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Discovery Magazine 5/1/1999

The First Family

 Abraham Lincoln said, "The strength of a nation lies in the homes of its people." But not everyone thinks that families are a good idea. I know that sounds really strange, but there are a few people who would like to see families go the way of dinosaurs and steam locomotives. Sadly, some of these people have bad memories of their childhood. Now they have a bad opinion of the family itself. Others do not like God’s plan for the family. In a Christian home, especially, the husband is the leader, and the mother takes special care of the children. No matter what is going on in the big, wide world, mom and dad can teach their children to love and obey God. Strong families like this can resist ideas that go against the Bible’s teaching.

What we must remember is that families are made up of ordinary people who make mistakes. Sometimes husbands and wives don’t treat each other as they should. Sometimes mothers and fathers don’t treat their children as they should. But the family itself is good because it was created by God.

We learn about the first family in the second chapter of Genesis. When God made Adam, there was no creature in the whole world that could make him happy. God knew this, and so He created Eve from Adam’s side. From this point on, all families were to begin with a man and a woman who became husband and wife. God commanded Adam and Eve to "be fruitful and multiply" (Genesis 1:28). This means He wanted them to have children. The name "Eve" means "the mother of all living" (Genesis 3:20).

God wants us to aim for this ideal of a family. An "ideal" is something that is perfect. When Jesus talked about marriage, He reached all the way back to the same passages in Genesis. He reminded His audience that God wanted a husband and wife to become a single thing—a family. He gave this commandment: "What God has joined together, let not man separate" (Matthew 19:6). In other words, people should not find excuses to leave their mates. God knows that we are not perfect, and He has given very special instructions for when husbands and wives can separate. Even so, Jesus said, "from the beginning it was not so" (verse 8).

God intended there to be one man, and one woman, for life. As much as we can, this is the ideal for which we should reach.

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