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Thursday, August 19, 2010 | Comments (25)

After God created the first couple and brought them together in the first marriage ceremony, there was perfect harmony, fellowship, and joy. Adam had a wife to fellowship with; the two of them exercised dominion together. Eve had her husband to protect, provide, and care for her. All was well in Eden, for the moment.

Perfection didn’t last long—a serpent was loose in the Garden of Eden, crafty and animated by Satan. He launched the first attack on the first family, striking out against God and His perfect creation.

In the first recorded assault against humanity, Satan sought to overturn God’s pattern of marriage. The devil—in one strategic act of treachery—undermined not only the first family, but God’s entire system of earthly rule. Think about it: God is the head of man, man is the head of woman, and mankind together presides over the animal kingdom. Essentially, the pattern was God, man, woman, animals. Satan literally turned that entire system on its head. An animal (the serpent), came to the woman (Eve), counseled her to act independently of her husband (Adam), and to disobey the creator (God).

From a military standpoint, Satan’s plan was brilliant and won an immediate victory. And his strategy didn’t end with the first parents—he used the same tactics on the first children as well. Adam’s first son, Cain killed his younger brother, Abel, incurring the curse of God on his life. Satan managed to inject poison between spouses, siblings, and in all human relationships.

That’s a pretty impressive track record for Satan—he’s a crafty and wily enemy. He was, and still is, quite the home-wrecker. He tempts us, offers us the opportunity for a sinful alternative to God’s design, and we take what he has to offer, to the detriment of our relationships. Satan has known from the very beginning what many naïve Christians are slow to grasp—the family is key in God’s program. Destroy the family, and society crumbles.

There are too many families for Satan to single-handedly carry out his campaign of destruction, so he enlists the help of contemporary secular society. After all, the “whole world lies in the power of the evil one.” (1 John 5:19). Through ungodly philosophies and ideologies, he continues to attack the traditional roles of men and women within the family. Special-interest groups and government agencies seem bent on the dissolution of the traditional family, advocating the normalization of homosexuality, same-sex “marriage,” and (in some cultures nowadays) sterilization programs. Divorce has been made easy, tax laws penalize marriage, and government welfare rewards childbirth outside of wedlock. All those trends (and many more like them) are direct attacks on the sanctity of the family.

Although many Christian leaders have been passionately voicing concerns about the dissolution of the family for decades, things have grown steadily worse, not better, in society at large. Secular social commentators have lately begun to claim that the traditional nuclear family is no longer even “realistic.” An article published by the online magazine Salon said this: “The ‘ideal’ American family—a father and a mother, bound to each other by legal marriage, raising children bound to them by biology—is a stubborn relic, a national symbol that has yet to be returned as threadbare and somewhat unrealistic.” The nuclear family simply won’t work in twenty-first-century society, according to many of these self-styled “experts.”

I know those voices are wrong, however, because I have witnessed literally thousands of parents in our church who have put into practice what the Bible teaches about the family, and they and their families have been greatly blessed for it.

As society continues its mad quest to eliminate the family, and as our whole culture therefore unravels more and more, it becomes more important than ever for Christians to understand what the Bible teaches about the family, and to put it into practice in their homes. It may well be that the example we set before the world through strong homes and healthy families will in the long run be one of the most powerful, attractive, and living proofs that when the Bible speaks, it speaks with the authority of the God who created us—and whose design for the family is perfect.

Keeping those closing thoughts in mind, here’s a question for the comment thread: In what ways do you believe “Christian” families have exhibited doubt concerning God’s design for the family? Enjoy the thread.


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#1  Posted by Jorge Alvarado  |  Thursday, August 19, 2010 at 8:26 AM

Well, one way would be in conforming to the world. Nothing would bring doubt into a family faster than experiencing first hand a sinful lifestyle. Even the staunchest believer will crumble when a close member of his family "turns out" homosexual. Then, the homosexual lifestyle gets a whole new meaning. Same for an alcoholic, drug user, etc. Then, applying the "love of God" will take precedent. And the "condemnation" will take second priority.

Unfortunately, what the world will see is the apparent "hypocrisy" in christians.

Another would be that christians will say the family must consist of a husband and wife, until a daughter gets pregnant from a relationship with a "bum" (or worse, by an unbeliever). Then, she'd be better off going at it alone, or (gasp) giving the child up for adoption. Again, the world will just ridicule the "family".

Or when a son does anything not "becoming" a christian.

Re "It may well be that the example we set before the world through strong homes and healthy families will in the long run be one of the most powerful, attractive, and living proofs that when the Bible speaks, it speaks with the authority of the God who created us—and whose design for the family is perfect."

How hard is it to meet one of those "healthy families"?.

#2  Posted by Paul Tucker  |  Thursday, August 19, 2010 at 9:31 AM

Hi Folks:

The doubt that families demonstrate is due to the first doubt cast out by our Adversary. The "oneness" is doubted, i.e. "they two shall be one flesh". The wife's inclination to "run things" is evidence that she does not trust God's plan or wisdom. A man's inclination to either be a brute or spineless and not be led by the Spirit of God. Parenting in today s society is a mishmash of worldly thinking, self centeredness, and disconnect with reality. Our morals are force fed to us by demon inspired broadcasters, and "intellectuals", none of whom understand the consequence of their actions except that it will bring about anarchy. Anarchy brings about despotism and oppression, because one "will" is going to win out. The only real chance for Families is to be the salt and light we were designed to be in Christ. What this means is that we center our actions in the Word, and while everything falls apart around us and persecution or travail comes our way we stick to what we know to be real, that which is true and does not change. (He he, I know that this may sound "dispensationalistic" to some, but I was really not thinking of that aspect of correct biblical interpretation. I was thinking more along the lines of what the Historical Church has experienced from time to time in various locations around the globe.) Just thinking.

#3  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Thursday, August 19, 2010 at 12:23 PM

When Eve and Adam ate the fruit. It was like eating a 'bomb'. As painful it was. It breaks families. Cain was a murderer, not just he is one, he hated his brother, Abel. Sad. Cain had to wandered cause God made him to, why cause he rejected his family, even God too. Even

got worse, the Flood and etc.

Cause doubts, families tried a dangerous easy way which would be the

world and it's pleasures. Satan is a twisted dragon, he, the demons, and our sins cause God's creation go wrong. God never makes mistakes

but we do. That's what Jesus is for to save us. Awesome!

Bible verse, Pride comes before the fall. Satan first fell, then Adam and Eve which affects all mankind. Sad

#4  Posted by Ann Kelsey  |  Thursday, August 19, 2010 at 1:21 PM

Comment deleted by user.
#5  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Thursday, August 19, 2010 at 3:03 PM


Satan at first was a good angel, and the demons too. They rebel in

heaven. Satan thought he wanted to be like God. God threw satan and

his followers(demons) out of the heavens. God knew some of his angels

would sin and Adam and Eve's fall too.

Does it help?

Satan cause this to happen, bad relationship, and etc. God did something

to save us by dying on the cross and rose from the dead proving He is

the God of the living. Very good questions. Smiles.

#6  Posted by Bud Hornbeck  |  Thursday, August 19, 2010 at 3:12 PM

From my own experience I would say I neglected to teach my children about the Glory of Heaven. That has left them clinging to this world and not the Blessed Promises our Lord has given us concerning the real life. Your receint series on Heaven has made me very aware of this. Sincerely, Thank You Pastor MacArthur

#7  Posted by Jorge Alvarado  |  Thursday, August 19, 2010 at 8:11 PM

Re # 4, Ms. Kelsey

"If Adam was in charge of security, how did Satan get in the kitchen? Satan should have been kept beyond the front gate of Eden."

I don't think we can answer the question with the information we have. Maybe satan pulled a "Book of Job" kind of thing with God. There's just no way of knowing that I can see.

"Doubt of God's Word via the topic of food means Satan understood Eve's responsibilty in the family unit."

Again, maybe, maybe not. Still the fact that Eve was even near that tree speaks volumes.

"I asssume that Adam and Eve were able spiritually to travel to The Throne on Highest of God Almighty."

