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In the Beginning
GOD’S PLAN FOR THE FAMILY
Terry R. Baughman
“In the day that God created man, He made him in the likeness of God. He created them male and female, and blessed them and called them Mankind in the day they were created. And Adam … begot a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth” (Genesis 5:1–3).
The divine order of Creation established an understanding of intended purpose for humanity’s existence for all time. Rather than the suggestion of a random evolution of stimuli shaping our social character and conduct, there were clearly defined plans for social order and the continuance of the human race from the earliest moments of our existence.
Humanity is the only part of God’s Creation that was designed by divine deliberation. While everything else emerged with the command, “Let there be” or “Let the earth bring forth,” the first man was designed with the image of Deity as the model after God took counsel of His own will, “Let us make man in our image” (Genesis 1:26). Then God acted on His resolve, “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:27).
From this initial overview of the days of Creation, Genesis goes on to fill in some of the details that we crave. The next chapter reveals the composition of the first man, “The Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being” (Genesis 2:7). From the dirt the first man was fashioned connecting him with earth. The breath of life came from God and gave him life connecting him with the eternal and empowering him with a spiritual essence.
God’s foundation for the family is also seen from the beginning. While all of the animal kingdom had the male and female counterpart, Adam was lacking a compatible partner. God acknowledged, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him” (Genesis 2:18). Taking a rib from the sleeping man God designed a woman for Adam to be of his flesh and bone. Thus He established the unification of marriage. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24).
Marriage is designed as a spiritual connection between two distinct individuals, male and female, resulting in the ultimate unification of both flesh and spirit. This marriage provides for procreation, the succession of the species, and continuing hope for restoration. Children are a natural outgrowth of this union and a continuation of the lineage of succession and the promised blessing, “Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him” (Psalm 127:3 NIV).
In God’s original pattern there was no provision for divorce, “What God has joined together, let no one separate” (Matthew 19:6 NIV). When Jesus was asked about the issue of divorce He referenced Moses’ Law defining the guidelines for the issue, but He further reminded them, “It was not this way from the beginning” (Matthew 19:8 NIV). When all things were made in the perfection of the first Creation there was no need for division or divorce. Following God’s pattern, one man and one woman, serving God in a sinless environment allows the latitude of social development and the foundation of family relationships.
Because of the judgment of the first sin and the injury of brokenness in our relationship with God we continue to strive for restoration of that perfect pattern. God’s plan will always be the best design for social interaction and a faithful foundation for our families.
“[Cornelius] … and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly” (Acts 10:2 NIV).