Recently some friends of mine made a very significant life decision. I felt and feel that this decision is a dreadful one…one that places the family at serious risk. What the decision is is not really important; and they are certainly well within their rights to make it…so as far as that goes it makes no real difference to me. They can do what they want with their own lives; they didn’t ask my opinion and they aren’t obliged to do so. I’m fine with that. I wish them good luck and it’s not my problem.
Except that it kinda IS my problem, because it stems from an idea about God and the nature of reality that implicitly affects me. Because how anyone in a system under which citizens are obligated to associate with each other—through the coercive power of the State to requisition property—thinks about reality is going to affect his or her neighbor…because it affects how they VOTE. And to cast a vote is to proclaim a tacit desire to use force to compel others to your personal political ideals. So…yeah, this problem affects me.
Once the decision had been realized and formalized these friends stated that it was wonderful to see how—and I will paraphrase here—God made it all happen. God prompted their hearts and then secured the “desired” outcome…and the reason I use quotes around “desired” is because if God gives you the idea and the will then is the desire really yours? Umm…no, it aint. You don’t have anything to do with it.
And now you see the problem.
God did it. Not them. It was GOD, you see. It was ALL GOD. And praise the Lord, because His divine Will has been accomplished.
Oh boy…I mean, where do we even start with this? This is a terrifying and dangerous way to approach life and define reality. To punt your own will and choice AND the outcomes into the intellectual abyss of “God did it all” is to position yourself where the ability to conceptualize reality based upon the rational notion of choices and consequences, and causes and effects, is entirely neutralized. And this ABSOLUTELY guarantees your own destruction, sooner or later, in some form. The painful outcomes of pursuing rational disaster may be as of yet unknown, but we can be sure of one thing: those who do not take responsibility for their own actions will come to ruin. And the intellectual bankruptcy of “God’s determinative Will” also unfairly and callously tempts others to join you in your folly, and your misery, and, perhaps even worse, to promote and disseminate the evil ideas which caused it.
Think about it for a minute. If God does something…if God controls the situation lock, stock, and barrel, from its inception as a mere idea coupled with the requisite emotional response of desire, to its final realization in manifest reality, then at what point can we—the mere characters in the great and transcendent spiritual (sometimes called the “Gospel”) narrative—make a moral and rational judgment concerning it? If it’s ALL GOD then how does what we think, and, of equal importance, how we feel, have any meaning at all? And if our intellectual and emotional judgments are irrelevant in the face of the omnipotence of Divine Determintive Will then how can we know if the things we think and feel are good or bad? Should we make this decision or not? And once we’ve made it, should we change course or stay it?
And beyond being destructive and intellectually barren, the idea of God’s superseding Will is just plain old lazy thinking. Lazy and irresponsible. It cares nothing for humanity. The ones who adopt the lie of “God does all things through me” have no real compassion or interest in themselves or anyone else. They have punted their own moral and intellectual responsibility away entirely. It doesn’t matter how BAD the decision is, or the practical destruction it wreaks upon one’s life and those around him, because it’s not up to them, it’s up to God. It’s God’s responsibility to deal with the carnage, not theirs. And since it’s all of God, who can really say that the carnage is actually carnage? That the disastrous outcomes are really disasters at all? What do we know? We see with merely human eyes, and gauge with only human understanding. What right to we have to judge as evil that which God alone is doing?
If we make a bad decision and the predictably bad consequences manifest, and we have claimed that “God has done it, praise the Lord!”, then we are left with only two ways to evaluate the situation, and both of them demand that the evil continue:
- The bad is actually good, we just can’t tell the difference thanks to our “fallen” nature and our innate existential insufficiency to apprehend the “truth” of God’s universe.
- The bad is, in fact bad, but God wants it that way, otherwise it wouldn’t have happened, and thus we need to accept it and stop being so selfish. Of course, if God WANTS it, then the bad is actually the good, and…see point 1.
And so we stop considering pain, in ourselves and in others. We don’t use the natural tools we have to determine if what we are doing is right or not. Once what we do becomes a function of not us, but God, then we are relegated to the status of mere observers of ourselves. Ultimately pointless…all we think and feel being entirely without meaning. The pain we feel, or that others feel, stops being a warning to us and becomes nothing. The love we are to receive and give is rejected for some “higher truth”…some “divine purpose”. The drained bank accounts, the detached children, the chronic stress of too much to do and too little time, the premature aging and sagging eyes, the added strain on the public purse…it’s all something we hope God deals with, but if He doesn’t, oh well…after all, it’s not about us, it’s about Him.
But friends, if it’s not about us then why are we here? If its not about us then why consciousness? Why do you utter the word “I” if its not about you? Why know who God is if you are merely a game piece to be compelled hither and thither by the Great Invisible Hand? If our choices aren’t our own and the consequences cannot be morally judged then how do we even live? How do we know what to do and what not to do? What’s the difference between right and wrong? What IS REALITY?
It’s a void.
God will not be mocked. He finds no pleasure in you outsourcing your own decisions to Him and throwing up your hands at your own moral responsibilities. He doesn’t bathe in the false praise of those who will refuse to be their own person and live by their own choices, and accept and manage the consequences thereof. You WILL reap what your dreadfully facile theology has sewn, and it will hurt.
Your life is YOUR JOB! It’s not God’s! What you want and need and how much and when and from whom…that’s YOUR JOB, not His. God does not micromanage ADULTS; and those who think He does are bound for pain, misery, and perhaps even destruction.
Christian, it’s your job!
Damn well do it.