Friday, March 21, 2008

Answering My Own Questions

Well, since I haven't heard much back concerning the questions I posed in my last post, I'm going to enter in and offer up my own answers. Let me know what you think.

* Are we born as “literal” children of Satan (is he our natural father?), or are we yet children of God who have rebelled against Him and therefore come under submission to Satan as our “father”?

Jesus spoke to some Jews in John 8 and told them that they are of their father the devil. The Apostle John split the world into two groups, children of God and children of Satan (I John 3:10). The question, then, is in what sense are people actually children of Satan?

First off, we are not Satan's natural children. When Paul was preaching to the Areopagus in Acts 17, he was speaking about God as the maker of the nations, nations that trace back to one man (Adam), nations that God set in place that they might seek Him. He then quoted one of their own poets saying, “'For we are indeed his offspring.' Being then God's offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver... (28-29).” The implication of what Paul is saying is that though humanity is fallen, God is still the Father of all humanity! Satan is not our rightful or natural father.

Second, when Paul was speaking about our state before following Jesus, he said that we were "dead in trespasses and sins" and at the same time we were "following the prince of the power of the air (Eph. 2:1-2)" who is Satan. So, though God is the TRUE Father of humanity, because of the fall and original sin, we are each born spiritually dead, and therefore we by nature follow Satan, in the sense that we DO NOT by nature follow or submit to God. In a very real sense, Satan IS our father, but it's more of a father by choice through the rejection of our True Father God. This goes back to the failure of Adam, the first "son of God (Lk. 3:38)", and this is where the process of regeneration comes in, where God redeems, justifies, and then adopts us back into His family because of the obedience of the true Son of God, Jesus, who then becomes our brother (Heb. 2:12-13) by spiritual adoption.

* Is it wrong to use language like “orphan heart” to describe the tendencies of a wounded orphan's heart (and thus our own hearts), when it's not Biblical language per se?

I have no problem with the use of language outside of the Bible to describe concepts found within the Bible. For example, the term Trinity is not found in the Bible, but the Trinity is clearly there. In the same way, the concept of the "heart of an orphan" is there in that it is simply the sinful, human heart, but it describes those sinful tendencies that tend to be more specifically at work in the heart and life of an orphan because of the trauma they have faced in life. Though spiritual orphans are never talked about, either, it is assumed within the usage of the term adoption within the writings of Paul, since it is both slaves and orphans that need adopted.

* Why do people have such a hard time applying the Gospel outside the context of “sin”, in terms of the ongoing healing of the heart (psychology term?) through the wounds that we have received from others?

I think most of this goes back to the Reformation and the emphasis that we have had over the last three hundred years on the doctrine of justification (a much needed emphasis by the way!). As a result, the Gospel has been clearly defined, but it has been applied simply in terms of salvation of sins at the cost of understanding the death of Jesus in the defeat of death and Satan. In Uganda this has led to a division of the Gospel into two Gospels, one of salvation and one of deliverance (from Satan/demons). In the same way, here in the West, we have proclaimed our need for the Gospel in terms of salvation from sin, but have failed to present our ongoing need for the Gospel in all areas of life- even where we have been sinned against by others.

* Why does the Christian church throw up flags when emphasis is made on God as Father and our need to relate to Him on the level of “Daddy”?

This one is sort of the "hum dinger" of the questions, since history and the feminist movement come into play with the answer. Without going into those things, I will simply say that Jesus clearly revealed the Fatherhood of God and the access we are granted in terms of the "Abba" cry of Jesus. Most of us naturally relate to God as the King that we have offended, but because of Jesus we are pardoned by Him (again, going back to the emphasis on justification). The result is often a life lived relating to God as a slave or servant, and the fruit is a much easier job relating to Jesus (lover, friend) then to God as Father. The breakdown in fatherhood in our culture also adds to this inability to relate to God in terms of Fatherhood and sonship. Many translations are moving towards the neutral God (Father/Mother) which affirms the cultural outcries against a masculine God and creates more alarm when God is spoken of as He has revealed Himself (as Father).

What do you think?

1 comment:

Petronella said...

Thanks for writing this.