I was running a bible study with some young people and talking about how God is beyond our understanding. And that's a good thing, because it means we didn't create him and we should be glad about that. If our God was created by us we'd end up with a god like the ancient Greeks and Romans, whose gods were just as flawed as humans, but with a whole lot more power with which to cause trouble. Anything we create is going to be less than us because it has to be within the realms of our understanding for us to create it.
But that's not actually the topic this blog post is about, because it was a question that one of the girls asked me that made me think. She asked "is everything we create less than ourselves - what about children?"
It's a good question, and one that raises the issue this post is actually about. Because that supposes that we do actually create children. That they are a product of our own effort.
Children are obviously not less than us otherwise every generation would get progressively dumber and less capable, and that's not the case.
But that's because we don't create our children. We may use the biological processes of our bodies to bring them forth. But we didn't create those biological processes that make that possible. We didn't create the genetic material. We don't pick and choose the characteristics and personalities and gifts and abilities of our children (though some would like to and are trying to - but that can only end badly).
God created us. He set up the natural process to make children possible. And HE knit us together in our mothers womb. Basically mothers are the carriers of God's creation.
We don't own our children. We are the custodians of God's children.
That doesn't mean I'm saying parents aren't important. God chose you to be the parent of your children for a reason, and that is a special thing. But it also doesn't mean parents have the right to their children to do whatever they like. We are given an important responsibility to bring up the children we are given to know God, their heavenly father and creator.
I think many people think they have rights as parents, more than they think they have responsibilities and custodianship of a person who ultimately belongs to God. And this leads to parents feeling their children owe them something, that as parents they deserve certain things and can demand certain things simply because they are the parent. Discipline is for the benefit of the child, not because the parent is angry or frustrated at how inconvenient the child is being.
We don't create our children, we are blessed with them according to Gods goodness. And so as God's children, whether they are biologically ours or not all children are our responsibility to care for and raise up for God - the church's responsibility as God's family.
Western society is particularly bad at remember this community, and at thinking of everything we have as solely our possessions. We need to consciously remember to think of children as gifts from God; we are meant to be the stewards and custodians of gifts from God, not the owners. Those gifts still belong to God even while we are looking after them.
Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do. “Honor your father and mother.” This is the first commandment with a promise: If you honor your father and mother, “things will go well for you, and you will have a long life on the earth.” Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.
Peace and joy. (Romans 5:1-11)
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.