When two become one. What it means to be in Christ. (15 Apr 2012)

God says to Adam and Eve, “That’s why a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife. The two of them will become one” (Gen 2:24 NIRV). If we use logic, we might ask, “How can 1+1=1?” Call it spiritual mathematics. As rational minded human beings we find this hard to understand (1 Cor 2:14). Jesus affirms this unique relationship between a man and his wife, “They are no longer two, but one. So a man must not separate what God has joined together” (Mat 19:6 NIRV). The apostle Paul affirms, “Don’t you know that when you join yourself to a prostitute, you become one with her in body? Scripture says, “The two will become one” (1Co 6:16 NIRV). Singles and married couples are urged to be chaste.

One day in June 2003, Paul West, a prolific novelist suffered a massive stroke. When he regained consciousness, he was afflicted with aphasia – loss of language. For a professor of American and Irish literatures it was a terrible blow. He could utter only one syllable: “mem.” Over the next six years, his wife, Diane Ackerman, a writer herself, nursed him. She saturated him with language and never left his side. She saw the healing process first hand. From her experiences, she wrote a book in 2011, “One Hundred Names for Love: A Stroke, a Marriage, and the Language of Healing.” She adds, “When two people become a couple, the brain extends its idea of self to include the other; instead of the slender pronoun “I,” a plural self emerges who can borrow some of the other’s assets and strengths” (Ackerman, “The Brain on Love,” The New York Times, March 24, 2012, also in “Love’s brain chemistry,”  The Straits Times, March 27 , 2012).

In the new field of interpersonal neurobiology (IN), scientists are integrating all relevant field of science. IN integrates sciences from anthropology, biology, cognitive science, computer science, developmental psychopathology, linguistics, neuroscience, mathematics, mental health, physics, psychiatry, psychology, sociology and systems theory.

In “The Mentored Life – from Individualism to Personhood,“ Professor Jim Houston says that our identity is with Christ. As Christians we are mentored by the Teacher, the Spirit of Christ. The Holy Spirit points to Christ for modeling, guidance and fulfillment. The person in-Christ is no longer the autonomous individual. The Christian is connected to others in the Body of Christ. It begins with self-renunciation by being “crucified-with-Christ” (Gal 2:20). In the growing up into Christ, the Head, one becomes “open” to the Person of God and to other persons in the Body of Christ (1 Cor 12:14, 24).  There is One Body and One Head.

For the lonely singles, the estranged, the marrieds whose relationships are strained, and the happily married, Jesus stands as the One who can make you whole. What has He done by His dying on the Cross, His burial and His rising again? One is “joined to the Lord becomes one with Him in spirit” and “you are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority” (1Co 6:17; Col 2:10). Endure life’s struggles, resist temptations to sin, abide in Christ. He is returning soon to perfect the people of God.

God is love. Jesus loved and died for mankind. For believers, God has poured His love into our hearts through the Holy Spirit (Rom 5:5). In-Christ, we are “united with Him in His death and shall certainly be united with Him in a resurrection like His” (Rom 6:5).

Elder Yoong Yuen Soo