Advent 20: Theological Revelation From a Second Grader

Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure. – Psalm 147:5 (ESV)

I started to write this post about God’s omniscience.  The next would be His omnipotence, followed by a post on – you guessed it – His omnipresence.  How predictable.

I had it all figured (the three planned articles, not God Himself).  The piece on God’s omniscience would start on the island of Patmos, where the apostle John received God’s revelation of the end times.  I was ready to tie it all together by showing that God must know everything if He tells us how it all ends, in details too “detailed” for John’s first century AD mind to comprehend.

Then, as I sat down to begin writing… I couldn’t do it.  Something wasn’t right.  Something just felt off about it..

Last night I was talking with my seven year old when it dawned on me.  I asked my son, “Do you believe God knows everything?”

“Yes”, he answered.

“Why do you believe that?”

My little boy looked at me for a brief moment and stated, quite assuredly, “Because He made the world and all the plants and animals.  He has to know everything!”

And there it was.  Right in front of me.

1  At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2 And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them 3 and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. – Matthew 18:1-4 (ESV)

Just as John had no literal point of reference for all God revealed to him about heaven and the future (how does one go about describing the indescribable?), none of us is intelligent enough to intellectually grasp the Great I AM in all His fullness.  We try.  We try very hard.  But, in the end, we mess it up with our thinking.  We end up with theological approaches like Open Theism which mixes Biblical studies with philosophical reasoning to conclude that God cannot know the future because it hasn’t happened yet.  (That is a huge oversimplification of Open Theism, but that isn’t really the point I’m making.)

Open Theists drive mainline evangelicals batty.  And vice versa.  Each side is so deeply entrenched in the defending their theological and philosophical points-of-view that the Truth gets lost in the scuffle,  (Personally, I feel sorry for Greg Boyd.  This is a man who, I am quite sure, loves God.  But there have been times aplenty when he had to feel like a piñata swung over a tree branch, being swarmed by a mob of stick-waving evangelicals.).  When it gets hard to see the reality of the forest for the theological trees, something is wrong.

Unless we have the faith of a child – accept, believe, not mere reason but heart – we’re not going to get there.  God is so complex and complicated, but His accessibility is so simple.  We cannot understand His love, we have to just believe in it.  Our thoughts are not His thoughts, so we need to rely on faith.  Of course God created it all!  It’s as plain as the nose on your face.  Now, just accept it and believe.  My seven year old said so.

My son also informed me I needed to blog about penguins.  I’ll have to work that into the next piece.

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