A scene from Pete the Dragon sticks out in my mind when thinking about the necessity of lighthouses. When the storm raged on the sea and the waves crash against shore, the lighthouse is there shining bright to prevent the ships from being torn asunder. Soren Kierkegaard was like a lighthouse in the day of Friedrich Hegel. Hegel championed the collective group of society while Kierkegaard, with his little lighthouse, stood firm and said, “Remember the individual.”
Hegel, an influencer of Karl Marx, disregarded the individual. Hegel’s system could not account for individual existence. Kierkegaard, fighting for the individual’s cause, claimed that you cannot suppress the here and now, the immediate. The real is indeed real and is not just a conceptual idea, as Hegel touted.
Kierkegaard had his work cut out for him with Hegel, but he did not fight alone. God, in his Word, has shown the importance of the individual as well as the collective whole. It is not that collective society is the most important or that the individual is most important. It is that both the collective and the individual are important to the Lord.
Looking directly at the beginning, Humanity began with ONE individual, Adam. God did not create a faceless mass of people at once. But in this mass of people, God has created diverse peoples. No two people are exactly the same. Everyone is unique; separating us from the group. Another example in the Bible is Paul when he says in 1 Corinthians 12:12, we are one body but have many members. We are believers have our unique role within the Body of Christ, and yet, we are all apart of that One Body. Finally, salvation is not passed down birth. We are saved on an individual basis, each having our own experience.
To Adam and Eve, God commanded that they be fruitful and multiple and fill the earth. There would be a collective group of people, a society of people that would come from these individuals. Once the people of God grew to a large, collective mass, he commands them in Deuteronomy 6:4-9, “Hear O Israel” (speaking to the collective)… “You shall love the Lord your God…” (speaking to the individual). God deals with his people in both the collective and the individual. Finally, in Revelation, Christ comes back to Earth for his Bride, the Church. The collective group of individuals whose individual names are written in the Book of Life.
Like Kierkegaard, we must fight against those who say that the collective group is all that matters. We must be balanced in our approach and remember that both the individual and the collective whole are important, not only to society, but also to God.