Does God owe us anything?

It is a regular Calvinist suggestion, when questioned about the harder issues of life, that 'God owes us nothing'. I presume that the statement is either meant to stop us on our tracks or to shame us into becoming silent followers of a doctrine that presents God as a vulnerable and careless creator (rather than the sovereign and benevolent deity that they try to offer).

I think, however, that such statements are far from rooted in the teachings of Jesus even though Calvinists are at pains to display their 'biblical' credentials.

Perhaps the greatest, and most consistent, teachings of Christ about God is the idea of fatherhood. Leslie Newbigin highlights this when he shows that the use of the aramaic term 'Abba' in the predominately Greek New Testament shows a care for the actual words of Jesus in showing an intimacy within the creator/creature relationship.

Every parent has a responsibility for their child that must include the space for 'why' questions. This alone demands that the parent owes the child both a duty of care and a responsive attitude to the pleadings of their offspring. The alternative would suggest that the parent is lacking in both responsibility and love.

So it must be with God; the creator, or parent, owes the created, or child a loving response that must be open to question. In this space questions of 'why' become sacred rather than sinful.