Faulty thoughts about God can adversely affect the way that one behaves as a Christian in the world, and especially how one pastors. This cartoon is quite enlightening about one way that corrupt theology can become toxic.
We are not "sinners in the hand of an angry God," like the early-American preacher Jonathan Edwards so boldly proclaimed. Rather, we are loved unconditionally by an incredibly merciful God. When I look at scripture and the world, I see a God who created the world as 'good' and not as 'evil.'
At my school we talk a lot about the first two stories of the Bible. The first story, found in Genesis 1 and 2, declares that humans are the beautiful, good, pinnacle of creation. We were created exactly the way God intended and we are loved just the way we are. The second story of scripture, found in Genesis 3, is often referred to as the 'fall.' It is the story of human sinfulness, of Adam and Eve purposefully disobeying the will of God. It is a story about broken relationships and separation from God.
While both of these stories are immensely important in the Christian narrative, generally Christians choose to operate fundamentally out of one story or the other. We either see humans as good or evil. We either see God as a God of love and creativity, or as a God of judgment and anger. Deciding which of these two stories is going to frame your ideas of God, humans, and the world will drastically impact the way you live. I choose to give priority to the first story of scripture, that humans are the beautiful, good, pinnacle of creation, rather than the second story, that we are an inherently corrupt, sinful lot. There are plenty of Christians, however, that choose to see the world as inherently evil and corrupt. They fundamentally see God as one who curses rather than blesses.
I pray that we would once again see God for the incredible lover that God is. I pray that we would celebrate God's beautiful creation for the goodness it is capable of, rather than defining it by its periodic (or even frequent) moments of evil and brokenness. And most of all, I pray that we would begin to see humanity as 'children in the hands of a loving God.'
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