Monday Musings for September 10, 2018

Good morning, Musers,

Even we Christians — people who have knowledge, hope for the future and the indwelling Holy Spirit — can struggle with the idea of purpose. You see, our God is in control! But what does that mean for our control? If God knows the end from the beginning, and if he put us here knowing full well what we will do, doesn’t that mean that our ends are predetermined… and if so, why bother striving?

The notion that nothing is really in play contingently — that is, that we don’t accomplish anything that wouldn’t happen anyway — is called fatalism… and fatalism is both compelling and horrifying. It’s compelling in that it releases us from life’s responsibilities. After all, if bad things happen, they were going to happen anyway… so, it’s not our fault. But it’s horrifying in that it destroys free will… and my theology cannot abide that.

You see, I believe the voluntary glory we volitional creatures give to God is the most precious commodity in the universe. In fact, I see this as the reason he made the universe… and this lens affects how I interpret the physical world, the metaphysical world and Scripture... so, here’s the thing:

If fatalism is true, then we are not volitional beings. We are merely meat puppets working under the delusion that our lives are meaningful. But why would God do that? He knows he can make things… and what we know wouldn’t matter without the freedom to accept or reject his general revelation… like he invites us to do in Romans 1:18-20. We would just feel like we were making a difference in his kingdom.

But God would never allow that. First of all, it would be illogical for him to set things up that way… and God does not “do” illogical. Second of all, it would be below him… like a cruel joke or a dirty trick. There is no way he would let us work under that delusion. He doesn’t tell us everything… but he doesn’t practice deceit.

Another factor is that we who continue to make an informed and earnest effort can feel so small and ineffective… I mean… the universe is such a big place! But even down here on the earth, there are billions of people, powerful governments and evil systems that seem like they are working against us — and we can feel steamrollered by them. Unfortunately, these feelings have the power to kill our confidence in the fact that God’s plan is progressing. But I ask again, why strive?

That’s a good question… and that’s today’s question.

The Bible contains account after account of people striving for the faith. What makes those stories compelling, however, is all the “failures.” God is in the business of growing people —  but not just in faith. He wants us to grow as individuals, as a family and as a community. But most importantly, he wants us to grow in Christ… so note this well: God’s methods cannot coexist peaceably with fatalism. Life has meaning under God. But without him, it’s a crapshoot.

To read the article referenced above, visit the link below.

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