God, Adam and Eve had a perfect relationship. Two children, destined to multiply and rule the earth, living in harmony with their creator. Their love relationship with the Father allowed them to flourish and became the definition of corporate identity.

Human beings were not meant to live as islands unto themselves but in community. We were created to recognize God, live in a love relationship with Him and maintain love relationships with one another.

If human beings had not disconnected themselves from the source of their identity (as Adam and Eve did in the garden), they would have continued to draw their value from God. The community that would have ultimately subdued the earth would have shared one primary identity: Children of God. People would have recognized themselves for who they were—sons and daughters. This common thread—a person’s relationship to their creator—would have knit the communities of the world together.

In the original design, personal identity shaped corporate identity. In other words, who someone was, on a deep, individual level, defined their identity within the context of community. What someone did was never the basis for defining relationships, as is the case today, in the way we determine our place based on beliefs, behaviors and socioeconomic background. In the original design, human relationships were based on inner constants; not external or emotional variables.

Diversity reigned in the original design, with nothing to create the illusion of division of hierarchy or status. Differences were unifying factors because men and women were bound together as children of God. It didn’t matter whether the color of someone’s skin was brown, black, yellow or white because their personal identity came from their relationship to God; not their appearance. Not even language or geographical orientation formed the basis for relationships. If a man from England met a man from China, their relationship would not have been based on their homeland but on their common identity as children of God and their shared eternal citizenship.

This commonality—a citizenship in Heaven—defined human relationships. People could celebrate diversity because they were united in their eternal, spiritual identity. Unity of identity in the realm of the spirit ensures that we do not have disunity due to the limited realms of the mind and body.

Therefore, those of us who claim to have citizenship in Heaven cannot and should not live to define our lives through the lenses of color, race, religion, and denomination. It is a contradiction to claim such a thing while living divisive and conflicting lives on earth.