Monday, February 7, 2011

Tick Tick Tick...And a Little Theology

I awoke this morning far too awake for  the early hour that it was.   I managed to rest/sleep until 9:00.
Anyway, I figured, oh, I should get up and work on some things, as I had a deadline tonight.  Well, it turns out the deadline is next week!  Whew!  I am relieved!

Anyway, this weekend was lovely!  I was able to get a lot done and enjoy some time with friends!  Homework is occupying much of my life, but that is fine.  Yesterday was a positively beautiful day.  The sun was shining and it was perfect long sleeves only weather (actually, a T-shirt would have been fine too).  So, I took my blanket outside and read a biography about Louisa May Alcott and talked to my mother on the phone.

Louisa May Alcott is officially my favorite author.  Until I find another who can capture my attention so well and make me so day-dreamy....she has the gold medal!  I love the time period in which she wrote and all the different topics she covered!  I personally love Eight Cousins and A Rose in Bloom!  Oh, and, an Old Fashioned Girl is fabulous!!!

Yesterday I attended my church in Columbia for the first time since being back.  It was nice to see people and to spend time with the college group afterward.
The sermon gave me some thoughts as it was a largely Calvinistic approach since we were discussing Ephesians.  The whole idea of predestination and people having no choice just frustrates me.  I do not know if it is because there is pride in me that doesn't want to give God complete power or if it legitimately seems as if it is wrong.  Yes, I agree that the Holy Spirit prepares hearts to receive Christ, but see, I just said, "receive."  If humans had no choice in the matter we would be robots.  If we have no part in the decision why can we decide to walk away from Christianity?  Would a reformed person say that it is because they were not saved to begin with?  I disagree.  Didn't the prodigal son walk away and then come back?  But then, that would be the perseverance of the saints.  If God forces everyone into relationship with Him does that not take away some of the beauty?  Rather than us wanting to be in a personal relationship with Him, if He makes us then He could force anyone.  Rather, it is so wonderful to realize that the God of the universe loves His creation and wants to have a personal relationship with people and moves on our hearts in such a way that we come to see Him but we still need to say, "I want that."  I remember exactly where I was sitting when I turned to Mama and told her I wanted to ask Jesus into my heart.  I was sitting in the front seat of our car in Pennsylvania and we were on our way to the chiropractor (I think) and I turned her her, as she was driving, and told her I wanted to ask Him to come into my heart.  Correct if I am wrong (please do), but in Revelation 3:20 it talks about Jesus standing at the door and knocking.  If a person will hear His voice and open the door He will go in (and eat with him, etc).  The point is, that seems to be implying that Jesus knocks but we have the option of answering or not.  I may have just misinterpreted that passage but at a quick read over that is what it seems to be implying.
If everything we do is predestined then that means that nothing I do is of myself.  So, when I do something against God did Satan just make me do that?  Jonah had the choice to go to Nineveh.  Then, God sent along a few little reminders that it would be in Jonah's best interest to go unless he wanted everyone on the ship to die with him, but Jonah made the decision to be thrown overboard since he had disobeyed God.  Then God sent the fish and eventually he went on his way to Nineveh.  When we do something that is what God would not want we can do that but God will try and get our attention.  With some He will.  With others, they will continue down their path.  I don't know why, but I have seen and am still seeing people who turned from God as teenagers and have lived in darkness and have done things that God did not want them to do, and now He is getting their attention and things are starting to change.  So, why did God allow them to turn?  Why didn't He just force them to be Christians?
I think I am beginning to bunny trail here so I will just get to the point.  If we are predestined with no choice why can we choose to do so many other things in life?  Is it just that one decision?  Yes, I think predestination has something to do with it because it is definitely in the Bible (especially in Ephesians) but I don't think it is only predestination.  As I have said to some people, after much much thought (and continuing thought) I am in the middle.  I think there are aspects of being chosen and choosing.

Anyway, those are just a few of my thoughts from Reformation Theology and yesterday's sermon.
Please feel free to comment and give your thoughts on the subject if you would like!
Below is a sweet video of the song "Behold I stand at the door and knock."


  1. first of all, i love the name of your blog. it's so you.

    and second of all, i love louisa may alcott. i love that you share my love of classic books!

  2. I think that an omnipotent and omniscient God can certainly know everything, and yet not lift His hand to change it, to allow for free will. When God says we are made "in His image", I don't take that as license to anthopomorphicize the unfathomable. In other words, I don't think God necessarily look like us physically, since an infinite Creator transcends His creation. What I take that to mean is, after the fall of Adam, we know the difference between Good and Evil, and with that knowledge, have free will to choose. God doesn't want robots, He wants company. Like Him, we all want people around us who choose to love us, not people who love us because they have no other choice. This explains the problem of evil. Temporary evil is allowed to exist in the interim to facilitate the existence of human free will, secure in the foreknowledge that ultimate Good will certainly prevail in the end.

    I have no question that God sees and knows everything at once, since He is not trapped in time, like we are.

    But do I think that human free will and ignorance can mess up God's perfect plan for our blessing and happiness? Yep, I sure do. In those cases I believe He formulates an alternative means of accomplishing His sovereign will, unless it's an issue not up for negotiation, in which case He intervenes and His will is done no matter what any of us think, or choose.

    But my beleif is that we are all allowed free will subject to the ultimate purpose of God Almighty Himself. There is His permissive will, and His perfect will, and there is a difference between the two in our ultimate level of happiness. The difference probably depends upon the frequency with which we listen to the Holy Spirit within our hearts, or not. Finally there are some matters, I believe, upon which He will not budge, and these will be accomplished according to His soveregn intervention in our daily lives, no matter what we or others do or do not choose for ourselves and our lives.

    God has dealt with me personally on the issue of free will in this way:

    He told me that because I have accepted Him as my Master, my path is determined by Him and Him alone, and that I should feel confident that He will never allow me to be tried beyond my ability to withstand the trial, with His help. He went on to explain that He is the Master and Creator of time itself, and so He could go into my past and change it to become anything He wished it to be, and I would simply think that it was "always that way", and never know the difference. Because of this, my history is as it is today because I have surrendered it to His mastery, and I should rejoice even in the bad parts, as they are for His ultimate glory in the end. As His child, I accept that with faith and trust.

    As for those who have not surrendered their lives, past, present, and future, to the Living God, I feel they perhaps enjoy greater autonomy at the expense of risking much greater danger of unhappiness, misfortune, and perhaps even loosing the ultimate destiny of the fullness of what God desires for them, since He knows every one of us better than we know ourselves. And He knows what will make us truly happy, even when we cannot concieve that it possibly could. This was a hard personal lesson for me to learn, because I value my freedom and autonomy so much. However, I've grown to learn that God's commands and unique provisions in my life are an expression of His love toward me, meant to protect me from loosing out on His greatest blessing He desires for me, not meant to rob me of fun, or hold me back in any way.

    Sometimes God provides His greatest gifts in our lives in the least expected or accepted ways. Will I reject a Gift from God because I didn't choose it myself, or ot didn't happen according to my plan? Of course not. All the best gifts are suprises. :-)


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