The Words of the Colvin Family

The Origin of Family Breakdown

Alex Colvin

In True Love and True Family, we examined the ideal of the true family. In so doing, we can clearly see that the creation of such families is not only man’s but God’s ideal, and is the chief cornerstone of human happiness. Furthermore, we can see that the formation of such families is the essential foundation for freedom, for an ethical, moral and prosperous society, and for a healthy progressive civilization.

In light of these observations, it is obvious that adultery is harmful. Adultery violates trust and trust is the foundation of love. Thus adultery destroys true family right at its core. Marital infidelity is the primary cause which precipitates divorce, and we have seen in our previous lecture the horrendous consequences of divorce for all involved and for the society at large.

Furthermore, it is clear when we understand the principles of love and the sacred role that sex plays in the relationship between a mature man and woman united in marriage that premarital sex is wrong. A young man and woman first need to develop both physically and spiritually to be prepared for the commitment and responsibility of marital love. In fact, it is not only that young people are not emotionally or spiritually prepared for the responsibilities of marriage and parenthood. Physically, even though they are capable of conceiving, their body, their immune system, and their reproductive system are not yet fully mature. In an article in the Baltimore Sun, on August12, 1998, public health officials were quoted as pointing out that because the body was not fully developed, teens were actually at the most vulnerable period of their life to infection by sexually transmitted diseases. Love the most precious flower that must be cultivated with care until it blooms. If you force a bloom open too soon you destroy the flower. Ripe fruit is the sweetest treat in God’s creation, but if you pluck it too soon it is sour. Premarital sex destroys the ability to experience the joy and purity of committed love to its fullest.

In fact, when we clearly understand that human happiness is achieved through the ideal of true love and true family, it becomes plain that all forms of free sex not only fall far short of that standard but have disastrous effects. Sexual immorality, by undermining the foundation for the family, is a fundamental foe of human happiness.

Yet when we examine the world today, when we look at America in particular in the last 30 years, we see that sexual immorality is rampant. In the first lecture we observed the astounding rise of adultery, divorce, and extramarital sex in the last two generations. But even before that, if we look throughout human history, we see a history of immorality. When we examine the myths of Greece or other lands we find stories of rape and infidelity. America is not the first nation threatened with decline by moral breakdown. The struggle to control our desires is a universal and fundamental problem. The history of religion is a history of a battle to raise a standard of morality in an immoral world.

Indeed, if we are honest with our selves we all must admit that we all have this contradiction. Our mind can delight in the ideal of sexual fidelity, yet our body has a will of its own. Even the greatest saints have struggled with this problem. St. Paul lamented, "With my mind I delight in the law of God, but my flesh serves the law of sin, o wretched man that I am."

This requires some explanation. Why is it that when our mind resolves to do good, our body drives us to violate our resolve? Why do we as humans experience this contradiction which foils our happiness? Why is it that the ideal of true love has never been achieved? If the ideal of the true family is God’s ideal and the key to human happiness, surely God created us with the power to achieve that ideal. The joy of God as well as the joy of humankind has been frustrated by this contradiction which impedes the creation of stable families. God is good and he created man and image in his image. Therefore, when God created the first man and the first woman they must have been good and capable of fulfilling the ideal of true love. Then what went wrong?

Unless we answer this question, we are doomed to frustration. We recognize that the problem of the family is the basic problem in today’s society. The pillar of the family is a clear standard of sexual morality which emphasizes chastity before marriage and fidelity within marriage. If we as human beings are condemned to struggle with a contradictory nature which violates this principle then we shall never solve the problem. It is of utmost importance then to comprehend the root cause of family breakdown. Jesus said, "You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free." He promised that the Holy Spirit would guide us into all truth. And he counseled us to seek and we shall find.

The Family of Adam and Eve

In examining this question, it is revealing to look at the story which is presented in the Bible of the first human family - the family of Adam and Eve. Stories are invaluable tools for comprehension. This is one of the reasons why Jesus taught in parables. Reason and logic are powerful, useful tools. But, as pointed out by Kierkegaard, reason has its limits. Logic tends to break things down into their components and analyze them. But in order for us to comprehend something we need to see a whole picture. This is why the dialogues of Plato often ended with a story drawn from myth which was used to illustrate a point which could not clearly be expressed through reason - the allegory of the cave is an example. Even Freud, in attempting to explain his theories of sexuality resorted to the story of Oedipus. Secularists of this century seized upon this story as the primary allegory to explain the development of sexuality.

