My thinking was expanded by a recent writing I read that put life, learning, and belief in God in a bit of a different light. Good? Bad? To me, extremely good, but I will let you judge as to how it affects you personally. Rather than quote the writing, I want to summarize it and put it in my own words to see if I have truly grasped what was being said. At the end, I will give you the link to the original article for your comparison. Learning, I believe, requires this kind of understanding and attitude. So, here goes. Oh, if you could comment and let me know if I hit the mark or not, I would appreciate it!
We start out life, helpless, depending on others for everything, all of life’s sustenance. I have been told that the most formative years are before a child reaches 4-5 years old. They will learn a majority of all they learn (how to act, basics of life, etc) in these years. We come to understand the world around us from personal experience, our parents, friends, and others who step into our lives and give us input. And at some level, the environment around us helps shape us as well (growing up in warm vs. cold climates, growing up in the U.S. vs. the Middle East, etc). And yet, the most formative years, with the most learning taking place, is learning at the hands of others who are broken and battered by life and environment. They have not arrived. They are not perfect teachers giving us perfect information upon which we can base our own decisions on. There was a saying I grew up with: Practice makes perfect. And later in life, that maxim was altered, thankfully, to this: Perfect practice makes perfect! This is my point. We are created by a perfect God who thrusts us into imperfection to learn from imperfection and do something with it.
We are born immature, taught by immature young adults who are, in turn, still learning from immature older adults (oftentimes!). I say these things because what we learn early on stays with us for years until it is changed through many trials and disappointments and struggles, and the like. It is changed due to a change of attitude and philosophy of life and the world, and is played out, maybe, in actions before we pass from this life.
Two conclusions to draw from these things: 1.) With such an impairment of our understanding of how things truly are, according to God and His will, we are no more competent than a 2 year-old to make competent choices even as adults, for the most part. So regarding our eternal destiny, if you will, is this life truly the best way for God to measure us, to judge us, to hold us accountable for our beliefs (for you free-will-ers out there!), or to grant us belief (for you Calvinists out there!)? Let me put the first point this way: We are born in ignorance, we live in ignorance, and we die in ignorance, speaking of who God truly is. Yes, granted some may learn considerably more about God than others, or maybe even live in Christ more than most, but overall, I believe this statement to a large extent is true regarding the person and work of God. 2.) Is not God responsible for this ignorance and does He not share in at least some of the responsibility of our ignorance of Him? As our caretaker, our Father, is He truly a success, or better said, a loving God who has our best interest at heart? We are His workmanship, made to bear His image, right.
So, are we given all the resources we need during this life to understand who God is and what He has done for all mankind, or, is there more to follow in the ages to come? Is 70-80 years of imperfect life the proving ground and the only possibility we have for life with God or will He truly, one day, one age, reveal to all people who He truly is and melt the cold hearts and win all people, becoming all in all? Do we truly believe that God’s more abounding grace, a grace greater than sin, a grace more profound and empowering than any lie could thwart, any sin could confound, is so impotent as to not save ALL of God’s image-bearers? Is God truly a merciful and gracious Father, the good News for the whole world, the world, all mankind that Jesus said He would lift up, if He was put to death on the cross (and He was!)? In other words, if God will not save all of us imperfect people, His creation, does He not also bear the responsibility for that loss, making Him the only one who consigns people to eternal conscious torment in hell forever and ever (if that is what you believe according to the modern church and modern, traditional Christianity), which I by the way, do not believe in?
Your thoughts are always coveted and your responses welcomed. Grace and peace to you in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
P.S. Almost forgot to give the link: Why Think that God’s Grace is Sufficient for Apokatastasis?