Thursday, October 15, 2009

In God's nursery

“But Jesus called them to him, saying, ‘Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it’" (Lk 18:16-17).

“It took me till I was out of college to begin to see how immature, even delusional, all this was. You can't grow up, it seems to me, till you learn that you live in a world of impartially random events and that you are responsible for your own actions…Religion now seems to me a kind of nursery school version of philosophy.”

People have conflicted views about childhood. The statement by apostate Robert Price is a favorite atheist cliché. Christians are overgrown children. Can’t cut the apron strings. Cling to infantile make-believe. Need to have a secret friend.

On the other hand, childhood is often upheld as a wistful ideal. The wonder and innocence of childhood. An age of discovery. When we were young, the world was young. When we were small, the world was vast. The nursery was our universe.

Indeed, there’s a sense in which philosophers and scientists are overgrown children. They never outgrow their sense of wonder. If, as children, the grown-ups can’t answer their incessant questions, then when they grow up they go looking for their own answers.

Yet we don’t say they’re immature. We don’t say they suffer from arrested development.

In the past, many men also became explorers–driven by sheer curiosity.

Then there’s the wunderkind. The child prodigy.

He’s a step ahead of his peers. He doesn’t grow up to be like them. Rather, they grow up to be like him–at that age. It takes them years to catch up.

You don’t tell a wunderkind to act his age. What sets him apart is that he is in some ways a man trapped inside a boy’s body. Wise beyond his tender years.

By grace, a Christian is a gifted child. Precocious in the ways of God. He sees the old world through newborn eyes. In God’s nursery–with wallpaper stars.

1 comment:

  1. Btw, I've heard Price twice highly recommend R.C. Sproul's book "If There's a God, Why Are There Atheists?" (AKA "The Psychology of Atheism"). Once in a debate against Phil Fernandes and another time against William Lane Craig. I think he considers himself more of an agnostic.