When I was a kid I learned that 1 + 1 = 2. I don’t know if it made a lot of sense then, but since that time this simple little equation has served me quite well. It helped me through grade school, served as a foundation in high school and eventually enabled me to navigate calculus in college. It’s helped me know how many tickets to buy for an event and how much money to pay. It’s been especially handy when people ask how many kids I have.
Since becoming a Christian (1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 . . . years ago), I’ve come to learn that God doesn’t exactly think like we do. In fact, at times His math is remarkably different than mine. I’ve known all this for a long time, but only recently has the understanding of God’s mysterious manner of ciphering really begun to sink into my soul.
In my last post I wrote about the Trinity: 1 + 1 +1 = 1. Confusing? Well, yes. But then again, we’re talking about the Creator of the universe. We can accept a degree of mind stretching. But God’s mysterious math isn’t limited to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
The key in all of this is to understand the concept of covenant. A covenant is a sacred, binding and enduring relationship, similar to the ancient idea of blood brotherhood. It speaks of a relational oneness of the highest order. When two individuals or groups entered into a covenant; friends, enemies, possessions and even identities became shared.
To enter a covenant often brought excellent benefits. To break a covenant resulted in many painful and terrible curses. A covenant is to be regarded with the seriousness of the weightiest relationship and celebrated as the most blessed. The failure to understand the nature of a covenant unleashes a torrent of confusion and inevitably the inability to understand how God interacts with humanity.
Our first example of a human to human covenant dates way back to Genesis 2:18-24. God took one, made him two, and then made them one again.
“Then the LORD God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.’ Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every beast of the field, but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him.
So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. The LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. The man said, ‘This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.’
For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.” (NASB)
They shall become one flesh. In other words: 1 + 1 = 1. Go figure. If you can!