Tuesday, 22 April 2014

In the beginning - community

I've started a new bible reading plan with YouVersion, since it keeps me reading, and hence an excuse to write.

The first reading was Genesis 1-2. There is SO MUCH to say, but I decided to focus on community. There is much to draw from this, but it seems community is an important theme.

In chapter 1, it takes both male and female to bear the image of God (can't get away from God here). So bearing the image of God is communal, and indeed tied to the blessing of reproduction. Now the Earth is indeed full at 7 billion people, so thinking carefully about population is not contrary to the biblical blessing. We are not to be negative about children, just not naive about our impacts.

But back to the main point - even if one rejects this as a literal account, the biblical idea of man and woman together as image bearers is the bedrock of a theology of marriage. It is for kids, but even more so it is for serving God. Now given that singleness is promoted as a Christian lifestyle in the New Testament, we should be clear that not only marriage specifically, but community life in general is what flows from this passage - after all, lots of babies does mean community.

Genesis 2 takes a different look, but the suitable helper for man comes out of himself, not as a literal operation but as a statement of identity. Again, this speaks powerfully of marriage in the first instance, and the basis thereof. But it also tells us that animals are not us - not to denigrate them but to elevate to full humanity all other people. We become one flesh with a spouse, but we are all of one family of humans, and in faith those in Christ are one family.

Salvation and service are never solo but social.

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