A Scarey Assignment: “God for the day…”

I have been invited to go out to Luther College here in Melbourne on Monday and speak to two Year 11 Religious Education classes. It is to be a general exploration of “the BIG questions”. When I was invited, I suggested that it might be more fruitful if the students had a bit of a think about what they wanted to ask, and wrote down some of their questions before hand for me to consider. Their teacher (the one who invited me) asked them to write down the questions they would ask God if they had a chance to do so. The scarey part is that I’m supposed to suggest how God might answer these questions. “You ‘are’ God for the day”, the teacher tells me.

Well, the first thing I think I will tell them when I arrive that I am most certainly and definitely NOT God, and so don’t expect me to be able to respond as if I were. I need to make it clear that anything I say in respect to these questions is a purely human attempt to understand God’s ways. Perhaps the illustration of St Augustine’s dream of the child with the shell at the beach would be appropriate from the beginning.

In any case, I asked the teacher’s permission to use you guys here at the commentary table on this ‘ere blog as my “extended consciousness”, and to ask you to give me a hand with how you would answer any of these questions. The teacher says they deliberately left in some of the “silly ones”. I can see which ones they are, and yet I can also see in this the point that “there is no such thing as a silly question” and even these have their benefits.

Any way, if you down there at the end of the table could pass the port bottle around, we’ll get started. Here are “the BIG Questions” as passed on to me by the teacher from the students. In your replies, please reference the question to which you are responding. Note that “you” in these questions is God. And no, I don’t quite understand what question 8 is about either.

1. If we were created in the image of God, does that mean that we have the potential to be perfect?
2. What will the rest of my life be like? (eg Marriage)
3. How do you choose who has a tough/hard/sad life and who does not?
4. How should I live my life?
5. Why are people born ‘gay’ if this is frowned upon in the Bible?
6. If God is so powerful, can he create something so heavy that he cannot lift it?
7. How do you know what is the right decision?
8. Why do people not realise what they are doing and take their own life?
9. Why can’t the Bulldogs win a premiership?
10. Why do people get sick and die?
11. Why are so many people ‘tools’?
12. Do you answer everyone’s prayers?
13. Is it really a sin to love somebody who is not a Christian, when God says that He is Love?
14. Are our lives planned out for us before we live it?
15. Why can’t we speak to dead people?
16. Why don’t you stop people from doing bad things?
17. Why do you let Satan live?
18. Why is life so complicated?
19. DO you believe in karma?

About Schütz

I am a PhD candidate & sessional academic at Australian Catholic University in Melbourne, Australia. After almost 10 years in ministry as a Lutheran pastor, I was received into the Catholic Church in 2003. I worked for the Archdiocese of Melbourne for 18 years in Ecumenism and Interfaith Relations. I have been editor of Gesher for the Council of Christians & Jews and am guest editor of the historical journal “Footprints”. I have a passion for pilgrimage and pioneered the MacKillop Woods Way.
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14 Responses to A Scarey Assignment: “God for the day…”

  1. Dan says:

    6. If God is so powerful, can he create something so heavy that he cannot lift it?

    God can do all things that are possible (Matt. 19:26). He cannot do what is, for him, impossible, including to sin or to create logical impossibilities (e.g., square circles, mathematical errors, rocks too heavy for him to lift). While God can do things that are impossible for man (Luke 18:27), he cannot do what is impossible for himself. This does not mean that God is not omnipotent; it means only that his power does not negate itself.

    12. Yes. And the answer is usually no.

    17. Come to think of it, I would like to know why He lets Satan live!? and also should we as Christians pray for Satan or is that just a waste of time?

    (yawn) To be honest, I can’t bring my self to answer all of them or write funny/inappropriate comments.

    • matthias says:

      “To be honest, I can’t bring my self to answer all of them or write funny/inappropriate comments.” Must be the Biddhist concept of god

  2. Tony says:

    1. I can guarantee if you live your life seeking perfection with My help, you will find an answer to that question.
    2. If I told you that, I’d rob you of your greatest gift: free will.
    3. Mostly people choose that for themselves, but even if tough things happen to you, you can be happy with My help.
    4. Loving Me and loving your neighbour as My Son did.
    5. The Bible shows us the way people understood their relationship to Me over time. It doesn’t necessarily reflect how I feel about things. You have to nut that out for yourselves.
    6. No, that’s impossible. I can’t make a square circle either.
    7. The right decision is the one you make when you honestly try to understand all the the issues about that decision and you are prepared to take responsibility for it. You may look back on that decision and form a different view, but you can only deal with now.
    8. Because they are overwhelmed by fear and confusion and darkness.
    9. See #6
    10. Because they are born and live.
    11. Because that’s what you need to remove splinters and planks.
    12. Before you ask them.
    13. No.
    14. No. See #2.
    15. You can.
    16. See #2.
    17. Because I love him.
    18. It just seems that way at times. Be patient.
    19. I AM karma, dude!

    • Stephen K says:

      Wow! Tony, I love your answers! I won’t even try.

    • catherine says:

      Well done.

