Community: Helpful Thought #1
It is interesting to think through the centrality of community right from the beginning of the Bible, the very start of creation.
Theologians often talk about the community that exists within the reality of the Trinity – three persons that are one God. Each member of the trinity plays a role and has responsibility; all the members of the trinity are unified and together. You would not be the first to connect the existence of community in the trinity with the concept of mankind being created in the image of God. Humans also exist with this imprint of community.
We see this played out in two ways within the context of Genesis 1-2. First, we see a sense of community between man and God. There is a depth of relationship between Adam and God [Genesis 2:15-19]. God also creates Eve and the accompanying community between humans [Genesis 2:20-25]. In fact, God created Eve because there was no compatible communion for Adam up to that point. We often talk about these two directions of community as VERTICAL [between man and God] and HORIZONTAL [between people].
In the beginning, this community is perfect and good and complete. We see evidence of that between Adam and Eve [2:25] and between man and God [3:8]. But sin destroyed this. The closeness and wholeness of community is torn apart. Adam and Eve hide are ashamed and self-conscious before each other [3:7] and they hide from God [3:8]. Community is devastated.
The stories of Genesis continue to demonstrate and show the tearing apart of both the vertical and horizontal community that man had originally been created to experience. Ultimately, though, the story of redemption throughout the Bible is about restoring this community. Jesus provides a way and means to such restoration, while the final chapters present a re-painted picture of the original created community restored.
The story of community is central to the Bible. From isn’t creation, to its ruin, and finally, to its restoration.