(published 2006 in the Adventist Review)
When Tom Robinson, an amateur yet avid genealogist, sent a sample of his DNA to a bioarchaeology firm, the resulting discovery required more than a letter in the mail. Robinson received a personal phone call that informed him that he was a direct descendant of Ghengis Khan.
For some, genealogy is just a hobby; for most, it is a pastime that rapidly turns into an addiction. This obsession to trace and document one’s lineage is not a new fad—The Old Testament devotes large portions to genealogy. It is as though human beings are inherently driven to discover their roots—Finding and sifting through the lives of ancestors, in some unfathomable way, brings meaning to the living. Details of family history can heal wounds of an abandoned childhood, boost the low self-esteem of a dull and boring life, explain a harmful habit, justify attitudes and actions, or simply quell a yearning to answer the question Who am I?
Genealogy helps people understand who they are–Robinson’s connection to Ghengis Khan caused him to reflect on personal traits that could be a result of his lineage to this noteworthy world leader (albeit ruthless warrior)— his supervisory role at work and his ability to ride a horse.
For Christians, however, it takes more than family history to understand the significant slots into which we fit. Whether our research unveils a hero or a villain, who we are and what we are destined to be results not from DNA or genes or history, but from a lineage that connects us directly to Jesus Christ. We must remember that we are “all children of God through faith in Jesus Christ.” Galatians 3:26 (NLT) With this knowledge in our hearts, we must live lives worthy of that connection to the Cross. We must live like children of God.