Aristotle didn’t quite say, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” But it is true—for good and for ill. First Corinthians 12:20–27 looks at churches and bodies as systems that possess properties their parts cannot possess on their own. You can’t be a community or a family by yourself. The same holds true with our political systems: A democratic government requires individual citizens working together as one nation for any common good to have a chance.
No matter how good or how strong, every system eventually succumbs to entropy. Increasing disorder is inherent in every system, including the very universe itself. As the physicist Stephen Hawking reminded us, everything we do increases disorder in the universe. This world is inevitably running down. Our bodies age and die, churches decrease, governments collapse, economies recess, families fall apart.
True, some things get better over time. But to overcome the