In Sunday school today a guest presenter told us about what he believes concerning salvation, the spirit and our connection to God.
He said that we are made up of three parts (and that anything, to be complete, needs three parts). He drew our three parts on the chalk board as a pie with three slices:
- Body -- how we communicate with the environment. As an example, some people, when they have joint pain, can predict the weather.
- Soul -- how we communicate with each other. Our soul is our mind, our personality, our emotions. Our soul is what makes decisions.
- Spirit -- how we communicate with God.
He believes that when Adam sinned, his spirit died, and that we have inherited a dead spirit from Adam. We are born cut off from God. Being "born again" is what brings life to the spirit within us.
And when we die, we are going to hell, unless that spirit has been brought alive in us -- only then can we be with God.
Isn't that all neatly tied up in an easy to draw package, and, wow, it sounds like it ought to be true, but I don't believe it. It is too gnostic for me, with who we are separted from our bodies. It also eliminates, for me, the work of prevenient grace -- grace at work even before we know God. It our spirits are dead, then how is it that we feel this connection to God, even before we know who he is? And what about children? Are they not connected to God? Are they lost?
He sounded so very certain, and he even had literature he was willing to give us. He had scripture to support his theories. I imagine to argue with him would have resulted in scripture arrows, sent in defense of his interpretation.
I think, though, when we believe we have everything figured out, when we can draw pie charts and speak of everything in our faith as if it is tied up in a neat bow, then we can be rather certain that what we believe is wrong.
Faith isn't simple -- God is more complicated than we can even imagine. Describing him boxes him in and will be definition be incorrect -- in some way, in some part.