Community is a natural thing for all of us. We all exist in some form of community somewhere in some way. Most of us have attended high school. I, of course, have a hard time remembering high school, but high school is often our first adult experience of community.
What kind of communities do we have in high school? We’ve got the nerds, the dorks, the geeks, and the goths, the list goes on and really these are just groups of people – clicks. All of these groups have, at the bare minimum, shared interests. These shared interests link them together. For the most part, everyone has this innate desire within themselves to gather with people who have something in common with them. I think this is demonstrated in our culture, in a broken way, through reality TV. In particular, the television show Survivor. I know a lot of people say they don’t like the show, but really, I think most of us secretly do. It’s not hip to like it, so most people say they are not a fan, but then they go home watch Survivor or go to the bars to watch the show.
Why is Survivor so popular? Well, because it fits nicely into our post-modern world, in the sense that, to win the game, you have to form alliances? To win the game you have to have some sense of community. You have to work together to make progress in this game but ultimately there is only one winner – so betrayal is an intricate part of the game, and that’s what our culture resonates with. Survivor touches on our longing to be part of a community, but it also touches on the reality that we cannot truly trust anyone, because if we do, they will ultimately stab us in the back.
This longing for community is woven into the very fabric of who we are. In the very first pages of world history in the book of Genesis, God speaks the world into existence. He speaks mountains and oceans and animals, tigers, lions, and elephants into reality. He speaks life into existence. In chapter one verse 26 of Genesis God creates human beings. God said let us make man in our image and in our likeness. Let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth and over all the creatures that move along the ground.
The story continues in verse 27 – God created man in his own image and the image of God he created him male and female he created them. Two things should be noted here. God created man and woman in his image, but there is an interesting thing about God’s image. What does he say in verse 26? He says let us make man in our image, in our likeness. In the beginning of the page, the first page of Genesis, at least in my book of the university edition of the bible, we find God saying – Let us create man in our image. We see the trinity, a picture of God the father, God the son, and God the Holy Spirit, creating man in their image which means that you and I are created by a community.
At our core, we find, that we are created for community. We were created to be with like kind. If you move to chapter two in Genesis, there is a more detailed account of this creation story. God has created all the animals and everything. He is going to place man into the garden and man does not have any needs. The reason the is important is because God is says something very dramatic in verse 18. The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”
It is not good for man to be alone. Man has everything, perfect relationship with God. No need for food, shelter everything is just there for him. Yet it is not good for him to be alone. Now a lot of young men will take this and say, “See that just means it is not good for man not to have a wife.” This is not to hard to agree with, but I think this statement goes far beyond a wife because everything is right. Everything is perfect. No sin has entered the garden at this point and something is not good – being without like kind. That is important. It shows that we are created for each other. I believe this transcends just the man and the woman. It is about the human race. We need each other.
The Genesis story continues – Adam gets Eve and Adam and Eve sin. They disobey God. They eat from the tree that they are not supposed to eat from. They are removed from the garden and everything is impacted. The community of the environment, the community of animals, and the community of man are all thrown into chaos, and all those communities are damaged because of sin. No longer can the community of man and the community of God have any kind of meaningful relationship. It is now a broken relationship.