It seems ironic to me that modern scholars have been so eager to embrace stories of Greek mythology to interpret human and social behavior yet have avoided applying the truths revealed in the stories of the Bible which are much more ancient and deeply rooted in the consciousness of our people. Indeed, the Bible is the foundation of Judeo-Christian culture and the story of Adam and Eve is central to Islam as well. Especially as we seek to resolve the dilemma of the fundamental contradiction in man’s nature - that we desire to do good, and yet find ourselves impelled to do evil - this story which indicates that there was a fundamental violation of God’s will at the beginning of our history which resulted in the separation of the first family from God invites examination.

For the past several hundred years, the emphasis in Christianity has been the focus on individual salvation. Therefore, we have tended to examine this story from that perspective and to deal with the story of Adam and Eve and Cain and Abel separately. We should not blind ourselves to the fact that this was a family, the first family. Since this conference is discussing the problem of the family, then let us look at Adam’s family, their relationship to God and to each other from the perspective of a family and see what insights it has to offer.

We are all familiar with the story. When God created Adam and Eve. He placed them in the Garden of Eden. In the center of the Garden their were two trees - the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. God gave Adam one commandment, "Do not eat of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, for in the they day you eat of it you shall surely die." The Bible says that Adam and Eve were naked and unashamed. Then a third party enters the scene - a serpent. The serpent tempts Eve to eat of the forbidden fruit and, telling her that if she does so her eyes will be opened and she will be like God, convinces her to do so. Afterwards, Eve tempts Adam to eat the fruit and he likewise does so. Suddenly, they are ashamed of their nakedness and they cover up their sexual parts with fig leaves. God finds Adam and Eve hiding in shame and questions them as to what they have done. Adam blames Eve for tempting her, and Eve blames the serpent. God then curses the serpent and expels Adam and Eve from the Garden. Thus we see that this "original sin" revolves around the serpent enticing Eve to eat of the forbidden fruit, and Eve likewise tempting Adam. This act of eating the fruit caused Adam and Eve to be cast from God’s presence.

One of the first things that strikes us is that before this act Adam and Eve were naked and unashamed, but as soon as they committed the act they felt that they had been defiled and in their shame they concealed their sexual organs. In the book of Job, it says "If I have concealed my transgressions like Adam" indicating that Adam was trying to cover the area of his sin. Clearly if Adam had sinned by eating an apple or a pomegranate he would have concealed his hands and mouth rather than his sexual organ.

The implication of some illicit sexual act is further strengthened when we consider the use of the words Knowledge and fruit in the Bible and in ancient Jewish tradition. Both have clear sexual connotations. Throughout the Old Testament, the Bible refers to the sexual act as knowledge. "Adam knew Eve" means that Adam had sexual relations with Eve. The word "fruit" is also a common idiom for sexual pleasure. For example the Song of Solomon says, "I will invite my beloved to my bed, that he may partake of the choicest fruit."

In the last lecture we examined the God’s purpose for mankind in light of the three blessings "be fruitful, multiply, and have dominion over the earth." The second blessing, to multiply, means that man and woman are meant to have sex with one another, but not until they fulfill the first blessing - to perfect their character by uniting their mind and body centering on God. In order to do this they must fulfill their portion of responsibility of following God’s truth until they reach maturity. Once they have disciplined themselves to live according to God’s word they become a temple of God with God living in their hearts. Such a person would never violate God’s principles. Such a person would need no commandment. Such a person would be truly free. Such a person would be capable of giving and receiving the absolute unselfish love which is the foundation of the true family.

In the story of Adam and Eve, the fact that God gave them the commandment indicates that they had not yet arrived at this point. They were still growing. They were in the process of perfecting their character and developing their love. They were not yet ready for marriage, and thus they were not yet ready for sexual union. Once they had reached perfection, they would have had no need for the commandment and God would then have drawn them together as man and wife and his ideal of true love would have been accomplished.

