To fortune man is just a pawn,
And till from earth he's dead and gone,
A happy life he hasn't led
For Dest'ny cares not where we tread
In life, she is a terrible judge.
If you're at peace she'll give a nudge
Then soon you're wealth she'll confiscate
And leave you poor to speculate
Why fate has been so cruel

Monday, July 30, 2007

VBS and Predestination

Ahem. My greatest apologies for not posting during the past week or so. Actually more like ten days or something. But last week, I was extraordinarily busy with VBS (I hope you know that that stands for vacation bible school, but if you don't... well, I just told you). So in '04 and '05, I was in the skit. Last year I was at summer school so I couldn't help out, but I sure made up for it this year.

This year, the theme for our VBS was what they called sonforce. Basically a secret agent thing. Now don't ask me why they did that, cause secret agents and espionage and God don't really seem to mix... at least to me they don't. But the kids ate it up. So every day during the opening session thingy, I would dress up in a trench coat and sunglasses (I felt pretty cool) and then did a little talk about the days lesson, and stuff of that sort. Then I had to rush up to the media balcony and start playing sound affects and media for the skit that came right after me. And when they were doing worship, I was working the slides for them. After that, I would head off to help with the second grade class (Which, truthfully, is one of the rowdiest crowds at VBS. Trust me, I would know). Now, also during the week, I was recruited to make a little documentary video thing for the church with my camcorder. Then again, on Thursday, I was part of a team that went around and pulled individual kids out of classes and talked one on one about salvation and such (which was pretty cool). So. All in all, I think this has been the busiest year for me in terms of VBS.

Now that I have gone on about absolutely nothing for a long while, I'll add something I've been thinking about lately. Predestination. Now, at least at this point, I would say I'm definitely free will. But it's all very confusing. Last Sunday, I stayed for the second service at church (incidentally, that was to help set up for VBS), and me and a friend did a little bible study/theological discussion (which we actually do quite often). We got to talking about free will, and he came up with a cool idea. Now I don't know if this is true or not, but I am under the impression that predestination people use Pharoh as an example of predestination. Maybe I'm wrong. So if God hardened Pharoh's heart, that means he changed something. That in turn means that Pharoh wasn't predestined. Because God changed something in reality (which he is obviously quite capable of doing) this seems to imply that the choice was originally up to Pharoh.

So here are some things I would say. I would say that God absolutely has the power to change things and predestine us. But I think he chooses not to. One argument I like to use is what I call the 'robot' argument. Our purpose in life is to glorify God, right? So how would you feel if you programmed a computer to worship you. That might be minorly pleasing... but think of how much more pleasing it would be if real people who had the choice to praise you praised you. Free will, at least to me, seems to just be logical. And not just using logic.

So the new testament is telling us to always be praying, and that prayer is a powerful tool, etc. etc. It has a lot to say about prayer. Now what is the purpose, I ask you, of prayer, if we're all predestined? I, at least, can't see any purpose in praying for something that's already been determined to happen or not happen.

If any of my arguments are stupid, or you have any points you would like to make, by all means post a reply.


Anonymous said...

For those of you who are not sure what to think, and therefore have pliable minds(as opposed to those who are already sure and therefore will most likely not listen.)You have heard the free-will view from my esteemed fellow scholar, now you can hear the other side. Here is my own personal take on it, more heavily indoctrinated Calvinists will no doubt disagree with some of the things I am saying, but as far as my limited supply of logic can comprehend, these are my views:

Premise 1: God is omnipotent.
Premises 2: God is omniscient.

God knew from the beginning of time who would choose him and who would not. Therefore, God is in control of who will and will not go to heaven, at least so far as that he knew beforehand who would and would not choose Him, and although He had the power to do so, did not change what people's decisions would be (although He may have, I don't know, but even if He didn't, the point stands). So far so good.
Now here is where I differ from free-will people. If God knew beforehand who would choose him and who would not, it is written in stone, if I may borrow the common expression. Before we were even created, God knew whether we would go to heaven or not, and it was an unchangeable thing. Why? Because if it were a changeable thing, then God would not have been able to know beforehand what would happen. And if God did not know beforehand what would happen, then he would not be omniscient. And if God were not omniscient, then why believe that anything is true, the Bible, all the prophecy is questionable and changeable, because God would be changeable; truth can be called relative, the entire foundation for Christianity is taken away and there is no God. If God does not know what is going to happen, the entire universe could be obliterated tomorrow, the atoms themselves could come apart. I am not willing to go there. Are you still following my logic?
Ok. So God is omniscient, and before the world was created, who would go to heaven and who would go to hell was a completely and utterly unchangeable thing. Another word for this is predestined.
The same argument can be applied to anything. God knew it would happen before it happened, therefore, it is unchangeable, or predestined.
Romans 8:29-30 is basically just Biblical proof for what I have just said.

For those whom He foreknew (aka, knew beforehand) , He also predestined (aka, unchangeable) to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;
and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. (Bascially, those who were predestination means salvation)

Ok. I know what you are thinking. This can't be right, because then why would we be held accountable for our actions? Well, I have an answer.
Our choices are still are choices, even though they are unchangeable from the beginning of time. Being that I am human, and therefore have a finite mind, this seems like a paradox, and it spins around in my mind like the "chicken or the egg" dilemma. Fortunately, God is not like that. He can understand. However, I do not need to completely understand. God has given me all the information I need in the Bible. The Bible says I am responsible for my choices and actions. It also says that God has predestined some people to go to heaven and others to go to hell. I don't know how it fits together, but God does, and that is what matters. It is my job to trust that He knows what He is doing, and obey.

Another thing that some people wonder is what the point of evangelism is, if predestination is true. I don't know. But I do know that Jesus commanded us to go into all the world and preach the good news. It is not my place to ask why, if God wants me to know why, He will tell me. All I have to do is obey, and trust that God can take care of the rest without my help.

Anonymous said...

Haben Sie auch Ihren letzten Liebesbrief in der achten Klasse bekommen? Dann duerften Sie sich jetzt besonders ueber charmante und spannende Mails freuen! Das Kennenlernen ueber diesen Weg ist durchaus romantisch. Zum Beispiel das morgendliche Checken der Mailbox um zu sehen, ob der andere schon geantwortet hat. Anne zum Beispiel hat sich auf Romans Mails besonders gefreut.

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