Is God younger than we are?

Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again”; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.

Chesterton, G. K. Orthodoxy (pp. 55-56). Public Domain Books. Kindle Edition. Originally published 1908.

Is God’s “eternal appetite of infancy” part of the reason that he made everything, such as “Leviathan” to frolic in the sea?

24 O Lord, how manifold are your works!

    In wisdom have you made them all;
the earth is full of your creatures.
25 Here is the sea, great and wide,
which teems with creatures innumerable,
living things both small and great.
26 There go the ships,
and Leviathan, which you formed to play in it…

(Psalm 104:24-26, ESV)

Posted by BMC 2/20/12

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4 thoughts on “Is God younger than we are?

  1. Josh says:

    Wow. That blew my mind and gave me a new perspective on things. I think we humans tend to associate infants with an innocence unmatched. When Chesterton states that “we have sinned and grown old,” he seems to be implying that we lose this childhood innocence when we sin. He says that God has an “eternal appetite of infancy” which seems to mean that God is ever innocent and holy…young. God never sins, and thus never ages or changes. He is immutable, and He will always be younger than us.

    Another short but interesting comment. With this line of thinking, Christians who strive to be like God and Jesus Christ are in a way trying to become “younger,” which is to me a really unique way of thinking about it.

    Thanks!

    • bmc55 says:

      Thanks for the comment, and I’m glad that Chesterton had this effect on you (as he has had on me also.) What he is really getting at in the context of this book, which is the autobiography of his conversion, is that the modernistic outlook thinks the monotony in creation means that it is merely a meaningless automatic clockwork. Of course, I have heard it argued elsewhere that a good creator of anything will be measured as “successful” to the extent that he then appears to be absent thereafter. A well created car is one that isn’t in the shop for repair or maintenance every time you drive it. You hope to not meet its “creator” too often and if you do you realize he created not a car but a “lemon!” On the other hand, if there is a creator of the universe, we may not see him around as a handyman everyday but his absence doesn’t mean he isn’t there. And perhaps he is active in a way we can’t even understand. “In him we live and move and have our being.” And if he created it was because he had a will, or purpose, or delight in creating. Chesterton’s personal explanation helps here:

      “This was my first conviction; made by the shock of my childish emotions meeting the modern creed in mid-career. I had always vaguely felt facts to be miracles in the sense that they are wonderful: now I began to think them miracles in the stricter sense that they were WILFUL. I mean that they were, or might be, repeated exercises of some will. In short, I had always believed that the world involved magic: now I thought that perhaps it involved a magician. And this pointed a profound emotion always present and sub-conscious; that this world of ours has some purpose; and if there is a purpose, there is a person. I had always felt life first as a story: and if there is a story there is a story-teller.”

      Chesterton is really only saying what Paul said in Romans 1, that all humans intuitively know there is a creator but suppress that knowledge because we don’t want a “boss” around. We try “out of mind – out of sight” and thereby achieve “out of sight – out of mind” and lose our original knowledge of God from our conscious mind. (But what about our subconscious mind?) Well, I knew I wanted to say more about this subject and now I have, but I wanted Chesterton’s quote to have its own impact. Thanks again, Bryan

      • Josh says:

        Hello again! Thanks for that reply! That really helped to clarify a lot of things in the post. This post was amazing and Chesterton’s words really spoke to me. I’m reading his story “Manalive” now and it has proved just as impressive as this post so far. Thanks again.

  2. bmc55 says:

    “Manalive” is a really great book that is all about our need for “re-enchantment” which means mainly to see the world and life as we were meant to see them. To shortly describe how we were meant to see them would be to say that we were meant to see them as children. Hopefully this is not to much of a spoiler, but when we see things we should say “manalive!” because we are a Man alive! Thanks again for your comments Josh.

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