How many of you have raised children? Think for a minute. What is your greatest concern as your children are passing through the teen age years and begin to take an interest in the opposite sex. What is the commandment that a loving parent gives their teenage children and prays for the sake of their happiness that they will fulfill it. Don’t have sex until you are married. Once their child is grown and married, do the parents tell them not to have sex? Absolutely not. But before marriage they do, for the sake of their happiness.

It is the same with God. Adam and Eve were his first children. They were in the process of growth. God told them to refrain from sexual relationships until they were mature. Adam and Eve were not stupid. Even before they were tempted by the serpent, they could perceive that all of the animals around them were male and female and that they multiplied through sexual relationship. They must have been curious. But God told them to wait until the were married. The fact that they ate the fruit in violation of the commandment indicates that they failed to wait, that they engaged in sex before they were mature, before they had reached the stage of development where God’s love would be the center of that relationship.

Furthermore, the presence of a third party who initiated the eating of the fruit on Eve’s part indicates before they engaged in premarital sex there had actually been an adulterous relationship between Eve and the serpent. The Bible tells us in Revelation 12:9 the "Ancient Serpent," was the devil or Satan. Isaiah identifies that this being is the angel Lucifer who said in his heart that he would exalt himself above the throne of God. If we look at the book of Jude, we see further that the sin of rebellion of the angels was that they engaged in sexual immorality - fornication and adultery.

If we view the story of Adam, Eve, and Lucifer from this perspective we see that the fundamental problem of marriage and the family - sexual immorality was the original cause of man’s separation from God and was responsible for their failure to realize a true family according to the pattern of God’s ideal. In John 8:44, "Jesus says, you are of your father the devil," indicating that somehow the very bloodstream and lineage of mankind had been tainted from the beginning. Instead of being born out of the true unselfish lineage of God, the descendants of Adam and Eve were born out of a selfish, false love.

Adam and Eve were God’s first children. They were to perfect themselves and form the model of the true family. Instead, consummating their love prematurely in violation to God’s commandment, they realized family which was separate and apart from God’s love. Thus their children, Cain and Abel were conceived in a relationship of self-centered love not in a relationship of true love. Furthermore, Adam and Eve were incapable of loving them as true parents. What was the result? Cain, the elder son murdered his brother. Thus in the first family we see the model of the fundamental problems which have plagued humanity throughout its history - immorality and violence - and the one stems from the other. Sexual immorality in the first generation produced violence and immorality in the second generation. Instead of Adam and Eve and their children setting the model for the true family and forming a culture of love to multiply throughout the earth, they became the world’s first dysfunctional family and the progenitors of a culture of conflict.

Indeed the story of Adam and Eve and their children reveals profound insight into the nature of the breakdown of the family and the society. In sum, the story reveals that the subversion of the vertical relationship between God and humankind leads to moral breakdown, particularly corruption of sexual morality, and the corruption of sexual morality is accompanied by and causes an outbreak of violence and other problems. As humankind has multiplied this has been the fundamental problem, the "original sin," if you will, which has plagued society. It is to reverse this fundamental problem that the great religions of the world have struggled. God has been working through religion to save mankind from this problem, to restore a foundation so that he can once again send a true son, a messiah, a Second Adam to restore this fundamental problem which resulted from the failure of the first Adam.

Slouching Toward Gomorrah

We will examine history from a providential viewpoint in the next lecture. For now, let us briefly revisit modern America in light of this analysis. As we saw in the first lecture, the twentieth century saw the formulation of certain secular humanistic ideas which have undermined the foundation of faith in a personal God and the sexual morality which served as the bulwark of the two-parent family. The ideas were developing throughout the century and gradually gained currency in our countries institutions - the University, the law, the media, and the arts.

