Family government and conscience


If you miss one part of the puzzle that is being put together in these studies, you will never see and understand the whole picture.

A publication of Churches Under Christ Ministry

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Jerald Finney
Copyright © December 27, 2017

submission-umbrellasAfter the fall, God established family government. He said to the woman: “I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.”[1] The Bible teaches that the husband is to be the head of the wife,[2] and children are to be instructed and led by the parents.[3] Parents, not the state, are to care for their children: “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.”[4] Even an infidel has a love for his children placed there by God.[5] God desires that man satisfy his sexual desire only in marriage. “Thou shalt not commit adultery.”[6] “Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.”[7]

God desires parents, not civil government, to provide a God-centered education for their children:

  • “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.”[8]

ConscienceAfter the fall, God gave mankind a chance to be directed by his conscience (an awareness of doing wrong), still to be individually controlled only by self-government. God had told man, prior to the fall, “For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof [of the forbidden fruit], then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.”[9]  After man ate the forbidden fruit, God told them, “And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil.”[10]  Some[11] refer to this economy, this method God uses to deal with individuals, as Conscience, the title being taken from these verses: “For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another[.]”[12] The Holy Spirit also strove with man during the days before the upcoming flood: “And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.”[13]

Even though God later ordained civil government and church government, every person since the fall is born with a God-given self-conscience (knowledge of who he is) as well as with a God-consciousness[14], a knowledge of who God is.

God gave mankind certain responsibilities:

  • “During this stewardship man was responsible to respond to God through the promptings of his conscience, and part of a proper response was to bring an acceptable blood sacrifice as God had taught him to do (Gen. 3.21; 4.4). We have a record of only a few responding, and Abel, Enoch, and Noah are especially cited as heroes of faith. We also have the record of those who did not respond and who by their evil deeds brought judgment on the world. Cain refused to acknowledge himself a sinner even when God continued to admonish him (Gen. 4.3, 7). So murder came on the scene of human history.”[15]

In the story of Cain and Abel, we see that God still did not allow civil government. After Cain killed Abel, the Lord told Cain, “And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand; When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth.”[16] Since Cain feared that “every one that findeth me shall slay me,”[17] God said, “… Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the Lord set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him.”[18]  The Supreme Ruler of the universe was telling man that he had no authority to rule over man and that God would take vengeance on him sevenfold if he did.

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[1] Ge. 4.16.

[2] 1 Co. 11.3; Ep. 5.22-26; 1 Pe. 3.1, 5-7; 1 Ti. 2.11-15.

[3] Ex. 20.12; De. 6.6-7; 11.18-21; Pr. 4.1, 2, 10, 11; Ep. 6.1, 4; Col. 3.20.

[4] 1 Ti. 5.8.

[5] Mt. 7.9-11.

[6] Ex. 20.14.

[7] 1 Co. 7.2.

[8] De. 6.4-7; see also, Pr. 4.1, 2, 10, 11; 5.1, 2; 22.6; Ep. 6.4.

[9] Ge. 3.5.

[10] Ge. 3.22a.

[11] 3c will deal specifically with the two main methods of Bible understanding, belief versus allegory. “Allegory” means “interpreting the Bible in such a way as to reveal a hidden meaning, a meaning which cannot be seen by believing what the Bible says.” Classic Catholic and covenant theology allegorize or spiritualize much of the Bible. The warfare between those who believe the Bible and those who allegorize it had already started when the New Testament was written (See, e.g., Colossians). As a result, as will be seen by the student who follows these studies, Augustine and his progency (Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, Knox et al) used this method to develop the theology which combined church and state and resulted in the persecution (imprisonment, torture, hanging, burning at the stake, drowning, confiscation of property, and the destruction or confiscation of the writings of the martyrs) of fifty million plus “heretics.” That theology still operates in America even though the proponents do not, at this time, have the power to persecute.

[12] Ro. 2.14-15.

[13] Ge. 6.3.

[14] See Ro. 1.18-32.

[15] Charles C. Ryrie, Dispensationalism (Chicago: Moody Press, 1995), pp. 52-53.

[16] Ge. 4.11-12.

[17] Ge. 4.14.

[18] Ge. 4.15.

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