Unity and Diversity

Thinking Out Loud with Dave Nienhuis

Seattle Pacific University


I’ve been thinking a lot about unity and diversity in terms of creation. Even in Genesis 1, so when God creates, God’s speaking in the plural us. Even the name God, Elohim in Hebrew, is plural. It’s technically the gods in Hebrew but it never ever takes a plural verb or a plural modifier in any way. It’s always singular throughout Scripture. And so this one God, is somehow a plural being but is one.

And when God creates humans, humanity, one, singular… but is male and female. So singularity and plurality are just sort of built into everything. As it’s God’s nature. And humans just continue to struggle to live into that oneness. That is an essential part of our whole created order.

This gets at the heart of atonement, of at-one-ment. That to be a human is to be created for this, which means I’m never reduce able to my individuality, to my function, to my gender, whatever essentialism we tend to promote these days. It’s always bigger, it’s always more.

So my wholeness exceeds me. It exceeds me because it involves God and it involves you and it involves the earth and it involves everything that God has made ’cause we’re creatures that are bound up within everything else.

I mean even the great commandment, it’s love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. And in the Greek another is . It’s literally like, the same. So we take it to mean a second is like it. Meaning we think that first love God, and then love your neighbor. But he’s saying no it’s , those are the same. If you’re going to love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, it means loving your neighbor fully. Because we can’t extract ourselves from our neighbor, from our God. We’re all bound up in one another in God’s order of things.

So to be whole is to see me not just, even in my limited sense of the self embodiment presentation but in my nexus of relationships, with others, with the earth, with my story, my problems and my loves and my hobbies. All those things that we typically only reserve for people who are most intimate to us.

Center for Faithful Business

Seattle Pacific University

Dr. JoAnn Flett, Executive Director



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