A common argument for many is that each person is a child of God. You may see this argument from someone who is a Latter-day Saint (LDS or Mormon) or from a non-Christian or even some Christians. It’s particularly popular in American “Christianity” because no one wants to be offended. However, it’s also a theological view that has slipped into American churches. Recently I was in a chapel service and the speaker said that we are all children of God, even those from other religions.
The Mormon church teaches that all people are children of God. Satan is, according to Mormon theology, a child of God. Therefore, Mormon missionaries will claim that Satan is Jesus’ brother as well as our brother. Satan is a son of God in their view just like Jesus Christ (note that Jesus is also considered a brother which complicates a possible view of the Trinity).1
To clearify, Mormonism teaches that a man came to earth. That man lived a righteous life and when he died, he eventually became God. That God was involved in polygamous relations on his own planet and had “spirit children.” These children then populated the earth. Jesus happened to be one of these children, as was Satan. However, Satan was greedy and chose his own path and was expelled from Heaven. The current God has not always been God and any man can become God if he lives a proper life according to LDS teachings, eventually earning them their own planet, multiple wives, and possibly the ability to be THE God. Many times when talking to a Mormon missionary, they will mention that we’re all children of God, including Satan.
Non-Christians (and some Christians)
Currently there’s a swift move among many, particularly non-Christians, claiming that we’re all children of God. Therefore, what we do isn’t of any eternal value. There’s no real reason to accept Christ or even Allah, Mary, Joseph Smith, Jim Jones, etc. because if we’re all children of God, then we’ll all see each other in Heaven unless someone chooses that another won’t be in Heaven. For example, Adolf Hitler will not be in heaven because he was an evil man. They believe that there is no good or bad, but when you get to the meat of it, there actually is bad.
A popular phrase among those that popularize that all are children of God is, “all roads lead to God.” No one gets left out, unless of course, they decide that someone is too evil or “out there.”
Is this Biblical?
In Colossians 1:16 we read the following:
For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities – all things have been created through Him and for Him. (NASB)
We also read in God’s Word that God loved the world so much that He sent Jesus Christ to die for our sin so that we didn’t have to receive that punishment (see John 3:16). Our sin actually separates us from God and the Bible is very clear that not all people are considered children of God.
The Scriptures on Being a Child of God
The following Scriptures speak about being children of God:
But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:12-13; NASB)
When reading verse 12, our culture tends to read “gave the right” as the legal right to have something. However, in this verse it isn’t about legal rights. A better way to understand could be to use the word power or authority. So, it is not necessarily our right, but that we have the power or authority to choose to become the children of God.
Further, the birth that’s being discussed is not a natural human birth that requires a man and woman to conceive. To be born again as a Christian does not involve a natural birth. A person does not choose to be concieved or birthed. However, a person must decide of their own free will to accept Jesus Christ as their savior.
For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him. (Romans 8:14-17; NASB)
To be led by the Holy Spirit, one must be a child of God. This is a privileged of being a child of God. God sent to Holy Spirit to us to guide and direct us in His ways so that we can be drawn closer to Him. We don’t need to like in fear. We can cry out to God and He will comfort us with the His Spirit.
See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.
Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness. You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin. No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him. Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous; the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil. No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother. (1 John 3:1-10; NASB)
The same concept previous discussed is again discussed in 1 John 3. We do not choose to be born (naturally). Our parents choose life for us. We choose to become children of God. When we choose to serve God, the things of God become evident in our lives. When we choose not to serve Him, sin is evident in our lives. God’s love for His creation has been shown to us by Christ’s death on the cross so that we may become His children. Being a child of God gives us a special inheritance, eternal life with Him in heaven.
So, who is a child of God?
Despite it being said by many (yes, even those that are dedicated Christians), not everyone that walks this earth is a child of God. We are all God’s creation and He loves His creation so much. Because of His love for each of us, despite our pasts or even our present, He gave us a way to become His child.
God sent His son, Jesus Christ, to die a brutal and bloody death on the cross. Jesus took our punishment for us. When we decide to turn our lives over to Jesus and to follow Him, we choose to become children of God. It isn’t our actions or who our parents are, but a genuine decision to follow Christ, that makes us a child of the one true God.
1Hales, Robert D. “I am a Child of God.” Nov 1978. Accessed: 3 Apr 2016 from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. https://www.lds.org/liahona/1978/11/i-am-a-child-of-god?lang=eng