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.