Get me out of here!

"For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself." John 5.26


Many people crave "a simple faith" - which is fine if they inhabit an ivory tower or some other form of closed community. But Jesus calls Christians to "make disciples of all nations" and this means being prepared to talk convincingly about our faith to those who do not (yet) believe. One of the ways we can prepare ourselves is by anticipating predictable objections that people may throw at us. Often these are based on false assumptions and/ or archaic interpretations of religious jargon.


Take "perfection" for instance. Sceptics may well argue that if God is perfect then he cannot change and therefore he must remain impervious to all the things we care about - like suffering and climate change and growth. They would have a point but only in so far as we allow them to impose a classical understanding on the concept of "perfection", which is that it is a fixed state beyond which there can be no improvement. The tragic irony about such an interpretation is that it leads to a conclusion which is far from ideal - let alone "perfect"!


A more contemporary approach defines "perfection" as "the best possible combination of the most noble qualities". If we now apply that to the attributes we believe to be associated with God, we shall arrive at much more satisfactory - and convincing - conclusions. God's perfect love embraces flourishing relationships. God's omnipotence accommodates free-will. In his omniscience God is still able to respond to our prayers and eternity is not just endless existence but a realm in which progressive time is not longer subject to decay but is where all of life and experience finds its fullest expression: the best possible combination of the most noble qualities - ie the life of God himself!

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