Sunday, May 15, 2011

Genesis 1:26-28; 2:20-25 - God's Institution of the Family

The Brady Bunch opening grid, season oneImage via Wikipedia
Brady Bunch
Opening thought
Families are important. In family we learn our first ideas. In family we build our first foundation about reality and life In family we first understand authority and how to get along together. I grew up in a family with one Dad and one Mom all my life, a family that these days is in the minority. Amanda grew up in what is called a blended family – kind of like the Brady Bunch. Her mother had two girls and her father had three girls and they had a son after marrying.

Today we begin a new series of studies on our world and God’s vision for it. The first three sermons will set the playing field with the three things God has instituted in our world: the family, the government, and the church. Then we will take several weeks to look at what the Bible teaches about several current issues involving these three institutions of God in more depth. My goal is for us to learn and grow in basic areas of Biblical worldview in such a way that you can see how it applies to your life and the lives of those you love and work with.

Today we will begin with the first institution on which the other two, government and church, are built. We will begin with God’s institution of the family.

Contextual Notes:
People are usually more interested in what is not in Genesis 1 and 2 rather than in what is actually found in its text. In Genesis we do not find evolution of man, but instead the devolution of man because of sin.

The central message of Genesis 1 and 2 is that “the creation of man and woman as a couple is the crowning achievement of God’s creative work, receiving his closest attention and together best reflect his glory and person.”[1]

Key Truth: Moses wrote Genesis 1:26-28; 2:20-25 to teach Israel that God created and instituted male and female and the family to be a reflection of His image, the basic unit of civilization and authority, and built around the covenant of marriage.
Key Application: Today I want to show you what God’s Word says about God’s institution of the family.
Key Verse: Genesis 2:24
Pray and Read:  Genesis 1:26-28; 2:20-25

Sermon Points: God instituted the family to be
1.   A reflection of His image (Genesis 1:26-27)
2.   The basic unit of civilization and authority (Genesis 1:28)
3.   Built around the covenant of marriage (Genesis 2:20-25)