    • jules says:

      Ok here are my answers:

      1. Yes , and in fact that is what I have called you to be – holy and perfect ~1 Peter 1:15-16, Matthew 5:48.
      2. You were given the gift of free will , choose wisely in all things, love tenderly, walk humbly with me, act justly and your life will be blessed.
      3. No matter what kind of choices you make, or no matter how good or hard your life is , you must never fear because I comfort you, show mercy, love, and forgiveness.
      4. By keeping all the commandments,because in each commandment there is love. Where there is love there I am.
      5. In fact only 9% of people say they are born that way. I love them too and have called all to live their life in chastity. Gay or not! From the beginning I made them male and female. The sacred nature of marriage is between man and woman.
      6. The word ‘can not’ means less than perfect. It doesn’t relate to me. I am perfect so I can do all things, and undo them too!
      7. You know when you make a right decision it doesn’t hurt or offend anyone- including me!
      8. Because they feel all alone and have forgotton how I love them and want them to be holy.
      9. Because I’m a St George fan!
      10. Because when sin entered into the world it meant you could not live forever and the “first” sin was made by man’s free choice this transmitted to you not only death but also the tendency to sin.
      11. Because I need to use you sometimes. That’s Ok isn’t it?St Francis wanted to be an ‘instrument’ remember?
      12. I do , but only in ways that teach you.
      13. You will find that your enemies and your neighbours are the the same people- love them all. Let me take care of the rest. Just don’t forget I am the way and truth as well!
      14. I do have plans for you. I knew you even before you were born, I gave you free will, use it to live, love and worship me. I want you to live a good life. Be an example to others , and whatever vocation you choose it is a part of your calling in the kingdom of God. So whatever choose may be, keep me near and you will find eternal significance in your vocation.
      15. Every time you say prayers and ask a saint to prayer for you are speaking to someone who was alive , who died and who is in my presence. Pray for the dead, ask me to give them my mercy, this way I will know how much you love.
      16. That would take away their free will. Besides there are lessons to be learned. Learn them from others to avoid sin.
      17.Satan is participating in his punishment. I am a Just God, my justice even extends to the angles!
      18. You are young but even when you are old I will not give you something you can not handle, even temptation- 1 Corinthians 10:13 , just trust me
      19. No, karma doesn’t belong to me , but this does: That whosoever believes in me shall not perish, but will have eternal life.

      • Tony says:

        … my justice even extends to the angles!

        No, I’m not having a go at your spelling, but it did remind me:

        6. The word ‘can not’ means less than perfect. It doesn’t relate to me. I am perfect so I can do all things, and undo them too!

        A perfect sphere can not be a cube (perfect or otherwise). A perfect apple can’t be an orange (perfect or otherwise). Therefore ‘can not’ does not necessarily mean less than perfect.

        • jules says:

          angels angels
          angels angels
          angels angels
          angels angels
          angels angels
          angels angels

          Thanks sir!

          In the context of God, ‘can not’ ,it seems, would not be applicable.

      • Stephen K says:

        Jules, credit where credit is due: your answers are suitably gospelly and concise. But after reading both yours and Tony’s answers, I’m now wondering whether the Trinity (one God in three persons) must now be replaced by the Ditheosity – the two Gods in two persons. They sound, together, like the different responses of two brothers, yours the conservative, Tony’s the more laid-back. I’d hesitate to say which might be the elder – perhaps they’d be twins.

  3. Matthias says:

    If i were God for the Day
    -I would say that one needs to see the world in Black and White and not in a variant of colours such as red white and blue
    -You cannot speak to dead people ,because that would be striking a happy medium
    -People born ‘gay ” and who struggle to remain celibate ,are showing their faithfulness to Me,as is the man/woman who struggles in reamaining celibate witin the heterosexual context
    -No it is not a sin for a Christian to love a non Christian,especially when some non Christians are nicer than some Christians. Look at Ian Paisley,he prays to Me yet I still cannot get into his church

  4. An Liaig says:

    6. Because I barrack for Essendon – Go Bombers!

  5. Toby Lees says:

    Some great answers there:

    Throw one back at them for 6

    6. Could God create something so heavy that Chuck Norris could not lift it?

  6. Tony says:

    Last Christmas a relative gave me a desktop calendar which flips over a page for a day. Each day has a little saying from ‘Church Signs’, that particularly US phenomenon of churches having signs of ‘inspiration’ for passing motorists.

    Like on the road, most are pretty lame, but not lame enough for me to stop being curious about the next day!

    On the 24th of this month, the day after David’s post on this string, the saying was:

    ‘God is. Any questions?’.

  7. Schütz says:

    Okay, just a quick report on how it all went.

    I spoke to the two classes for 45 minutes each. The second class was more responsive than the first, but curiously we covered more detail in the first class.

    The first question to be asked by the first class was the “people born gay” question, and the first in the second class was the question of “Karma”. Both classes focused on the question of how to make right decisions for our lives, and whether God “has a plan for our lives” or “has planned our lives”.

    I emphasised in both classes that God has given all his human creatures Free Will and Human Reason, and that he expects us to use these in our daily decisions between right and wrong. I told them that I was speaking from a Catholic perspective, and I am glad that I could, because honestly, I don’t think the Lutheran dogmatic system (with it’s denial of free will) can properly answer these questions.

    Anyway I am glad I had the opportunity of joining these Luther College students for such a short time. I thank their teacher for inviting me. And I am now more than ever convinced that I do not have what it takes to be a high school chaplain or RE teacher. Qudos to any of you out there who do and are!

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