Monday, August 6, 2012

Faith Like a Child

I recently read an interesting interview in Christianity Today (you can check it out here).  In short, the interviewee is summarizing his research project and book which indicates children have a tendency to believe in a greater power or higher being from very early ages.  A couple of insights that caught my eye were that this belief is not just naivety but that children begin to understand several fundamental truths very early (e.g., mother's love, the constancy of physical laws) and that children are not "unformed blobs that can be shaped into anything we like."

These things resonate with my own experience with my kids.  At age 7, my daughter asked me if we, as Christians, should love Satan?  We are, after all, commanded to "love our enemies" by Jesus.  Why have I never thought of that?  At the occasion of one of his first pimples, my son wrestled with what was created by God and what are effects of the fall of man.  (The Cooks believe pimples and allergic reactions to poison ivy are effects of the fall!)  It is worth considering that maybe "childlike" doesn't mean naive and, therefore, wrong.  Maybe it is we adults obscure the true nature of things by our rationalization, complication, and justification.

The end of the article contains a particularly good distinction between belief and relationship.  Children tend to believe in some sort of god that created what we see.  This is not the same as having a relationship with this god.  There are many in our world, indeed many in our churches, who have given intellectual assent to a god, even one, true God but have no relationship with Him.  Acknowledging God doesn't mean we know Him any more than acknowledging that Barack Obama is the President of the United States means that we know him.

Jesus came to set final pieces in place for God's ultimate plan of reconciling the world to Himself (2 Corinthians 5).  He came that we might have life by being taken into His family, being connected to God.  Don't miss out on the opportunity to really know God by assuming that acknowledging His existence is all He wants.  His sights are set quite a bit higher.

P.S.  In an effort to hook you on CT's website, here is an editorial on gay marriage (actually marriage as a whole) that I think is also quite good.

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