In Genesis it says that God created us in God’s image. That would say that we are like God in some ways. I suspect that means primarily that we are blessed with intelligence and curiosity. So I wonder why some people get irritated or uncomfortable when asked a question about God? Here is an example, an intelligent question asked by a child. “Where did God come from? What came before God?”
Now children are as smart as the adults in the room. They just don’t have the experience or the education. So we best be careful when we answer their questions. They can tell when we don’t know the answer. They can also tell when we are just trying to get them to accept something that we ourselves don’t believe. I have the sense that the christian church has asked adults and kids to leave their brain at the door way too often and that has contributed mightily to the decline in church attendance.
Christian understanding boils down to scripture, the Bible. How do we interpret the Bible? Is it to be understood literally? Is it to be understood metaphorically? Is it historically correct? These are important questions. Here’s a couple more to think about. How important is it to understand the culture in which a passage was written? How much of what we read in scripture is the culture talking and how much is God talking?
I hope you don’t mind if I share some of my own thoughts about this subject with you. My fundamental understanding of God comes from my study of the Bible, and more specifically the life of Jesus as it is found in the Christian Scriptures. (The New Testament) If I were to pick out one passage where I begin it would be in First Corinthians Chapter 15, verses 3 through 8. The passage tells us that Jesus rose from the dead and lots of people were witness to that fact. Then I read Galatians followed by Philippians. The letters of Paul give me a window into the early history of Christianity, something that even the Gospels fail to do. You may not know that the letters Paul wrote predate the gospels significantly. They are a treasure trove to me.
Ok, I will stop now. It is my hope that this fall I will be able to bring you a class on the letters written by Paul. I’d love to share what I have learned with you about these important writings. I promise you won’t have to leave your brain at the door.