To Whom It May Concern:
Thank you for taking your time to read this letter.
When I was fifteen-years-old, I remember independently accepting God as my Lord and Savior, but within the same year my relationship with God ended. My falling away was caused by a conversation I had with another Christian about Mary and her pregnancy. As soon as I heard it was customary for preteens and young teenage girls to marry men of any age during those times, it bothered me. When I couldn't find a verse that stated pedophilia was wrong, it irked me! Not only because my father was an offending pedophile — which I know God does not agree with, since He didn't marry these children — but also because I expected God to be very direct on this matter. You see, I understand that Joseph did not have a physical part in Jesus' conception, but the question lingers as to why God thought it would be appropriate for Mary to have a child, if she was that young.
During the time of my falling away, I searched for answers from my local pastors and fellow Christians, but they never gave me adequate responses. Their responses were usually along the lines of: "Things were different back then,"or "There's no proof of how old Mary was," and "It doesn't matter! The only thing that matters is that Jesus died on the cross." These responses didn't sit well with me because they led to more doubt and questions that people around me didn't want to answer with biblical truth.
So I went to God myself. I didn't get a response from Him either. I complained about it, and people continued with their little retorts that led me to more questions: "Who do you think you are for being upset with God for not answering you?"
Ultimately, I came to my own possible truth, which made some people accuse me of changing the Bible. I theorized that when God symbolically talked about Israel as a physical being (Ezekiel 16:7), He was also signifying what entails the maturity of a woman — fully developed breasts; meaning Mary would have been much older.
In conclusion I would like to say that all of this has made me feel like a dog chasing after it's own tail. It has also brought me to conclusions that have saddened me deeply, such as it's too bad for me if it's extremely challenging to break away from conditioning and then immediately adapt to God's laws — especially if they change over time. I am unworthy of having a relationship with God, and He does not want to have one with me. Parts of the Bible may be lost, or historical truths are hidden in plain sight. I'll never receive answers or connect with God on a personal level. God does not want to comfort me through my inner turmoil, and all of this will lead me to eternal torture.
P.S. I'm afraid that if you reply with biblical truth, my relationship with God will not fully recover due to the fact that God knows the intentions of our hearts, and the intention of my faith would be on the basis of fear of eternal hell fire and not because I see God in all of His glory.
What I noticed is that you took a person's opinion without evidence. You assumed that Mary was under-aged when married Joseph. My challenge to you is upon what passage do you come to this conclusion? There is nothing in the text to assume that she was under-aged. In fact, lack of making a point of her age would lead a person to conclude that she was at a typical age for marriage.
I have noticed that too many people take the rabbi traditions and assume that most people married at the minimum age. The Talmud placed the minimum age for marriage at 13 for boys and 12 for girls [http://www.jewfaq.org/marriage.htm]. There was also a rule that no child could marry before puberty was reached [http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/10435-marriage-laws]. However, this does not indicate the typical age. Jewish tradition for men was that they should marry around the age of 18 and definitely before 20. Since most people marry spouses around their own age, it would be expected that most girls would marry around the same age. Another problem with relying on Jewish traditions is that much of it was written during the middle ages when life spans were in the 40's in Europe.
There are a few passages that gives us hints about the marriage age for women. In Ezekiel 16, the illustration for Israel was a baby girl who grew up. "Then you grew up, became tall and reached the age for fine ornaments; your breasts were formed and your hair had grown. ... Then I passed by you and saw you, and behold, you were at the time for love" (Ezekiel 16:7-8). This is a description of a full-grown woman, not a girl at the beginning of puberty. It was only at some point after she had become a woman that she was declared to be at the time for love. This matches a chance statement in Mark 5:41-42, "Taking the child by the hand, He said to her, "Talitha kum!" (which translated means, "Little girl, I say to you, get up!"). Immediately the girl got up and began to walk, for she was twelve years old. And immediately they were completely astounded." Notice that at the age of 12 she is considered to be a child and a little girl -- not a woman of marriageable age, which are different terms in both Hebrew and Greek.
There are laws in the Bible that cover situations without listing every specific possibility. Pedophilia would be covered by Jesus' statement: "And whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me;
but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea" (Matthew 18:5-6). Destroying the innocence of a child is a heavy crime.
You then come to additional false conclusions. You claim that parts of the Bible may be lost. Where is your evidence of such? I can instead present solid evidence that we have the full text of God's message. See: How We Know We Have All the Bible, with No Books Added and No Books Lost. You also claim that God's laws change over time. There were three ages of laws: patriarchal, Mosaical, and Christian. In each age, those laws did not change.
Finally, you seem upset that God did not answer you, but God had spoken through the Bible. He specifically stated that prophecy (God speaking through a representative) would end (I Corinthians 13:8-10). Our message from God comes solely through Christ (Hebrews 1:1-2). Why would you expect God to break His word just to talk to you about things you could (and did) gleam from the pages of the Bible? The problem is not with God, but in your own expectations.