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Dying Soldier Asks, ‘Is God really like Jesus?’

T.F. Torrance was one of the greatest theologians of the 20th century, but prior to that, he served as a chaplain during World War II. One day, on a battlefield in Italy, he attended to a dying nineteen-year-old soldier. The dying man asked him, “Padre, is God really like Jesus?”

For Torrance, this question captured “the deepest cry of the human heart”--is the God that we’ll meet on the other side of the death the same God that came to earth as a lowly babe?

Torrance assured the dying man with these words: “God is indeed really like Jesus. There is no unknown God behind the back of Jesus for us to fear. To see the Lord Jesus is to see the very face of God.” This experience would guide all of his future work as a minister and theologian.

Possible Preaching Angle:

(1) Torrance’s story brings comfort: God may be fierce, he may be all powerful, he may be the Judge of all the earth--but he’s also the same God revealed in the gentle face of Jesus. If the Gospels are true, we’ve got nothing to fear when we meet God. (2) Theology gets a bad rap for being impractical. But for T.F. Torrance, theology was real for people with real problems, not just academics in an Ivory Tower. Knowing what it means that Jesus reveals the Father and is one with him is one of the most important truths any of us can ever know. So important, it’ll change your life!

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