Echad: A Study on the Concept of Unity

ECHAD COVER

Genesis 2:18 says, “It is not good that man should be alone.” From the very beginning, Yahweh gave man an inherent need for companionship. He created us to need positive interactions with other human beings in order to not only be healthy, but happy and complete.

– ON A PHYSICAL LEVEL –

Biologically, we humans are social creatures. Scientists tell us we need ‘four hugs a day for survival, eight hugs a day for maintenance, and twelve hugs a day for growth.’ This is because human touch actually causes a biochemical and physiological reaction in your body that promotes good health.

When you touch someone (whether by hugging or shaking hands or any other form of contact), both of your brains release a hormone called oxytocin—also known as the love hormone—which studies show lowers your blood pressure, reduces levels of stress hormones, fights fatigue, eases depression, improves your ability to recall memories, and even boosts your immune system by triggering a reaction in your solar plexus to create white blood cells. All of that from a hug! The Creator obviously knew what He was doing when He created us, and when He told us it would be better to come together with others than to be alone.

– IN THE BIBLE –

In order to better understand the Biblical concept of unity, I want to look at a very important word—echad. This word is used in several places throughout the Bible: when the Lord tells Adam and Eve that they are to ‘become one’ (Gen 2:24), when He describes Himself as being ‘One’ (Deut 6:4), when His people ‘united’ their hearts to do His will (2 Chron 30:12), and when God declares that He will one day give Israel ‘singleness’ of heart and purpose (Jer 32:39).

The word echad is made up of three Hebrew characters: an aleph, a chet, and a dalet. In Bible times, Hebrew was primarily a pictographic language. It would’ve looked something like this:
echad

  • The aleph is shown as the head of an ox. It represents strength and power, or the “head” of a group of people.
  • The chet is shown as a wall. It represents separation—to be “outside” of something, or to be set apart.
  • The dalet is shown as a door. This is an interesting character because in ancient Hebrew culture, to pass through a doorway was an act of coming into covenant with the leader of the home. So not only does dalet represent ‘a way in,’ but it’s considered a way into covenant with someone.

If we put it all together, when this word was originally used it would’ve been defined as “the strength of someone coming in to covenant.” This didn’t quite make it into our modern English translations, but it’s important to understand because it gives us a better view of just how much God values connections between people (and the connection we have with Him). After all He calls Himself ‘echad’, then tells us that we are made in His image and calls us to be more like Him. He also says that this is His goal for His church—that we be echad (united) of heart and mind.

– IN OUR LIVES –

At times, we encounter obstacles which keep us from coming together. Some are our own inhibitions—maybe we’re depressed, or shy, or have gotten so used to being alone that we no longer hold a strong desire to be around other people. Others are more complicated, like hurt feelings or an inability to forgive someone who has wronged us. Whatever the reason, we know Psalm 133:1 says, “Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity!” 1 Corinthians 1:10 also tells us that we are to be “perfectly united in mind and thought.” Yahweh would not have anyone be divided by strife or separated by ideas put into our heads by the enemy. Rather, He wants us to forgive one another just like He forgives us, and come together peacefully. We’re called to set aside our differences and inhibitions in order to be unified in Christ and do great things in His name.

About Jessica Rackley

Jessica Rackley is a 21-year-old writer and multi-media artist, born and living in the sunny valleys of Arizona. Happily married to her first love and best friend, she is a mother of one beautiful baby boy and two mischievous cats. She enjoys cliche things such as long walks under the stars, listening to the rain, and curling up with a good, long book. Blog, Twitter, Facebook
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