In the introduction to this series of articles on the Beatitudes, The “Real” Good News, I indicated that I was writing these pieces as the spirit moved me. I hadn’t even considered that I should write a series on the Beatitudes, until after I completed The Case of the Missing Comma. I certainly didn’t envision that this seventh Beatitude would span three full articles – but here it is – so let’s use this third piece to try and answer the last question posed by the 7th Beatitude: What is a Child of God?
Where will this search for an answer take us? Well, here’s the thing: the church has an established doctrine concerning Yeshua, the Christ, and their claim that He was the “only son of God”. The logic which I will present here in this article disputes the church’s doctrine. Therefore, it will be for you, the reader, to answer this question: Are your emotional ties to the doctrine of “the only son of God” so strong that you will continue to discount the logical conclusions presented here, or are you going to be willing to move above the emotional attachments to established church doctrine, and reform your beliefs to embrace these logical conclusions? The decision rests with you, alone. God bless you as you work through this process.
So the Beatitude, once again reads: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.” Some versions of the bible translate ‘children of God’ as ‘sons of God’. Both of these can be correct translations. The Greek words from which this phrase is translated are huios theos. The translation of the Greek word huios to ‘children’ (rather than sons) is found in the King James Version. This is likely the result of the aforementioned church doctrine, of ‘the only son’. To avoid confusion or the possible heretical thoughts of the people, the term was rendered as ‘children’. But if we look for a moment at the text from the 10th chapter of the Gospel of John, we find an interesting coincidence. In John 10:36, when Yeshua declares Himself to be the ‘Son of God’, the Greek text reads huios theos. The same words which are used in the 7th Beatitude where the KJV reads ‘children of God’.
We could raise all sorts of questions here about gender neutrality issues, but those issues fall outside the context of this discussion. Historically, the term ‘men’ has been used to refer collectively to men and women, or people. Therefore, it is also logical to conclude that the term ‘sons’ would also refer to the sons and the daughters of God – the children.
Here is a thought: When cats have offspring, they are called kittens. The kittens grow up to be cats. The ‘children’ of cats grow up to be cats. When dogs have offspring, they are called puppies. The puppies grow up to be dogs. The ‘children’ of dogs grow up to be dogs. The church acknowledges that we are the ‘children of God’ (after all, it is in the bible) but if we were to ask what we might become when we grow up..., the church replies “Well, yes, that’s what the bible says, but it doesn’t mean what it says, when it says that we’re ‘children of God’. It only means that he loves us ‘like’ a father.”
Except that if Yeshua was the ‘only son of God’ and is God (as a part of the trinity – more church doctrine), then it would be logical to assume that if His intention was to distinguish Himself as different somehow from the peacemakers, He would not have used the words huios theos. He would have stated His identity differently, in order to avoid confusion on the part of the peacemakers.
In the article, An Inheritance to Participate In! I cited John’s first letter. In the 4th chapter, he writes “God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.” (NIV) This is very similar to ideas put forth in the letters of Paul. In his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul writes that as members of the ‘Church’ (large C – see What is the Church on the information page to read this article) we are members of the body of Christ. He also writes in his letter to the Romans, that the ‘Spirit of Christ’ is in us. Finally he has also written in Romans that we are ‘heirs with Christ’. All of these thoughts serve to point to the same startling reality: Together with Yeshua, we are huios theos - the children of God. This places us squarely on equal footing with Yeshua! This makes us a part of God.
While this may seem to be a blasphemous conclusion, the logic which leads to this conclusion is sound. Furthermore, as I indicated before, it must be that we were meant to reach this conclusion. If this conclusion were wrong, then Yeshua would have used some different phrase when He claimed that He and the Father are one, and that He was the son of God; because He would have known that by using the phrase huios theos, He would be leading us to reach this conclusion, and He would not have wanted to mislead us. Instead, He would have made it clear that He was completely and uniquely divine, and not like us at all; but He didn’t. This means our conclusion is valid, and that you and I are a part of God.
What exactly does this mean, to say that we are a part of God? That’s a good question, and not one which we can fully answer here. We will look into this in greater detail in future articles, but for now, we’ll leave it at this: The 7th Beatitude as I believe Yeshua wants us to understand it: Blessed are those who find, live and share the deep sense of the Father’s joy and contentment that He wishes us to have, for they are a part of God!
Grace and peace to you all,