One of the great lies of this age is that we are individuals. We are not, not entirely! Well, we are until we become in Christ, until we find our deeper identity in Christ through the trinitarian character of God. Apart from Christ there is a very high cost for people to remain individuals. That cost is death. What do I mean? I mean that the most basic definition of life requires the ability of self-replication or reproduction. Individuals are not self-replicating. Individuals cannot reproduce. Reproduction requires a male and a female. God has provided the means, structure and order for the process of human reproduction, for human life on this earth.
God’s order is called the family, and it rests upon a covenant—a promise, an agreement, a commitment. People often mistakenly think that this covenant is or must be between one man and one woman because reproduction requires one man and one woman, but there is more to it than that. We call it a marriage covenant, but there is more to it than what most people usually think.
God gave this covenant to Adam and Eve in the garden (Genesis 1:28). At first, Adam had no “helper fit for him” (Genesis 2:20). He was incomplete, he was not teleios, not whole, not independent. Apart from Eve humanity would have died out with Adam. Adam, as an individual, was not able to reproduce. In order for humanity to live in time, on this earth, reproduction is necessary. Again, apart from reproduction, humanity will die out as a biblical kind. Thus, one unit of humanity is composed of a male and a female. That is the most basic element of the human kind because it is self-replicating.
But there is another essential element involved in reproduction, in families. God is the creator and author of life itself, including human life. People can copulate, but only God can create life. People can stop life, end life, thwart life, frustrate life, interfere with life, abort life and prevent life. But we cannot create life. And because God is the creator and author of life, and the creator and author of marriage and families, God is necessarily involved in marriage and family life. God orders it. He provides the context in which life—marriage and families—can exist. He provides the context or circumstance for human life to flourish, which is to say that God is the foundation upon which the marriage covenant rests, and that apart from that foundation human life will be less than teleios, less than perfect, less than whole, less than complete. Indeed, apart from God, who is the creator and sustainer of life, death prevails (Proverbs 8:36).
The point is that God is a covenant partner in all marriage—the superior partner. The central human covenant is not marriage between one man and one woman, but is between one man, one woman and the One God who is the creator and author of life itself. The covenant is trinitarian. It provides for human individuality, human corporality, and human eternality (or human sustainability). It is not that God’s covenant with man is simply like a marriage covenant. But that God’s covenant with man—with humanity—is bound to the process and the fruit of human reproduction. Human reproduction requires one man, one woman and the One God who is creator and author of life itself. Out of these three comes one. The three are one in unity, in Christ. The three are one. And the one is three.