The Original Family
Family is a critical concept for Christians to grasp in today's world. I asked in a previous post how you defined family and asked what elements you would include. What you think family is may have been influenced by your culture (not always right), your experiences (again not always right), and even some syncretistic forms combining aspects of family life from all over the world. Those of us in the western hemisphere, especially, have become detached from many of the original characteristics of family. At best, some of us may have vague mental images of a "Leave it to Beaver" type family or even a "Little House on the Prairie" type family, but the truth is that the concept of family is much older than that. As with any search for the truth, we should begin with the Bible, the sole authority for a Christian's life. So, what does the Bible say about family? Let's begin with the Old Testament.
Most people would probably say that family began in Genesis 1:28, when God made the first man and woman and then commanded them to be fruitful, multiply and subdue the earth. That was the first family, right? While it is the first place in scripture to describe a family, understand that the concept of family existed long before creation. God Himself exists as a family--the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit--and with Adam and Eve He designed human families as a reflection of his triune image. (Luke 3:21-22, John 3:16, Genesis 1:26) Family has existed for eternity and we need to remember that it is from God, not a man made institution that we can define and change as we please. The only way for us to know what family is, as God intends it, is to look to His revelation to us in the Bible. In the next post I will share a word study of “family” as it appears in the Old Testament and share a few insights I gleaned from that.
In the meantime, have you ever thought about how your familial relationships are an integral part of how you reflect God’s image to the world?