It seems that in the Evangelical church, there is a theology for everything: a theology of missions, a theology of pastoral ministry, a theology of finances. However, rarely have we encountered a Theology of the Home. Although there have been recent shifts toward uniting the home and the church, it usually becomes confounded and muddied by a less-than-comprehensive theology born out of sound exegesis to undergird it. Just like any other movement in the church, unless it is born out of sound doctrine and then put into practice, it will only become a passing fad.
It is my desire to present a summary of a Theology of the Home. This is only a summary, for a full treatment would require much more attention than can be given here, however what we examine here will sufficiently steer us in the right direction.
We need to outline our Theology of the Home in three sections which will be covered over three separate posts:
THE CREATION OF THE HOME: GOD’S INTENTION FOR THE HOME.
THE CONDITION OF THE HOME: GOD’S EXPECTATION FOR THE HOME.
THE CONSUMMATION OF THE HOME: GOD’S EXTINCTION OF THE HOME.
The Creation of the Home: God’s Intention for the Home.
In order to understand the foundations that build a home, we must first realize that the home was not man’s design. It was God’s! As with all that God does, there is an infinite and eternal purpose behind it. There is a plan. God’s eternal plan for the home is our focus in this section.
The creation of the home begins historically with the Garden of Eden. There we find God creating two people capable of producing more people and telling them to flourish in His creation:
God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
This foundational premise undergirds all that is considered life on this planet. For instance, the commands to bear fruit and cover the earth with people continues to be an aspect of every nation and collectively they progress toward filling the earth. This, in part, was God’s design. There are tremendous theological implications here. One of the dominant considerations is formed in a simple question, “Why?” Why does God begin creation with this command?
The context gives us our answer. The reason God designed man to fill the earth is because God is glorious. God is glorious and the display of His glory is not only in creation (Psalm 19:1), but uniquely and specifically in the man (1 Corinthians 11:7).
26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
27 God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
The glory of God was on display in the man and his wife, both created by God. Together, they would propagate the earth and expand the glory of God. Why would He do this? Was it only for His glory? Ultimately, yes. However, further revelation instructs us that this cosmos was created for, and by, Jesus Christ.
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 He was in the beginning with God.
3 All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.
The creation of the seemingly infinite cosmos is the handiwork of God’s decree, by Jesus Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit (Genesis 1:1-2). This realm we call creation, is a unique possession of God and was the plan of the Father to create it for the Son to rule. In fact, all of creation is considered His kingdom (see Matthew 13:41). This kingdom was designed to be populated by the image-bearing creation of God, namely man and woman respectively. They would further produce more men and women who were to fill the earth and work it. The kingdom of Jesus Christ, although currently marred by sin, is under the sovereign authority of the Father. As God’s image-bearers, man and woman were to expand the glory of God around the globe. This is why Jesus said, “…the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these [children]” (Matthew 19:13-14). The kingdom was designed to be populated with children who would become men and women reflecting the glory of God on His earth. These would not simply be children of man, however, but children of God. The original design was that the earth would be populated with sons and daughters of God (see Genesis 6:1-2; Luke 3:38; John 1:12-13; John 11:52; Romans 8:16-25; Galatians 3:26; Hebrews 2:9-18). Man being responsible for bearing the glory of God, would obviously, have huge ramifications upon the condition of the home.
However, the fall of man not only insured the judgment of God upon man, but it ‘seemed’ to have secured the triumph of Satan over man as well. As God told Adam, if he should eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, then God had no choice but to end his life. Adam, unfortunately, did sin; he did eat of the Tree. Thus, God removed the man and woman from His garden, and from fellowship with Himself. This separation is described by Scripture as death. Ultimately, it leads to final judgment in the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20-11-15). Thus, it would appear that Satan was successful at getting God to destroy His own creation! But Satan does not understand mercy nor does he comprehend atonement. Satan does not know love. God’s eternal plan is right on schedule!
Think about it. If God destroys Adam and Eve, what will become of the sons of God promised to the Son? What will become of the gift of brethren promised to the Son by the Father? What about God’s plan? How could it continue if Satan conquers by means of inciting God against the man and woman (Job 2:3)? It couldn’t. It would be the end of the plan of God if Adam and Eve were immediately punished by eternal, spiritual and physical death.
At the heart of the plan of God is the cross. God is just and cannot overlook evil. God is love and cannot deny His Son. God is wise and is not surprised by evil. God is omnipotent and cannot be taken by circumstance. The cross of Jesus Christ brings all these things together, and ultimately the sons of God are reconciled by means of that cross. The sinner did not die on that cross. It was the sinless Son of God, for whom are all things (Colossians 1:16), who bore our punishment. This death was not from natural causes or by means of Satan. His death was by the predetermined plan of God:
22 “Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know—
23 this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death.
But, what does this have to do with the family? Everything! Remember, the family was God’s design for His glory. It was patterned after God (Genesis 1:26). Its existence is theological, not social. The reality of the family is from God for God. It represents the eternal plan of God by the physical expression of the sons and daughters of God. Therefore, in a real sense, the redemption of sinners in the home IS the plan of God.
Let’s put it another way. Peter said in Acts 2:37–39:
37 Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?”
38 Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
39 “For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.”
Did you see it? The promise of the Holy Spirit, who is the seal of the regeneration of faith, is for the Jews listening to Peter, their children, and Gentiles, who are afar off. The promise of God’s redemption is for children! Not only that, but everyone who is born from above becomes God’s child, by His power and will (John 1:12-13). Once again, the kingdom of God belongs to children, the children of God (Matthew 18:1-4). These children were given to the Son from the Father (John 6:37-39), were lost to the fall, and will receive eternal life by the death of the Son of God, Jesus Christ. This is the plan of God. And it all swirls around the reality of a family, the family of God. Paul had this in mind when he spoke of the church as the household of God (1 Timothy 3:15). Peter also understood this in 1 Peter 5:17. The writer of Hebrews makes the connection as well in Hebrews 3:1-6. The household of God is made up of a Father, who gives life and sustenance to all His children, and His children bear His image and likeness for His glory.
The Theology of the Family begins here. Our homes, no matter where on the planet, are to be the special locale of the image of God. Redeemed men and women, who now love the Father, are loved by the Father, and exist in the love of the Son forever, are His household They are the sons and daughters of God (Revelation 21:7).