Why Are Humans Relational?

Fair warning: This blog post is for thinkers. Those who dig down deep will find nourishment for their souls.

A decision within the Godhead

Genesis 1:26 says, “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

Fishermen, hunters, farmers, and heroic-men-who-wield-their-shoes-against-the-mighty-spiders-of-darkness, I just gave you your life verse. Put this up in your man-cave. Verse 26 is God’s consultation and decision to create man. This gives us a glimpse into the committee of the Godhead.

The nature of unity within the Trinity

The nature of the Trinity is not ever fully explored by any Biblical author, but most authors assume its reality. In the creation account, we see two hints of the Trinity. The first is Genesis 1:2, where the Holy Spirit is hovering over the face of the waters. The second is in verse 26, where a council takes place to decide what the pinnacle of creation will be. Many Jewish scholars thought that the plural “let us” refers to God meeting with angels about the creation of mankind. But God does not need to council with created things about created more things. Angels have no business being in that meeting. It’s out of their pay grade.

Colossians 1:16-17 tells us that the primary acting member of the Trinity was Jesus Christ:

“For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”

God the Father planned and decreed the creation of the world, God the Son spoke the world into existence, and God the Holy Spirit uniquely interacted with the created world. This is basically how they always function. The Father is sovereign, the Son is effective, and the Spirit binds the members of the Trinity together. These three persons act in their roles and yet are completely one God. Deuteronomy 6:4 says, “Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one.”

Trying to explain the Trinity is like trying to come up with an illustration for how difficult something is: it’s really hard. However, we do know a few things:

  1. God is one God (Deuteronomy 6:4)
  2. God exists as three persons (Matthew 28:19)
  3. They have existed eternally in love and unity (John 17:20-26)

Unity and the Gospel

God did not invent love when he created the world. In fact, if God had not existed as three persons in eternity past, then he could not have been a loving God in eternity past, which means that if he started to be loving when he created the world, then he changes and needs improvement. God cannot change or improve, or else he wouldn’t be God.

He created mankind as relational beings, much the same way that he is a relational God. We were made to enjoy the love that the Triune God has enjoyed throughout eternity past. Adam and Eve enjoyed this love with the Triune God. In a similar way to how the Trinity works, Adam and Eve loved one another in perfect unity, and the loving unity they enjoyed was based in God’s love.

However, Adam and Eve willingly chose to pursue knowledge and joy outside of that unified relationship. Their act of pride and selfishness broke the line of the God’s loving relationship with mankind. Sin, death, plagues, wars, famines, crimes, and everything wrong with this world can be traced back to mankind’s decision to break the line of the unity and love that God was sharing with us.

Rather than leave us to ourselves, God chose to send the second member of the Trinity, his loved Son, into this world to repair that broken line so that we could be reunited to him. The Beloved Son died for our sin on the cross so that God could both justly punish our sin and reunite us to himself. Jesus came back to life and through that power, we can have a new life of love and unity. As Jesus says in John 17:22b-23, “that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.”

Application

The foundation of marriage can be common interests, goals, or romantic passions. Those things can be good things, but true unity is not found in any temporary trivialities. True loving unity can only be found as the husband and the wife believe in Jesus’ sacrifice and repent of their sins. As they do this, God brings them into a loving relationship with himself. As each individual is unified in Christ, they become unified with each other.

A marriage relationship — the weaving of two lives into one — is about much more than sex, or tax status, or having kids, or combining your income, or soccer practices, or uniting for common goals, or companionship. Marriage is an illustration of God’s actions to be reunited with humanity. And becoming reunited with God is the way to have unity and love within marriage.