Is a Soulmate Biblical?

The concept of soulmates, is it really truly biblical? I think it’s true in a sense but maybe only to a certain extent, and it may not be a universal application to everyone in the same way.

A lot of people believe that God has specific people assigned to specific others for marriage. However, I wonder if this is truly limited to one person for another person. What if the ideal candidate isn’t available because they died or is married to someone else? Does that mean we must be celibate for the rest of our lives if they are deceased or never divorce? People make choices, and actions have consequences (sowing and reaping). Paul even says the wages of sin is death (Rom 6:23). We know from God’s word that he does not cause people to sin (James 1:13-15), so when someone does die as a result of sin does that mean their soulmate is doomed because that person stepped out of God’s will? If the soul mate chose to marry someone else are they in sin? Would God require them to get a divorce in order to marry the right person? Tamar, Judah’s wife at the end of Genesis 38, was originally the widow of both of his oldest sons, from his deceased first wife, but because he withheld his last son in Levirate marriage custom, so she seduced him and end up becoming his second wife. One of David’s wives, Abigail was a widow (1 Sam ch. 25), whose husband died because he neglected David when he was o the run. Both Abigail’s husband Nabal and Judah’s oldest sons Er and Onan, were all killed by God for their wickedness, does this mean God killed them so they could be with their soulmates? I’m not entirely sure about that. Maybe in the case of Tamar because Perez came from her and goes down through the lineage to Jesus, but the bible doesn’t have much more to say about Daniel (Abigail’s son with David).

Proverbs 18:22 says “he that findeth a wife finds it a good thing”. Does that imply that a man has options and can simply pick a wife that he finds is good and compatible? On the contrary, the story of Isaac and Rebecca has a bit of divine matchmaking. In Genesis 24, Abraham sent his servant to find Isaac a wife in Aram. When the servant gets there he finds a well and he prays to God that the right woman comes to the well and offers to water his camels (v10-14). Rebecca does exactly what the servant asks and he eventually brings her back to him. Another instance of divine matchmaking that I know of is the story of Ester, where she marries the King of Persia and ends up saving the Jews from a plot by a government official to wipe them out.

Genesis 2:24 says a man shall leave his father and mother in cleave unto his wife, and they shall be one flesh. It says “his” wife, but does that mean this wife was pre-assigned to him, or does that mean it’s his wife because he chose her? In Genesis 28, Jacob chose his wife Rachel although he was tricked into getting her sister Leah as a first wife. Almost every main character in the old testament (whose wives were known) either chooses their wives or they were given wives by others. Jacob, Esau, Moses, David, and the kings all chose wives. We can presume Sarah was chosen for Abraham by his father since she was his half-sister, but Keturah (Abraham’s second wife in Gen 25:1-4) was most likely his direct choice. Meanwhile, Ishmael had an arranged marriage made by his mother (Gen 21:21). Joseph was given a wife from among the priest’s daughters by the pharaoh (Gen 41:45). This could mean they gave him a woman to marry or Joseph had a choice between however many the daughters the priest had. Boaz chose to marry Ruth, even though she encouraged him a bit it was still his choice. He definitely wanted her since he made the effort to consult with a closer male relative to Naomi so that he could get the right to marry her transferred to him.

The new testament is very different since the focus is not bloodline preservation which uses methods like polygamy to ensure the people are preserved, but rather getting people born again spiritually for the Kingdom of God. Unfortunately, the New Testament gives no reference to how one finds a wife in any of Paul’s letters (or Peter’s) when talking about marriage, in fact, Paul is celibate and encourages celibacy. He mainly focuses on the marriage model, and how it should follow the example of Christ/God as husband and the church as a wife. In 1st Corinthians 7, he gives more in-depth instructions on marriage but they mostly center around marrying if you can’t control your lust, favoring reconciliation over divorce (even in the case of an unbelieving spouse), and how celibacy is preferred but not required because it gives you more time to work on God’s work.

I have yet to see anything that shows a consistent pattern of God specifically assigning one specific person to another for marriage. I’m willing to accept that there are certain scenarios where a married couple that has a higher calling is called specifically to one another to serve together in a specific capacity. This is possibly true for those in the lineage of Jesus, as well as marriage that will have a major impact on God’s people like Ester’s marriage to King Xerxes. Meanwhile every day regular people can marry whomever they want, and ideally, they use godly wisdom in the selection. In the old covenant, the priests have specific marriage restrictions, which limit them to only marrying a virgin or a Levite widow (Lev 21:13-15 & Ez 44:22), meanwhile, regular people can marry anyone they want (Jew, Gentile, prostitute, widow, divorcee, virgin, etc).

Even if it is true and God orchestrated all marriages, the people in the bible never explicitly expressed that God provides a specific spouse for everyone. Rebekah and Isaac were the rare exceptions, and Xerxes and Ester had a specific purpose. There are questions about why some marriages turn out bad and abusive and end up in divorce (or murder). Was there no other option, was the bad marriage necessary to get to the better one? The gift of getting married is more about the blessing of having a lifelong partnership and being able to produce children, rather than about finding the “perfect” match. It can be true for certain types of people where God needs a specific couple made of people with specific character attributes to do a specific task, but I don’t think it is a universal principle that applies to all people.

With that being said I think when using wisdom to filter people out, there may actually only be a handful of people on the whole planet who are good matches for each person without disrupting a person’s calling in life. I don’t think the exact framework of single soulmates for each person would apply to everyone on earth equally. It may not be absolutely necessary that every Christian couple has to be a pair of specific soulmates that serve the kingdom in a very specific way. Not everyone gets saved, and not everyone gets married, so I think it possible God gives some people a single soulmate for major purposes, while others have a small range of options that would be best matches. I do believe that that range of ideal candidates is very small for most people and would be narrowed down by godly wisdom and following the holy spirit, but if the last options are all equal then those people simply can choose the one they like the most. Lastly, after the resurrection, no one will be married in eternity anyway, so it won’t impact a person’s eternity. I think multiple people of both sexes can have overlapping callings so there will always be good matches no matter what choice a person makes.