“I am a child of God, and He has sent me here, has given me an earthly home, with parents kind and dear.” So begins the beloved primary song that so many of us have heard a thousand times. But have you ever stopped to think about what that really means? If we have earthly parents, and yet God is our Father, then technically, we’re all adopted. Aren’t we?
Christ is the only begotten son of God. He sent his son to be raised by Joseph, who raised Jesus as his own. If you look at it that way, God is a birth father. This sacrifice was necessary to make the Atonement possible. We need the Atonement to be able to return to him. God became a birth father in order to adopt all of us, creating a never-ending cycle of adoption in the plan of happiness.
Church members use adoption references every day. We call each other ‘brother’ and ‘sister.’ Are we all biologically related? No. When we refer to one another as brother and sister, we mean that we are all a part of one eternal family, brothers and sisters in Christ.
“Lead me, guide me, walk beside me, help me find the way. Teach me all that I must do to live with him someday.” When we look at the family from an eternal perspective, biology is only a very small part of it. Becoming a part of God’s eternal family is a choice. “For as many as receive this Gospel shall be called after thy name, and shall be accounted thy seed” (Abraham 2:10). If we choose to accept the Gospel and return to our Heavenly Father, we are numbered among the literal seed of Abraham, the House of Israel. Most members of the church are not biologically of the House of Israel; we are adopted into it. When we receive our patriarchal blessings, we are told our lineage in the House of Israel, usually Ephraim or Manasseh.
And what of earthly adoptions that take place? When talking about life after death, Doctrine and Covenants 130:2 says, “And that same sociality which exists among us here will exist among us there, only it will be coupled with eternal glory, which glory we do not now enjoy.” For me, this means that things will be largely the same—adoptive families will be sealed together just like any other biological family. I would imagine that birth parents would also have a relationship with the children they placed, just like many of them do here on earth. But none of the specifics will matter so much. We will simply all be children of God. Earthly adoptions are a microcosm of a much bigger, better form of adoption that will come when we become members of the kingdom of God.
We refer to Jesus as our older brother because He is, through adoption. Because God was His father, God can be our father too. Says Romans 8:17, “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together.”
Because Jesus, our brother, atoned for our sins, it is possible for us all to return home to our Heavenly Father. We truly are all children of God.