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Summary: God specifies the purpose of a family in the Genesis account through: 1)The Problem (Genesis 2:18-20), 2) The Provision (Genesis 2:21-23), and 3) The Portrait (Genesis 2:24) of what a family is for.

What constitutes a family? Who has a legitimate role in defining this? With marriage considered a legal affair, the Canadian courts have created one of the broadest definitions in the world. Whether its considering the situation of polygamy in Bountiful BC, to homosexual unions and the recent controversy in out of province divorce, there continues to be much debate on the makeup of a family.

The ancient law of Israel, was designed to protect those who were commonly subject to abuse by society: the orphan, widow, and alien (e.g., levirate marriage, Deut 25:5–10). Genesis’s account defined the role and relationship of the man and woman.

When we determine our roles as men and women, what should inform our opinion? What defines our primary reference: Our own parents, experience, public role models or something else? Where we take our bearings from will be the guide and benchmark of how we act and what we promote.

God specifies the purpose of a family in the Genesis account through: 1)The Problem (Genesis 2:18-20), 2) The Provision (Genesis 2:21-23), and 3) The Portrait (Genesis 2:24) of What a Family is For.

1)The Problem (Genesis 2:18-20)

Genesis 2:18-20 [18]Then the LORD God said, "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him." [19]Now out of the ground the LORD God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. [20]The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. (ESV)

Everything thus far in Genesis that has been scrutinized by God has been given a positive assessment. Every situation has come through as either good or very good. The expression not good indicates that these events are not a further continuation of chapter 1 and the creative week, but are part of that creative week (in day six). When God finished His creation (1:31), He noted that everything was very good. Thus, until Eve was created the creative activity of God was not complete. This is the first time in the history of creation that God said, It is not good (KJV Bible commentary. 1997 (18). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.).

What is not good, is man’s lack of a corresponding companion. “Not good” here is strong language. It indicates not only the absence of something good but a substantial deficiency (U. Cassuto, A Commentary on the Book of Genesis, Part One (Jerusalem: The Magnes Press, 1989), pp. 126, 127.).

(From the pattern of forming and filling of creation): The skies without the luminaries and birds are incomplete. The seas without the fish are incomplete. Without mankind and land animals the earth is incomplete. As a matter of fact, every phenomenon in Gen. 1–2, God excepted, is in need of something else to complete it and to enable it to function (Hamilton, V. P. (1990). The Book of Genesis. Chapters 1-17. The New International Commentary on the Old Testament (175). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.).

The Lord God states this, not because it is a thought that has come to him rather belatedly, and he now wants to remedy the oversight. No, He speaks these words for man’s guidance. Man is to know that he is dependent on the companionship of other men, more particularly, that of a wife. Marriage will be the normal thing for the males of Adam’s race. The wives God has provided are exactly such helpers as the husbands need (Franzmann, W. H. (1980). Bible History Commentary: Old Testament (34). Milwaukee, WI: Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod.).

• This should not be taken to mean that God intends for every person to marry. (1 Corinthians 7 spells out) times when it would be better for a man or a woman to remain single. God’s observation (of this situation) was that it was not good for Adam...to remain alone. ... God’s program demanded that Adam have a mate. From the beginning God looked forward to the propagation of the race, the generation of the chosen people, and the coming of the Promised Seed (Smith, J. E. (1993). The Pentateuch (2nd ed.) (Ge 2:18–20). Joplin, Mo.: College Press Pub. Co.).

Please turn to Ecclesiastes 4

The Hebrew construction of Genesis 2:18 accentuates the negative phrase “not good” by placing it at the head of the sentence. God has made the man and provided a beautiful environment with honorable work. God then announces that more is to be done to achieve the ideal for the man. God’s concern is that man is “alone.” God has created human life to have fellowship with him but also to be a social entity, building relationships with other human beings.

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