Pope Francis believes the Bible needs revising, specifically the Lord’s Prayer. He doesn’t care for the phrase “lead us not into temptation,” thinks it should read, “do not let us fall into temptation.”
“That is not a good translation,” he said in Italian, during a television interview. “It is not [God] that pushes me into temptation and then sees how I fall. A father does not do this. A father quickly helps those who are provoked into Satan’s temptation.”
The pope suffers from a common religious illness. It’s wanting to make the scriptures more commercially acceptable, more pleasing to the suffering soul, by making them more palatable and pleasing to the ears.
In other words, there is what the Bible actually says, and means. And then there’s what one wants it to say and mean, for what it actually saying and meaning not being all that pleasing to the ears, palatable, and ultimately attractive.
More importantly, there is what one wants it to say and mean, for the new meaning—the revised meaning, the more attractive meaning—casting the instructor in a warm, likeable, glorifying glow.
Suffice it to say, the truth is hard and uncomfortable. Thus, few want to hear it, and even fewer want to communicate it.
That said, the pontiff, all due respect, needs to do a little reading. He should begin in the Bible’s first book of Samuel, with King Saul.
King David, Saul’s eventual successor, killed Goliath, a menacing giant all in Saul’s army feared to challenge. For his courage, David, handsome and valiant, immediately became Saul’s lead military man.
The Jewish people adored David, particularly the Jewish women [I Samuel 18:6-7]. This did not please Saul, who quickly came to view David as a threat to his power, and sought to kill him for the threat he posed.
“And it came to pass on the morrow, that the evil spirit from God came upon Saul … Saul cast a javelin for he said, I will smite David even to the wall with it …” [I Samuel 18:10-11]
What’s this? An “evil spirit from the Lord” came upon Saul?
God? Issuing evil?
Defying the pontiff’s assertions, are we to understand that God was pushing Saul toward temptation of the murderous variety?
Why, it certainly appears that way. But before passing judgement, consider Job’s story.
In the book’s beginning, Satan had a meeting with God. Actually, coming to “present” himself before the Lord, Satan had been summoned by God—as in, subordinately summoned.
As to hierarchy, a rather instructive distinction, indeed.
Nevertheless, God asked Satan where he’d been.
In modern parlance, Satan replied, “I’ve been walking the earth looking to wreck human lives.”
God said, “Well, what about my servant Job? He’s perfect—none like him. He fears me, and avoids evil. I bet you can’t turn him.”
Basically, Satan said God was protecting Job, and that, were God to give Satan a crack at him, Job wouldn’t prove so loyal and pure.
So God did precisely that. He gave Satan a crack at Job—two cracks, actually. The first, Satan took away everything Job possessed, even killed his children. Only, the attempt to turn Job’s faith failed.
So God allowed Satan a second try, in which Satan struck Job with grievous boils over his entire body.
Remarkably, that attempt failed, too.
Go ahead, read it. The book of Job contains 42 chapters. Satan was present for two of those chapters, the first two, which are followed by nearly 40 full chapters of unimaginable misery and ultimate temptation—unimaginable misery and ultimate temptation both initiated and allowed by God, no less.
Incidentally, God turned Job’s affliction in the end, and restored double all that he had lost.
Now. For a more prestigious example of Divinely inspired temptation, there’s the Son of God.
“Then was Jesus led up of the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.” [Matthew 4:1]
And by whom was Jesus led? “The spirit.”
And who is “the spirit?’ God.
There it all is—right there in the scripture. And the pontiff can’t read and interpret the same thing for himself?
Well, he could. It just lacks commercial appeal, and that warm, likeable, glorifying glow.
So despite the pontiff’s claim, the evidence is clear: God does “push” or “lead humans into temptation.” Although, it isn’t to see humans “fall,” necessarily. It’s to test them, so as to build their trust in their creator, which will ultimately strengthen their faith in the same.
And why would God do this to his children?
Well, it’s to improve them, ultimately. To perfect them.
And there is this purpose: “But without faith it is impossible to please [God]. For he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” [Hebrews11:6]
And those “rewards” come at a cost.
In fact, grievous and incredibly seductive temptation.
Not to exclude, endured temptation.
And to the point, Divinely initiated temptation.
So the Lord’s Prayer doesn’t need to be improved upon or changed—by the Pope or anyone else. Christ’s mountainside instruction in regards to prayer was, one, accurately expressed. And two, it was meant to be a humble, acknowledging plea for God’s protection and mercy.
As in: “…and lead us not into temptation, as is your ability and tendency to do, but keep evil from us, instead.”
Think Christ related to that sentiment? Job?
Of course they did.
Therefore, in terms of the Lord’s Prayer, I’m certain Christ was clear on his messaging. Furthermore, I’m convinced that if God can create the universe, then he can get a book transcribed the way he wants it transcribed, so that it says and means exactly what he wants it to say and mean.
It’s the human translating that tends to muck-up the message, even when it’s done from the Vatican.