Sunday, August 30, 2015

Adoption according to the Bible

Adoption is an interesting but also a hard decision to take. Many couples are not able to have their own children. Modern medicine allows for new methods to be adopted in order to achieve this goal. However, when this is not an option or this fails, adoption is seen as the only way of achieving having children in the family. A Christian understanding of adoption is evident through the Holy Bible, whereby we see it in a number of cases. There is not legitimate argument against it, therefore it is to be encouraged, if the situation is right, and if the family is able to undergo the whole process, financially and spiritually. 

How do we understand adoption in the Bible? In Romans (8:15) we read: ‘For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father”.’ Here we see that God adopts us all; the Creator adopts His Creation. Jesus Christ, is the Son of God. We, on the other hand, are the sons and daughters of God through adoption.
The most evident adoption, however, is seen in Matthew’s Gospel (1:18-25), whereby we see the adoption of Jesus Christ by Joseph:
‘18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. 20 But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” 22 So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” 24 Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, 25 and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son.[d] And he called His name Jesus.’
This highlights the fact that God incarnate was adopted. Additionally it eliminates any argument of raising another man’s child. God, I am sure, could have found another way of supporting the Theotokos and baby Jesus. However, he chose adoption as the best solution.
Jesus was not the only one adopted. Moses was also adopted by an Egyptian princess (Exodus 2:1-10) and Samuel the prophet was adopted by Eli (1 Samuel 1-2). These were two holy men, chosen by God to bring His people closer to Him.

The relationship we should have with orphans, where the idea of adoption comes in, is evident in the Epistle of James (1:27) whereby we read: ‘Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.’ Visitation here does not merely mean to visit, it has a deeper meaning. It also means to take care for, provide for and look after. Therefore, adoption is a significant reality found in Holy Scripture. The passages here are merely some of the verses referring to adoption; nevertheless, they give a brief understanding of the importance and acceptance of adoption by Scripture, and therefore, by the Church. 

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