This week is one of those pondering weeks and I invite you to ponder with me. Not giving conclusions or doctrine or fundamental interpretation of anything, just sitting under my thinking tree and thinking out loud so you can all join in. I blame the death of a musician and songwriter for my pondering, a musician that maybe no one reading this would ever have heard of, Benjamin Curtis who played with both Secret Machines and School of Seven Bells (in my mind a sad loss). Secret Machines had a song called ‘The Road leads where It’s led’, and it is this title alone that started a rabbit trail. I for some reason started pondering the thought that many roads or pathways lead to heaven. The ongoing question about whether Christianity really does have the monopoly on the road of salvation and reaching Paradise, or is it just one of many paths that lead to the heavens? I am not the only one pondering these issues, a Facebook friend called Jim Palmer wrote the following;
“Not only are there “many paths to God,” there are infinite paths to God – every experience, every encounter, every moment is a path to God. Whatever is showing up right now in your life, that’s your path to God.”
– Jim Palmer, Notes from (Over) the Edge
Please before you correct my error and heresy here note I have said this is a pondering and not an answer or a doctrine, just a rabbit trail of thought. We are allowed to have them, right? Or am I so pre-programmed in my thinking that I have to quash any individuality? Does God really only have the power to reveal Himself inside one set boundary of revelation or could He reveal Himself in multiple ways to multiple people’s groups? Can He drop seeds of truth inside more than one belief system? Would it really so offend us if heaven is populated by people of different belief systems, and if so why? Would we feel cheated on? Would we feel God is being too gracious and too loving and too free to have so many facets to Him? This is indeed all a great puzzle of life, death and the afterlife. I know the majority if not all who read this will adhere to the code we have been taught, Jesus is the only way of salvation, and as a foundation to faith that can be admired, but does it limit revelation, entry to heaven, the sacrifice of Christ, God Himself?
This pondering has brought me to a new place of thinking. We always talk about how many roads lead to God, there is only one way of salvation by us coming to God through Jesus, we enter into His gates and come to Him. What if these are all the wrong way round? What if we are seeing things the wrong way? Isn’t the tower of Babel story about man trying to build his own way to God and the heavens? Isn’t the temple system and it’s failure within the Old Testament an example about how man always tried to have a way to come to God? Maybe we have to stop thinking in terms of many roads or even one road leading to God and realise a different road was built altogether that had a different emphasis on it altogether. It ceased being about roads leading to God and man getting to heaven and the story swung around 180 degrees and became about God making a way and a road to us. God made a road to mankind. Salvation became about incarnation and not about becoming deities. Heaven became about the kingdom come instead about getting to heaven. The story became about God dwelling amongst men and not about us dwelling with God. It became about God’s activity and not about our effort or religious dogma. Maybe we need to stop worrying about how many roads lead to God and heaven and start seeing the pathway He channelled out for us to know Him now in our daily walk. The road does indeed lead where it’s led. Dwelling amongst us so we can dwell with Him. Does this rob us of faith and belief? No. Does this rob us of unique expression? No. Does it take away the cross and the resurrection? No. But it stops us judging by religious exercise and revelation and moves it back to a matter of the heart. It takes it away from our own Babel efforts and back to what He has done. This has been my pondering this week and the rabbit trail goes on….