Theology of Community

God is the reason we have community in the first place because God Himself demonstrates the perfect community. This is seen not only in God’s triune nature of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, but also in His visible image in this world. God said that mankind, apart from everything else in all creation, is made in the very image of God. Yet being made in the image of God is not something to gloss over as it has everything to do with community. Biblically speaking, there are three specific ways in which man has been set apart: we were given the authority to rule (Gen. 1:26), exist in great numbers (Gen. 1:27), and have the ability to bring forth life (Gen. 1:28).

In rulership, God, under His Ultimate Sovereignty, established and ordained man with authority to rule over all the earth.  Everything, from fish to birds and livestock to bugs, was placed under the dominion of man.  The Sovereign God decreed a level of sovereign rule to be given to humans. Not just one man, but all of us together are to rule over God’s creation. This is living community working together.

In plurality, God created mankind.  He did not just make a singular man.  On the contrary, He designed both male and female.  Adam by himself was not made in the image of God.  This image, as seen in the Genesis passage, is a collective reflection — a corporate identity.  All of us together make up the image of God.  When God looked over all of creation and saw that everything He had made was very good, He was not saying that everything was just okay until woman was made.  What He saw when He looked over creation was His image (male and female) manifested. His communal image was finally being displayed in the created world. Thus, man and woman are a picture of community glorifying God together.

In our ability to give life, God hand-crafted two vessels which fired up a chain reaction of multiplication, by the billions, into the human community we see today. When God acted, life began and, through our actions, we bring forth life creating a larger community. What we often miss, however, as we read through the Genesis account is that God’s command for us to populate the world is two-sided (i.e. fruitful and multiply). It is easy to multiply. Hundreds of thousands of people are born every day. The challenge is in obeying God’s command to be fruitful which implies instruction. This command to be fruitful and instruct the next generation does not only apply to the physical family but to the spiritual family as whole.

In view of the spiritual community in which we are a part, our personal lives and ministries, we will be interacting with people on a regular basis. Men and women who have had different experiences, various backgrounds and possess unique viewpoints. We must remember as we seek to grow in our community and in leadership that we are to view our brothers and sisters as part of this global image of God. As we reflect on their role as image-bearers of God then we will also be reminded of the perfect relationship of community demonstrated by the Trinity as we seek to serve one another. We can do this by honoring others, sacrificing our conveniences to build others up and by investing our time into fellow man. If we are intentional in perceiving needs then we will help foster a healthy Christian community.

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