A reader asks about the pope calling Christians and Muslims “brothers and sisters”

A reader asks about the pope calling Christians and Muslims “brothers and sisters” December 23, 2015

He writes:

I was hoping you could help me understand something.

The Pope recently said that “Christians and Muslims are brothers and sisters,” and of course this caused quite a stir.

I ended up arguing with both a Protestant friend and a Catholic friend as to what he meant by this.  Initially I said, “All people are created in God’s image and likeness. We are all brothers and sisters, and thus all children of God.”

You are partly right and you get the main truth the Pope was trying to articulate.

Both told me I was wrong, and the Catholic said I needed to go study some more, and was lacking in my understanding of the faith (which I find out is truer and truer rather consistently).  So I looked in the Catechism, and found that I was wrong to say that all human people are children of God.  We Gentiles who have come to Christ are adopted children of God.  So only people who come to Christ are technically considered God’s children?

Catholic teaching is that we become children of God and partakers in the divine  nature the Holy Spirit poured out on us through baptism and faith in Jesus Christ.

I assume then, that what Pope Francis meant was that we are all brothers and sisters in the greater human family, having been created in God’s image and likeness.  i.e. we are, all people, “brothers and sisters.”

So he wasn’t wrong, but I was in failing to make the distinction between human “brothers and sisters” and “God’s children.”

I know you know your stuff, so I figured I’d hit you up.  Does this make sense?

Yep.  You got it.

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