Social Distancing and The Trinity
Social distancing as I’m sure many have pointed out is not really a new concept. It was called isolation. And we find this in the Bible to contain the spread of contagious diseases such as leprosy. We read this in Leviticus. The main and obvious difference is that it was the person or people with the disease (determined by the priest) that were to separate themselves from the rest of the community. That is a demonstration of the divine wisdom. It makes sense. Those who were clearly symptomatic were separated from the rest of the people. However, the difference now is that everyone is deemed contagious whether they show symptoms or not. Not only that, even those that have been vaccinated against Covid currently have to practice careful separation by distance, exclusion, including wearing a face mask. This, we are told, is to keep us all safe. Regardless of whether you have been vaccinated or not.
I’m sure those that know about these things will be able to explain it all scientifically. But I have another explanation, and it’s this. We, all of us, have been created as social beings. Because of the fall there are clearly anomalies to this. Included in that are differing personality types and some forms of mental incapacity. But by and large that is what we are – Social Beings. Social distancing then, has a marked and serious mental consequence. We don’t do well when isolated. There are exceptions as I’ve said, but in the normal course of life isolation is not good. It was Jeremy Bentham back in the 18th Century that came up with the ‘Panopticon’ prison. This was a form of isolated observation. Why do you think isolation is such an effective means of torture? Divide and conquer. Isolation then, is weaponised.
One of Satan’s tactics against struggling Christians, or anyone else for that matter is to isolate them. And it is true of bereavement. The reaction is to isolate oneself, and we all know this is not a good thing. Some time alone to reflect is normal and necessary at such times of great distress. But isolation is something else altogether and is not good. We know this.
It might surprise some to realise or understand that God the creator is also a Social Being. In other words, within the Triune Godhead there is at the heart of the divine being, community. A better word for this is fellowship or communion. Within the fellowship of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is love and communion, not isolation. We can remind ourselves that the ultimate experience of the wrath of God was isolation, not communion. The cry of dereliction from the Cross by The Lord Jesus Christ was ‘Why have you forsaken me?’ Hell will be eternal separation, eternal forsakenness. Isolation in its most terrible and permanent form.
We can perhaps think about the Social Distancing in two ways then. In the first place:
Social distancing isn’t just an assault on the created order but on God himself. Where Social Distancing is enforced by the authorities it is, I think, another form of rebellion against God. The Lord of heaven and earth has set in his creation a certain order. And enforced isolation such as is being experienced during our current crisis strikes at that order and at the very nature of God.
But secondly, the isolation is a foretaste of the final judgement. The isolation we might feel during the lockdowns and the social distancing is only a temporary thing. For Christians the isolation is temporary. But for those that do not know God through Christ, the isolation to come will be intensified to an awful degree for eternity.
Social distancing tells us two important things about the Gospel.
- It tells us that by nature we are far off from God. Our sin has separated us from God and so deep within us we know something is not right. The Gospel tells us we are separated and at a distance from our creator. Social distancing powerfully demonstrates this.
- It tells us that God has done something about it and so by the blood of Christ we are have been brought near. When the Bible uses the word ‘know’ it’s often used relationally. For example, Adam knew Eve. So, in marriage we ‘know’ our husbands or wives. Marriage illustrates just how close the believer has been brought to God. Our relationship with God through Christ is one of great intimacy – the ultimate relationship. There is no isolation in Christ.
Relationships then reflect the very nature of God. And it’s that relationship, that close relationship within the Godhead, that we are invited to experience, and to experience for all eternity.
I’m sorry to say the Vaccine is offered as a poor substitute. The adverts tell us that the vaccinations bring hope. It’s a lie in its ultimate sense. Only through knowing the Lord Jesus Christ will any of us experience real eternal hope not the temporary ‘fix’ of the vaccine.
All my hope on God is founded;
he doth still my trust renew.
Me through change and chance he guideth,
only good and only true.
calls my heart to be his own.
Wherever you are right now, God is inviting you with all your doubts and fears to trust in His Son the Lord Jesus Christ.
‘some sat in darkness and in the shadow of death, prisoners in affliction and in irons,
for they had rebelled against the words of God, and spurned the counsel of the Most High.
So he bowed their hearts down with hard labor; they fell down, with none to help.
Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress.’ Psalm 107:10-13