God’s way is to let us drive

Monday Musings for April 26, 2021

Good morning, Musers,

Life is worth living, but it would not be if our life experience — that is, our feelings, motivations, actions and accomplishments — were predetermined. If we were living scripted lives like the word predetermined suggests, then our lives would have no meaning.

You see, the purpose of our lives is to bring glory to God and enjoy him forever. But predetermined lives cannot bring glory to God in this way. In a world where we cannot choose to glorify God, there can be no glory from — what creation and Scripture tell us are the beings who really matter to God — human beings… creatures made in his image… creatures who can snub him, worship him… or do both on the same day.

What about the enjoyment part? Well, people who are predetermined to do anything have no real agency over their actions. Philosophically speaking, people without agency cannot be said to “enjoy” anything — even fellowship with God.

What does bring glory to God is praise from the lips of volitional creatures. In this, the free will of human beings is the human edge. If God did not create us — or did not create us with free will — he’d be missing the glory that can only come from us… and a being who is maximally worthy of glory would be lacking some that he might otherwise have. That’s why he put it all on the line by sending his Son to die for us. In a sense, he had to.

You see, true glory can only come from people who can thumb their noses at God — and in any world where it’s possible for people to ignore God, some surely will. That’s the “cost” of true free will. Where there is free will, there will always be some risk in the mix.

Our risk is pretty well known: we risk separation from God — which sounds a little nebulous… so let me flesh that out. How would you like to be separated from truth, meaning and everything that will matter in eternity for eternity? That’s what’s at risk.

God has some things at risk, too. For instance, his purposes are at risk. God continually draws people to Christ (John 6:44), so it’s a personal insult when people ignore this spiritual revelation.

Furthermore, he exposes his character to ridicule. God has revealed himself in nature (Romans 1:18-20), in human nature (Romans 2:14-15) and in Scripture (2 Timothy 3:16). So, everyone knows who he is on some level, but many still ignore him — and sometimes out of spite!

Note that God gave contingent promises to the Jews. If they behaved in certain ways, then they could expect to possess the land, have children, harvests, etc. But to receive his blessings, they had to live normal lives — lives lived in the shadow of risk and the promise of provision.

This is true for us, too. But we have a newer revelation. We should spend our days becoming more Christ-like (Romans 8:29). But to do this, we need to engage our days fully. We need to conquer sin — and occasionally fail! But either way, God gets the glory… and that’s why we are here.

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