I wrote this piece for a thought provoking college class I am currently taking on Faith and Salvation online at Saint Leo University. I do not know yet what grade I will get on it, but I figured it was worth sharing with my readers up here.
Will man be saved by God? Who will be saved by God? Is one of the Catholic faith more likely to be saved by God than a Lutheran, a Presbyterian, or someone from another faith? Can a simple man who believes in God and occasionally reads the revealed word, but elects not to be connected to any church be saved by God? Would God even bother to try to save a true atheist or a non-believer in God and Heaven? Is there a way for a man to receive the grace of God and be saved and welcomed into God’s Kingdom on his own? I think any man, even those in Godly robes with full knowledge of the revealed word, that thinks he can answer these questions unequivocally to an absolute certainty is exhibiting a level of human audacity, so grand in dimension and size that even God himself is stunned by it. I have no absolute proof, just as no one else does about salvation, but I believe every time our human minds entertain questions which are purely in the hands of the divine one, God is sitting on his throne in heaven with his hand on his forehead going oy vey these wondrous creatures that I have created in my own image cannot even understand what is in their own hearts and minds, yet they presume to know what is in their creators heart and mind based only on those I spoke to or through centuries ago. However, I do believe despite it all that God loves us though and like a mother of many children, God is most protective of the creation, no matter how imperfect or screwed up, that is most like him. I do not believe “man set himself against God and sought to attain his goal apart from God,” because I do not believe there was a deliberate conscious effort on the part of humans to go against the creator. Any appearance that we set ourselves against God must be considered either a thoughtless action on our part or at the very worst an act of hubris in ourselves without regard to God. Pride or hubris is one of the seven deadly sins, but it is one of the sneakier sins because we often do not know it has a hold of us until it is too late. God knows all too well about man’s inclination toward sin because we have failed, starting with Adam, every test he has thrown in front of us, but God also has the wisdom to know that our inclination to sin is equaled with our inclination to do great good.
If we are truly all God’s children and he is our father in heaven as we have often been taught, he must forgive us of our sins for it is not within in a true father to stop loving, to stop caring, to stop being father. It is a job that never ends and with that job comes a lot of worry, pain, and sacrifice and the best any father can hope for, be he God or human, are a few fleeting moments of joy and pride in the being or beings born from the seed he planted. I do not care whether you are Catholic, Baptist, or whatever, or you never go to church, or what nonsense you believe in, or think you know. If he is a true father, “our father who thou art in heaven” will not forsake us because it is not in the nature or soul of a true father to do so. Our father will try to illuminate the path to heaven for us all, he will try to save us all if he can, and he will try keep us all from falling into the clutches of Satan’s grip because a true father will protect and defend his children to the end. Unfortunately, just because our father has the will and desire to try and save us all does not mean he will be able to do so. The desire and will to do something even if heaven sent does guarantee thy will be done or achieved. A baby growing in the womb of a mother is not guaranteed life in this world, so how could we expect our father in heaven, no matter how great and wonderful he is, to guarantee us ascension to heaven in the next life. We all know that natural life from start to finish holds no guarantees, so why would you think be you Catholic, Protestant, or a simple man with a deep abiding belief in God above think that a place in heaven is guaranteed to you. God, our father in heaven, does not guarantee us eternal life in his heavenly kingdom. God merely offers us the promise of eternal life in his Kingdom if we manage to get there through his will and desire.
If it is all dependent on God’s will and desire, what role does the church or organized religion play? They are all well-worn pathways to realizing that promise, but it cannot be the only one otherwise far too many would be left out. If he were to select only Catholics, that would leave all the Protestants and Jews out. If were to select only those who attend some church, he would leave out all those who do not attend any kind of church. A loving forgiving father would not leave so many of his children out in the cold, so there must be other ways he can save them, to help them realize his promise. As our reading states, “the scriptures tell men that God wants everyone saved.” Whether it is a “supernatural salvation” God just grants to his non-Christian or non-believing children or he has some plan or some other way beyond man’s comprehension to save us, a pathway to realize his promise must exist for us all. As we have read, we are all afflicted with the burden of the “original sin,” so through no fault of our own we are all on the road to perdition from the moment we are born. If this is true, there must be more ways off that road. It cannot be all exclusive to one faith, like the Catholic Saints we have read have tried to convince us of for our father in heaven would not want one half or three quarters of his children to perish in the flames of hell just because they do not subscribe to the idea that a wise exalted old fellow in a funny hat is the only one that holds the keys to heaven gate.
I haven’t been to Sunday services in a church in decades, but sitting behind me on my book shelf right at this moment rests several different Bibles. Do I believe every word in the Bible? Absolutely not because literal interpretations of that wonderful book causes people do stupid appalling things in the heavenly father’s name. God is wonderful, God is great, God loves us and forgives us for our trespasses, but not even divine intervention can fix certain kinds of stupid. Do I believe in God? You bet I do because one not believing in God is far to frightening to contemplate. Two, if any creature on earth ever needed a divine Sheppard to watch over them, it is man because no creature on earth is more hell bent on their own destruction than man. Three, only God could help us make sense of this beautiful chaos we call life. We can only pray that one day we will get the chance to stand in the light of our heavenly father and receive the answers to all the questions religious wars have been fought over, the answers that have always been just out of our minds reach, the answers that have at times both mystified our minds and tortured our mortal souls.