Exposition:   Note well,

a.   Gen. 1:26a: “Let us make man” indicates some great decision made among the persons of the Godhead.
b.   Gen. 1:26b-27: Both male and female are made in the image of God. Thus, we are different from other created beings like animals. Man and woman are not just a higher form of life but we are qualitatively different from the plants and animal kingdoms and we relate to our Maker in a unique way. This fact has important consequences for how we live. 1st – Every human being resembles the Creator in some way and that means every human being is special and important. 2nd – We should not worship any animal (Exod 20:4; Rom 1:21-22) or accord more rights to any animal than what a human being has. 3rd – because God created our bodies, minds, and spirits, we cannot ignore one or the other. We must not mistreat ourselves or others (1 Cor 6:19-20).
c.   Man being in God’s image – the Trinity in perfect relationship with one another, mutually submissive, mutually sacrificially serving – is by nature a social being. Everything in Creation had been good up until this point. It was not good that Adam was alone (Gen. 2:18) and no suitable helper (complement) was found (Gen 2:19-20). So God made a suitable companion for Adam and brought her to the man in what appears to be a wedding ceremony. The Hebrew (1:27) implies the fitting into a unity with which each helps the other equally.
e.   APPLICATION: Yes, we see in this passage the creation of the first human beings, a male one and a female one. They are made in the image of God, and one way they reflect an aspect of His image in the perfect harmony of the relationship of the Trinity and in the relationship of Christ and his church is through the covenant relationship of marriage. Marriage is something to be placed on a pedestal. Would you agree that marriage is hard? Why is it hard? Because we are deeply sinful individuals who want “my way.” We don’t want to submit to another person’s needs or desires or demands or wants. The mystery of marriage as the relationship between Christ and His Church is an ideal to which we look to live a loving covenantal relationship that is entirely sacrificial of self and submitting to the other.
a.   Gen. 1:28: Both men and women were blessed by God and assigned a two-fold mission: to increase in number in number and fill the earth (Gen 1:28a) and to rule over creation and to subdue the earth (Gen. 1:26c, 28b). Humans were to occupy and enjoy, not fear, creation. The first way all of us can glorify and serve God is by caring for His creation.
b.   Note that men and women were permitted to rule over other living creatures, not to rule over and thus own other men and women. Nor were men given authority to dominate women or vice versa. Other humans bear the image of their Creator and thus are to be mutually served and not dominated (John 13:13-14; Gal. 5:13; Eph. 5:21).
c.   All the other creatures reproduce “after its kind” (Gen. 1:11-12, 21, 24-25) but people are made “in our image,” a strong contrast. Man does not simply reproduce after himself in the manner of plants and animals, but is like his Creator in a way unlike the rest of creation. In Gen. 5:1-3 we see that man was created in God’s image (Gen 1:26-27) and that he had a son in his own image and likeness. God places a great honor on having children. He gives them as gifts to be nurtured and trained and taught and led to serve Him.
d.   APPLICATION: This attitude that child bearing and having a house full of children is something to be shunned, that children are a burden on the nerves and the pocketbook, are all the fruit of the teaching of evolution, socialist population control, and secular humanism, but mostly just pure, plain selfishness. This negative attitude toward child rearing, the disconnection of procreation as being intrinsically connected to marriage has given rise to the idea that two men or two women can be married as well as a man and a woman, that marriage is just another contractual relationship.
f.    APPLICATION: The family is where we are supposed to learn what it means to be kind to one another, to learn how to get along with each other, to learn to follow rules, to realize that I am not the ultimate authority in my life, and that someone is in authority over me. It is the basic unit of living in a civilized society. When we do not learn these basic things, our civilization is damaged. When we realize in a family that someone is in authority over me, and that authority loves me, provides for me, and disciplines me, then I learn what it is like to live under the Lord’s authority. Family is designed to teach me the rule of law and the boundaries of civilization and that we are to work together to achieve something together in submission to authority. Family is designed to teach us how to operate in human government.
a.   Gen. 2:21-22: The woman was not born of the man: She is not his child. He does not have moral authority over her. She is from his rib, close to his heart, his companion. In this way the man will help the wife live up to her potential through their companionship. The man was responsible for communicating God’s commands to her.
b.   APPLICATION: This ideal union ordained by the Creator cannot exist between two men or two women or a man and several women or a woman with several men or several women and several men. It defiles the human soul. That is why God condemns all sexual relationships involving anything other than one man and one woman (Rom 1:27; 1 Tim 1:8-10).
c.   Gen. 2:23b: “bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.” Adam recognized the intimate relationship, but she is not exactly like him nor a clone. She is someone distinct. Thus he says, “She shall be called ‘woman.’ She is similar to the man in that she too has the image of God and is therefore equal to Him, but she has a different role.
d.   Gen 2:24: “and be united to his wife.” This relationship is so intimate and close that it cannot be in competition with at all with the second closest human relationship, a parent and child. One must leave her parents and must cleave to him apart from her children.
e.   APPLICATION: By cleaving to one’s wife, a man fulfills the divine purpose as set forth in the original creation. Both chapters, Gen. 1 & 2 lead up to the command in 2:24. Marriage is the crowning achievement of Creation. For good reason, then, Christ in Matthew 19 does not base his discussion of divorce on Deut. 24 but instead on Gen 1-2 where marriage was deliberated, designed, and described by him and the rest of the Trinity, as the most glorious example, the crowning achievement, the crown jewel of the creative works of God. This is one reason the prophet Malachi says that God hates divorce (Mal. 3:16), the reason cohabiting (living together) without the benefit of the covenant of marriage is wrong, as well as illegitimacy (non-marital child-bearing), the reason that same-sex marriage is not tenable,
f.    Marriage involves not just living together with one like oneself. It involves a return to the couple’s original unity, becoming one flesh, enduring as long as they live (Matt. 19:6). There must be complete openness. That is why they were naked and without shame (Gen 1:25).
g.   ILLUSTRATION: A wise guy once said, “The formula for a happy marriage is the same as the one for living in California: when you find a fault, don’t dwell on it.”
h.   APPLICATION: God designed family to be built around the covenant of marriage.
                  i.    In the family, the marriage is primary, not the children. You must do your “home” work and take care of your marriage. Your marriage takes priority over your children since it is the primary relationship that makes a family.
                ii.    This is why the marriage is built around a man and a woman. Family is not whatever conglomeration of individuals you have cohabiting within a certain time and space. Family is a group of people bound by the covenant of marriage and of blood.

[1] Robert Cole, “The Crown Jewel of Creation,” Old Testament Introduction I \Class notes: B1200A, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, 2005.