These ideas bore fruit in the baby boom generation in the affluent years following War II. Judge Robert Bork describes the outbreak of these ideas spurred by radical egalitarianism and individualism in the 1960’s in his book Slouching Towards Gomorrah. Early signs of rebellion against traditional morality were apparent in small scale in the 1950’s. The publication of Kinsey’s research on sexual practices in America, have provided the basis for much of the sex education in our schools to the present day. This is a sad fact, for Kinsey’s research was disreputable and biased to say the least. His research on children was gross criminal child abuse. Yet, in spite of the questionable nature of his science and his purported findings, his work was seized upon by liberals as ammunition to justify their assault on traditional moral attitudes. The beats were a precursor of the coming cultural revolution, as James Dean was a symbol of the coming rebellion against authority. Yet to most people these signs were peripheral. This was also the period of piety on the Potomac when we inserted "One Nation Under God" into the pledge of allegiance. Having passed through the Great Depression and World War II the adult population was happy to be back at work in a booming economy. This was the age of Ozzie and Harriet.

In the nineteen sixties however, as a generation came of age which had known only the growing prosperity of the post war period came of age, the radical secular ideas which had been percolating in the culture - particularly the ideas of sexual liberation - broke the dam of traditional morality and flooded the country. By the end of the decade, those who espoused the traditional moral code of marriage and family and sex only within marriage came to be considered not only as old-fashioned but as neurotic reactionaries bound in frustration by sexual hang-ups. This change in consciousness was facilitated by Supreme Court decisions ruling that preventing the sale or distribution of birth control devices not only to married couples but to minors was a violation of the right to privacy which they were in the process of discovering in the "penumbras" or shadows of the Constitution. Roe vs. Wade extended this right to cover a women’s right to abortion and enshrined it in the fundamental law of the land. The sexual revolution proclaimed that now sex could be liberated from pregnancy and child bearing. Fear of pregnancy amongst girls had been a natural deterrent to premarital sex. The sexual revolution promised sex free from guilt and sex free from pregnancy. Sex for pleasure and sex for gratification. "If it feels good, do it" became one of the popular mottos of the latter part of the decade.

In the turbulent days of Vietnam, the Yippies proclaimed the formation of a revolutionary counterculture based, in the words of Abbie Hoffman, on "sex, drugs, and rock and roll." For many of young people in the affluent sixties life was a party. For some the party was a revolution. Marxist philosopher Herbert Marcuse proposed sexual revolution as a means to subvert the bourgeois morality upon which capitalist Amerika was founded. At the very time when the free world was threatened with the expansion of communism from without, America embarked on an adventure in hedonism that threatened to destroy the country from within. As we moved into the 70’s and Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Ethiopia and others fell to the communists and millions of innocent people were massacred, America danced to the disco in leisure suits and wife swapping became an experiment in sexual freedom for sexually liberated couples in the suburbs.

The popular culture and media embraced and reinforced the trend. Designers came out with the topless bathing suit. Pornography flourished, beginning with soft porn and gradually progressing to more violent and hard-core forms. Nudity and extramarital affairs flourished in film and popular novels. Psychologists advised couples that divorce need not cause long term damage to children. Young people were advised to experiment sexually before they got married and many felt that they should try living together before marriage to make sure that they were compatible. Sex pervaded the culture. Family law was transformed into domestic relations law. Whereas, before the family had been considered as an inviolable unit now it came to be viewed as a composite of individuals with competing rights. Whereas, previously adults had set the standards, and youth had aspired become responsible adults, in the late 60’s and early 70’s youth was virtually worshipped.

One of the most pernicious assaults on the morals of the nation was the increasing radicalization of sex education. Introduced amidst the great wash of the sexual revolution, sex education began relatively innocuously to inform young people of the biological aspects of reproduction and warn of the dangers of venereal disease.

It was in the 1970’s ... that the schools first determined to tackle something beyond the transmission of basic information about reproduction. Many educators were fresh from college campuses where they embraced the doctrines of sexual liberation. With missionary zeal, they assumed the task of disseminating these doctrines to their students, whom they saw as victims of the repressive sway of their parents. The federal government sped their campaign. (Dana Mack, The Assault on Parenthood: How our Culture Undermines the Family, p 152)

Dana Mack, an Affiliate Scholar with the Institute on American Values summarizes a positive report of a national evaluation of sex education toward the end of the decade.

