This morning, we continue our introduction to our new series on relationships. We are still looking at the fact that we were created to belong.
We have a “Human-shaped Void” because we were made to know oneness. That is why loneliness is so painful. In the story of the Creation in the book of Genesis, a little refrain keeps recurring: “And God said…and it was so…and God saw that it was good.” The writer is emphasising that everything that exists is the effortless activity of an unimaginably powerful God, and all of it is unspeakably delightful: This is the song of Creation: “And God said…and it was so…and God saw that it was good.” Until the final act—when the song comes screeching to a halt. God creates a man in his own image. God looks at this man, who bears his likeness, and he says, “Not good.” Why does God look at man and say “Not good”?
This is a radical comment about the fundamental importance of human relationships. What is striking is that the Fall has not yet occurred. There is no sin, no disobedience, nothing, to mar the relationship between God and man. The human being is in a state of perfect intimacy with God. Each word he and God speak with each other is filled with closeness and joy; he walks with God in the garden in the cool of the day. He is known and loved to the core of his being by his omniscient, love-filled Creator. Yet the word God uses to describe him is “alone.” And God says that this aloneness is “not good.”
Community/relationship is what you were created for. It is God’s desire for your life. It is the one indispensable condition for human flourishing. Sometimes in church circles when people feel lonely, we will tell them not to expect too much from human relationships, that there is inside every human being a God-shaped void that no other person can fill. That is true. But apparently, according to the writer of Genesis, God creates inside this man a kind of “human-shaped void” that God himself will not fill. No substitute will fill this need in you for human relationship: Not money Not achievement Not busyness Not books Not even God himself Even though this man was in a state of sinless perfection, he was “alone.” And it was not good.
Community is what you were created for. It is God’s desire for your life. It is the one indispensable condition for human flourishing. According to Jean Vanier, “A community is not simply a group of people who live together and love each other. It is a place of resurrection”.
Being in meaningful relationships is life-giving in the most literal sense. With billions of people in the world, someone should figure out a system where no one is lonely. Someone did. That Someone is God. That system is called community/relationship.
This business of community turns out to be something far deeper than just building a successful network of emotional support. It is not simply about loneliness avoidance. It is the reason why the universe exists, and why you and I do as well.
Dallas Willard puts it like this: “God’s aim in human history is the creation of an inclusive community of loving persons, with himself included as its primary sustainer and most glorious inhabitant.”
My prayer is that as you read this you will once again appreciate and cherish those relationships you are in and commit to those relationships with everything you have.