Since the dawn of time, our earliest ancestors held true to the belief that there is a God, a figure who watches over us, seeks to guide us down the path of righteousness, and in all manners of grace, exists as the source of all that is good. This God is recognised and held in reverence the world over. All faiths seek the same goal, fulfilment, whether it be through faith and works, meditation, or a series of lifetimes, we are united in our commonality. Each faith gives God a different face, a different actuality to explain Him in terms understandable to the society and culture that that faith was born in. For this reason, Christianity maintains certain elements of ancient Syraic culture, despite being largely centred today in Europe and the Americas rather than the Middle East. This is also the reason why certain traditions within faiths, such as Catholicism or Orthodox Christianity, adhere to complex cosmologies that are denied by elements of Protestant Christianity, such as saints, and angels.
Our understanding of God has evolved over an extended period of time, in concurrence with our evolution as a species. For this reason, the Old Testament belief in an at times wrathful God does not have quite the same meaning in our modern beliefs. A species is like a person in that as it distances itself from that initial spark of creation, it gains wisdom, maturing into something beautiful in grace. We are born with beauty, a beauty marked by our infantile innocence, by our awe at all that we see, by our curiosity and creativity. As children, we allow our imaginations to run wild, creating fantasies that rival and spawn the greatest fantasies ever known. In my own childhood, the stories that my parents would read to me as I went to bed filled my dreams with imaginative epics not all that dissimilar, if perhaps at times less eloquently stated, than the Arthurian romances of Chrétien de Troyes, or the tales of Tolkien’s Middle Earth.
As we grow older, for some that imagination begins to wain in power for others it remains steadfast in its intensity, ferocious in its fire, but blissful in the beauty of the worlds it creates. I have never had the fire of my imagination doused, at times to my annoyance. However, this blessing allows me to see the world in a fresh manner, unknown to many of my fellows, and at times perplexing to those who I often work with on academic papers. God is a part of our history, our past, our present, and our future. His earliest mercies are remembered in the poetry and songs that have been passed down to us in the present in the form of myths and legends. For this reason, I do not see it fitting to discount such works as lacking the credit needed for use in academia. In such stories, such myths, we see God through the cultural contexts, through the eyes of our forbearers. As children, we gain our first understandings of God through such stories, through the Bible, which begins with a great compendium of myth, namely the first few chapters of Genesis, telling of Creation, of a Great Flood, and those earliest times of human existence. These myths allow us to glimpse how the ancient peoples of Israel understood God, and how they saw His works in their world.
God himself does not evolve, rather we, his Creation evolve. This continual renewal and change is one of the greatest graces we could ever receive, as it allows for the Cosmos to remain ever fresh and new, constantly mending the weaknesses, and recycling that which has died back into producing new life. This Evolutionary theory, presented in Darwin’s On the Origin of Species is not only the source for much studied today in the area of Biology, but also a testament to God’s Grace, to the Father’s Love for His children. By giving us this opportunity to refresh and rejuvenate ourselves, God gives us the opportunity to clean our persons and our world of the sins that are brought about by our youth.
In this regard, Sin is not of God’s doing, but our own. God did not create evil, rather, as God is good, He created only that which is good, including our free will. It is through this free will that evil came into the world, for we elected to use our freedom not for the good but for ill. Therefore, as the authors of sin, we have the opportunity to clear it off the page, not by striking it out with ink, but through the healing power of God’s love in the graces of the Holy Spirit through two of the Sacraments, the Eucharist, and Reconciliation. In these blessings, we allow for Christ’s Body and Blood to enter into our own, in the supreme act of deference and love for our Creator. However, this alone does not act as a shield to defend us from foul choices, rather we must admit our faults and ask forgiveness of God and ourselves. We cannot hope to go to God for aid without first accepting that we ourselves are at fault for our problems, acknowledging that through love of God we can be freed the terror of darkness. Through the Sacrament of Confession, we allow the fires of the Holy Spirit to embrace us, and burn away the sins of our acts, just as in Baptism we allow the Holy Waters to wash away the Original Sin of our fathers, as Western Christianity puts it. As Blessed John Paul II said, “We are not the sum of our weaknesses and failures; we are the sum of our Father’s love for us.”