The most "exemplary" sex education programs, the study declared, were on the way to fostering significant "changes" in "sexual attitudes and behaviors" by promoting "reduction of sexual guilt" and an "acceptance of alternative lifestyles." The report did note that the values in sex education classes were "not supported by all members of society" - that, indeed, they were "in conflict with the belief held by some people that sex should be enjoyed only within the context of marriage." But most educators dismissed parents’ objections to the new sex education curricula as the crotchety railings of a sexually unenlightened generation, and to the extent that they considered the contradiction between the sexual mores taught in many homes and those being taught in the schools, they deemed it healthy."(Mack, The Assault... p. 152)

In general, the gap between concerned parents and sex educators has widened over the past twenty years. As parents have become aware of some of the more extreme examples of sex education, protest movements and abstinence movements have grown up around the country. Ms. Mack who interviewed hundreds of parents in researching here book says

When asked who should teach children about sex, parents unequivocally answer "Parents!" When I ask why, they invariably reply that parents put sexual information in a moral context that the schools cannot or will not offer. Yet educators like Dr. Robert Spillmane, Superintendent of the Fairfax County Public Schools, stubbornly contend that "parents shouldn’t be involved in family-life education."

Is this insane or is this insane? Meanwhile, as parental protest has risen, and many parents have turned to religious schools or home-schooling, the "ambition of sex educators has grown. They have extended their domain from the high schools down to the earliest grades and expanded their mission from the dissemination of information and attitudes to hawking condoms..." The argument for such a broad reach is that the rise in pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases (STD’s) can only be combated through their professional and enlightened education. Yet they fail to acknowledge that they have contributed to these very problems. Studies have demonstrated that

For over a decade before the introduction of comprehensive sexuality education in the early 1970’s, ... teen pregnancy rates had been falling. But with the infusion of federal funds into comprehensive sexuality education in the early 1970’s ... teen pregnancy rates rose rapidly. In the 1970’s alone, the teen pregnancy rate rose from 88 to 111 per 1000 women, and the percentage of girls between fifteen and nineteen years of age who had engaged in intercourse skyrocketed from 27.6 to 42.2.
... In the early 1980’s, the Reagan administration blocked federal funding for comprehensive sexuality education and passed federal regulations requiring parental notification when contraceptive services were rendered to teenagers. Teenage sexual activity and pregnancy rates dropped radically...As funding ... resumed in the mid-1980’s, pregnancy and teen sexual activity rates shot up once again. (Mack, p. 157-158)

As we become aware of the devastating effects of premarital sex, not only on these children but on the children that they bear, it seems to me that this misuse of the schools and irresponsible assault on the minds and morals of the young constitute one of the worst forms of child abuse in the history of mankind.

Indeed the litany of manifestations of the onslaught of the sexual revolution could be recited ad infinatum. We have all experienced its impact in our lives, our families and our communities. In short, we have seen a manifestation of the same breakdown of morality which was revealed in our brief review of the family of Adam and Eve.

And what has been the result. To quote Judge Bork:

National illegitimacy statistics were first gathered in the United States in 1920. Illegitimate births then constituted 3 percent of all births. The proportion slowly went up to just over 5 percent in 1960, and then shot up to 11 percent in 1970, above 18 percent in 1980, and 30 percent by 1991. (Robert H. Bork, Slouching Towards Gomorrah, p. 155)

By 1991, Black illegitimacy rates had reached 68 percent. The trend in poorer white communities was similar however,

For white women below the poverty line, in the year prior to giving birth, 44 percent of births were illegitimate... If the tipping point theory is correct, the white lower class is on the verge of becoming an underclass. (Bork, Slouching, p. 158)

As noted in the first lecture, most of these children born outside of marriage live in fatherless homes. In The Moral Sense, James Q. Wilson explains

The presence of a decent father helps a male child learn to control aggression, his absence impedes it... When the mother in a mother-only family is also a teenager, or at least a teenager living in urban America, the consequences for the child are even grimmer. The most authoritative survey of what we know about the offspring of adolescent mothers concluded that the children suffer increasingly serious cognitive deficits and display a greater degree of hyper activity, hostility, and poorly controlled aggression than is true of children born to older mothers and this is especially true of the boys.

