Thursday, January 19, 2006

Salvation: Individual or Communal? (part 3)

In the beginning, when God was busy creating everything, there is a clear pattern to the Bible's recording of the events. God spoke things into existence, examined them and declared them: "Good". Then, he would do it again.

Over and over this happens in the first pages of the Bible. God speaks, things appear, he examines them and says, "That's good."

Everything's good -- until he sees something that isn't. Anyone remember the first thing about which the Bible says, "That's not good"?

"It's not good for man to be alone."

Think about this for a minute. This is before the Fall. Adam exists in unbroken fellowship with God. There is no sin, no shame, no separation. We would be tempted to have a conversation with Adam that looks like this:

US: What's wrong with you, Adam?

ADAM: I feel like something's wrong.

US: Wrong? What could be wrong?

ADAM: I don't know. I just feel alone sometimes.

US: Oh, Adam, as long as you have God, you're never alone.

The problem with that conversation is that it is God himself who chooses the words in this portion of Scripture. And the words he chooses to describe a sinless Adam at this point in time include "alone" and "not good".

In other words (and I think I have borrowed this phrase from either John Ortberg or Gilbert Bilezekian), while there is a God-shaped hole in the human heart that no one else can fill, there is also a human-shaped hole in the human heart that not even God himself will fill.

And this relates to what we've been discussing here for the past few days. One man, rightly related to God, with no communal experience, is not good.