The Gospel to a five-year-old – Part 2

I tried this once before, but — as was obvious in the long, rambling –– I overshot the intended audience by quite a few years.   Here is another attempt at translating the Gospel into language a contemporary young deist — like a kindergartner — could understand:

God is the mysterious source of all things.  God is the source of the orderliness of the universe, including the law of right and wrong.  We cannot say anything coherent about the nature of God because it is necessarily incomprehensible, but we posit that there is a source that injected order into the chaos of simple matter that is the universe.  We can prove this source “exists” because there is order and not chaos.

The interaction between human society and the individual human yields law. These are the patterns of behavior that humans think they should follow. This law is “written in our hearts” — i.e., we understand the law in our bodies and brains through our intuition, conscience, and culture.   When we violate the law we are guilty.  Guilt exists when facts of our choices do not fit the pattern of the law. We can’t erase the law inside us easily.  To abandon the law inside us, would be to abandon our past and future care about society and culture.  There are some who are this way, but for most the law sits over our thoughts.

Logic dictates that guilt is a state that does not go away on its own because: (1) the facts do not change, (2) the law inside us does not change, and (3) guilt is a simple relationship between the facts and the law.   Guilt persists even when a punishment is inflicted. Some of us feel guilt when we violate the law, others don’t . But guilt is independent of the feeling.

When people are conscious that their choices are not in compliance with the law in their hearts they either (1) deny guilt, (2) deny the importance of the law in their hearts, or (3) admit guilt. The first two options lead to injustice, cultural disintegration of the law, and dishonesty.  The third option can lead to a state of self-hatred and sorrow in most people, described as “hell”.  Christians recognize that some people are conscious that they are in hell now, but some are not conscious of hell in this life.  But logic dictates that if the existence of an individual actor is eternal, guilt and the resulting hell are also eternal.

Experiencing “salvation” is the consciousness that comes from self-honesty, admitting guilt, and — in doing so — recognizing that the source of the law has erased this guilt through the mysterious fact of Christ. This consciousness precipitates a state of joy often called “grace”.

The fact of Christ has a redeeming relationship with all guilt.  Christ is available to all persons —  the wicked and the righteous — just like the sun and the rain.  Because the fact of Christ is an infinite fact that exists outside of experience, sort of like a numerical constant, the fact of redemption does not depend on any particular behavior, compliance with the law, or state of mind.

The fact of Christ is the meaning of the phrase “the love of God”.

Following Christ is acting in grace — i.e. admitting guilt, experiencing redemption, and letting our will bend to the law —  and having faith that this will lead to an abundance of life that is worth living.

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7 thoughts on “The Gospel to a five-year-old – Part 2

  1. I don’t mean to nitpick, but I assume you want feedback. Overall I like what you wrote and some things were particularly concise and insightful, for example, “Some of us feel guilt when we violate the law, others don’t . But guilt is independent of the feeling”; and “logic dictates that if existence of an individual actor is eternal, guilt and the resulting hell are also eternal.”

    Now for the nitpicking: You write, “We cannot say anything coherent about the nature of God, because it is necessarily incomprehensible, but we posit that there is a source that injected order into the chaos of simple matter that is the universe.”

    This seems to reflect the LDS conception of the creation of the universe from preexisting matter, rather than the traditional Christian doctrine of creation ex nihilo. What that your intention?

    You write, “Because the fact of Christ is an infinite fact that exists outside of experience, sort of like a numerical constant, the fact of redemption does not depend on any particular behavior, compliance with the law, or state of mind.”

    But you also say, “Following Christ is acting in grace — i.e. admitting guilt, experiencing redemption, and letting our will bend to the law — and having faith that this will lead to an abundance of life that is worth living.”

    This appears to be a contradiction: Does being redeemed depend on our “admitting guilt” and “letting our will bend to the law”, or does it “not depend on any particular behavior, compliance with the law, or state of mind”? Admittedly it may not be a contradiction depending on what you mean specifically by “redemption”. In Catholic theology, we say that all mankind is redeemed through no act or merit of our own, but that the application of Christ’s redemption to us as individuals depends on our believing in Jesus, repenting of our sins and being baptized.

  2. Also, I don’t agree that “We cannot say anything coherent about the nature of God, because it is necessarily incomprehensible.”

    God is incomprehensible in the more old-fashioned sense of being able to take something entirely into our minds or “wrap” our minds around it. We can’t do that with God. But we certainly can say some coherent things about his nature, for example that he is immaterial and eternal and the source of all that exists. Do you disagree? Again not meaning to argue but just trying to establish where you’re coming from.

  3. “This appears to be a contradiction: Does being redeemed depend on our “admitting guilt” and “letting our will bend to the law”, or does it “not depend on any particular behavior, compliance with the law, or state of mind”? Admittedly it may not be a contradiction depending on what you mean specifically by “redemption”. In Catholic theology, we say that all mankind is redeemed through no act or merit of our own, but that the application of Christ’s redemption to us as individuals depends on our believing in Jesus, repenting of our sins and being baptized.”

    I am distinguishing redemption in Christ from following Christ.

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