For the Christian, family life is not and cannot be the highest good, for to make anything other than God one’s ultimate good is dangerous folly. In seeking to heal their familial wounds Scott and Cassie nearly destroy the multiverse; and please don’t believe that it’s their love that saves it…Michael Douglas and his giant ants save the multiverse. On a smaller scale, Kaz nearly destines himself to a life of misery in an effort to please his family. M. Night departs from his literary source to give a hopeful ending: rather than sticking as a family in the face of an apocalypse they could avert, Groff’s Eric chooses to sacrifice himself. Like all good things, family ties and family loyalties and family loves can be just as destructive as they are life-giving.
The truth about the family that Christianity teaches is that the family is a wonderful and holy gift from God insofar as it reflects the goodness of God. Marriage is good and holy because it reflects and symbolises the love that Jesus has for His Church. Procreation is good because it fulfils God’s command for humanity to be fruitful. Family life is good because it is a space in which Christian love is able to flourish.
As soon as we forget that family life is a reflection of God, family life becomes a burden – and this is so easy to do. We can fetishise family life, demonise or diminish those who do not have a family, ignore those who are happily single; and all of this is wrong and hurtful and damaging. The epitome of the family in the Christian worldview is one where the completely self-giving love, which we see perfectly in Jesus Christ, is allowed to grow and flourish. Oddly enough, this is why Knock at the Cabin has the most Christian depiction of family life. In spite of it being a gay couple with an adopted child (not an uncontroversial idea in the modern Church) it is the one family that demonstrates the principle of sacrificing one’s self for the good of the other. That is what family is – a place where we learn to be willing to die for those we love, and even for those we have never met, and so modelling the Jesus who dies for the sins of the world.