Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Was God Ever a Real Person?

That came out of the blue and stopped me in my tracks, danger signs flashing in front of my eyes. This was asked by my grandson as he and I were walking up the beach. He's a bright, inquisitive, sensitive boy with a big heart. But he keeps asking me shit that I can't answer. I don't know how I became the go-to guy for matters supernatural and theological. I suppose it's because I temporarily fixed his Nintendo DS. I know in the world of avuncular grandfathering, I'm supposed to have this all figured out and, with a chuckle and a twinkle in my eye, tell him exactly how it is. Put his mind at ease so that he knows there is some sense in the universe and everything is as it should be. I don't have the heart to tell him that the older I get, the more confused I am and less and less of it makes any sense. Add that to the fact that I have no idea what sort of religious training, if any, his parents have given him and I found myself in quite a pickle. So I did the only thing I could think of - I channeled Sister Mary Joseph and what I could remember of the Baltimore cathechism.
"Well, in the Catholic tradition, Jesus, as one of the three parts of one god (look, I didn't think this stuff up by myself), was born a man so I suppose you could say that God was a person, at one time."
He looks up at me exasperated: "No, Jesus was the son of God."
"Well, yeah, but..." and at that point the spirit of Sister Mary Joseph left me, metaphysically rulerless and unable to drive my point home."

So we walk along a bit in blessed silence and he comes up with this:
"You know, the Bible is always right"
This sets me off. No grandson of mine is going to be a creationist, even if I have to kidnap him and send him to Camp Quest.
"No, it isn't. Lots of stuff is wrong. Nobody got swallowed by a whale, there was no worldwide flood and the earth wasn't created in six days."
That does not convince him. This does: "And you don't find dinosaurs buried with people so they couldn't have lived at the same time."

So Ken Ham is right about one thing. If you lose them at Genesis, you might as well kiss that whole Bible as history thing goodbye. Goodbye, literal interpretation of the Scriptures. Don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.

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