Which came first: the chicken or the egg? This supposedly unsolvable riddle comes about from those who have little regard for God’s act of creation. The Bible talks about the living creatures swarming in the water, birds flying in the air, and then animals crawling along the ground in their respective days. Eggs don’t swim, fly or crawl. Furthermore, why bring forth animals in their most defenseless forms? Mankind was not created in the form of two babes. When Adam and Eve were formed, not only were the animals (not eggs) brought to Adam to name, but the entire earth had to be already self-sustaining. Man’s philosophy cannot answer the question because it must be revealed.
Which came first: moral laxness or the disintegration of the family? Now, there is perhaps a more difficult question, no?
As society becomes more inwardly focused, where the individual no longer sees him or herself as a necessary cog in a much larger wheel of cooperation that makes society run, society fragments, divides and eventually pulls itself apart. However, it starts long before that. It starts where people even start demanding their “rights” within a marriage. When selfishness takes over, and pride and ego inflate into arrogance, then it is inevitable that relationships will fall apart.
There is a problem with identifying which came first, the lack of morality or the disintegration of the family. Down through time, there never has been a time when morality was perfect, and neither has there ever been a time when family ties were perfect. The only time that both were in harmony was in the Garden of Eden. Therefore, the answer goes back again to the revealed source of knowledge: The Bible.
Adam and Eve were created perfect and placed in a perfect environment. This is not exactly the same word “perfect” we see in the Bible, however. Perfect in English means without any defects. The word often translated “perfect” from Hebrew can mean “mature”. Our English word “perfect” is much closer to the phrase “and it was very good.”
Being without defect did not mean mature, and it did not mean complete. Adam was created as one complete man, but notice that God saw that leaving Adam alone “is not good”. He may have been complete as far as the physical creation goes, but he was emotionally incomplete. Therefore, God made “a helper as his complement” (Ge 2:18 HCSB). Adam and Eve were to be “one flesh”, which means they were created to complete one another physically and emotionally.
This is a type, of course. Human beings are spiritually incomplete, HWA often taught. We each need God’s Holy Spirit in order to become complete. I don’t want to go on without reiterating this important point. However, this is a digression, nonetheless.
It should be evident, then, that Adam and Eve, as the first human family, had a perfect union in a perfect environment, which kept them in perfect health. Even their relationship with the Creator was fantastic, as is evident from when God walks in the Garden at evening time, but suddenly they decide to hide. This is obviously a very different behavior than what had transpired in the past.
The sin came first. All ills flow, in one form or another, from sin. It may be our own individual sin, it may be our neighbor’s sin, or it may be our great great great grandmother’s sin that causes certain things to transpire in our lives. This is why it is wrong to immediately begin blaming an individual when they are going through a trial. It is not necessarily any fault of theirs. However, that does not mean that trials are useless, as they can still uncover things that we don’t even know about ourselves. One of the things trials bring out, however unfortunately, are Job’s friends. Don’t be a Job’s friend, sitting there accusing others of fanciful flights of your own evil imagination!
When people sin, it is human reasoning that tells us, “Well, it only hurts myself.” That’s rarely, if ever, true. It can only be true of hermits, and even then there very well may be someone somewhere whose heart aches for their loved one to return.
We don’t know much about Adam and Eve’s relationship after they were kicked out of the Garden. However, we do get a glimpse of what being raised in such a family may have been like. Cain means “acquired”.
4 Now the man had relations with his wife Eve, and she conceived and gave birth to Cain, and she said, “I have gotten a manchild with the help of the LORD.”
All translations seem to stress that Eve “acquired” Cain with God’s help. Was it a difficult childbirth? Perhaps so, given what God told Eve in the Garden after they had sinned. Others have speculated that she may have thought this was the prophesied Seed. What she may have known of a coming Redeemer, we cannot say for sure. However, it is unlikely they were totally clueless about God’s plan.
Abel is proof that at least part of God’s way of life was known. Of course, Cain became extremely angry and jealous of his brother. Perhaps that was because he was a bit spoiled, and if Eve thought he could have been the promised Seed, then that becomes even more likely.