In looking at the family of Adam we noted that the moral breakdown of the first generation was followed by the outbreak of violence in the second generation. This is a paradigm which has held true in America in the past 30 years. As Bork notes

The correlation between illegitimate births and crime has been well documented. The birth rate for unmarried women age 15 to 19 increased threefold between 1960 and 1992. while the percentage of all babies born to unmarried teenagers went from 15 to 70 percent. It is not surprising then that between 1985 and 1993, murders committed by 18-24 year olds increased by 65 percent, and those committed by 14-17 year olds increased by a staggering 165 percent. (Bork, p. 157.

Indeed one of the most alarming things about this trend is the increasing manifestation of serious crime amongst young children.

Most disturbing, serious indications of social pathology were cropping up among children. During the late 1980’s, psychologists noted previously unheard of symptoms of mental psychosis in small children, preschoolers were committing murders. In 1991, 17,772 offenses could be traced to children under ten, including murder, rape, robbery, car theft, aggravated assault, arson, burglary, and 11, 662 thefts. (Mack, p. 14.)

As noted in the first lecture, these same statistical trends hold true for the rise in drug abuse, teen suicide, educational decline, the epidemic of STD’s and numerous other problems. All of these problems have as their core problem the breakdown of the family. At the core of the breakdown of the family is the invasion of a permissive sexual morality which has accepted pre-marital sex and extramarital sex as the norm. Such observations led Charles Murray to declare in an article in the Wall Street Journal on November 29, 1993, "illegitimacy is the single most important social problem of our time - more important than crime, drugs, poverty, illiteracy, welfare, or homelessness because it drives everything else."

Total Freedom in True Love, Loss of Freedom through the failure to exercise moral restraint

When we examine the problems of contemporary America in light of the biblical story of the fall of man, we see our present problems are a dramatic outburst of the fundamental problem which has plagued humanity since the time of our first ancestors. Adam and Eve failed to obey God’s commandment to remain sexually pure until marriage. Since that time no family has achieved the ideal of true love and the world suffered from the dual problems of sexual immorality and violence. If we hope to solve the problems of our society, if we wish to achieve peace in the world, then we must resolve this fundamental problem. This is the fundamental problem of humanity, and it is the fundamental problem of God. In the next few lectures we will examine how God has been working through history to restore humankind to his original position before the fall. We will see how God worked to prepare humanity for the coming of Jesus, the second Adam, and we will examine how God has worked for the past two thousand years to prepare the entire world for the restoration of the ideal of the true family.

Before we close this lecture, however, there is one more lesson that we should consider from the story of Adam and Eve. This lesson concerns the relation between true love and freedom. America was founded in the quest for freedom, and our freedom is at stake today, threatened by the breakdown in the family and the rising instability of our social fabric.

Freedom has two aspects relating to our mind and body. Internally we cherish the freedom of conscience, freedom of thought, freedom of choice, and freedom of will. Externally, we desire freedom of expression, the freedom to act as we wish free from compulsion or restraint and the freedom to create, enjoy, and employ wealth. These two aspects of freedom come to fruition and are enhanced through the relation of our mind and body and through our relations with others. The more that our mind and body are developed and united, the more free that we are to express our ideas and creativity. For example, I am a musician and I love to write songs and create music. But only through the development of my musical knowledge and technique am I free to express what is in my soul. Also, the more that we enjoy harmonious relations with others the greater freedom that we have. For example, I am free to go in my own home and use my own property any time I desire. But I am generally not free to go into the house of another and use their property. Yet when I was involved in community work, I had the keys of a number of people jangling in my pocket. I remember one friend gave me the key to their house and told me to feel free at any time, whether they were there or not, to come in and practice on their piano. So long as I didn’t abuse the privilege, I was free to raid their refrigerator too.

When God created Adam and Eve, he created them with freedom of will, freedom of choice, and freedom of conscience. He also created them in an environment of freedom in which they could do whatever they liked. The reason why God created us as free beings is because he wanted us to be like Him and so that we could relate to him and become one with him in a relationship of love.

Think about it. Would you rather live in a home with a loving wife and children whom you cherish and adore and who love you. Or would you rather live in a house which a cadre of robots. The robots would do whatever you want. You could even program them to praise you. But there would be no love. Love develops only if there is freedom.

