Genesis Day 4: Family—it’s complicated
Family is where we should Flourish. Family is where we should be able to Fail. The operative word is “should.” Our families don’t always work out the way they should. In fact, sometimes we feel like our families are failures.
Why do I bring this up?
Because we have come to the end of the very first bit of the Book of Genesis, and I want to suggest something to you.
I feel strongly that the story line of Genesis chapter one offers three key foundational truths for our lives.
- First: there is a God – our God – who is the creator and sustainer of life.
- Second: we are his children. Humans created in God’s image… which I don’t take to mean that God has ten fingers and ten toes, but rather, that he has put us to stand in his place on earth… to do His will on earth (as we pray in the Lord’s prayer).
- Third: in and with God, we have our purpose; apart from Him, we do not. Let me just say that again. APART FROM GOD WE HAVE NO TRUE PURPOSE. The world offers all sorts of imitations of purpose, but they break down. We find our purpose in God.
That is the basic structure of a family, our FAMILY. Some people disagree with me. I would simply point out, that when that structure is damaged or broken in our world, people spend energy to get it back--or recover from its loss.
Genesis, the whole book, offers us less a philosophical or theological construct of life, and instead shows us the history of our Family.
We will see, over-and-over again, the family dynamics of a heavenly parent raising his children with love and discipline, and his children behaving… well… behaving as children do!
(And can I just make a point? He’s our Father, and we’re part of this Family, too! This isn’t just about our forbears.)
These family dynamics play out in our relationships with each other. I once had someone say to me, “You keep talking about relationship with God. I don’t believe in God, and so I can’t have a relationship with God.” My answer was a bit pointed: “Think of a parent and child. The child says, “You’re dead to me, we don’t have a relationship!” The parent knows that there is always a relationship, but at this point in time, the relationship is one of rebellion.
Maybe I’m getting ahead of myself, though. Back to chapter one.
What do you think of my assertion about chapter one containing three foundational truths?
How about my suggestion regarding the basic structure of our family? Do you see yourself inside this family?
I can’t wait until chapter two. It’s going to draw us in with rich language. It’s going to draw us right into the depth of our relationship with God, with our spouse, and with the created world. In many ways, chapter two is going to breathe richness into the three foundational truths of chapter one.