Currently the most renowned dictionary of the English language has a definition that speaks of a "formal union of a man and a woman". But now, Christian Concern reports that "the definition of the term 'marriage' will be changed to include same sex couples" following the fact that in the UK the 'Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill has received Royal Assent.
The question is: Do lawmakers and dictionary editors, not to mention sociologists and cultural trend setters, have a right to redefine terms like this?
In some limited sense, yes. It's part of the mandate God gave to man at creation. This craving to define and redefine is a reflection of God's purpose when he gave Adam the responsibility to "name" whatever he saw in creation (Genesis 2:19,20). The Oxford English Dictionary is but one small expression of mankind doing what God told us to do. To give definition is an act of dominion, an expression of the authority that God gave us to rule.
However, we were only authorized to rule as God's vice regent - to rule on God's behalf rather than autonomously. So God placed clear boundaries around this responsibility to define. Adam had the right to call his wife 'Eve', but he was not given the authority to call a frog his wife. It was a woman that God brought to him, and it was with that woman that God exercised His ultimate authority in defining her as the epitome of wifeliness as He joined her to Adam in the marriage union that He instituted and defined.
Adam was asleep at the time. His role as a ruler was clearly secondary and subsequent. He had his part to play. Eve was a good choice of name, though he would have been free to call her Mary or Jane if he had chosen to. He could call his wife anything he wanted - but he could not call anything he wanted his wife. As he looked at the array of amazing creations that passed before his eyes before he set eyes on Eve, he knew that none of those other creatures was an option in that regard.
But since what theologians call the Fall (which could perhaps be described more accurately as the Suicidal Leap, as it was deliberate rather than accidental), there has been no limit to man's propensity to try to define his own reality. Multi-volume dictionaries are full of these testimonies to man's rebellious desire to name things as he sees fit, and that apart from God. He takes perverse delight in calling 'good' what God calls 'evil'. God wrote the Bible. And man is now busy writing dictionaries. Despite being located in the reference sections of our libraries, they are, to a significant degree, works of fiction.