The following has been republished with permission from taylorhalverson.com.
This weekend I was driving my daughter Rachel to gymnastics. As we drove between fields of pumpkins ripening for the welcomed onslaught of autumn, with its vivid colors, cool breezes, and sapphire skies, Rachel asked a question: "Can plants go to heaven?"
There is so much I find instructive and fascinating by Rachel’s question. I see opportunities to encourage, support, improve, and enhance thinking, questioning, learning, experimentation, discovery, and ultimately the expanding joy of being more like God who knows all things.
When I woke up on Saturday morning, I didn’t have some spiritual prompting that I should do a thorough review of revelation ancient and modern to be prepared for a question like this.
How many of you out there get questions like this, out of the blue, from your kids or friends, or others who are unafraid to be curious and experience the joy of discovery? How many of you receive random, unexpected yet thoughtful and interesting questions that do not have ready, easy answers?
And how many of you feel unprepared, as I did and as I typically do, by such questions?
How would you respond?
Here’s how I responded to my daughter Rachel:
“Wow! that is a really interesting question!
“I’ve never heard anyone ask that questions before. And I never even thought to ask it.
“How would we go about answering this question? We could turn to the scriptures and modern day revelation to see if this question has been asked and answered. I’ll tell you that based on my quick mental inventory of what I know of scripture and modern revelation, I’ve never heard anything remotely close to answer this question. So I don’t know.
“We could turn to science, though science rarely takes on questions of heaven or salvation for lack of agreed upon tools to experiment and test such questions and potential answers.
“If someone took the time to study and ask God, perhaps revelation could be given on this topic. Very often revelation only comes by asking questions.”
After I shared those thoughts and basic strategies with my daughter for how to think about how to answer this question, and questions in general, I got thinking further:
How many of us pursue wondering and amazement?
We live in a world of wonderment and mystery. The earth literally shouts at us to pay attention to the amazing forces of life and death that animate everything around us. How many of us are so dulled by the never-ending inanity of social media and the health-destroying addictions of the news cycle that we no longer wonder?
How many of us are willing to voice our questions and wonderment?
How many of us miss the unsoiled joy of discovering truth by asking questions, by seeking and finding?
How many of us feel so satisfied with the handful of answered questions we have at our disposal that we have fallen into the carnal security of self-assuredness, as though we have arrived at truly knowing and perfectly empathizing with all things?
Have we immersively embraced all truth so that our spirits have been refined to see as God sees and to know as God knows? If not, time to get off the couch, turn off the media devices, and open our eyes, hearts, and minds to the flood of beautiful truth awash in the world.
Where there are no questions there are no answers.
As I thought further about this fascinating question from my daughter I realized these things about questions and answers:
- Where there are no questions there are no answers.
- Without questions, we cannot see the answers.
- Answers cannot exist without questions.
- There are millions and billions of answers waiting to be seen, experienced, and cultivated if we just spent more time asking questions.
- Answers delivered without questions are nothing more than meaningless and oppressive noise untethered from reality or experience.
- Answers are just waiting to be discovered if we will only ask!
This upcoming week is the Come, Follow Me curriculum on 2 Corinthians 1-7, which I re-read Saturday morning before my drive with my daughter. I had intended to write something inspired by Paul’s writings. But then I realized, Paul was writing inspiration based on questions for his time. Why shouldn’t I write something based on questions for my time? What could be more immediate and relevant than responding to my daughter? Thinking with her? Asking with her? Learning with her? And sharing whatever inspiration we discovered.
I’m confident that Paul never thought to ask, or heard anyone ask him, the question my daughter asked, “Can plants go to heaven?” And I think that Paul can forgive me (practicing the charity he preached) if I don’t write a blog post this week specifically influenced by his inimitable and inspirational writings.
I’m hopeful that Paul would rejoice that I gained inspiration today from the probing, open-minded question from a daughter of God.
And I hope to never stop asking questions.