Made for Relationships
And God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them (Genesis 1:27).
And the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a help meet for him” (Genesis 2:18).
God made man in His own image, and yet it is not good for man to be alone: this is what we gain from the two versions of the Creation story in Genesis. This does not mean that the two versions are at odds with one another; instead, the author is pointing to a profound truth: humans are made for relationships.
Humans are not designed to be loners. The desire to associate with fellow human beings, to belong in a group, and to be accepted by a group of peers is a universal desire, transcending all racial, ethnic, linguistic, and geographical barriers. Very few are those who remain celibate their entire lives and who do not seek an intimate relationship with another person.
These realities are not coincidental; they are part of how God hard-wired humanity (Genesis 1:27; cf. Romans 1:19-20). We were designed with just enough independence to function and to maintain a form of self-identity but not enough so as to feel as if we did not really need anyone else around. We are made to have relationships and to associate with others.
We are made for relationships precisely because we are made in the image of God. God is One (Deuteronomy 6:4), yet God is not just one person. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are different Persons, yet remain one in nature, essence, substance, and will (cf. John 1:1, 8:17-18, 1 Peter 1:2, 2 Peter 1:21). The unity of God is a relational unity. God is One on the basis of the strength of the relationship among the Father, Son, and the Spirit. God is love because of the love flowing from the Father, the Son, and the Spirit.
These theological truths are not presented for us in order for them to remain abstract, distant, and seemingly irrelevant to life. The nature of God’s oneness is critical for our own understanding of oneness, since we are to be one just as God is one. We are called to maintain a relationship with God and with all those who share in that relationship with God in the same way as God maintains relationships within Himself (John 17:20-23)!
We have been created to seek after our Creator and to experience the love that can only come through Him (Acts 17:27, 1 John 4:7-12). All of the relationships we have on earth in some way mirror that intended relationship with God. The intimate unity of husband of wife is to be more perfectly realized spiritually between Christ and His church (Ephesians 5:31-32). The camaraderie of a group points to the eternal bond of those who are part of Christ’s church (cf. Revelation 21:1-22:6). We want to be understood, known, and accepted for who we really are; in Christ we find understanding and acceptance (cf. 1 Corinthians 13:12, 1 John 4:7-21).
We are made to have a relationship with our Creator. He made us to seek Him and to walk in His ways (Acts 17:27, 1 John 2:6). This involves much more than external motions and outward obedience– we must find in God the satisfaction of all desire, the Friend above all friends, so that we can find ourselves one with God as He is One within Himself. We will be entirely transformed by that experience, able to reflect the love of God in Christ to others as we have received it in Him (Matthew 5:13-16, Galatians 2:20). Let us build and maintain a proper relationship with our Creator, and dwell with Him forever!
Ethan R. Longhenry