In a world filled with more and more social networking on the internet we taste God’s creation design in a new way. We are made to be relational—that’s our starting point. It comes from God, who as the Triune One, exists in his eternal life of communion, with the Father and Son always exchanging a mutual devotion in love through the Spirit’s intimate ministry. The Spirit is not the lover himself, but the discloser of the depths of the one to the other (1 Corinthians 2:9-13).
We, in turn, are made in the image of God as relational. Adam and Eve were the original “Man” who was one, though he—they—lived within the distinctions of being male and female. The bond of the original couple was ultimately spiritual—that of a pair whose distinct inner person or spirit was glued together by the presence of their shared life in the eternal Spirit. Their “yoke” or bond was Spiritual so that a marriage of an unbelieving person to a believer was an “unequal yoking” (1 Corinthians 7:13-14, 39 & 2 Corinthians 6:14). Only in Christ, then, can it be said that “the two shall be one flesh” in the fullest sense of God’s creation design.
This, I realize, isn’t a commonplace view in a world now shaped mainly by the assumptions of individualism. It’s even rare among Christians. The presumptions of individualistic-being were best expressed by the ancient Stoic Christian, Boethius, who held persons to be individual thinking-choosing units. His portrayal was then widely accepted in subsequent Western thought—no doubt a default sentiment birthed in the Fall of Adam.
Boethius, however, missed the biblical presumption that God created human life to be bonded both together with each other and also with him within the fabric of his own eternal Life. We are dependent on him both for our physical life and for our spiritual life—that which is born of the flesh is flesh (and comes through his creation and sustaining the earth), and that which is born of the Spirit is a spiritual life (coming through our bond to God in Christ).
All this leads to the remarkable truth that the true meaning of networking only comes for those who are “in Christ”. Short of that we just love those who love us—which is a very insecure sort of bond in a fallen world where love is mainly conditional and temporal rather than unconditional and eternal.
Our bond in Christ also sets us up with the promise of an “insider’s” view of life as we enjoy the communion of God’s Life. Listen to Paul on this: “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14).
So what can we say about all this? Does it have any practical implications for those of us who network with each other as believers? As we share “the mind of Christ” (verse 16) are we really different? I think we are . . . and we should be. For one, our connection is eternal rather than temporal and temporary; so we get to talk about things within a much broader frame of reference. And huge implications result from that.
Any other Spiritual reflections on what this all means are welcome. And maybe we should call the community that has this conversation “ChristBook”.