prayer

The idea of the existence of a god fascinates me. A being that is so big, it spoke the big bang into happening. So infinite that it holds the “infinite” universe like I might hold a towel. So full of omniscience that man’s science looks like a toddler discovering his toes.

Perhaps even more astounding is the notion that such a being would converse with me: someone who might put a few sticks or bits of elements together and spend the rest of his days amazed with my “creation;” a crippled gnat on the above mentioned towel; or the toddler who still calls his toes piggies.

What interest would a god possibly have in talking with me?

I guess it is conceivable that it might want to tell me something, given its knowledge and my ignorance, but with such a huge gap between the two of us, why bother?

Frankly, the whole god thing kind of sounds like something man might have contrived, back in the days, before science was providing so many answers, right? The funny thing, (and yes, admittedly, funny in the haha sense) is that just as much as an atheist would say that all gods are contrived, we theists accuse one another of the same sin – creation of the god we want. It seems easy to look at the gods of Greek Mythology and do this. After all they look like the best versions of men and women, and they share emotions and attitudes and pleasures with us. They are really little more than bigger, more powerful versions of us, their creators. And they each have their own bailiwicks, like men. Their own turfs. That makes sense. That sounds reasonable.

But a god such as Jehovah or Allah or even the myriad of Hindu gods seem less contrived by man. Or at least it would have taken a much more imaginative man to contrive these.

It is within this context of my thoughts that I take issue with man’s attempts at making God something more acceptable to himself. From my perspective, here in my study, I see one God. He is more than I can imagine. More than I could have come up with. And He has certainly has some attributes that I would leave out if had the choice. Given that I worship a God that I neither created nor designed, but accepted, I take issue when people attempt to mold Him to fit what they believe to make sense.

If god is God, I should accept whatever is true about Him, whether I like that characteristic or not. Because He is God. I don’t like His treatment of the inhabitants of the Promised Land when the Isrealites entered. But He is God and my opinion of the value of human life doesn’t affect His sovereignty. I don’t approve of His treatment of Job based on His deal with the Devil in the courts of Heaven, but He is God and I am not. I don’t revere Him or submit to Him because I agree with Him – I do so because I am convinced that He is the Creator of the Universe.

So now, against this backdrop I see Pope Francis declaring that the Lord’s Prayer has been mis-translated throughout history, and by the power vested in him, changing it, at least in the Italian language. Instead of saying “lead us not into temptation,” it will now say “do not let us fall into temptation.” But what did Christ say? What about the inerrancy of the Bible?

Do we even know what Christ actually said? Someone please find an Aramaic Bible. . . because that was His language. The Pope seems to be basing his translation of the Prayer on his understanding of God, rather than on a study of the scripture itself.

“It is not a good translation because it speaks of a God who induces temptation,” he said in public in Italy. “I am the one who falls. It’s not him pushing me into temptation to then see how I have fallen.” “A father doesn’t do that; a father helps you to get up immediately. It’s Satan who leads us into temptation – that’s his department.”

But look at the Temptation of Christ in the wilderness. Matthew 4 begins with Jesus being led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan. Now don’t misread my words, or Matthew’s. Matthew did not say Jesus was being tempted by God. He did say that the Spirit lead Him into temptation. It was a difficult time. A trial allowed by God for the strengthening of His child. Similar to what happened with Job. God did not do the tempting, but He certainly did allow it, and even direct his child into it.

But apparently Pope Francis is more comfortable with his idea of a father who only helps his children rise, instead of letting them fall as well, or even simply testing them to show them they are stronger than they think. It makes good sense to me that after Christ was lead into temptation by the Spirit, He would give us a model prayer in which we asked to spared from such difficulties.

So I’m afraid I must humbly disagree with the Pope. Although I recognize him to be more educated in theology, and I’m certain that he spends more time one on one with the Creator than I do, I simply can’t stomach the change in what seems pretty clear in the Greek New Testament.

And I would rather take God as He reveals Himself, than to make an idol that I can more easily understand.

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