However, no matter how you slice it and dice it, it is evident that somehow Adam and Eve failed as parents. Both of their eldest sons are removed from the family unit. The likelihood of such a drastic outcome would have been almost zero if sin had not entered the human race to begin with.
I cannot stress enough that focusing on outward appearances and external solutions may work for a time, but they will inevitably fail as long as our internal struggle and condition continues to be ignored.
However, we now have people like Piers Morgan making the news with idiotic comments about how there needs to be an “amendment to the Bible”. This is a classic case of Tree of Knowledge thinking. It wasn’t just about knowledge – it was about experiential knowledge. The other tree represented revealed knowledge, and that revealed knowledge led to life, hence the name “Tree of Life”. IOW, not only was the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil about knowledge, it was about a form of knowledge that can only be gained through experiences that lead to death!
So, why is the world such a messed up place again? Yet, most are currently ignorant of this. Most don’t want to know, to be quite frank.
Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened.
Does this mean that the disintegration of the family doesn’t lead to more sin and suffering? Of course not! Like the chicken laying the egg, the egg creates more chickens, who create more eggs, and so on. This is just one example of how sin starts a downward spiral that cannot be stopped except by extraordinary circumstances.
When a nation or people say they value family, it is important to look at their moral fiber to see if that is so. If over 1 million unborn children are put to death every year, just how much does that society value family? When half of all marriages end in divorce, just how much does that society value family? When families fall apart, how is that society supposed to stay together?
Then, there are those who have to choose between family and career. I was listening today to an NPR podcast of All Things Considered in “Career Vs Motherhood” which illustrates that not all women want to climb to the top of the career ladder. Starting about 5:18 into the podcast, we learn how Defense Undersecretary for Policy Michel Floumoy stepped down from her position in order to raise a family. Feminists were in shock. However, she relates how many women thanked her for taking a stand in a society that looks down upon women for putting their families first.
I’ll repeat this is NPR running this special – not exactly a “right-wing family values” sort of organization!
Where has the value of strong families gone? It should be obvious that it was put into a waste can years ago with simultaneous movements of extreme feminism, the sexual revolution, the relaxation of divorce laws and an overall attitude of “do your own thing”. IOW, it was taking even more off the Tree of Knowledge and experimenting with social constructs that have long held society together. If you pull all the nails out of a house, you should not be surprised when the house falls down!
Let’s not forget, though, that there always have been dysfunctional families. One of the main differences, however, is that parents are separated from children by work and by school, and instead of learning a craft at home, children learn standard skills that help them adapt to a postmodern world.
Some want to idealize the 1950s, but even that was a world conditioned by a war where the men went off and were absent instead of being home with the family. When the 50s came along, the difference was that men went off to work and the wives were left at home to care for the kids.
There once was a time where both husband and wife worked the farm, and the kids were very involved in helping the family to survive. Now, it is a rarity for families to spend any time together. Even dinner time, once a sacrosanct part of family life, often takes place with different members of the family off doing different things.
If you love someone, you spend time with that person. You unselfishly give of your time to do so, but today’s “family” is far too often nothing more than a selfish group of related individuals who are otherwise socially disconnected.
Is it any wonder that a teenager’s peers have a greater influence in their lives than their parents? It is an artificial world where even the relationships are artificial, and so they look for meaningful relationships with their peers. There are two consequences, however. One is that their peers are often just as or even more misguided than they are. Second, it limits their social development by learning to only communicate with others their own age. The workforce and society at large, however, requires social skills that cuts across different age groups at minimum. It is downright unhealthy.
Fortunately, many are resilient enough to overcome some of these obstacles on their own. However, not all are. How much bitterness did Adam Lanza have as a result of the treatment received at the hands of his peers? How many introverts really never learn to come out of their shells until much later in life because there are no constraints upon their misguided and uninformed peers? How many never come out of those shells?
It really takes at least two to raise a family. In the past, when families were larger, there were even more eyes upon the very little ones to keep them out of trouble. The family was almost always an extended family. The nuclear family is a modern invention. When most of America was rural, families could be large because there were grandparents, uncles, aunts and sometimes more all helping to take care of each other.
