When I was younger one of my favourite shows was ‘Yes Minister’ and then ‘Yes Prime minister’. I remember very clearly some of the advice Bernard (I think!) once gave his minister on how to answer a question, without answering it. He said, you reject the basis of the question.
Today, post modernism bombards issue of faith with many questions. However, often, the basis of the question has some assumptions which make the questions unanswerable. Post-modernism assumes there is no God and therefore issues of the afterlife don’t matter. We need to follow Humphrey’s advice and reject the basis of the question.
This is nothing new. A close look at the interactions between the snake and Adam and Eve see the snake doing the same thing. The snake’s goal is to get Adam and Eve to sin. The method is to change the way Adam and Eve see God and the fruit.
The first question the snake asks has in its basis a God that is cruel and restrictive! What kind of God would not allow you to eat anything? (Gen 3:1)
The second thing the snake does is cast God as a liar. You can’t believe God! You won’t die if you eat that fruit. (Gen 3:4)
Finally the snake implies that God has commanded them not to eat the fruit because God doesn’t want them to be as knowledgeable as him. He wants to limit you. (Gen 3:5)
When God is no longer viewed as the creator who bestows good gifts on his people but rather as a cruel, restrictive, liar who is out to limit your experience of life, it was easy for Adam and Eve to go against God.
Today there are many who try to portray God just as the snake did. This happens through movies, music, even in the questions posted in social media. When we engage with such discussions we need to be aware of Bernard’s advice.
It does make me wonder how I view God. From where does my understanding come? How much have I allowed the world to influence this understanding?
It also makes me question when I do fail, if I did so because of a wrong view of God.