by the late Gardner S. Hall

The Beginning of the Home

The first surgical operation is recorded in Genesis the 2nd chapter,. "And Jehovah God caused a deep sleep to fall upon man, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof: and the rib, which Jehovah God had taken from the man, made He a woman, and brought her unto the man. And the man said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh." (Genesis 2:21-24).

Surgical operations are normally performed because some bone or organ is giving trouble and must be removed. With Adam it was different. His rib was not giving trouble but it did give trouble after it was made into a woman; she ate of the forbidden fruit and gave it to Adam and he did eat (Genesis 3:1-6). Because of this a curse was placed upon the man, the woman, the serpent and the earth. Someone referring to woman’s being made of Adam’s rib said, "He took this not from his head lest she should rule over him; nor from his feet lest she should trample upon him; but from his side that she might be under his protection, ever to remain near and dear to him. The woman became man’s equal and one flesh with him."

When God first made the man, he was alone. "And Jehovah God said, It is not good that man should be alone; I will make a help meet for him." (Geneisis 2:18). It does not say helpmate or helpmeet, as I have seen it written; but help meet - two words. God made a help that was meet, that is, suitable, designed to meet his needs for companionship, solace, encouragement and enjoyment. Man has a home, but home could not be a happy place without companionship and love.

A dwelling place is necessary for a home to be happy. God did not overlook this need, "And Jehovah God planted a garden eastward, in Eden; and there He put the man whom He had formed." (Genesis 2:7). A man should take this need into consideration before marrying. He should have a fairly comfortable place to take his wife to. It is not an ideal arrangement to live in the home of parents. There are a number of things that could make this plan unpleasant for one or maybe both the husband and wife. "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife."

Of course, food is necessary to the maintenance of a home. God planned for and met this need. "And Jehovah God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat." (Genesis 2:16). There can be no successful marriage and happy home that is not adequately supplied with food and shelter. A man should be prepared to provide these before he asks any woman to be his wife. It is an imposition to marry a woman and not be able to take care of her. And, the responsibility is his, not hers (I Timothy 5:8). There could be exceptions, but they are rare.

This does not mean a young couple should build a fine, expensive house soon after they marry and both of them have to work for years to make the payments on it. This is to be discouraged instead of encouraged. Many young couples now expect comforts and luxuries that the older generation could not have for thirty or forty years. But we of that generation did not suffer. We could not point with pride to material possessions and luxuries; but we had food and raiment and adequate protection from rain and cold. We had babies and they have provided us with more joy than luxuries could have bought us.

God made the first home and it should be a pattern for all homes. Jesus indicated as much when he said, "But from the beginning it was not so." (Matthew 19:8). For the home that God made He made only one woman for the man. Surely this was not accidental; it was the way God wanted it. Malachi must have referred to this when he wrote, "Yet, ye say, Wherefore? Because Jehovah hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously, though she is thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant. And did he not make one, although he had residue of the Spirit? And wherefore one? He sought a godly seed. Therefore, take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth." (Malachi 2:14,15). In later years God seemed to tolerate polygamy; but the practice entailed many problems and much unhappiness. Jesus did not approve it and His reasoning on it goes back to the home God made in the beginning (Matthew 19:4,5). God was not always pleased with some things He tolerated. For instance, He permitted Israel to have a king; but reluctantly, because He knew it would bring grief to them.

Man’s Creator required him to work. He imposed upon him responsibility of dressing and keeping the garden (Genesis 2:15). God knew that idleness is not a blessing. If David had kept busy he would not have fallen into transgression. A wise man said, "An idle brain is the devil’s workshop." Adam’s work was not as hard as the work he had to do after he sinned and was driven from the garden. "And unto Adam He said, Because thou has hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it; cursed is the ground for thy sake; in toil shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground…" (Genesis 3:17-19). But even in the garden before the curse he had work to do. God has decreed that "if any would not work, neither should he eat." (I Thess. 3:10). It is a great mistake to bring children up in idleness. I have observed that boys who were brought up on a farm and worked long hours with small income are not so hard to please when they are employed in "public works". They do not complain about boredom and are grateful to have a job with reasonable pay. So home, as God ordained it in the beginning, is a place of industry, of useful activity. It is contrary to God’s plan for children to be idle with nothing more to do than roam the streets, or amuse themselves with trashy magazines or TV shows. Such use of time is of no value and is foolish and detrimental to morals.

It was God’s will that the first home have children in it. He said, "Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth." (Genesis 9:1). David wrote, "Lo, children are an heritage of Jehovah; and the fruit of the womb is His reward. As arrows in the hand of a mighty man, so are the children of youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be put to shame when they speak with their enemies in the gate." (Psalm 127:3-5). Again, "He maketh the barren woman to keep house and to be a joyful mother of children." (Psalm 113:9). The modern practice of avoiding having children is not God’s way. He is not pleased with it. "I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully." (I Timothy 5:14). Maybe there are different views of the meaning of I Timothy 2:15, but no one can deny it promises a blessing to women who bear children. "Notwithstanding she shall be saved in her childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety."

This is not a criticism of those couples who cannot have children. But it should serve as a serious warning to those who can, but refuse to do so. I would not attempt to make a law as to how many children a couple should have. The health of the mother and the ability of the father to provide should be considered. When it is determined that a baby is expected, the couple should not resort to murder, called abortion, to prevent the normal birth.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: We highly commend the article above from the pen of the late Gardner S. Hall. This article appeared in THE BULLETIN of the West Madison Street church of Christ in September of 1976, Volume 1, Number 1. Read it, ponder the teaching, read the scriptures cited, and follow God’s teaching on this vital subject! Lord willing, there will be more articles written by this writer in issues to come!]

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