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Even though God’s design for marriage and the family is extremely clear in Scripture, from the very first chapters of Genesis, our culture continues to try to change that design to make it fit with man’s opinions and desires. More and more, we’re seeing the decline of the family in society with the rise of homosexual marriage, abortion, and now even more radical definitions of the family makeup.
In yet another example of how we are losing the culture, the California legislature is considering a bill that, if passed, would allow families to consist of more than two parents. California State Senator Mark Leno claims that in order to keep up with a changing culture and to offer children the best protection, the courts must be allowed to name as parents more people than just the child’s father and mother. In other words, the child could legally have three or more parents!
The law would not only apply to heterosexual relationships, but also to same-sex relationships (one of the bill’s sponsors is the National Center for Lesbian Rights). This would make the possible redefinitions of family numerous! (It is important to note that there are a few other states that already have similar laws in place.)
The bill, according to Senator Leno, “brings California into the 21st century.” What Senator Leno is really saying here is that the definition of family changes with the culture. He even cites a few reasons why he believes such a law is necessary. He gives the hypothetical situation of a lesbian couple that has a child and wants to include the male donor in the parent relationship, so that the child legally has two mothers and one father. In Leno’s worldview, not only is there nothing wrong with a same-sex marriage, but children actually benefit by the addition of even more parents! Wow, whenever I see examples of this kind of flawed logic of the secular culture, I’m reminded of the Scripture that says, “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25). Man is doing whatever he deems right when it comes to the family, even though God has already told us in His Word what is right!
Christians have spoken out against this attempt to redefine the family, but, of course, Senator Leno has dismissed their objections, saying, “Some of the hyperbolic corners of the opposition are suggesting there could be four, six, or eight parents. … But I think that it will not be used when a child has too many parents, but when there are too few.” However, as our society increasingly rejects the authority of God’s Word and the definitions of marriage and family, it gives us, the possibility of “families” consisting of three, four, or more parents becomes more real.
What does God’s Word have to say about marriage and the family? God created for Adam a female companion (Eve). Genesis 2:24 states, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” Notice that the Bible defines marriage here as one man and one woman. There are no other people involved in that relationship besides one man and one woman—the first marriage. In Genesis 1:28, the first command God gives Adam and Eve is “Be fruitful and multiply.” Adam and Eve were to have children and raise them together. The first marriage was made up of two people, a married man and woman, and no others. And they would eventually become parents and raise their children together.
Now, was God somehow giving Adam and Eve’s children an inferior family life by not involving more people in the parental role? Was He wrong when He created one man for one woman, and not two men for one woman, two women for one man, and so on? Marriage between one man and one woman is God’s design for providing a stable home and healthy, loving relationships for children. If God did not add more people to marriage and to the role of parents, neither should we. Of course, a person’s extended family may play a prominent role in his child’s life. But they still aren’t the parents of that child. And I also do not want to discount the joy of adoption, which the Bible treats as a blessing to families.
To be clear, the California bill does not seek to change the marriage relationship necessarily, but sin has marred society’s view of marriage, so that we see divorce and “alternative” lifestyles (e.g., homosexual marriage) accepted as the norm. The cultural acceptance of multiple parent families really just opens the door for the acceptance of polygamy, which is also outside of God’s design for marriage. (For information on the question of polygamy in the Bible, read Roger Patterson’s article “What About Polygamy in the Bible?”) Also, for a fuller explanation of the bill, see Dr. Elizabeth Mitchell’s article in News to Note.
Scripture is not affected by a changing culture, so any definitions of marriage and family provided in the Bible are not affected by what century we’re living in, contrary to Leno’s quote above. We cannot sacrifice God’s Word in the name of “progress.” Scripture sets out a model for marriage, which is also the ideal model for parenting—one man married to one woman. No other combination will do.
There is only one true marriage—that based on the absolute authority of the Word of God—and it’s one man and one woman!
Thanks to AiG researcher Steve Golden for his research in putting this blog post together.
Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,
Answers in Genesis is an apologetics ministry, dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ effectively. We focus on providing answers to questions about the Bible—particularly the book of Genesis—regarding key issues such as creation, evolution, science, and the age of the earth.