In my last post I summarised the fundamentals of biblical unity. In this post I summarise how they apply to the specific unions described in the Bible.

The Trinity is the original union, the source of and template for all true unions. It consists of 3 members united in form, nature and order. Each member having a limitless (boundless, infinite, unconfined, etc.) spiritual form (John 4:24), sharing in a loving nature (true self sacrificial love, the love of God) expressed within a self-determined order/hierarchy:
• God the Father as head, then
• God the Son second and
• God the Spirit last.

Membership in the Trinity is exclusive, fixed (it neither increases nor decreases), made up of distinct individuals who are inseparable in unity.

All things are united under the headship of the Trinity (general unity), God was one in eternity past and all things were one in God after the beginning.

Humanity in Adam was the original union of man under God, with Adam as head. All who are part of this union share in his flesh/form (they are all born from the union of Adam’s flesh). While there is no limit to the number of members, membership is exclusive to all those who have been born into the flesh of Adam (through marriage, sex, conception and birth). God gave mankind marriage to order the human union, the right context for the proper expression of love, so that all mankind would become a single loving family with each husband exercising headship over his own family with due respect to the headship of God and Adam.

When Adam sinned all who share in his flesh (who were yet to be born) would also share in his disunity, cut off from God (life and love himself). Incapable of doing good (being like God), where a nature of love is replaced with sinfulness. Separately or together humans are incapable of knowing and expressing the love of God naturally. Therefore humanity no longer expresses the love of God within marriage and family as God originally intended.

New humanity in Christ (Christians), like the original (undefiled) union of man (in Adam) is modelled on the Trinity. Membership in this union is limited to those who have first been born into the flesh of Adam and then been reborn into the spirit of Christ (who is the head of this new human union). This is why Christ was born into the flesh of man, so that through his death and resurrection he would inaugurate this new human union. Like Adam he was the first born of his union, becoming its head, so that all (Christians) might be united in him (in spirit not flesh). It is unity in Christ’s spirit (form, the Holy Spirit) that his death and resurrection becomes effective for all Christians.

Adam is the head of humanity because he was the first human created by God and Christ is the head of this new humanity because he was the first of many to be raised from the dead. Adam was the first born (heir, lord, son of God, etc.) human of creation and therefore Christ is the first born of the new creation.

The union of new humanity is be one of form, nature and order. The form the elect take after their resurrection will be a spiritual body (1Corinthians 15) in the image of Christ’s post resurrection body in contrast to their current body of flesh in the image of Adam. As such our union with Christ is spiritual, whereas our union to Adam is one of flesh. Also all humanity are born into Adam’s body of flesh sharing in a bastardised union and rebellious nature (not love), so too all who trust in Christ will be reborn into the same spiritual body as him sharing in the perfect unity with access to the nature of God (love). Therefore in union with Christ the elect will be able to express their love within the marriage between Christ and his Church. So where there were once many self-seeking individuals all will be united in one man, Christ.

Because unity is achieved through form, nature and order, individuality/distinctiveness can be maintained without being absorbed into a single homogeneous being, consciousness or collective. A common loving nature means that each individual will not seek to impose their individuality on the whole (or part of the whole) union, this is called selfishness and is indicative of disunity. Instead each member will seek the best for the other members and the whole, in doing so they will seek the best for themselves. So in the new creation mankind will reflect the image of God once again (forever), being both one and many at the same time.

Unity is so difficult to understand because humanity is so far from the union which was to be their birth right (as God’s image bearers). Christians find it difficult to see the fullness of their union in Christ because they are both share in Adam’s flesh and the spirit of Christ. Therefore Christians must come to terms with their unity in Christ if they are to understand who God is and their renewed relationship we are with him.

In my next post I will summarise how the fundamentals of unity apply to the general union of all things in God.

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Comments
  1. I share your conceptualisation of the biblical revelation in these things, and have long thought it deserves careful systematising theologically for the common good and for the glory of God. Two more quick comments. I sometimes use the word “integrity” to describe something close to your idea of proper individuality within the overall context of Trinity-centred order. The other comment regards “race,” which is now pretty much deprecated in biological language, not for political reasons, but because genetics views humanity as arising from a common ancestor, in fact they even speak of Adam and Eve, and they mean real historical individuals, but in a different way to the Bible. Google Spencer Wells and genography for lots of recent stuff. There’s a paper somewhere that reports the Jewish family name Cohen (Hebrew for priest) actually do seem to share a genetic signature different to other Jews.

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