God however, did put a certain condition put upon their freedom. That condition involves the relation between freedom and responsibility. Consider how we raise our children. Our children have freedom of will and freedom of choice. As they are growing, we give them more and more responsibility. If they fulfill their portion of responsibility, then we give them greater freedom. "Do your homework and you can go to the movie." If you drive carefully and bring the car back at ten o’clock, then you can use it to go to the prom." On the other hand if we abuse our freedom and fail to fulfill our responsibility then we find that our freedom decreases. "Because you got a speeding ticket, you can’t use the car." If our children act responsibly, then we trust them more and more. Love and freedom develop together.

God, the parent of Adam and Eve gave his children a portion of responsibility. "Do not eat of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil." Adam and Eve were responsible for perfecting themselves in love by believing in God’s word and fulfilling their portion of responsibility. The physical bodies of Adam and Eve were growing naturally. So were there minds. But in order for them to perfect their character and unite with God in love they needed to fulfill their portion of responsibility. Jesus told us, "therefore, be ye perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect." He was talking about perfection in love. If Adam and Eve had accomplished their portion of responsibility then this is what they would have become. They would have enjoyed a relationship of love in which they were in the Father and the Father was in them. By fulfilling their responsibility, Adam and Eve would have attained a total and absolute freedom. "Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom." They would have realized a culture of love and freedom, and they would have established a loving dominion over the world. This would indeed have been the Kingdom of God on earth.

In freedom, Adam and Eve were moving toward the perfection of God’s ideal. It was not their freedom which caused their separation from God, it was the power of unprincipled selfish love. When Adam and Eve failed to fulfill their portion of responsibility, when they violated the principles of love, they lost God’s love and they lost their opportunity to enjoy absolute freedom. Since the time of Adam and Eve man has struggled in a state of ignorance. We have been ignorant of God, we have been ignorant of the purpose of our lives, and we have been ignorant of the spiritual world. There is no true freedom in ignorance. Furthermore, lacking the truth and love of God, man has been dominated by his selfish physical desire. The world which was realized as a result of Adam and Eve’s sin is a world filled with fear and violence. Such a world is not a world of freedom.

In fact, throughout history, God has been struggling to restore an environment of freedom in which true love could be restored. Since the Reformation, the struggle for internal and external freedom has been central, and America is founded largely on the basis of the desire for the restoration of man’s original freedom. In the struggle to restore freedom the principle of human responsibility still applies. If we act responsibly in accordance with God’s principles then our freedom increases. If we violate those principles, then our we are bound to lose our freedom. The founders of this country understood that. They witnessed how the French revolution failed to realize freedom and degenerated into tyranny because they rejected religious principles. This is why George Washington in his farewell address to the nation advised that our system could exist only on a foundation of virtue, and that virtue was derived only from religious principles.

These principles have served us well, and American’s have enjoyed a greater degree of freedom than any people in the history of mankind. Yet today, that freedom is threatened. It is threatened for the very reasons that we have explored in this lecture. The breakdown of sexual morality and the resulting rise in crime and violence have created an atmosphere of fear in our communities. As society comes apart people turn to the government to ensure their safety. As ethics break down, people look to the government to regulate behavior. If we fail as individuals in the moral government of ourselves, then we will lose the freedom of self-government embedded in our constitution. Our freedom is dependent upon our moral character as a people. In his article in the Wall Street Journal quoted above, Charles Murray warns, "Either we reverse the current trends in illegitimacy... or America must, willy-nilly, become an unrecognizably, authoritarian, socially segregated, centralized state."

Conclusion - A True Love Revolution

In a sense, we stand today in a position similar to Adam and Eve. We live in America in a society which enjoys a tremendous degree of freedom. We stand today at a crossroads with two paths before us. One leads to slavery and death, the other leads to true love, life and freedom. When God placed Adam and Eve in the Garden, he gave them the commandment - do not eat of the fruit. Today God is asking us, "Pledge yourselves to purity and fidelity. Control your sexual organs. Do not have sex outside of marriage. Be faithful to your wives. Raise your children with the ideal of sexual purity and true love." This is our portion of responsibility. First we must commit ourselves. Then we can reverse the destructive trends which are tearing our country apart and we can restore this nation. II Chronicles 7:14 tells us, "If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sins and I will heal their land."

