About Jesus  -  Steve Sweetman

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The Fragility Of Family


Throughout history the foundation of any given society has been family.  I believe the health of a society depends on the health of what was once called the traditional family.  I also believe the health of the family depends on the health of the husband/wife relationship. 


Among many things that disrupt and destroy marriage and the family is the individualistic approach that couples now bring into marriage.  Back when Judeo/Christian thought was a primary influence upon western culture marriage was considered to be a union between one man and one woman.  Marriage was based on the concept of two becoming one flesh as seen in Genesis 2:24, not two remaining two as seen today.


One way individualism stresses marriage
these days is the separate career goals of the husband and wife.  Fifty years ago the goal of parenthood was to raise boys and girls to be good fathers and mothers.  Today the goal of parenthood seems to be to raise boys and girls to be good corporate managers.  That may be important these days, but when individual goals within marriage supersede family goals, the marriage and family suffer.  One often becomes two as the marriage ends in divorce.


To understand the concept of two becoming one we must study the creation account as seen in the Bible.  In Genesis 2:7 we learn that God molded the first man from the dust of the earth.  Once molded into the desired shape, God breathed part of Himself into the lump of clay.  Immediately, the molded piece of dirt became a living being we know as Adam.  


Once situated in the Garden of Eden, God commanded Adam not to eat from one particular tree (Genesis 2:17).  Most English Bibles state that when, not if, you (Adam) eat from the tree you will certainly die.  The word "when" tells me that it was a certain fact that Adam would eat from the tree, plunging creation into a world of death and decay.  If I'm right about this, the first Biblical command included the first Biblical prophecy. 


Unlike the animals, Adam had no one like himself to share his life.  So, God surgically removed part of his side and created a woman for him.  Note that like the animals, Adam was created from dirt, but, unlike animals and Adam, Eve was created from living human tissue.  That made woman special.  Maybe some women are actually right when they say men are like animals. 


The first moment Adam laid eyes on Eve, I'm sure he thought she was special.  "This is now bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh, she shall be called woman, for she was taken out of man.  That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh (Genesis 2:23 - 24 NIV).  Adam expressed the Biblical reason why a man and a woman become one flesh in marriage.  It's because woman was surgically removed from man. 


After seeing the perfectly and beautifully crafted naked woman God created for him, Adam must have wanted that which was taken from him back into his life.  This accounts for the overwhelming desire a man has to unite his body with a woman in sexual unity, which I believe, in Adam and Eve's case was an expression of the oneness they had in all aspects of their relationship.   


It's a sad story, but this wonderful oneness died in one brief moment.  Satan deceived Eve into eating from the tree.  Adam wasn't deceived.  He willfully defied the command spoken specifically to him, and not to Eve as I believe was the case.  The results of Adam's sin were immediate and devastating as seen in Genesis 3.  


How discouraged Adam and Eve must have been when in one sudden sickening second their nakedness became a shameful embarrassment.  They must have been utterly devastated when a dreadful depression sucked the joy out of life.  Then, fear, something they had never known, filled every fiber of their being as they tried to hide from God.  Added to this was the incursion of stupidity that inflicted their capacity to think.  Knowing God as they did, how could they have seriously thought they could hide from God?  That defies all logic.


To make matters worse, individualism sprouted from the seed of sin.  Adam blamed Eve for his willful defiance while Eve blamed satan for being deceived.  Neither of them took personal responsibility for their actions.  Neither could admit they were wrong.  Such stubborn self-centeredness is the root of individualism that has destroyed marriages ever since.


God eventually removed the conflicted couple from the garden.  Existence in a world divorced from the immediate presence of God was now their lot in life, as it is ours.  We can't escape the depravity.  We are fallen people struggling with fallen people in a fallen world.  Maintaining any kind of peace, tranquility, and oneness, is difficult for us all and maybe impossible for many.  


I acknowledge that family is fragile.  I admit that in a fallen world we need our individual and personal space to maintain some resemblance of peace.  I also realize that individual goals that supersede and usurp family goals causes family to suffer and die.  Our only hope of marital survival is submitting our individual wills and goals to the One who created couples in the first place.


I close with something the president of the Bible college I attended told us in 1975.  "The best thing parents can do for their children is to love each other."  All cultures would have done themselves a favour if they would have heeded this advice, but it's obvious they haven't.

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