That's a big assumption. Yes, maybe God at one time said, "hey, guys, you think this is neat? let's go check out my place!" But, somehow, that sounds like something I would say. Not God.

Your questions are hard no doubt. Being bothered by them for years must be hard in itself. Dealing with why and how things happened in the bible makes for great conversation, just don't let it get to you. Keep asking; and when you get your answers, let us know :-)

#8  Posted by Alex Soriano  |  Thursday, August 19, 2010 at 8:31 PM

In the book « The Silence of Adam » by Lary Crabb has an insightful observation. Adam was with Eve during the event of the temptation, why he was so silent? Why he didn’t say a word that would somehow immediately rebuke Eve? The Hebrew word being used in that text is ‘emma’ which suggest close proximity. This is the same word used in ‘Emmanuel’ which means God with us. So Adam was with Eve, yet he was so silent.

Crabb posited that this event would also suggest that the first failure of man is the failure to speak. Crabb must be right, this might be one reason why marriages tend to fall apart. Men just don’t speak; there is an utter failure to communicate – to give light to the darkening mind of the untamed-tongued wives.

Is it not God himself spoke the universe and it came into existence? The spoken Word that created the universe is also the Word that said to Adam “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” Then why Adam didn’t say a word? Didn’t he remember the Word of God?

I think this is where doubt begins; when the father failed to talk and walk the word of God in the family.

#9  Posted by Paul Tucker  |  Friday, August 20, 2010 at 9:54 AM

Hi Alex:

I have often wondered,(in addition to what Larry Crabb said regarding the silence of Adam), that when Adam taught Eve the prohibition against eating the fruit, he might also have "set a hedge" by adding to the Word of prohibition by saying "...nor touch it lest ye die". The fact that she touched it and did not "die" would have encouraged her to eat in my way of thinking. I think that this is a common problem among men as well, adding to God's Word. The results speak for themselves and ought to cause teachers of the Word to be careful to teach what it says without adding to or taking away from it. This was a common problem in Christ time where pharisees made the Law without effect by adding to it and providing exceptions to it. From Paul's letter to Timothy speaking regarding the roles of men and women in the church he said that the woman was "deceived in the transgression" and have wondered if the deception might not have been in regard to the issue of Adam's "addition to" that might not have been the culprit. This is speculation on my part because the Word is silent regarding this aspect (i.e. with Adam and Eve). However the "prohibition" of adding to and taking away is not speculation and there are plenty of examples in the Word regarding this issue. (I've probably said enough - he he)

#11  Posted by Steve Drake  |  Friday, August 20, 2010 at 4:02 PM

Hi Alex, Paul,

Haven't read Crabb's book, but my understanding of 'with her' in Gen.3:6 and 'with me' in Gen.3:12 are both the same in Hebrew and mean 'relational', and not 'spatial'.

I'm not saying that Adam was not culpable, but Paul seems to confirm that Eve was deceived and not Adam in passages such as 2Cor.11:3 and 1Tim.2:14.

Adam ate of the fruit, yes, but notice also his response to God in Gen.3 (he didn't blame the serpent), and Eve's response there as well (she did blame the serpent).

I'm bit open here, but I think there are other issues that come in to play if we take Crabb's interpretation and not those of other OT Hebrew scholars.

Anybody have any other references on this?

#12  Posted by Gabriel Powell (GTY Admin)  |  Friday, August 20, 2010 at 4:10 PM

I personally think that if we're studying Genesis 3 and debating who is to blame, we've missed the point.

We must get to the point where we say, "The biggest problem in the family is me."

Because I am a sinner and have not completely reached perfect Christ-likeness, I contribute significantly to the problems in my marriage, parenting, and family in general.

Do fathers contribute to problems in the family? Yes. Do mothers contribute to the problems in the family? Yes. Stop trying to point to Adam OR Eve. Point to yourself. Then, and only then, you can make progress in solving the problem in the family.

What is important about Genesis 3 is not whether Adam or Eve are the primary culprits, but that they are both culprits. When the rest of Scripture comments on that passage it refers to Eve being deceived by Satan, and Adam sinning overtly.

