Wednesday, March 21, 2007

God's Blueprint

So on Sunday I preached on the guidance of God in our lives. (you can listen to sermon here). In that sermon I mentioned that I don’t believe that God has a perfect blueprint for my life. I believe that I have choices in my life. There wasn’t just one person I was supposed to marry. But I chose Niki, and now I committee to live out the rest of my life with her (By the way I think it was an excellent choice). There isn’t just one school for us to go to, one church for us to serve in, one…anything. However, believing this does raises some interesting questions. What I’ve done here is laid out three of the main reasons why I struggle with the idea that God has a perfect plan laid out for my life. I would love to hear your responses and your thoughts. Hopefully we can discuss and learn together.

1) God Can Change his Mind, so then the plans Change.
First we are told in Hebrews 6:18 that it is impossible for God to lie. With this in mind when we read the story of Exodus 32:9-14 we are left with a clear picture of when God’s mind can be changed by his people. Because his threat to destroy the people was either, real, or a lie, God was clearly ready to destroy the Israelites, but because of Moses’ intercession, and arguing God relents and changes His mind. So if it is possible for us as humans to change God’s mind, how can He have a blueprint laid out for my life? Clearly there are things that can change His mind and make new plans.

2) We must have choice (To choose and reject)
God is Love, God created us for love. In Mere Christianity C.S. Lewis says,
“Free will is what has made evil possible. Why then, did God give (creatures) free will? Because free will, though it makes evil possible, is the only thing that makes possible any love or goodness or joy worth having.”
Because God wants real love from us, it means we must have a choice. This choice is clear to us through the scriptures. It is repeatedly affirmed that God loves the whole world and does not want one person to be lost (1 Tim 2:4 4:10; 2 Pet 3:9)! And yet at the same time it tells us that many people will be lost. The possibility of saying no to God must be there just as the possibility of saying yes. People can and often do resist God. Choice is part of the fabric of who we are. So in my life I must have choice in the decisions I will make, if God has a blueprint of everything I will do, and am supposed to do, I become nothing more than a robot. It also raises questions about those who choose not to follow God. Either they have a choice, or God has a blueprint that says they will not choose to know Him. And so now He is the one responsible for them being lost. Seeing as we have already established that God cannot lie, and the God wants all people to be saved, so this clearly isn’t an option.

3) If God is responsible for everything that means evil as well
One final reason (although I’m sure I can think of more) I see a problem with the idea of God’s blueprint of my life is that then there is, “A specific divine reason for every particular event that transpires, including the activity of Satan, then the ultimate explanation for evil cannot be found in Satan. It must rather be found in the reason that God had for ordaining or allowing him to carry out that specific activity, The problem is that the New Testament doesn’t point toward that. Acts 10:38 says that Jesus “Went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil.” In fact Jesus always treated disease as a work of the enemy.” If God has a plan for everything in my life it means that He is also in control of all the sickness, disease and disasters that happen in this world, that He NOT Satan is the perpetrator of these events. To me this is irreconcilable with God as good, and the pictures we see in the scripture as God’s kingdom fighting against the powers and principles of this world.

In Conclusion, I find the evidence of God’s ability to change His mind, His gift of choice to choose or reject Him, and the fact that a good God cannot be responsible for evil, is enough that God does not have a single plan for our lives. It seems to me that if God has a plan for our life it is that we will Love Him, and that we will live Holy Lives.

Now I also have to say that all of this doesn’t make total sense to me yet. I am just a pilgrim searching for answers. And while I don’t think that God has a specific plan for my life, I also believe that God calls people and commissions them for things. I believe that it is good to seek the guidance of God, and walk in His steps. So how that relates to what I’ve said before I am not totally sure yet. But this I do know, without choice, we stray too close to predestination for my liking.


Freezer said...

May I recommend a book by Terrence Tiessen called Providence and Prayer. He deals with the issues that you are working through. He is a prof at Providence College not too far from you.

Nathan said...

Hey thanks, I'll check it out.

Anonymous said...

If you read the srory of Isaac and Rebekah in Genesis 24 you get the feel that God has chosen a specific wife for Isaac - note verse 14. I think that God cares deeply and completely for us and that He has a perfect and complete plan for us if only we allow Him to work it and totally depend on Him to bring it to pass. There are things in life that happen to us that we would never choose for ourselves if we had the choice but only God sees the complete picture.

Nathan said...

Thanks for the insight. I guess my question is. Did Rebekah have a choice not to draw the water from the well? If she had been too busy to do that, if she had felt she needed to rush home, then what would have happened? Would someone else have had the chance to be the fit? Or did God take control over Rebekah and make her say yes? It seems to me that God makes plans, but is also very ready to change them. Consider the story of Jonah. In Jonah 3:4 God tells the people of Nineveh that he is going to destroy their city in forty days (Note: there is no condition to this. They are going to die!) But the people of Nineveh say begin to fast and they say, "Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence. Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish (3:8-9)." And then God relents and does not do what he said he was going to do. To me this is a prime example of God changing his plans based on the decision of the people. You could say that God always intended to relent and show mercy, But that isn't what God said. He said He WOULD destroy them. So if God can change His plans about that, couldn't He have also provided an equally suitable wife for Isaac if Rebekah had said no?

Anonymous said...

God forgives and saves people when they repent. That is His character so I think that is why the people of Jonah's day and many others have gotten second (and more) chances.

Nathan said...

I am certainly not questioning the character of God. I fully agree that God is full of forgivness and grace, and that He extends many many chances to us. What I was driving at was that God changed His mind. He had one thing planned, but decided to do another, based on the reaction of the people. The same can be true for Isaac and Rebekah, based on their decisions God accomplished His purpose. However, had they chosen differently the story would be different. It wasn't necessarily God's final plan that it would be Isaac and Rebekah.