Backwards Verse of the Day #13: Luke 10:21.
I believe that the Bible teaches that God equips infants to glorify God in their own unique way.
We adults are conditioned with certain beliefs and assumptions in our day to day lives that we use to filter out certain possibilities when we observe things. When something strange or unusual occurs, we are much more likely to find a plausible, even scientific explanation for it than to explain it in terms of spirits or supernatural phenomena.
Children don’t have these filters. They passively make millions of observations every day which go unexplained until they build up a reservoir of explanations that they build into their psyche.
I was thinking of this while reading through Luke, where Jesus makes this cryptic statement:
I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. Luke 10:21
Of course, we at first assume that he is talking about those who are children spiritually. But is this the most faithful reading of the text? Consider some other verses that might lead us to think otherwise.
In Matthew 21:16, Jesus quotes Psalm 8:2 in this way:
Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies
you have prepared praise
And again in Luke, Jesus says,
Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.
At the heart of the Backwards theology of the Bible is our disposition in approaching God. We don’t come to God as knowers and teachers; we all come to God as little children. Here’s some conclusions, then.
1. God delights to reveal profound truths to children; both physical infants and those who are humble in heart. The educated and learned have greater knowledge but often that knowledge comes at the expense of a “childlike” faith.
2. God delights in infant children. The Bible doesn’t explain this, but Jesus clearly has this in view when he quotes the Psalms. God has prepared praise from the mouths of nursing children.
3. God gets a kick out of hiding things from the sophisticated intellectuals and revealing things to the “unschooled” and “ordinary.” This doesn’t mean for an instant that we should strive to be stupid. But it does mean that we should pursue education and knowledge with the greatest humility, because “knowledge puffs up.”
Backwards theology values simple faith and trust over dry intellectualism. But those who are of the simple-faith variety should humbly acknowledge that the English Bible that they now possess was provided for them by generations of tedious biblical scholars who preserved and translated ancient writings into modern vernacular.