Saturday 29 March 2014

We must become as little children - but then we may choose to grow-up

Matthew 18:3. And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. 


I feel that this is the best possible advice for the jaded and corrupted modern Man - to become again as a little child; become again as you were when (as I think almost all children feel) the world was alive, the soul was immortal, everything was potentially meaningful and significant - and God was like a loving Father, and Jesus like a protecting Big Brother, and the Holy Ghost could be summoned as an invisible presence.


However it is conceptualized, a return to childlikeness is dangerous to the strategy of evil, because it reopens the possibility of a fresh start. 

In contrast with becoming a child again, evil wants us to be concerned about being cool, or hot; or sophisticated or impressive - evil is permanent adolescence and sophomoric pseudo-sophistication.  


Becoming as a child is to be equated with salvation - anyone who is as-a-child is saved; because salvation was achieved for us by Jesus, and all we need to do is accept the great gift (a gift with necessary conditions) - and no child or child-like person would be so foolish as to reject salvation (whereas a cool/ hot sophisticate is exactly the kind of person who rejects the real good and argues that evil is the real good - all the time).  


Becoming as a child may be the end of the matter - we may return to God as a child (but with experience of incarnate mortality), we may choose to stay as a child in our Heavenly relationship with God. 

Or we may embark upon the path of growing-up spiritually - the path of theosis/ sanctification/ spiritual progression towards 'adulthood' which is god-hood (not capital G Godhood - because there is One God; but a small 'g' Son of God godhood - which can be conceptualized as living as a mature adult in Heaven in terms of our relationship to deity


Our Heavenly relationship to God and to Jesus Christ - the God-Man relationship - may therefore metaphorically be imagined on a spectrum from being an adult-child relationship for those who are simply saved, to an adult-adult relationship for those who are saved and also chose to undergo theosis conceptualized as maturation - those who have reached a sufficiently advanced point in that maturing process become more like adults in their relationship with God - while presumably others are in the intermediate 'youth' phase, and probably we may choose to stop at various points on the path (some indeed remaining perpetual Heavenly youths).  


So we must become as little children - but then we may, or may not, choose to embark on the further path of theosis (which is a path of struggle against resistance); and we may choose to progress on that path to varying degrees (and we will have varying rates of progress). 

Salvation is necessary (since the alternative is horrible), but theosis is optional and multi-level.

We must first be God's children; and we don't have-to grow up; and we don't have to grow-up more than we want to - but surely God Himself wants most for us to grow-up to spiritual adulthood - to have some Men with whom He has an adult relationship.   



Adam G. said...

I think this is an excellent description of the basic nature of our existence.

We can choose to be children, which is good, or we can choose to be children who learn and grown, which is better.

Or we can reject the relationship.

Jasper said...

Suppose we "grow up". What do you think that's like? Is there an ongoing heavenly (grown up) life that is something like what we know here? Is that what Mormon theology predicts?