In this Advent season, I thought it might be worthwhile to make a statement of what I believe as a Christian. Interestingly enough, I came across something I had written to a good friend just over four years ago. I've tweaked the wording just a mite, but this is essentially what I wrote to Ken back in December of 2005...
Since you're always willing to engage in intellectual questions about Christian belief, I thought it would be fair to give you some insight into my own beliefs. Consider this a manifesto if you like.
I believe that God created the world in a certain order, sequentially, and over a span of time. I don't believe that this was a literal six days. I don't know if the biblical account is for the creation of the entire universe, or just for our solar system. I believe that the theory of evolution as proposed by Charles Darwin is the best scientific explanation we have at the moment of the process by which God has covered this planet with life in all its diversity.
I believe that God is in charge of the entire universe. I believe that He has created each of us, and everything about us, in a single act of creation that includes the time over which we exist in this physical world. I believe that our concern for predestination vs. free will is an oversimplification of the universe from God's perspective. Since we can't see that perspective, I believe that the sensible way to respond is to act as though we have free will. I believe that to do otherwise is to fail to deal with the universe as it's presented to us.
I believe that Jesus the Anointed One is the only way that I may achieve a communion with God. I don't know if this means the acceptance of the reality of Jesus' personal sacrifice on the cross, or the fact that that sacrifice was made at one time and in one place for all. I believe it's wrong to tell God how He must go about bringing those He has chosen into communion with Him--read the book of Jonah for His viewpoint on that arrogance.
I believe that I need to intentionally work on my way to the communion with God that I desire above all else. I believe that I will fail to achieve God's required holiness on my own--that is what His grace is for. I believe that I need to be constantly aware of that grace, and my need for it. I believe that any thought I may have of my own worthiness of communion with Him is pride, and the gravest of affronts to Him.
I believe that His love is unconditional (extended to all) but that there is more to the world than that. I believe His judgment is also a reality--I may yet be permanently separated from my desired communion with Him. I believe I must earnestly seek to live my life as He has told me to live--to love justice, to be faithful, and to be humble before Him. I believe that He has my best interest in mind when He tells me how to live; I believe that I am loved.
I believe that I may yet see an eternity of communion with God. I believe that I will experience loss in this life, just as I've experienced joy and blessing. I do not believe that the only way that I may grow closer to God is through adversity. I believe that He will sustain me in those times when He seems far away, but I also believe that I need to continue to seek His face when the times are good, that He is the source of that good and I need to keep that in mind. I believe that the bad that comes is part of the fabric of His creation, that the path to communion is narrow and that it must be traversed with His help.
Finally--I believe that I can't begin to understand the richness of the blessing that God confers on each of us each day. I believe that, on my own, I am blind and deaf to His love extended through time and space, as His creation moves along its appointed path. I love this awesome God, this God Who will not be confined to my small mind or my limited imagination.