The Christian Family’s History starts with
The Trinitarian Family of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
God Is Love in its Deepest Essence, and Love Is the Essence of Family
In the primary Christian Mystery of the Trinity the One God who is Love eternally exists in 3 Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Love is Self-Giving: From all Eternity The Father gives of Himself completely, holding nothing back, and the Son is eternally generated; the Son, as the perfect image of the Father, is also a self-giving lover and gives Himself completely in Love back to the Father; the Holy Spirit is the Love Proceeding eternally in both directions, from the Father through the Son back to the Father. All acts of love on Earth parallel the Love that God the Holy Trinity is within Himself; thus every act of love has three elements; every act of love involves: 1. a lover (someone doing the loving); 2. a beloved (the object of the lover’s love, who also is lover back to the first lover who is also beloved); and 3. the bond of love which binds them. Parenthood and childhood and the love proceeding between that binds them are within God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Thus human beings most display the “image of God” in the human families they form in which they learn self-giving love as God loves within the Trinitarian Family. Like within the Holy Trinity of Love, the love between a human lover and beloved is itself alive and after 9 months they may have to give it a name; the love between them forms a third new person, as love proceeding between the Father and the Son is a Divine Person called the Holy Spirit.
Love by its nature is self-giving; the super-abundant Love that the Trinitarian God is within Himself is so rich and full and overflowing that God desires to reach out and give beyond Himself in Love, He desires to expand the Trinitarian Family that He is within Himself, and thus God creates humanity (Hebrew adam), in His own image and likeness which is capable of free self-giving love, specifically intending to adopt His human creation into His own Heavenly Eternal Trinitarian Family of Love.
Adam is the first human being who represents all humanity, and all humanity is descended from Adam. Adam/humanity is first created in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:26), from his beginning being in loving supernaturally-adopted family relationship with God which made Adam “the son of God” (Luke 3:38). Noting that later on Genesis 9:6 refers to mankind (Hebrew adam) being in the image of God only, the Early Church Fathers understood that the likeness of God was what Adam lost through his Original Sin, which Jesus Christ “the New Adam” restores to humanity redeemed in Him: the indwelling Holy Spirit of supernatural adoption into God’s Family. We are supernaturally adopted by God when His Divine Holy Spirit of Love dwells within us, meaning His own very Divine Life of Love is in us which makes us part of His Family. The loving family relationship with God Adam the Head of the Human Race was created with but lost is restored in Jesus “the New Adam,” the new Head of Humanity Redeemed in Him (though we still await the redemption of our bodies in the final resurrection, and until that Eternal Covenant era New Covenant Christians still struggle with sin – Romans 8:22,23, 7:14-25). The Early Church Fathers saw the image of God which remained even after Adam’s Fall from Grace as the Eternal Spiritual Soul which distinguishes humanity from animals and makes us still capable, once redeemed in Jesus the New Adam, of living eternally with God as He intended when He created humanity.
When He created Adam/humanity for the explicit purpose of expanding His own Trinitarian Family of Love by adopting humanity into it, the God who is Love found it necessary to create mankind with free will, since free will is necessary for Love (without free will, without the free choice to love or not love, humanity would be like a robot running a program when it did nice things, and could not truly love). Free Will meant the potential for sin, which is anti-love, which is the moral choice against doing the truly loving thing in any given situation.
God the Holy Trinity of Love foresaw that His new human creation which He intended to live forever with Him would initially be too immature to properly manage its Free Will and hold onto the supremely great gift of the supernatural adoption of the indwelling Holy Spirit; therefore God took steps to ensure that humanity would still be God’s adopted child even if the supernatural adoption of the indwelling Holy Spirit was lost, as He knew it would be. Thus God instituted the first legal, Covenant adoption:
The 7th Day Covenant with Adam
(The Adamic Covenant)
Covenants make Families . What distinguishes a covenant from a mere legal contract is the exchange of persons (not just property or services) in a covenant family bond. The one covenant still common in our age and culture is the marriage covenant – where two parties who were not related to each other swear the covenant oath and then together form a new family. Moreover, covenants make bonds of Sacred kinship, because they are witnessed and guaranteed by the Deity by whom the covenant oath is sworn. Adam was created with the supernatural adoption of the indwelling Holy Spirit, but lost it through sin. God, foreseeing Adam’s inability to keep the gift of supernatural adoption into His Family, before Adam sinned united himself to Adam and his descendants (humanity) through a legal covenant adoption as well. This happened on the 7th Day – 7 being the number of Covenant Oath, and the Hebrew word for swearing an oath literally means “to seven oneself.” The Covenant is what made the 7th Day Holy, and the ongoing sign of the Family-making Covenant with Adam and his descendants (humanity) was the Sabbath day, the seventh day of the week which marked God’s original Creation of the universe, humanity and His Covenant with humanity. God made this 7th Day Covenant with Adam/humanity so that when Adam lost the supernatural adoption of the indwelling Holy Spirit, as God knew he would, Adam and his human descendants would still be God’s children through the lesser, legal adoption of covenant – whether they remained faithful to the Covenant Father or became estranged from Him (runaways or prodigals but still His children).
© 2007, 2009 Peter William John Baptiste SFO