4.12.2005

things my sons have taught me about God


My son Malachi doesn’t know my name. He can’t say Dad, Daddy or Jimmy. He calls me Mommy or Spongebob. This, of course pisses me off to no end! He can say Spongebob but not Daddy?

I was having a conversation with Thomas the other day about creation and evolution and the myriad of theories out there and that made me think of Malachi. First let me fill you in on our conversation. We were talking about the biblical, and non-biblical theories of creation and the talk turned to salvation. Thomas asked me if I thought that it was a pre-requisite to believe in God as creator in order to obtain salvation. He said that he was leaning towards a yes answer. His thought was that if you stripped the act of creation away from God you basically stripped him of all power, and if he couldn’t create by the power of mere words then why was he worth worshipping. My answer was no. I don’t believe that God would withhold the gift of salvation if we believed something erroneously. I’m not saying that the theory of evolution is erroneous, and I’m not saying that the literal seven day theory is erroneous.
I wasn’t there, I don’t know.

But, for the sake of argument, let’s say you held a belief about God’s role “in the beginning” that was false. Do you think that God would withhold salvation from you for having a wrong belief?

This made me think about a book I read several years ago called “Eternity in their hearts”. It’s the story of missionaries that went to areas that had never seen a white man or heard the name of Jesus. Some of the cultures didn’t even have a written tradition, and they passed on their legacy to their children through storytelling. In almost all of the cultures these missionaries visited there was some form of a creation story with a godlike father figure. Also, in almost all of these cultures there were stories of redemptive sacrifice that somehow saved the tribe.
The point was that even though they had never heard the name of Jesus, they knew the story, and they were believers in the “God of creation”, and in the “Redeemer” who had saved their tribes. So, back to Malachi. Malachi doesn’t know my name. He doesn’t have a full understanding of what I do. His young mind is not fully capable of comprehending all that I am, and all that I do.

My question is this… Even with his flawed understanding of who I am does that diminish our relationship? Does that make the father-son relationship any less real, or any less meaningful?

3 comments:

Mad Cow said...

I honestly believe that God would not deny us an eternity with Him if we never heard about Jesus. I don't think I could believe in God if that were the case. That may seem extreme, but I've always wondered about all of the indigenous peoples in the world, small tribes or other groups that have never been reached with The Word. Growing up in the church (sort of), I always heard that if you don't believe in Jesus, then you don't go to heaven. After years of wrangling with this and questioning it, I can say that I truly believe it with all my heart. I believe that to deny Jesus' sacrifice is to deny your eternity in heaven, and I believe it without hesitation.

However, let's say I was rasied in an obscure corner of a small country, in a tribe of people who had never heard of Jesus, let alone His sacrifice. How would God treat me then? What would happen to me when I died, without ever knowing anything except the stories our family told to make sense of the world around us?

I do not believe that God would send me to hell just because I never knew. I am so thankful I was raised in America, where I was taught about Jesus and allowed to practice my religion. Whether I can practice freely or not is another question, for another day (Damn you, Christian Coalition and the Religious Right!) But if I was not born where I was and who I am, I don't believe that I would be condemned, I just can't believe that.

So anyway, the answer to your question is no.

Also, that is the cutest picture ever!

Gina said...

Even if you did "strip the act of creation away from God" He would still be more than worthy of my worship. He is more than just Creator to me. He has accomplished infinitely more than I would ever dare to ask or hope. Wow, I can't believe the anger I am feeling right now. I just can't fathom God EVER being unworthy of my worship, even if I did believe that he didn't create. And even if you say that God didn't create by the power of his words does that necessarily mean that he can't do it? If God chooses not to do something doesn't mean he can't.

Thomas Costello said...

But the question is who is he if he didn't create. Should we change the object of our worship to the one who did create? What is God without creation? I understand that he has done so much more since creation, but it seems to me that his creative power was a pre-requisite for all that he has done. If something else created than where the heck does God fit in. My original question was not so much if creation was a belief required for heaven entry, because that I believe is a bi-product of the gospel. My question is the creation story and the truths it holds part of the gospel? Can you share the gospel and leave out the creation story.
Also please don't mistake my point for one that requires a specific creation method. It is my belief that assigning creation to God is an integral part of the gospel. You can believe any creation theory you want (gap, literal, day age, allegory) it just has to be God centered.