[John 17:21-23 KJV] (21) That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. (22) And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: (23) I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

[Gen 2:24 KJV] (24) Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

Paul certainly uses the analogy in a similar "A-B-C" idea, layering the same analogy from different perspectives, first wives, then husbands:

[Eph 5:22-24 KJV] (22) Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. (23) For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. (24) Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.

[Eph 5:25-32 KJV] (25) Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; (26) That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, (27) That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. (28) So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. (29) For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: (30) For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. (31) For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. (32) This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

Should we then look to the making of Adam and Eve as models of:

  • God and Sophia becoming one (Proverbs 8:22ff)
  • God and Christ becoming one (Zech 14:9)
  • Christ and the Assembly becoming one (John 17)
  • Husbands and wives becoming one (Eph 5)

Is the Adam/Eve pattern of "becoming one" behind "that they may be one just as we are one"? IE: Are God, Sophia, Christ, the Assembly and husbands and wives all congruent?


I just opened a tangentially related question on B-Greek if anyone wants to follow along and/or participate.

  • Who is Sophia??
    – GFFG
    Apr 14, 2019 at 19:05
  • 1
    @www.gffg.info Hi, sorry... "sophia" is Greek for "wisdom" and is one of the NT terms for the Messiah: blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/… You might want to read through Proverbs 8 with that in mind, especially beginning in verse 22.
    – Ruminator
    Apr 14, 2019 at 19:10
  • I see thank you. Where is it used for the term "Messiah" if you dont mind? @Ruminator
    – GFFG
    Apr 14, 2019 at 19:29
  • 1
    There are many but for example: [Mat 11:19 KJV] (19) The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children. [1Co 1:24, 30 KJV] (24) But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. ... (30) But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:
    – Ruminator
    Apr 14, 2019 at 19:31
  • 1
    One as in echâd not one as in physically intimate. Shema Israel says God is echâd. In the same way we are to be echâd with God united in purpose and direction. Is that what you’re asking? I don’t understand how else it might be read. Please clarify Apr 29, 2019 at 3:16

3 Answers 3


The oneness Jesus spoke of, between himself, the Father, and those in his Church, needs to be compared with the oneness that would unite a husband and a wife. You ask if all of them are congruent (accordant: conformable. But note that in the geometric sense, that means that figures coincide exactly when superimposed.)

Reference is made to Genesis 2:24 as it 'fits' with John 17:21-23 and Ephesians 5:22-32. Let's start with Jesus' words where he prays to his Father in heaven about his followers then, and all who would later believe on the basis of their word:

"...that they all may be one, as thou Father art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one." John 17:21-23 A.V.

This shows how important it was to Christ that his Church should be united, so that the world would see something of the healing and saving power of Christianity. It should not be a fractured society. There should be no judging 'according to the flesh' but acceptance on the basis of spiritual realities, not human characteristics. The unity Jesus prayed for in his Church was the kind that exists between the Father and the Son. We can be one if we all have the same relationship with God. Our unity is based on the life of God in our souls. Christ lives in us by the indwelling Holy Spirit. But this closeness goes so deep, the early church theologians had a special word for it, perichoresis. It conveyed how, not only were the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit beside, with, and towards one another: they dwell in each other.

"I am in the Father, and the Father is in me." (John 14:11) "...that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you". (John 17:21) "I in them and you in me (John 17:23). This goes far further than anything that can be known physically, as this book explains:

"Words such as these suggest a kind of union and interpenetration which is incredibly close and intimate, far beyond anything we can experience as human beings. This is why in John 14:9, Jesus can say to Philip, 'Anyone who has seen me has sen the Father.'

It is obviously impossible for us to have such a close relationship with any other human being...

The fact that Christ and the Church are 'one flesh' (Ephesians 5:29-32) indicates not simply a close bond between him and each of the other members of his body, but also a very close bond between the various members themselves. They, too, are one flesh, deeply involved in each other, and they must express this in their collective lifestyle... the unity of the Godhead results from the Father being the Father, the Son being the Son and the Spirit being the Spirit. Shared Life, Donald Macleod, pp 69-72, Christian Focus 1994

Now, let us compare the association of the Assembly with the sacred, unique union between husband and wife. Without doubt, there are some similarities to be seen. But can one 'set' be laid atop the other, geometrically, so that that the figures coincide exactly when superimposed? Quoting from the same theologian:

"Equality, diversity, community: all of these are reflections of the fact that we bear the image of God. Can we say the same of order in, for example, a husband's authority over a wife?... The New Testament writers do not regard the order, Father, Son and Holy Spirit as sacrosanct. As the so-called Athanasian Creed reminds us, 'In this Trinity none is before, or after another: none is greater, or less than another.' Besides, it is a fact that the Bible never appears to ground the order it insists o for human life in relations between the persons of the Trinity.

