored to limit it by the bond of marriage before it became distant, and thus, as it were, to call it back when it was escaping them. And on this account, even when the world was full of people, though they did not choose wives from among their sisters or half-sisters, yet they preferred them to be of the same stock as themselves. But who doubts that the modern prohibition of the marriage even of cousins is the more seemly regulation— not merely on account of the reason we have been urging, the multiplying of relationships, so that one person might not absorb two, which might be distributed to two persons, and so increase the number of people bound together as a family, but also because there is in human nature I know not what natural and praiseworthy shamefacedness which restrains us from desiring that connection which, though for propagation, is yet lustful and which even conjugal modesty blushes over, with any one to whom consanguinity bids us render respect?
However, this power of custom must not be so far driven as to deprive certain who might licitly marrying from marrying at all. Only as to make limits about whom one may marry. Such limits can also only be changed when the primary purpose of marriage, i e procreation, remains observed.
He might just possibly have meant that full sibling marriages might have been tolerated a generation or two later, but hardly up to flood, as questioner rightly observes:
If God said that “the nations are defiled which I cast out from before you” it would mean He considered incest to be immoral (wickedness) before the law be given as well.
The argument as given by Ham and Sarfati, yes, it is thus refuted. However, St Augustine had given another explanation - which means that incest between siblings only became really incestuous when people at least as far off as first cousins were available on earth. But here St Augustine really had prefuted an interpretation of his following words as if only custom made sibling marriages illicit only later on. Adam and Eve were not siblings, so did not become uncle and aunt as well as father in law mother in law, father and mother of the next generation.
Some lilmits then for how much natural law can change. One cannot raise marital age so much as to make abstinence up to marriage a shocking proposal. And one cannot allow men to marry men or women to marry women, or human beings to marry beasts - since that is no marriage. Precisely as what Bill Clinton said about a similar act: "that is not sex."
Modern states*** require "age 18", and though when this was introduced it was attractive in parts of the world where juveniles required parental authorisation, it has since lead to a shocking consequence : sex before marriage is seen as an "of course", its not being intended for procreation is seen as an "of course" and to many accordingly its not being restricted to one man and one woman is also seen as an "of course". The 18 limit, the coeducation, the rock concerts available for not yet marriageable youth have all contributed. These things are NOT "Thus sometime between [Voltaire and us], God was writing on human hearts" that young under 18 cannot marry.
Now, there is a difference between men in general and faithful:
The sexual intercourse of man and woman, then, is in the case of mortals a kind of seed-bed of the city; but while the earthly city needs for its population only generation, the heavenly needs also regeneration to rid it of the taint of generation. Whether before the deluge there was any bodily or visible sign of regeneration, such as was afterwards enjoined upon Abraham when he was circumcised, or what kind of sign it was, the sacred history does not inform us. But it does inform us that even these earliest of mankind sacrificed to God, as appeared also in the case of the two first brothers; Noah, too, is said to have offered sacrifices to God when he had come forth from the ark after the deluge. And concerning this subject we have already said in the foregoing books that the devils arrogate to themselves divinity, and require sacrifice that they may be esteemed gods, and delight in these honors on no other account than this, because they know that true sacrifice is due to the true God.
A Christian society should take this difference into account.
But the difference does not mean the faithful alone are bound by the moral law, which God has written in the hearts of men. It does not mean Christian youth should be vertuous enough to stay chaste till 18 and other youth have licence to have sex before marriage and condomns to protect it from having consequences beyond the day or moment. BOTH are bound to abstain to marriage according to natural law, BOTH can be tempted (and I, who was Christian, was) by having to wait too long to marriage. BOTH are bound to remain clean from foiling the procreative purpose of sex by adding such and such a method, even I think Natural Family Planning, if meant for avoiding children altogether.
Even a secular society has no right (insofar as it could exist for practical purposes°, even) to dispense or even oblige even non-Christians against important aspects of the natural law.
Hans Georg Lundahl
Sts Philip and James, Apostles
*The City of God (Book XV)
** GENESIS - Chapter 20
Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary, 1859 edition.
*** Not all of them, thankfully, but doing it is criminal and unduly infantilising on teens. I am obviously no fan of the non-Christian organisation Unicef. Nor of the CEDAW committee, whatever that is, which I found in a paper by Unicef, a footnote saying : "The term “child marriage” is meant in this Paper to cover marriages of those under the age of 18. The minimum age of marriage has been prescribed by the CEDAW Committee as being 18 years of age." It is unduly demonising of teen marriages between puberty or mean age of puberty (14 for male, 12 for female contrahent of marriage, as through centuries by Catholic Church, and equally by Russia previous to Revolution, it would seem, also as per Roman Law since 2000 years ago). It is also unduly exonerating for real child marriage, such as extremely low ages of puberty (nine) being allowed among Muslims or even earlier "marriages" as to contract being made by Hindoos.
° Actually the practical purposes would be more accurately met by a state recognising more than one religion in case important populations in it belong to a false one than by being secular. So it is moot if a secular society has a right to exist.