#13  Posted by Steve Drake  |  Friday, August 20, 2010 at 4:20 PM

Hi Gabriel,

It's not missing the point when one is faithful to what Scripture says. It's a matter of fidelity to Scripture. We are drawing out through exegesis what the text actually says and means. Scripture is very clear in many places that we are all dead in sin and need the saving work of Christ to come and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:8 comes to mind here. Scripture is also very clear that we have inherited our sin nature from Adam, this is a foundational doctrine of Scripture, but one must understand where this comes from and that points back to Genesis 3.

#14  Posted by Steve Drake  |  Friday, August 20, 2010 at 4:28 PM

Hi Gabriel,

It's not missing the point when we are trying to be faithful to Scripture. It's a matter of fidelity to the text. We are trying to understand and exegete the text to see what it says and means.

Scripture is very clear in many places that we are all dead in sin. It was our sin that nailed Jesus to the cross. A foundational doctrine of Scripture is that we inherited our sin nature from Adam, and to understand that you have to go back to Genesis 3. It is the work of Christ on the cross and our saving faith that cleanses us from all unrighteousness and sets us free.

To say that "it is not whether Adam or Eve are the primary culprits, but that they are both culprits" is to miss the point I was trying to make.

#15  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Friday, August 20, 2010 at 4:36 PM


Adam's responsibility to remember what God said. He just went on

ahead and cause the attack on family. Satan had that firm grip to deceive Eve. Adam sinned and Eve was deceived.

When one commits any kinds of sins, it attacks family. It hurts children. It confuses children so they can't discern between right

and wrong. Ipods, video games, and etc won't help children escaping

from attacks from problens. Helping children apply God's word in their hearts and their minds will give strength to them day by day.

#16  Posted by Gabriel Powell (GTY Admin)  |  Friday, August 20, 2010 at 4:45 PM

If one is doing exegesis on the text, then perhaps it is relevant whether "with her" is relational or spatial, but for the sake of the current discussion (and Crabb's book), but is being used inappropriately. Whether Adam was standing next to Eve or on the other side of the garden is beside the point of the text and quite irrelevant the meaning of the passage.

It is important, though, to say that Adam did not sin in any way until he ate the fruit. Just like Eve did not sin when she told Satan that they couldn't touch it the fruit (she didn't tell a lie or misrepresent God's law, she revealed the full intent of God's law... "have nothing to do with that fruit!").

The reason families are suffering the effects of sin is because Adam and Even ate the fruit, not because Adam didn't say something. We simply don't know the dynamics that were going on when Eve was having her discussion with the snake. Maybe she was whispering and Adam was just a couple trees away and couldn't hear. In that case Adam couldn't have said anything because he didn't know what was going on.

We need to be very careful about making assumptions of the environment and situational factors that the text doesn't reveal. So to say, "Adam failed to speak," might be true, but only if the underlying assumptions are true.

#18  Posted by Steve Drake  |  Friday, August 20, 2010 at 4:58 PM

Hi Gabriel,

I think we're getting to the heart of the matter now. Although I'm not sure Scripture speaks to 'have nothing to do with that fruit'. I'm assuming you are paraphrasing Gen. 2:17 which says, 'but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die."

Eve disobeyed, Adam disobeyed, and we all follow suit in disobedience to the Word of God. This I think is the meaning of the passage.

My first post was in comment to Alex and Paul's discussion on Crabb's book, 'The Silence of Adam', and I think I have answered Alex's question about why he (Adam) didn't say a word.

#19  Posted by Mark Tanner  |  Friday, August 20, 2010 at 11:28 PM

I believe there are two major errors, we as Christians make that if corrected would set a pattern distinct from the rest of society.

1) Realize that love is more of a commitment than an emotional "joy ride" that ends when the "self" begins to be discontent. Divorce is not an option if we are committed to Jesus. He has given us the blueprint for success and we must be diligent to know and to live that "blueprint". God's love for us is a perfect commitment to us; follow Him.

2)Know our roles as God has ordained (there are always going to be extenuating circumstances that may not allow, but the godly principals are laid bare before our eyes in Scripture);so men love your wives as the Lord loves His bride and women respect your husbands in submission as to the Lord without complaint. Recognize each others needs and make every effort to meet these needs without any expectations and set clear examples as parents to our children because it is commanded and the time we have to influence our children in the ways of God are short.

