Talk of God’s having dreams seems to be growing in popularity—not the fall-asleep-and-see-strange-things kind, but the wishful, hopeful, I-really-want-this-to-happen kind. You won’t find this kind of language in (any?) English translations of the Bible. And you won’t find it in the writings of previous centuries’ theologians (e.g., Luther, Calvin, Owen, Edwards, Hodge, Spurgeon, and Warfield). But it’s all throughout the popular Christian literature of the last several decades.
I was reminded of this while rereading Sally Lloyd-Jones’s The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name with my wife and daughter during our family Bible time. There’s much to like about the book, but I’m not sold on the talk about God’s having dreams for His people—even in a book for children.
Here are three examples:
But God saved the best for last. From the beginning, God had a shining dream in his heart. He would make people to share his Forever Happiness. They would be his children, and the world would be their perfect home. (25)
God loves his children too much to let the story end there. Even though he knew he would suffer, God had a plan—a magnificent dream. One day, he would get his children back. One day, he would make the world their perfect home again. And one day, he would wipe away every tear from their eyes. (36)
That’s the end of that dreamer! they thought. But they were wrong. God had a magnificent dream for Joseph’s life and even when it looked like everything had gone wrong, God would use it all to help make the dream come true. God would use everything that was happening to Joseph to do something good. (78)
It’s obvious that she’s using dream synonymously with plan, but I’m uncomfortable with some of the connotations and implications dream carries with it.