In the Old Testament, Book of Leviticus, it says that marriage between relatives or same blood is forbidden. Why is it ok in the Coptic Church for cousins to marry?Â Also, how did Adam and Eve's kids multiply unless brothers and sisters married each other? What was the punishment for Lot's daughters disobeying God? Why was it permitted to have several wives in the Old Testament, then it changed in the New Testament?
The Holy Book of Leviticus, chapter 18, does not prohibit cousins from marrying each other, but rather other close relatives are strictly forbidden from marriage to one another. The list is addressed to men, but the mirror of that applies to women as well. These injunctions strictly confront incest. Thus, the Coptic Orthodox Church, by allowing cousins to marry, has not violated any scriptural laws or rules. Before God established these laws, restrictions of marriage between siblings did not yet exist to allow the descendants of Adam and Eve to procreate.
Lot's daughters were not directly punished, but their offspring produced the Moabites and the Amorites. It is important to put in perspective their rationale, albeit erroneous, for committing this sin. After the collapse of Sodom and Gomorrah, they believed they had to preserve lineage by producing children from their father. Their mother had become a pillar of salt and they believed there were no men remaining by whom they could conceive and preserve a heritage. Thus, their ignorance and fear compelled them to commit this sin of incest.
"Now the firstborn said to the younger, 'Our father is old, and there is no man on the earth to come in to us as is the custom of all the earth. Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve the lineage of our father'" (Genesis 19:31-32).
In the New Testament, the Church is referred to as the Bride of Christ, and referenced in the four accounts of the Holy Gospel, the Holy Epistle to the Ephesians, and the Holy Book of Revelation. Thus, the ideal marriage is one man and one woman, as is one God and one Church. The Holy Scripture presents us with many examples of monogamy, as God intended. It was clear from the beginning that God sanctified marriage between one man and one woman.
"Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh" (Genesis 2:24).
Celibacy was illustrated in the lives of the prophets Elijah, Elisha, and Jeremiah. The Holy Scripture also reveals there were cases of polygamy, though it was never by God's intention or desire. Actually, the straying of the Israelites from God's precepts and commands are often illustrated by polygamy.
The Jewish Encyclopedia affirms that monogamy was the Jewish ideal. Excerpt:
"In Judaism the Law tolerated though it did not enact polygamy; but custom stood higher than the Law. From the period of the return from the Babylonian Exile, monogamy became the ideal and the custom of Jewish married life. That monogamy was the ideal may be seen from several facts. Not only does the narrative of Genesis, containing the story of the first man and woman, point to monogamy, but Gen. ii. 24 is best explained in the same sense. So, too, in the story of the Flood, in which the restoration of the human race is depicted, the monogamous principle is assumed. Also the polygamous marriages of some of the patriarchs are felt by the narrator (J) to need excuse and apology, as being infringements of a current monogamous ideal. Even more unmistakable is the monogamous ideal displayed in the Wisdom literature. The "Golden A B C of the Perfect Wife" in Prov. xxxi. 10-31 is certainly monogamous; in fact, throughout the Book of Proverbs "monogamy is assumed" (Toy, "Proverbs," p. xii.; comp. Cheyne, "Job and Solomon," p. 136). Ben Sira, moreover, as well as Tobit, confirms this conclusion (comp. History of Susanna 23, 69), though, while Ben Sira's view of woman is lower on the whole than that of the canonical Proverbs, Tobit's is quite as high as the highest ideal. Job is monogamous. So is the Song of Solomon. Harper gives a most convincing argument in this sense in his edition of the Song of Solomon (Cambridge, 1902; comp. especially pp. xxxi. and xxxiv.).
From another side the monogamous ideal is illustrated by the prophetic use of marriage as typical of the relation between God and Israel. In this sense monogamy becomes the corollary of the divine Unity (comp. Hamburger, "R. B. T." i., s.v. "Vielweiberei"). It is a commonplace of prophetic imagery to describe God as the husband and Israel as the bride (comp. Hosea, passim; the exquisite passage Jer. ii. 2; also ib. iii. 14, xxxi. 32), in contrast to idolatry, which is typical of impure married life (Isa. liv. 5, and many other passages). Infidelity toward God is expressed under the figure of whoredom (see Driver on Deut. xxxi. 16). The same figure of the relation of God to Israel passed over to the later Judaism; and a similar figure is prominent in Christianity also."