#20  Posted by david king  |  Saturday, August 21, 2010 at 3:26 AM

High everyone

From what I know and have read from the bible about Adam and Eve it is this,"Why was the tree of knowledge placed in the garden" ? Well we had a choice to choose from the tree of life or knowledge ! As such we choosed the tree of knowledge and the rest is history as they say, But the two trees were put there for a reason as I think that God already knew about satan and his plans as remember "God is all knowing and is everywhere". So what better way to find out and to get satan to play his card ! And remember Eve had already sinned before the first bite of the apple had taken place ? Genesis 3, 2-3, And the woman said to the serpent "We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden, but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden , God has said, you shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die". Well if you know the bible you shall know that God never said we can not touch the apple ? he never said it anywhere only Eve said this and as such she had added it in to the word of God ? satan must have been doing cart wheels inside of his head as she had already disobeyed god's word by adding to God's word ! Remember Moses at the rock when he struck it to water the Israelite's he called them "rebels" ?. So we have a choice here to do and obey gods word or we go ower own way and sin just like the parable's about the two sons in Matthew 21, 28-31 0r the lost son in Luke 15, 11-32 it is about choice and that is to do Gods word and accept it or we sin.

#21  Posted by Paul Tucker  |  Saturday, August 21, 2010 at 8:07 AM

Alex, Gabe:

Just a word regarding culpability, the scripture is plain regarding this issue. God said that it was Adam that caused death to enter the world. And if you notice, all three entities involved in the downfall of creation are judged. What I was trying to say is that the repercussions of the fall are noted in certain examples which I named and that though we have these issues to deal with, it is only by conforming to the scriptural pattern of being "little christ" that we can hope to negate the effects of sin, (not perfectionism but practical holiness).

#22  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Saturday, August 21, 2010 at 10:18 AM

They pass out condoms which encourages young people to have sex. That's wrong and it's evil. It not just all about Adam and Eve.

It's about all of us. Families suffer from attacks when school have

safe sex education to their children.

The fruit is not a magical fruit that cause us to sin. It's disobeying God.

#23  Posted by Jesus Rodriguez  |  Saturday, August 21, 2010 at 10:51 PM

Hi there, in reading all these blogs from diferent people and to see how precise they want to be about writing thoughts and what scripture says I wonder many times about what GOD said to the first family on earth.

I say that because I have asked this question before, but no one is willing to say it because scripture does not say it. The only thing we can do is understand what GOD told them. Alex mention scripture and I just focus in this sentence "for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die". Now, without trying to show (any of you)your superior intelect about scripture. can anyone confirm to me where the first family (Adam and Eve)is. Are they above(heaven) or below(hades)

#24  Posted by Tommy Clayton  |  Sunday, August 22, 2010 at 12:07 AM


Good question, but I’m afraid it will take the discussion off course. John MacArthur gives a great answer in the following message from Genesis. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. Enjoy:

#25  Posted by Jerry Testa  |  Monday, August 23, 2010 at 9:20 AM

As the article stated, we are in desparately depraved times. We see so many parallels in the Old Testament. But God... The times have even burdened the church.. losing hope. My only hope is to focus on the attributes/nature of our Creator God. Once the eyes lose focus on God, the world seeps in and gradually tears at our foundation. I see so many losing hope. We must keep our eyes on the Master. Right perspective of God, right perspect on life. Job 38 to the end of the book helps us keep our eyes on the LORD when trials come. Nahum 1:5-7 is a start.

#26  Posted by Jesus Rodriguez  |  Monday, August 23, 2010 at 12:55 PM

Tommy: thank you very much. my question has been answered. the reference you gave me is outstanding. I read it last night, what a night!

I will be more attune on my future blogs. thanks again. By the way, this current article is great. thanks

#27  Posted by Tommy Clayton  |  Monday, August 23, 2010 at 1:52 PM

No problem, Jesse. I thought you'd enjoy that message. I was encouraged, too. Blessings.