Our submission to government for example, is based on the fact that government is God's servant (Romans 13:4). When it comes to the authority of the husband over the wife the Bible mentions several reasons, but none of them has any connection with an order in the depths of the Godhead. Paul and Peter cite, instead, such things as that the man was created first (1 Timothy 2:13), that it was the woman who was deceived (vs. 14), that the woman was created for the man, not the man for the woman (1 Corinthians 11:9), and that the woman is the weaker vessel (1 Peter 3:7). We must not forget, of course, that the husband's authority, whatever its precise extent, always involves corresponding obligations. If he behaves tyrannically and selfishly, he has no right to claim support from the Bible. The very passage (Ephesians 5:22-33) which tells the wife to 'obey' also tells the husband to love, nourish and cherish - which surely includes giving the wife scope to express herself and to develop her own talents." (Ibid., pp 59- 61)

The union of a man with a woman in marriage is 'according to the flesh' as it is physical, fleshly. (There is no marriage in heaven, Jesus said.) The union of believers within the Godhead is spiritual, beginning on earth with the man or woman being born again of the Spirit, and based on the deepest spiritual union possible. The physical union of Genesis 2:24 was recorded in the Bible before humans (of both sexes) began to get any real idea about the spiritual union in store, through the advent of the Son of God, which surpasses anything we could ever know physically, on earth. If anything, Genesis 2:24 can only be an allusion to John 17:22-23 (not the other way around), merely showing an indirect link. If marriage was a model for spiritual realities, then what would become of the many who never married? Would they be unable to understand spiritual union with Christ? No, because shadows are never the realities.


The passage in John is talking about a spiritual union, the one in Genesis a sexual union as we see when Paul says that having sex with a prostitute makes "one flesh". So no, the John passage is not an allusion to the Genesis passage.


The principle of unity is inherent in God as the "Shema Israel" points out by stating that the Lord is God and the Lord is ONE:

[Deu 6:4-9 ESV] (4) "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. (5) You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. (6) And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. (7) You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. (8) You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. (9) You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

In the beginning (Genesis 1) Heaven and Earth were ONE, or united, and humans walked in the presence of God.

The same principle of unity is "stamped" so to say in everything God creates... and although sin cause division in the created, there is still enough evidence in creation, experience and obviously revelation, of our purpose in being created for unity/ union. This is manifested in Jesus' prayer in John 17, revealing both His desire for us to live on unity and His nature of union with the Father:

[Jhn 17:11 ESV] (11) And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.

The highest participation of humans in the divine act of creation is pro-creation and thus, it is no surprise that this also reveals the principle of union in the Creator/ created by the necessary union of man and woman.

Holiness is often understood in the Christian world as Union with God, and I consider it to be the best definition by far since it is not only consistent with the principle of union revealed in the Scriptures but also in the created.

I don't consider John 17:22 to be simply an allusion to Genesis 2:24 but rather another further revelation of God's nature and if His "modus operandi" in creation. Scripture and nature (material and spiritual) are both consistent with the ancient prayer of Israel... the Lord is One, and we, created in His image and likeness, are meant to be clear manifestations of this unity- with self, with others, with the cosmos and with God Himself, as He meant it from the beginning.

  • 1
    The first time echâd is used in the Bible is Genesis 1:5 evening and morning were the first (echâd) day. Where do you read that the heavens and the earth were ONE in Genesis chapter1? Apr 29, 2019 at 10:53
  • Paul says that a woman becomes one with her husband, not when they are created but rather when the "become united". Paul says the same applies to Christ and the Assembly. But Jesus prays that the saints would "become one" as Jesus is with his father (IE: God). Does Proverbs 8:22ff describe a similar "uniting" of "Sophia" with God? In marriage, the woman adopts the name of her man. Is that what is going on in Zech 14:9? In other words, is the "type" of "marriage" ad hoc or a divine paradigm?
    – Ruminator
    Apr 29, 2019 at 14:27

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