Thursday, March 30, 2017

Lies We Believe About God (24)

Summary of Chapter 24
The 24th 'lie' that Young wants to combat is that 'not everyone is a child of God'. Young recognizes that not everyone presently believes they are a child of God, but he insists that we are whether we believe it or not. He uses the illustration of his own children. There is nothing they could do to stop being his kids. God created us... so we are God's children. Case closed. We are not powerful enough to change that fact.

This covers the same terrain as chapter 13 (which I assume will be considered the most controversial section of Young's book). In that chapter Young said we don't need to be saved because we already are saved. In this chapter, much the same, Young is saying that we don't need to become a child of God because we already are God's children.

I think the key moment in this chapter comes at the top of page 205. After making his claim that all people are already children of God, Young anticipates the objection: "Well, everyone is a child of God in the sense that everyone is created by God, but...". But Young rebukes this 'but' because it's just another attempt for us humans to categorize and divide people.

The problem I have with Young's point is that he seems to have a categorical opposition to nuance... but nuance is sometimes necessary. Why can't it be true that there is a 'sense' in which all humans are God's children and a 'sense' in which some aren't? It seems to me that the Jews in John 8:41 thought they were children of God, but they weren't. Jesus (who is supposed to be the source of all of Young's thinking) said to them: "If God were your Father, you would love me." Jesus went even further: "You belong to your father, the devil." Young simply doesn't address such verses. Is there not a New Testament theme that one needs to be born again to join God's family?

What's more, Young has emphasized (throughout the book) the importance God places on giving humans free will (a form of power). So why aren't humans 'powerful enough' to opt out of God's family? That wouldn't mean that God stopped loving them as His children, but you can't receive an inheritance if you won't answer your phone or the mail.

It seems to me that we are all God's children in the sense that God created us all. And I do believe that God wants us to all be children in right relationship. God is always ready to embrace. But some of us are prodigal sons and daughters. And there's a real sense in which such children will miss out if they never come home. There's even a real sense in which some are children of the devil. Part of me thinks Young has an overly literal understanding of some of the relational metaphors in Scripture that causes him to miss some of the truth presented in his non-favorite verses.

I object to the idea that no nuance is necessary when stating that we are all God's children. As it says in 1 John 2:29-3:2... "Everyone WHO DOES WHAT IS RIGHT has been BORN of him. How great is the love the Father has lavished upon US, that WE should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, NOW we are children of God..." (emphasis mine).

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