Marriage and Parenting in Genesis

Genesis 2:18 – Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”

In Genesis, there is a wedding and then a war. Soon after Adam and Eve are married, Satan shows up to attack marriage and family. The pages of Genesis reveal that the war on marriage and family shows up in every generation after every wedding. Satan despises love, unity, and joy, which is why he hates marriage so much.

Because Genesis focuses on multiple generations of a family, it reveals a lot about marriage, parenting, and family including:

  • The first marriage with Adam and Eve (2:18-25)
  • God pre-arranging marriages are found with Adam and Eve (2:18-25) and Isaac and Rebekah (24:1-67)
  • Romance in marriage is found between Isaac and Rebekah (24:67) and Jacob and Rachel (29:20)
  • The disaster of polygamy is found with Lamech, Adah and Zillah (4:18-24), Jacob, Mahalath and other wives (28:46-49), and Jacob, Leah and Rachel (29:14-29)
  • Tragic love triangles are seen with Abram, Sarai and Hagar (16:1-16), and Jacob, Rachel and Leah and maidservants Bilhah and Zilpah (29:31-30:24)
  • Examples of disobedient marriages between believers and unbelievers is found to be widespread in the days of Noah (6:1-2)
  • A mismatched marriage that caused his parents Isaac and Rebekah much grief was the union between Esau, Judith, and Basemath (26:34-35)
  • The sad account of a loveless marriage is noted when Jacob loved his wife Rachel and not his other wife Leah (29:31)
  • The pain of divorce is told when Abraham sent off Hagar and Ishmael (21:8-14)
  • The occurrence of a second marriage is explained when, after Sarah died, Abraham married Keturah (23:1-2, 25:1)

Because marriage is also a gospel picture of Jesus’ relationship with His bride the Church (Ephesians 5:22-33; Revelation 19:6-10), it is not surprising that Satan attacks every marriage, starting with the first.

Regarding parenting, in Genesis 1:28, we read of our first parents Adam and Eve, “God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful, increase in numbers, fill the earth…’” From this one couple all human beings trace their family origin beginning with the growth of human life through Genesis as demonstrated in the family genealogies. Genesis is careful to state, however, that when children are born, it is by God’s gracious provision of blessing (Genesis e.g. 4:25, 21:1, 25:21, 30:22-24). Throughout Genesis, children are an important theme, which is also highlighted by the lengthy genealogies. Genesis is also painfully honest about the pains caused by family including:

  • The tragedy of sibling rivalry is recorded when Cain killed his brother Abel (4:1-16)
  • The grief of barrenness is common throughout the patriarchs including Sarai (11:30, 16:1-2), Rebekah (25:21), and Rachel (29:31), though God eventually answered each of their prayers and enabled them to conceive
  • The hardship of single parenting is told in the story of Ishmael being raised by Hagar and God without the involvement of his earthly father Abraham (21:8-21)

Genesis tells us not just what used to happen, but rather what always happens. The same sins and foolishness we see in family systems throughout Genesis sadly continue throughout history. Thankfully, Jesus forgives our sin, and gives us the Holy Spirit to live differently in obedience to God’s Word so that our lives and legacies can be blessed by God.

What’s your biggest takeaway about marriage and parenting from Genesis?

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