Kenneth M. O’Brien
In what many will regard as a dramatic change of focus, I wish to raise a question regarding Christian scripture that has long troubled me. I will preface my remarks with the observation that I am the product of a Catholic elementary and secondary education. My favorite course in college was a survey course on the history of religions.
It is widely acknowledged that the most perfect prayer in Christianity is the Lord’s Prayer. It is the only prayer that was taught by Christ to his followers. While I accept that there must clearly be allowances made for possible inartful translations from Aramaic to Greek to Latin to English, I must also believe that the existing English language translation that currently exists is accepted by virtually all biblical scholars and theologians.
While there is a minor difference between the Rheims-Douay and King James versions of this prayer in its conclusion that is not what troubles me.
Rather, it is the phrase “… and lead us not into temptation…”
I have always wondered why the divine Son of God would petition the Father not to lead us into temptation. It is not phrased as “spare us from temptation”. Rather, it clearly says that the Father, the author of all that is good and who cannot do evil, might willfully lead us into being tempted to do evil. Isn’t that inherently contradictory to His nature? Isn’t that supposed to be the role of the devil? Yet, His own divine Son seems to acknowledge that He might indeed do this.
Could someone please provide me with a reconciliation of this seeming contradiction?