Yet, today the norm is quickly becoming single-parent households. Obviously, that means balancing work and childcare, and the care of the kids is outsourced. You want to know where outsourcing began? It started with babysitting and public schools.
Statistics have shown that families headed by single moms tend to be the most impoverished. These kids start out with a serious handicap, and many never come out of poverty as a result. Even if there is another parent, the lack of commitment really does mean being a part-time family member. There is no commitment, so in reality there is no family. Family is all about commitment.
Today, The Telegraph posted the article “Unmarried mothers who give up careers facing midlife financial crisis, lawyers warn”.
It means that, for the first time, less than half of the population is married.
But lawyers say that child maintenance regulations have not kept up with social changes, leaving growing numbers of women dangerously exposed financially in the event of a break-up.
Not being married is a serious disadvantage because there is no financial safety net if they give up their careers. There is no alimony. So, either both parents work and neglect the child, or the woman runs the risk if her partner walks. It’s lose-lose for the women, and the ironic part is that feminism has a lot to do with this situation coming about to begin with.
Yet, for all the negative consequences of extreme feminism, what do you still see? Yet another article today was that “Girls ‘still being taught to believe raising children is more important than career’”. The subtitle is, “A generation of girls is still being brought up to believe that raising children is more important than their own ambitions, a leading headmistress has warned.” “Warned”? Really? Why shouldn’t children be more important than either parent’s career? Do we live to work, or do we work to live? If family isn’t the most important part of a person’s life after God, then why even have a family? Judging by a lot of celebrities, a child is another accessory, much like a dress or a nice car, and a child is used to enhance one’s image.
So, let’s sum this up, shall we? We see that:
- Children don’t feel like spending time with them is important.
- Children don’t feel like family is important.
- Therefore, their relationship with their parents are not important, and it is certain their parents don’t value them either.
- Their own selfish desires are what is important. Their self-esteem should never waver, after all.
- They spend time with other selfish, insecure and immature people to get their cues on life’s realities. Sometimes, these realities can be cruel and unforgiving.
And, do we still wonder why school shootings occur?
And, do we still wonder why society seems to be going the wrong direction?
This is the world that eating of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil has brought about. This is the world that results from rejecting God. This is the world that Piers Morgan advocates, whether he realizes it or not. This is the dog-eat-dog world of social Darwinism, and it is the inevitable result of people who grow up thinking they are not valued by anyone, are going to live their bleak existence and then die. There is no God in their worldview, so you might as well go out with a bang – sometimes literally.
This is the result of sin and selfishness. Relationships will never work as long as selfishness predominates. World peace will never come about as long as arrogance and shaking one’s fist at God predominates. That is what rejecting God means. That is what the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil is all about.
We need the Tree of Life, not the Tree of Death. We need the source, Jesus Christ, Who not only died for us but provides us with that Tree of Life. We need His return to stop the madness.
Meanwhile, it behooves us to live the way He instructed us to live. It behooves us to set the example. It behooves us to not lose sight of the goal.
If human men need the love and support of a wife who will never do harm to her husband, doesn’t it make sense that this is what Christ requires of the Church? The Bible is the story of a wife who sought to do what she wanted to do. She cared nothing for her husband, and she even selfishly disregarded all that he had done for her. She sought other lovers, and treated her husband with such disregard that he had to divorce her.
If we are faithful, God promises to be faithful. If we are not, then the problem is with ourselves. Notice the caveat given:
4 Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.
5 Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Ancient Israel was the unfaithful wife who always wanted more. She would not be content with what she had been given, and she threw it all away as a result.
Ultimately, that wife is us – humanity. Israel was made up of human beings. The Church is made up of human beings. Those who refused to be grafted in will not make it to the Kingdom. We individually need to make sure we are not part of the problem. We need to be overcoming. We need to be doing what we reasonably can to keep our families together. As a whole, our families should be the example if both mates are converted. We must not show ourselves to be unfaithful, either in our physical marriages or in the Church’s marriage to Jesus Christ.
Fidelity is more than just about not committing adultery. Fidelity means staying true, and that means mentally and emotionally as well as physically. It is a form of commitment.
Family is about commitment, and God will judge us on how much effort we put into keeping our commitments.