At the nucleus of society you will find the family — and the husband and wife are the nucleus of the family. From this union have come all the great civilizations of the earth, both their leaders and all their inhabitants. Societies have risen and fallen based on the strength of their families. When families were strong, children were well behaved and grew up to become responsible and productive citizens, furthering the prosperity of their towns and countries. When families were weak and dysfunctional, moral chaos, violence, and collapse soon followed.
Vladimir Lenin is said to have boasted, “Destroy the family, and society will collapse without a shot.”1 This poison has been slowly injected into the world today, though ever so subtly, and the outcome has been just as he predicted — collapse on a massive scale. Through a calculated educational system, abundant social and political programs, and a barrage of marketing that has encouraged people to live for themselves, that once seemingly impenetrable social structure called marriage and the family is beginning to sink, taking with it any hope for a bright future.
If someone is honest with himself, then it is not difficult for him to see that something fundamental has gone awry in humanity’s march toward the future. But what happened? Why is everyone so unhappy? Where did it all begin? And is there any hope for the future? To answer these questions we have to go back to the beginning — the very beginning.
The story of creation is a beautiful one indeed: from the spectacular array of life that filled the oceans, to the birds that soared throughout the skies, keeping a watchful eye on the planet below; from the unimaginable variety of color and smell that burst forth when each tree and plant had been completed, to the animals, both great and small that would roam the earth and need to be cared for. Each and every one of these things was filled with life, but something was missing — a caretaker.
So God created man in his very own image and likeness. He would care for the animals and the plants, watching over all that had been made. But how could he do this alone? The events that ensued brought forth the most beautiful and perfectly made helper that anyone could have imagined — woman.2 Together they would rule over all that had been made, taking care of everything as a team, each complimenting the other. The love that was between them would bring forth happy and secure children, and eventually the entire earth would be filled up with these wonderful people. So what happened?
Though you may have heard stories of Adam and Eve, Hollywood and even religion have gone a long way in making the whole idea unreal. But in that garden paradise, a chain of events took place that would introduce a fatal flaw into the human race — division between man and woman.
God had provided a luscious garden, full of animals to care for and plants with fruits of every imaginable kind for the man and woman to eat. Yet there was a specific command that He gave them: “…of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die”3 This command was given to the man Adam, and afterward, he fell into a deep sleep, and the woman, his special helper, was brought forth from his side.4 Now he was no longer incomplete. Together they were called Man. He was to be the protector of her, caring for her, and she was to be his helper and support in all the work that was ahead of them in this new land. They had become one flesh.
But much like today, something crept into their loving and trusting relationship. Perhaps not completely trusting her husband and what he had told her about the tree of knowledge of good and evil, Eve ventured there, possibly many times. A desire was growing inside of her. Something began pulling her toward the tree in spite of the direction she had been given by her husband.
Then one day it happened. While Eve was pondering the tree, a change took place inside of her, and then she heard a voice, “Has God indeed said, ‘you shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” Suddenly there was something pulling, tugging at the innermost part of her soul. She was exposed to the voice of reason, and since her husband had been the one who told her which tree not to eat from, that question was leveled direction against him. Stunned, she began to converse with the voice and slowly but surely, the tree that had been off limits took on a new appeal. She now craved it, and moved toward the tree with eager anticipation, her heart racing inside of her. These were feelings she had never known. As her fingers gently wrapped themselves around the fruit, she tugged, and the tree released it without struggle. As if time stood still, she bit down, sinking her teeth into the delicious fruit — and then it happened. A strange and horrible feeling began to wash over her entire body. It was chilling and frightening. She panicked.5 By the time her husband found his wayward wife, it was too late.
Where had he been? Why hadn’t he been aware of her while she was aloof in the garden having dialog with that reasoning voice. He was supposed to protect and watch over her, making sure that she had everything she needed, and that no harm would ever come to her. Why was it that these things took place without him knowing?
It seemed that when the realization of what had happened hit Adam, the sting of guilt followed with relentless strength. “What if,” he wondered. “What if he had been more mindful of her? Would this have happened?” His beloved wife, the one whom God had formed from his side, was now separated from him by sin. As he looked into her eyes, the future flashed before him in a moment’s time. Could he live without her? Could he rule over and care for all that God had given to him without the woman by his side? What followed was quite possibly one of the greatest acts of personal sacrifice and self denial that the world has ever known. Fully aware that it would bring upon him the sentence of death, he took the fruit from his wife, put it to his lips, and ate.
History has blamed Eve for plunging the human race into the plight it has come to know as normal, but the Bible records that Man (both male and female together) was to blame.6 Adam could not fathom living life without her and seeing her face the rest of her life alone. In our day, with the marriage rate plummeting and the divorce rate sky-rocketing, it is hard to image this kind of self-sacrificing love.7
Though many have called what came next a curse on Man, a closer look reveals a merciful provision for the entire human race. God said to them:
To the woman He said: “I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; in pain you shall bring forth children; your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’: “Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, and you shall eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for dust you are, and to dust you shall return.” (Genesis 3:16-19)
Nowhere does it say that either man or woman was cursed. But rather pain was increased for the woman in child bearing, causing her to depend upon and trust in the loving care of her husband. Seeing the struggle that she went through to bring forth his children would certainly cause his love and respect for her to surge. On his part, he would no longer be able to enjoy the bountiful fruit of the Garden, but now, with great struggle, he would have to till the ground to bring forth food to feed his family. It was going to be a struggle. Indeed, they were no longer in paradise, but if they would give themselves to these provisions then it would cause the bond between them to grow stronger than ever before. It was a provision for them to learn how to depend upon each other — the very aspect where they had failed in the Garden. Now they were in the crucible,8 designed to test and refine them during their lifetime. If they would embrace the hardships of life, not despising the difficulties that would come, their character would grow and their children would prosper, in turn passing on the same care and respect to their children. If they would not, then the entire human race was in jeopardy.
