Monday, December 24, 2007

A response to Philip Pullman wanting to kill God

I find the idea of trying to kill God an odd notion. That a created, finite being is uppity enough to think that he can kill the Holy, Eternal and Uncreated One is amusing. It's about as likely as an ant being able to kill an elephant just by sheer will power!!! Apart from anything else the last time we killed God, He came back to life after three days. History has proven this approach not workable!!

I think God's response to this "kill God" idea is covered in the parable of the lost son. In the parable (Luke 15:11-32) there is a man with two sons - I will paraphrase:
  • The younger son wishes his father were dead and rocks up to the old man and says "Hey Dad, I can't wait until you are dead, give me my inheritance now". His father divides his property and gives the younger son his share.
  • This dude goes off into the world, abandons his family, abandons his faith, abandons his country, and lives it up big time spending all his Dad's money on drugs, sex and rock n' roll.
  • After a while he runs out of money and his "friends" abandon him too. He ends up having to do some pretty crappy jobs just to feed himself. When the worst comes to the worst he's working at McDonalds clearing tables, and he's SO hungry that when he takes the rubbish out he looks at a half eatened cheeseburger, that has been on the floor most of the day and has been stepped on and is all squished and longs to fill his stomach with it, cos it's been days since he's eaten.
  • At this point he has an "Ah ha" moment, he wakes up to himself and thinks, at least at home his Dad always made sure that he was well fed and perhaps he can get a job in the old man's business, even if it's just as the cleaner, it'd be better than this!! Dad paid above award wages!!
  • So he sets off back home. In his head he's rehearsing what he'll say to his father. "Dad, I've been a doofus. I treated you like shit and I don't deserve to be your son" As he's having this little conversation with himself, and he's still miles and miles away from home, his father is out looking for him, and sees him coming home.
  • Now male ego being what it is, it's pretty weird that his father is even looking for him. The father could at this point wait until the son comes to him and begs on hands and knees for his forgiveness. He could drag that out for a while and then grudingly bestow his forgiveness, and then use his son's behaviour as collateral whenever he stepped out of line, "You ungrateful wretch and after I forgave you.... " etc.
  • But no, the father loves his doofus son, and runs all the way to meet him. He's out of breath, he's sweaty and he grabs him and hugs him. The son starts his speech, "Dad, I've been a doofus..." his father cuts him off, and says to his mate that is with him, "Mate, go book a table at the steakhouse, my son is home!! We have to celebrate!" He puts a fine Italian leather jacket on him and cleans him up.
  • Well you'd think everyone would be happy wouldn't you? Beautiful family reunion, just the kind of thing to make you go "aahhhh", nice hollywood ending, queue the music, roll credits. But no, big bro is not happy! He finds out about the dinner, and is cheesed off! He sits outside the steakhouse having a big sulk, "I'm not going in! Nobody can make me" he sulks.
  • His father comes outside to see what's up. And big bro says, "Dad!! It's not fair!! I've always been good, always done EVERYTHING you wanted and you never took me & my mates out for a steak dinner! Yet when my idiot brother treats you like shit, spends all your money on drugs, sex and rock n' roll you accept him back and treat him like like royalty! It isn't fair!!!"
  • Well the father says, "Hey, everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate because this brother of yours was lost, but now is found. He was dead to us because of what he did, but now he is alive to us again."

I rather think this illustrates rather beautifully God's position:
  1. Philip Pullman can wish God dead as much as he likes, he's not the first and not the last to come up with that as an idea, God is used to it.
  2. God will let him walk away and do his own thing, but He will never stop loving him, and He will never stop seeking him out. Given the chance God will welcome Philip Pullman back home and treat him with grace and honour.
  3. It is really easy for us Christians to get all irate about the athiests who go off and treat God like shit and wish Him dead, but that's the older brother attitude. We should instead pray that God will find and bring home our wayward sibling(s), and when He does, join in the celebration that ensues. (I'm talking to myself here!! I'm prone to older-brother syndrome as much as anyone. I feel duly rebuked!)

God bless,

No comments: