When God Gives the “Stuff”

I was watching the pilot to Highway to Heaven last night, while studying, of course. Something has confused me on a lot of episodes. Jonathan (the angel, played by Michael Landon) has said on more than one occasion that God won’t give him the “stuff” when Jonathan does something that God doesn’t like (e.g., gamble). The “stuff” is supernatural powers. God won’t give Jonathan the “stuff” to use in a manner that God deems inappropriate.

And yet, there are times when Jonathan does wrong with the “stuff.” In the episode “The Secret,” Jonathan used his super-strength to rough up some bullies who were taking a guy’s lunch. God then took Jonathan up to heaven to stand trial. And, in the episode in which Ed Asner plays an angel named Harold, Harold uses supernatural powers in an inappropriate manner: he gives people what they want in a supernatural way, rather than doing what he’s supposed to do, namely, make people come together to solve the problem. For example, Harold turns water in a fire-hydrant into wine for the homeless, when he’s supposed to make people care about homelessness.

There are times when, in the same episode, we hear Jonathan say that God doesn’t give the “stuff” to an angel to do something that God doesn’t like, and yet also see an angel using the stuff inappropriately. I don’t think the writers of the show are so inept as to put a blatant contradiction into the same episode. I think that the answer to my confusion is in the pilot. God gave Jonathan some bikes to use in a nursing home facility, but that was a mistake because suspicious Mark was wondering where Jonathan got the bikes, and he was questioning every local bike dealership to find out. Jonathan concluded that the bikes were a mistake, but God gave them to Jonathan in a supernatural manner because he figured that Jonathan will only learn through making mistakes.

That could also be why God allowed Jonathan and Harold to use the stuff in an inappropriate manner: so they could learn. And yet, Jonathan realizes he can’t take the stuff for granted, for it comes from God.

About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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