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Musings on an old conundrum...

Feb 16, 2012 at 12:08
Category: World View Files


Friends, a few days past we shared some musings on the old conundrum of the nature of freewill, destiny and the character of God.  These things matter!  When William Carey spoke of his plans to go to India, the church he was a part of forbade him to go saying, "If God wanted to win the heathen, He was perfectly able to do that on His own without you."   The thoughts that follow are not in any order but just a selection of what appeared on our Face Book page and Twitter account over a couple of days.  They were sparked by several thoughtless exclamations that "God is in control".  That is not a word of comfort in face of unspeakable tragedy.  

"We can be assured that God has a good purpose for every tragic event and yet deny that any tragic event happened for that good purpose." Greg Boyd, Author of "An Open View of God" which we highly recommend!  

We are His by right of creation, by right of purchase (redemption from the slave market of sin), by right of gift (of the Father to the Son), by drawing of love (His life laid down for us) and yet He stands at the door and knocks.

Your Father created you in His image, an image that can freely choose to love, serve and lay down your life as His friend and labour together... or not!

God asks us to live by faith just as He does. He loved and gave and awaits our response. He risked the most in faith!

The universe is relationally ordered, not rationally determined. God so loved that He gave, not God so engineered that it must happen.

So God asks us to live by faith (like He does) rather than by control. He trusted Adam to fulfill His heart. But soon God regretted creating man & destroyed them in the flood. He started again with Noah then Abraham. That line ended up dancing around the calf so He wanted to destroy them & start again with Moses. He started a new generation in Jesus and is waiting, trusting in resurrection life by the Holy Spirit to fulfill His heart. He has risked the most on loving relationships. The question is not so much do you trust in God but can God trust you!

So this control thing... IF God gave dominion to Adam, IF Christ won that back at the cross and gave us authority to disciple the nations, IF Christ is waiting for His enemies to become the footstool for His feet (when we do disciple the nations)... HOW IS GOD IN CONTROL?????  His purposes will be fulfilled but He is waiting for that fulfillment upon His partnership with us.

What is the psychological driver behind "God is in control"? Is it a run from personal responsibility? Is your choices matter and matter for eternity a difficult reality to face?  Are leaders who believe that God is in control more likely to be controlling, manipulating leaders?  If they do not believe they are free why should they extend that to others?

The universe is relationally ordered, not rationally determined. God is a love relationship of three choosing to honour each one another. He is not a rationally ordered, deterministic machine. He loves His creation. He does not control it and He created man in His image.  Nothing is as pertinent to the image of God as freedom to choose to love.  

Part of relationally ordered is that mystery remains mystery as in all relationships while determinism gives the illusion of stability, control, predictability.

If your mantra is "God is in control" or "All is the will of God" you might want to rethink your theology since it is the same as the suicide bombers.

Freedom to make mistakes does not mean God is in control.... God's providence which makes the best of any given situation is not based in God causing the bad situation in the first place. God can bring His glory out of whatever situation we bring to Him but that does not mean He caused that situation.

"The suggestion that God and the cosmos exist in an eternally enclosed reality of exhaustively settled facts makes me feel CLAUSTROPHOBIC!"  Greg Boyd 

There are specific verses which speak to God determining all.  The Greek mind uses those to create a rational, logically consistent system of thought but at the expense of the narrative of the scripture.  The scripture narrative includes history which records God changing His mind.  It includes poetry which worships the One who never changes.  It includes visions of His purposes being fulfilled.  If we accept the Hebrew narrative and mindset we must say that both are true and if both are true then we must walk in the mystery of an open view of God.  He is not in control but His purposes will be fulfilled.  Love never fails!  His love invites you to share in the fulfillment of His heart for creation!

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