Young people today are looking for true love. I know this from my own children in middle school and high school and from their friends. They are living in a confusing world but they are looking for answers. Dana Mack share an illuminating anecdote:

The propensity of religious educators to ignore children’s spiritual and moral hunger - to allow, as it were, secular culture to rush in where angels fear to tread - was brought home to me in a recent discussion I had with the principal of a well-attended Reform Jewish Sunday school in my area. She confessed to me that she had made a mistake in setting the curriculum for a new high school religious school program. After considerable efforts to find a textbook "appropriate" for high-school-age religious school students, she chose a book that discussed "decision-making strategies" regarding sexual involvement and drug use. It was not long. however, before she realized "when the kids came to class, they didn’t want to talk about sex or drugs. they wanted to talk about God. They had a lot of questions about religious philosophy, so that’s what we ended up discussing." (Mack, The Assault..., p. 225)

We can reverse the maelstrom of family breakdown. In fact, a trend toward restoring the model of the God-centered family has already begun. The Promise Keepers, the Million Man March, and the movements to restore responsible Fatherhood are examples. It is in this spirit that the Family Federation has been conducting its marriage rededication campaign. So far, in this campaign more than 200 million families world wide have rededicated their marriages to the ideals of fidelity, sexual purity for youth, and world peace.

Concerning changes in the morality of youth, Mack notes that

there is a great deal of evidence to suggest that today’s teenagers are yearning for direction from adults to say no to sex. A SIECUS study of 1994 found that more than half the teenagers who had intercourse wish that they had waited longer. And recent advertising campaigns encouraging sexual "temperance," among them the Southern Baptists "True Love Waits" campaign and the state of Maryland’s "Virginity is Not a Dirty Word" campaign, have been huge successes with teenagers. (the latter, reports the New York Times, was thought to be responsible for a 10 percent decline in Maryland’s teen pregnancy rate between 1992 and 1994 alone.) (Mack, the Assault..., p. 173)

My daughter, Hana Lyn, participated in a national bus tour sponsored by another such group, the Pure Love Alliance. The Pure Love Alliance teaches the ideal of true love and sexual freedom within marriage. Then with this clear ideal in mind they ask teenagers to sign a pledge that they will maintain their sexual purity until marriage to prepare themselves for this ideal. The group goes beyond just "saying no to sex." Proclaiming a message of "absolute sex," they teach chastity before, fidelity within marriage, and the exalted role of sex as a vehicle of God’s love and joy within marriage. My daughter and other participants held rallies, appeared on TV shows, and talked with thousands of teenagers throughout the country. The response: " This is great! Thank you so much for teaching me this message. I’ll sign the Pure Love Pledge." Last November, the Pure Love Alliance held a rally in Washington DC attended by 10,000 young people. Mayor Marian Barry took the Pure Love Pledge.

The ideal of true love is in accord with a 1994 study by the National Institute for Health Care Research which found that "sexual responsiveness is significantly affected by the relational context in which it occurs" and that "the people who report the most satisfaction with their sex lives are the faithfully married." The report noted that such couples experience greater "freedom from fear of comparison, rejection, and disease."

Summarizing current trends toward greater sexual responsibility amongst young people Mack concludes that "if the trend to abstinence support continues, we may see not only a sorely needed reinforcement of family values in schools, but a new kind of teenage sexual liberation - liberation from sexual exploitation and the disappointments of ill-considered sexual decision making, liberation to lives of greater adult sexual fulfillment." (Mack, p. 173)

The battle is far from over, but these are positive signs. Ladies and gentlemen, you are leaders, and you are being called to lead in "Renewing America and Our Families." if we are to succeed, we must set the standard ourselves by renewing our commitment to the standard of fidelity in marriage. Then let us take the lead in restoring the morality of our churches, our schools, our communities, our nation, and the world.

If we clearly understand the ideal of true love in the family, the original root of family breakdown, and the power of God’s commandment to uphold the standards of chastity and fidelity, these ideas have the power to transform our society. Jesus said, " You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free." Let us use these truths to inform the conscience of the nation and begin a new true love revolution!

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