Written by Derek Cooper
Wednesday, 23 April 2014 00:00
Most of us are familiar with the story of Aladdin in Arabian Nights. Aladdin, the young protagonist in the folk tale, discovers an oil lamp in a cave with magical powers. Upon rubbing the lamp, a genie appears who is compelled to grant the wishes of the person responsible for summoning him out of the magical lamp. As the story unfolds, Aladdin receives a beautiful wife, a magnificent palace and a wonderful life. Although many challenges present themselves over the course of the story, everything works out in the end, for such is the life of anyone who has a genie at his or her disposal!
Some people, Christians included, think that God is a genie. The origin of this thinking is as ancient as Christianity itself. The book of Acts describes a Samaritan named Simon the Magician, who was one of the earliest converts to Christianity. After recognizing the spiritual authority the Apostles Peter and John wielded in the presence of the people, Simon desperately pleaded with Peter to “Give me this power also” (Acts 8:19), so that he could use it as he wished. Since this time, a generation has not passed that Christians have not attempted to manipulate God for their own reasons. Of course, Simon would no doubt protest that he had all the best intentions, but we know the truth. We want unbridled control and no one to hold us accountable for how we use it.