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Daniel Arendt

Does God Plan All Events In Every Life?

  • [I’m addressing this topic on permissive will solely from my own Christian faith’s dynamics, in particular for comparison to John Calvin’s “The Institutes” on same…not to deride or exclude any other perspectives, but to present my hesitance toward Calvinist predestination theory and general overuse of God as tailor of everyone’s life happenings.] 

    Modern physicists have established that many billions of years ago the universe came into existence, and for about 380,000 years after was so hot only light…not even atoms or quarks…existed; scientists generally refer to the reason for such creation as some “transcendental causative agent”, but astrophysical data are now so refined even noted atheist Antony Flew released a book titled “There IS A God”…it makes even me wonder how anything like galaxies, water, life could have “just condensed” out of an irradiated void…made up only of heat.
    Staying with the folks who long before Jesus (and for all their otherwise geocentrism) said the first thing here God spoke into existence was light, I offer my observations on the short Book of Ecclesiastes when construed with the whole of Bible gravamen.
    Most of the Old and New Testaments are rife with calls to ethics, and upon death God’s judgment for how we obeyed His will and commandments. However, the styling of Ecclesiastes leads some to perceive that all “good” and all “evil”, indeed every speck of any life, are engineered by God…the only judgment thereon being how obedient one was in doing and suffering what God assigned them as lot(s).  
    By such measure, everyone becomes a puppet of God, the only “sins” then being reluctance to call Him the author of all things or Lord, or to resist a condition encountered, or both. Everything then is also reduced to anarchy by human perception: “if I let my baby’s carriage go into the road and a semi squashes my nicely insured infant, my church and I can have a party and create a celebratory fund for MY pleasure cruise, as God has favored me with His will all this would happen including big insurance payoffs and I was obedient to the thought put in my head by God, His Satan, or His Angel; I enslaved a race and hanged critics by God’s grace; I got my human will into any old ballot proposition/enabling legislation through God; I acknowledged Jesus as Lord and used all the connections His dad gave me to grow rich dealing drugs and murdering for hire; I slaughtered seeming innocents with airplanes as God must have intended me to do kill or they wouldn’t have died, especially since I murdered in His name”…the list of mayhem would be limited only by human imagination. Worse, can you imagine anyone committing such acts being held above the law if they say (at least in part) Ecclesiastes makes their crimes “protected religious speech and exercise”?
    But the manifest weight of the Bible is that God created humans originally intending NO sorrows for them, humans lost grace for listening to Satan, humans lose grace for being oppressors or murderers and such, etcetera. Further, the Bible says all people have free will (in the sense God may know what WE will finally do but doesn’t predestine for us), and all are given such commandments that would make it impossible for anyone to do God’s inspired will through acting to the contrary…be they kings, paupers, anybody.
    Ecclesiastes more properly seems like an answer to the laments in Psalms 22 and 88: God may instigate all the dynamics needed for life or earthly sustenance to exist, but only in the sense of giving humanity tools to test their conduct toward one another guided by ethics…with God also creating natural, non-human dynamics to test the strength of our character and faith, together with means by which God will call many back directly. Even Ecclesiastes 7:29 concedes as much that God made us plain and simple but we complicate ourselves, and at 12:13-14 states we are all created to see if we can live by God’s commandments, not life’s circumstances per se…conscience being how He “controls the righteous”.
    Whenever I see opportunity wax and wane, or injustices, I keep in mind that in this world humans…not God…often have outright or deceitful upper hands. I see even my own colds, flus, injuries as things that can happen to anybody. Were I tempted due to position, connection, or otherwise to imprudent reactions or assumption another’s loss is my gain as God’s will, I would fear God judging me as He spoke through Psalm 50:21: “You did all this, I said nothing, so you thought I am like you…but now I reprimand you”.
    The true point of Ecclesiastes is that no matter who or what one is, everything comes to dust; for all humans, God is aware some never heed Him (or are misled) and will occasion unfairness on others…but don’t let them make you think you’ve got nothing to lose before God by joining the crowd.
    Finally, Ecclesiastes admonishes us at 10:14 that none of us knows God’s plans for us once favorably judged and after welcome into Paradise…not any Pope, not Martin Luther, not John Calvin, not me, not one living person. 
    This is why I believe God gives us all talents and sets much in motion, but judges us on our best ethical conducts for our own stations and between each other high, low, and otherwise, worldwide, without recourse to “judging by punishments of natural origins”…the only plan He’s got for ANYONE this side of eternity.
  • Daniel Arendt
    Daniel Arendt Thank you, Rev. Sisemore, for echoing what even many modern Rabbis say of the principles of the Old Testament: ethics are for and between everyone on earth, as is God. The more we all agree on simple issues the more we heed Jesus in knowing none of us is ...  more
    February 17, 2010
  • Daniel Arendt
    Daniel Arendt How interesting...a nameless coward placed something of their own creation under my ID (or perhaps copied, cut, and pasted from someone with a similar name, as I'm hardly the only so-named party any person could Google up worldwide) into all of my blog po...  more
    February 18, 2010