Are We All God's Children?

Here comes a Baptist, here comes a Jew
There goes a Mormon and a Muslim too
I see a Buddist and a Hindu
I see a Catholic and I see you

We're all god's children
We're all god's children
We're all god's children
Why can't we be
One big happy family

From Alan Jackson's, We're All God's Children

How often have you heard the stat- ement, We're all God's children? Probably a lot. Heck, you may have, on occasion, even said it yourself. The statement, though often innocent, is fallacious and biblically unsupportable.

While Scripture declares all people are God’s creation (Col. 1:16), fused with His image (Gen. 1:26), and madly loved (Jn. 3:16), it designates only those who are "born again" (Jn. 3:3) as children of God.

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name (Jn. 1:12 NKJV)

If a person is given the right to become a child of God, they must not be one. And the right must be exceedingly precious.

The Bible is narrow in this regard. Apart from racial and cultural distinctions, it defines only two categories of people: saved and unsaved, lost and found. The differential between the two may not always be clear (see the Parable of the Tares and the Wheat, Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43), but Scripture is clear about a divide. The lost -- those who have not "received" or "believed" (Jn. 1:12) -- are never called children of God.

And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. (Eph. 2:1-4 NKJV)

Notice, before they were "made alive" they were "dead in traspasses and sins," considered "sons of disobedience" and "by nature children of wrath." Romans 9:8 is equally blunt: “those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God.” And then Jesus told the Pharisees, "You are of your father the devil" (Jn. 8:44), without blinking.

The apostle John references two unique breeds, species or tribes:

This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother (I Jn. 1:10 NIV).

Between "children of God" and "children of the devil," there is only silence. Perhaps this is why Scripture offers so few choices -- it's either God or Satan, life or death, blessing or curse, light or darkness, truth or lies, the broad or narrow road. Furthermore, the fact that there are only two final destinations -- Heaven and Hell -- is indicative of only two types of residents.

Alan Jackson may be a fine performer, but he is not a theologian. Like it or not, there is a place called hell and unless we turn from our hellish natures, we will reside there forever. Yes, that's narrow and hard. But it's also biblical. As with many such contentions, the arguement is with Scripture, not Christians.

Peter Kreeft puts it this way:

If there is no hell, a religious indifference follows. If faith in Christ as Savior is not necessary, we should recall all the missionaries and apologize for all the martyrs. What a waste of passion and energy and time and life! If there is no such thing as fire, fire departments are a distraction and waste... The exact same authority which is our only authority for believing God is love also assures us that there is a hell. Either we accept both on the same ground or reject both on the same ground, for they stand on the same ground. (Kreeft, Handbook of Christian Apologetics, pgs. 284-285)

So are we all God's children? Well it depends on how the question's asked. If it means, Are we all uniquely created and loved by God? the answer is yes. But if it means, Are we all going to heaven? the answer is unequivocally no.


Mirtika said...

I just went through this with a friend of mine---again. It's one of my bugaboos.

I always answer the question: "No, we're not all God's children. We're all God's creation. Big difference. BUT..we can all BE God's children. That door is open."

It is a pet peeve of mine, though. I know it's kindly meant, but one can be sincerely, theologically wrong.


Carol Collett said...

I'm with you and Mir. It's a sweet sentiment-and you've never heard it so sweet as when a little old southern lady says it-but it's just wrong. No one comes to the Father, but through Jesus.

Ame said...

The more we study and learn what God says in the Bible, the more we find many truths like this very distinguishable by God ... God is/does ...; God is not/does not ....

There are only two forces in this world.

Amazing how we pick and choose what we believe when it's so plainly written: "I'm a good person; I do good things," my brother. "It's just sex," my single, female friend. "I'll pray for you," many who believe in all sorts of "gods." "I don't believe I need to go to church as a Christian," my neighbor. "Oh my ---!" many whom I know in church who have not learned how seriously God values and protects His Name. "We're all god's children," ... wow, does Satan not like that lie!

Very good post, Mike.

Janet Rubin said...

Kreeft quote is great. We are all God's children- I guess it's something people say to make themselves feel good. It's easy. You don't have to do anything to be someone's child. You are just born your parents' child. If we were all just God's children automatically, it wouldn't matter what we did. That's why the world likes that statement. The truth is that we are ophans, homeless and destined for hell. There is a loving Father who wants desperately to adopt every lost child, but many haven't accepted His offer of a home because having a Father means having someone to answer to, someone who might discapline on occasion. Good post, Mike.

Mike Duran said...

Thanks for the comments, Mir, Carol, Ame and Janet. What makes this statement so hard to answer is not knowing the heart or intentions of the one making it. On one level, affirming that we are all loved by and precious to God is important. And I think that sentiment can be found in this assertion. But in most cases, it's a careless whitewashing of Scripture, a reckless liberal wish/dream we super-impose upon our concept of God. If the Bible was not the final arbiter on these matters, public opinion and preference would run rampant... which it has. Grace to you!

Anonymous said...

In Acts 17:29 it says we're all the offspring of God. Is it not possible for a child to wander away? Just because a child stops talking to their parent doesn't mean the child is no longer their child.