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And now for something a little less ridiculous...
Today I was privy to an interesting conversation in my Sunday School class. Four Bible college students were arguing with my mother-in-law about the nature of God; specifically, about how involved he is in our lives. She said she believes there are two schools of thought on this issue: one, that God set everything into motion and, though he knows what will happen, does not meddle in the affairs of earthlings, making all consequences are earthly; two, that God is specifically engaged in each of our lives, and he orchestrates each and every thing that happens to us or as a result of us. She was of the first school of thought, the Bible college students of the second. Since I have absolutely no idea, I thought it would be fun to see what you thought. The floor is yours...
I’ll take the bait and go first.
God is involved in our lives, actively yes. And yes he set things in motion and knows what’s going to happen, but I also think he’s capable of altering that. That being said, I don’t think any of this really matters all that much, but I’ll go on anyway.
Several verses describe God as unchanging, but a couple moments are curious. I’m just going to mention two that come to mind. First, when the Ten Commandments are given, God wants to destroy everybody and start over with just Moses, but Moses loves the people and begs God to change His mind, He does. And in the Jonah vs. Ninevah episode, I think God was surprised that the people actually decided to obey him. “When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he had said he would do.” Whether you think God changed his mind or not, no matter, he still was taken back when everybody repented.
So clearly he’s not just letting things happen, ignoring us and “not meddling in the affairs of earthlings.” I mean, isn’t merely the existence of Jesus’ ministry about as opposite from that idea as you can get? …that he’s so involved with humans that he became one! And plus, haven’t you seen Joan Of Arcadia? He’s a spiky-haired goth dude.
i guess i’m somewhere in between the two camps, although i’m not completely clear on the second camp’s position. are they saying God causes EVERYTHING that happens - 9/11, tsunamis, etc? i know there are christians who believe this, and after reading the old testament i shouldn’t be shocked by this idea. but it does make me uncomfortable (as does the old testament). although, he did create the world in such a way that things like this were likely to happen. so i guess in a way, you could say he caused them. now i’m rambling, so i’ll move on.
in my very humble, based on nothing but the thoughts in my own head, opinion - i think God set the world in motion and, for the most part, let’s it take it’s course. but i think he does intervene on occasion. i’ve never witnessed anything i could call a divine miracle - his interventions are usually much more subtle than that. i believe that God led me to meet my husband and later led us to our kids. i have no evidence of this. he didn’t come right out and tell me (as annoying as that may be) but i think he gently guided me in the right direction. i guess i’d call that meddling so i don’t think he’s completely hands-off.
Wow! I’m usually sort of annoyed by people who say “Well, I think the answers somewhere in between…” but in this case the two views seem to be just about the most extreme possible. And, strangely, _both_ manage to totally eliminate the power of prayer. Although, I guess if you say God is outside of time both could be sort of true too. God’s system is so designed that prayers will be answered because before the creation of the world he knows when and where the prayers will be prayed and so designed the system to “answer” the prayers for him. (eg. The red sea was “programmed” to part when the Israelites were there and did it just on time). In a sense this is the same as God deciding everything, he’s just somewhat removed from the action (in the same way I am responsible for my alarm waking me up even though I’m actually asleep when it does it). Course, like Jared said, this seems to eliminate the incarnation which seems to be God actually interacting with creation.
You know, I think maybe these extreme views do let me think of the predestination free-will thing in a little different way, though. Thanks for the post.
“I’ll take the bait and go first. God is involved in our lives, actively yes. And yes he set things in motion and knows what’s going to happen, but I also think he’s capable of altering that.” As for all the bad stuff… That is a consequence of sin and the subsequent entropy of the universe.
well i beleive everything in its natural course is pre-ordaind.
But also beleive that people make their own dicisions and ultimatly will have to pay for their own knowingly mistakes.
Many verses in the Bible teaches us these circumstances.
Were told to do good works.
If we do good works then we will have fullfilled our duties.
“Rulers are not a terror to good works",
“Wherefor ye needs must be subject, not only for wrath but also for conscience sake".
As I grow older my veiw on the death penalty has changed,in order to fullfill the word,I am not at liberty to take a life knowingly,whether it is murder,retribution,revenge.
Whether it is stated as justice or otherwise,I have no authority that grants me that power in which I do not command.
Yet vengeance is done every year in the name of justice that we do not have control over.
That should show the arrogance of man,to speak for God.
Albeit the theif?
“Remember me when you enter unto Heaven"!,
“From this day you shall be with me in paradise".
The theif stole from someone else,another human.
Yet he was forgiven for all of his misdeeds by Jesus,because it is not man that we have to ask for mercy from,because men whom rule with their heads are rulers of terror,thus incapable of showing mercy,but only revenge.