At the very beginning of the Bible, in Genesis chapter 1, we are told that God created humans in his image. This was the climax and pinnacle of his creation.
26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
27 So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.
The narrative continues describing the fall of man and its consequences. At the heart of the fall was a desire to be like God. Part of the consequences of the fall was a change was that the relationship between man and God changed and the relationships between people changed. The relationship between men and women was not how God original intended, similarly the relationship between different cultures. This is described in chapters 3 to 11 of Genesis. A few key verses are shown below.
From Genesis 3
16 To the woman he said,
“I will make your pains in childbearing very severe;
with painful labour you will give birth to children.
Your desire will be for your husband,
and he will rule over you.”
From Genesis 11
Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. 2 As people moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there.
3 They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. 4 Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”
5 But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower the people were building. 6 The Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. 7 Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.”
8 So the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. 9 That is why it was called Babel—because there the Lord confused the language of the whole world. From there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth.
The rest of the Bible, starting with the story of Abraham, describes how God is brining about a new creation, restoring of relationship between humans and God and between humans. The climax of this is the death and resurrection of Jesus which ushers in the new creation that will be fully realised at the end of the age.
9 After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.
In the meantime, we seek to see the new creation breaking into the present age.
Paul summarises the restoration of relationships between humans in his letter to the Galatians chapter 3.
28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
In the body of Christ, we are all one, all equal. Regardless of race; social position or gender. Don’t have to become all the same race, social position or gender. Don’t have to change – become like others – white middle class or whatever. White is not superior to black; male is not superior to female; cleaner is not superior to bank manager. Just as it was before the fall.
Equal doesn’t mean the same. We should not be colour blind. We should not be unaware of peoples cultural and educational backgrounds. We don’t ignore differences, we say they no longer create barriers to fellowship. We recognise each other as equals.
The focus in Scripture is on caring for the vulnerable. The powerful ignores differences – say we are all the same, ignoring the fact that we are not but that we should have equal opportunities and value.
In the light of these truths we want to be –
A growing community of people – from different backgrounds, stages of life and experiences, including the vulnerable – who are one family in Christ Jesus.
Over the last few months I have preached several sermons which describe this in more detail. You can listen to these sermons on line.
An initial sermon describing that we are ALL one in Christ based on Galatians 3v28.
A sermon on racism.
A sermon on Men, Women and God.
Written by Tony Thompson