About Jesus - Steve (Stephen) Sweetman
that is one yet consists of many individual, distinctive, and
functioning parts is what I call a unified plurality.
A car is a unified plurality because being one car; it consists
of many individual, distinctive, and functioning parts that create the
car. A headlight and a
muffler are completely different in appearance and functionality, but
both add to a car being a car. A
baseball team is a unified plurality that consists of many individual,
distinctive, and functioning members that create the team, most of whom
are never seen on the field of play.
concept of a unified plurality is basic to the very essence of God, as
seen when He said "let us make mankind" (Genesis 1:26).
The pronoun "us" implies God being a unified plurality,
consisting of more than one individual, distinctive, and functioning
personalities that create one essence. Logic,
then, dictates that God's intent in creation was that it exists as a
unified plurality. One
example of this is seen when God created a human in His likeness and
image (Genesis 1:26). That
makes me a unified plurality consisting of many individual, distinctive,
and functioning body parts. I
am also united with my wife. Together
we are a unified plurality, as in, the two become one (Genesis 2:24).
God called Israel
to be a unified
plurality, one nation consisting of twelve distinctive tribes
(Deuteronomy 27:12 - 13). Israel's leadership was a unified plurality consisting of seventy individual
elders (Exodus 24:1).
chose twelve apostles to be a unified plurality (Matthew 10:1 - 4).
He prayed that they, and us, would be one, just as He and His
Father were one, that is, a unified plurality (John 17:20 - 21).
It makes sense, then, that when the Holy Spirit entered the lives
of one hundred and twenty believers (Acts 2) the church was born to be a
unified plurality, one body consisting of many individual, distinctive,
and functioning believers (1 Corinthians 12:12 - 31).
A unified plurality of elders would then care for the unified
church (Titus 1:5).
what many call the fall of mankind (Genesis 3), any kind of unified plurality
anywhere is difficult to come by. Soon
after the church was born, for example, it was divided over a dispute
concerning food distribution (Acts 6).
From then on, church being a unified plurality has
been consistently challenged, the Covid controversy and political
rivalries being two recent examples of disunity.
Nevertheless, Jesus' prayer for a unified plurality among His
community of people remains. John
17:20 and 21 read:
prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in
me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as
you are in me and I am in you. May
they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent
experiencing seventy years of church, I do not expect Jesus' prayer to
be realized until He returns in person to fix what we have broken.
In the meantime, like the apostle Paul (Philippians 3:12) we
press on, making every effort to help facilitate Jesus' desire for a
unified plurality among us until He returns to finish the process of
perfection. To the degree,
then, that church becomes a unified plurality will be the degree to
which church can effectively demonstrate that God has sent Jesus into
the world to save any and all who will trust their lives with Him.