Through the centuries we trod on, until we finally arrive at the 20th century. The Industrial Revolution brought with it massive changes to the way Man lived and worked, in many ways removing him from the struggle he had engaged in during the previous 6,000 years. With the advent of greater technology came a more convenient life. Mass transportation emerged and quickly mapped out a global circulatory system for moving goods, including food, over large distances. To meet the growing demand for food, modern farm implements were introduced, along with pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides that could significantly increase yields. Farmers were able to grow much more with less effort and fewer people. They were also able to ship their goods to places that had previously depended on local farms for resources — a dependency that for millennia had helped strengthen social ties and create strong local economies and communities.
With technology and mass transit came a higher standard of living and a growing social pressure to obtain and maintain that standard. In order to keep up with the Joneses, women left the home and joined the ranks of the workforce. Although the Americans who took part in the war effort during World War II have been dubbed the greatest generation, taking mothers and women from the home and placing them into the workforce would set something into motion that would later have titanic consequences. Children now had to be raised by day-care facilities and the public school system. The latch-key generation was born. The evolution of the Western world was taking a dramatic turn in a strange, new direction. The toll this would take on the husband-wife relationship, and in turn on the family, could not have been fully realized, but by the time the alarms started sounding, it would be too late to turn back.
In 1946, Dr. Benjamin Spock, a pediatrician and psychiatrist, wrote The Common Sense Book on Baby and Child Care, a work that would revolutionize forever the way parents raised their children. He taught that the key to healthy child rearing was to relinquish the traditional authoritarian approach to parenthood, which he said tended to oppress children. Rather, he insisted, parents should become sensitive mentors of their children’s evolving psyches. For Spock and his disciples the “good” parent was no longer the parent who got his children to be obedient and behave through traditional corporal discipline, but rather the parent who understood why his children might not behave.9
Like a serpent slithering through the garden of the 20th Century, the fangs of permissive parenting sunk deep, injecting its venom first into minds of the intellectually elite. By the 1960s these so-called child experts expanded the mantra and infiltrated the universities. The students there would later become the leaders, and their higher notions about “good parenting” would thoroughly permeate all aspects of education, social work, and especially the mass media.10 Like Lenin, Spock and his successors were not only out to revolutionize the relationship between parents and their children, but society itself, through the agency of the family.
During the sixties and seventies the results became evident. Physical discipline in schools was beginning to vanish. Those who had been raised under these new-and-improved methods of parenting began to bud and blossom into something quite different than well-behaved, peaceful young people. Rather, a full-scale culture of rebellion against any kind of authority was emerging. The destructive behavior that followed became a major social concern. Many college campuses erupted into violence, becoming havens for a growing drug culture. Young people everywhere threw off traditional moral restraint and immersed themselves into what would become known as the sexual revolution, adding another lethal blow to the relationship between men and women, and producing children they neither wanted nor knew how to care for.
The promiscuous lifestyle of the sixties and seventies brought about millions of children who did not have the luxury of growing up in a stable home. Not only did divorce rates rise, but many did not even know who their fathers were. Single-family homes became commonplace. As if the lack of discipline and moral standards were not enough, now many children had to face growing up fatherless. Over the next few decades, things would go from bad to worse. What little instinct parents had left for raising their children vanished, and with it all control. Into society was released the most self-centered, amoral generation the world has ever known.
Without the age-old moral absolutes of family structure, discipline, and authority, the children and youth of today have no fear of consequences. Void of parental control, they terrorize any who would dare cross their will. Teachers live in fear of each new day.11 Parents cower in helplessness. The Pandora’s Box of permissive parenting has unleashed a ruthless, heartless, and severely depressed generational Frankenstein upon the earth.
With the absence of discipline, and no instinct to fall back on, parents have once again turned to the experts for help. And the experts have answered. Only this time it hasn’t come in the form of a best-selling paperback. Today’s solution to the growing epidemic of haywire children is not to take them to the woodshed, but to the doctor. There they are diagnosed, not with rebellion, but with a myriad of disorders such as ODD (oppositional defiance disorder), and then heavily medicated.
The rod and paddle have been replaced by wonder drugs such as Prozac, Ritalin, and Zoloft — mind-altering drugs that calm and pacify the user. Parents are so desperate for a solution for their out-of-control and miserable children that they have readily embraced this medical miracle. With the authority that was once vested in the father, doctors and psychiatrists hand out prescription drugs like psychotropic candy, much to the pleasure of the pharmaceutical industry, which bankrolls billions of dollars each year from the sale of such drugs.
The struggle of life, designed by God to build character and produce an unshakable bond between husband and wife, parents and children, has been turned into a fleeting pursuit of self-gratification. The gap between man and woman has widened into a vast canyon of division. Children’s relationship with their parents has been uprooted at a fundamental level, putting children in a position of control that was never meant to be. Insecure youth plow past their screaming consciences only to have them numbed by an ever-increasing array of legal, mind-altering drugs. Humanity is being reduced to a brute-beast mentality. An epidemic of sadness is blanketing the earth.
If the future looks bleak, it is because it is bleak. When the foundations of marriage and the family are destroyed, human civilization soon follows. There are no social, political, or even pharmaceutical solutions to be had. Like a freight train heading for broken tracks, the modern world is rushing full speed ahead toward catastrophe. At this point, nothing can stop it. The only hope a person has is to jump off the train before it’s too late.