What does the Bible say about marrying cousins? Can first cousins marry? I am also interested in the relationship of third or fourth cousins. If two children of first cousins marry, is this relationship considered third or fourth cousins?
The Bible does not forbid marriage between cousins. However, marriage between first cousins is illegal in about half the states in the U.S.; the Biblical principle here is that God has instituted the government's authority, so there may be a legal issue depending on where you live. But it's not a sin biblically.
The children of one's first cousin are actually "first cousins, once removed." The children of first cousins are second cousins to each other. Here's a helpful page to keep all that straight, an essay called "What Is a First Cousin, Twice Removed?": http://www.genealogy.com/genealogy/16_cousn.html?Welcome=1024425787
Hope this helps!
About the Author
Sue Bohlin is an associate speaker with Probe Ministries. She attended the University of Illinois, and has been a Bible teacher and conference speaker for over 35 years. She is a frequent speaker for MOPS (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers) and Stonecroft Ministries (Christian Women's Connections), and serves on the board and as a small group leader of Living Hope Ministries, a Christ-centered outreach to those dealing with unwanted homosexuality. Sue is on the Bible.org Women's Leadership Team and is a regular contributor to Bible.org's Tapestry Blog. She is also a professional calligrapher and the webmistress for Probe Ministries; but most importantly, she is the wife of Dr. Ray Bohlin and the mother of their two grown sons. Her personal website is suebohlin.com.
What is Probe?
Probe Ministries is a non-profit ministry whose mission is to assist the church in renewing the minds of believers with a Christian worldview and to equip the church to engage the world for Christ. Probe fulfills this mission through our Mind Games conferences for youth and adults, our 3-minute daily radio program, and our extensive Web site at www.probe.org.
Further information about Probe's materials and ministry may be obtained by contacting us at:
2001 W. Plano Parkway, Suite 2000
Plano TX 75075