by Glenn Stanton
Throughout The Family Project, particularly in the book, we refer to God’s Four Definitive Statements from Scripture, for they establish fundamental truths in God’s story.
The first three are the first statements God makes about the first two humans. As such, they are the most profound, consequential descriptions of what humanity is and what it means to be human in light of who God is. The fourth tells us how the story ends … or actually begins again.
Two are very good news, and two are very bad. The bad-news statements are sandwiched in between the two good-news statements. We should all know what they are and what they mean before we begin exploring the fuller Christian worldview of marriage, family and sexuality.
The First Definitive Statement comes from the mouth of God as He’s creating all that is. He’s bringing into being the wonderful physical world and then announces that He will create something unique and special that stands in stark contrast to the rest of creation. God says:
“Let us make man in our image, after our likeness . . .” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:26-27)
This is God’s declaration about what we as humans were created to be and what we do: physically reflect and show forth the image of the invisible God in the world. And humanity does this in both male and female.
God’s Second Definitive Statement tells us something very important about ourselves as well. Collectively, these are unarguably the two most definitive statements about being human in all the literature that man possesses. In explaining humanity’s most fundamental problem, the second statement reveals something about us because it points to something important about God:
Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone.” (Genesis 2:18)
In creation there is something that is not good, though God created it all. He does not make mistakes. He is incapable of it. This second telling of humanity’s creation in Genesis 2 goes into more detail, explaining that Adam was created first. But God proclaims that Adam’s solitude is not good for him. Adam is not as he was meant to be. Aloneness is neither natural nor good for anyone; it is not part of our divine makeup. It is man’s original problem. And woman is God’s answer to this problem.
While man’s isolation is his original problem, God’s Third Definitive Statement indicates an even greater problem because of its devastating consequences:
Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:22)
Adam and Eve, by their own God-given free will, choose to disobey God’s clearly given command – the only one given – and usher in the curse of sin and death upon themselves and all of humanity. As we know, this changed the whole game, setting the story on a whole different path. The rest of the story is about what God does to allow us to overcome this early and most grave mistake, which leads us to His Fourth Definitive Statement.
God tells us in the last book what this whole story is finally pointing toward, what God is up to. It is glorious and profound:
And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore …”
And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And he said to me, “It is done.” (Revelation 21:2-6)
God will dwell with us, and we shall be His people. He will attend to our tears and pain and He will end the death brought on by the original sin of Adam and Eve. He is making all things new.
So these Four Definitive Statements are perhaps the most important statements in all of human telling and literature about what it means to be human, what we are, and where we are going – for they are far and away the most consequential, are they not?
Learn more about God’s irreplaceable design in The Family Project® – a 12-session DVD curriculum that explores why God’s plan for families matters today. Take your small group on a life-changing journey to strengthen and encourage families! Get The Family Project® curriculum today.
Glenn Stanton is the director of global family formation studies at Focus on the Family, and the co-author/co-creator of The Family Project, as well as the co-author (w/Leon Wirth) of The Family Project book.
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