Eden Hill Journal

Comments, dreams, stories, and rantings from a middle-aged native of Maine living on a shoestring and a prayer in the woods of Maine. My portion of the family farm is to be known as Eden Hill Farm just because I want to call it that and because that's the closest thing to the truth that I could come up with. If you enjoy what I write, email me or make a comment. If you enjoy Eden Hill, come visit.

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Location: Maine, United States

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Predestined

Some say that God has the whole future all laid out already, that everything is "predestined" to happen just as it will happen. Most who hold this view also hold to the view that we have free will, that we are free to choose among alternatives as we walk the pathways of life.
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Two roads diverged in a wood, and II took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.
Robert Frost
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I think most people have a problem with the notion of predestiny because it seems to contradict our own known reality. It contradicts with our own experience. Those who claim that they believe God already has the plan written have found ways to live with that apparent contradiction. If anything, they say that when we come to that fork in the road, God already knows which way we will choose to go.
Certainly in the physical world the future is predestined. The orbits of the planets is highly predictable and if one planet is on a collision course with a comet a few hundred years from now, at some point before the event scientists will be able to predict the event. But to suggest that life is as locked in to the future as the orbits of the planets seems like foolishness to me. What is life, how is it different from the realm of the inanimate, if life does not have any power over choice? Life itself is the power of choice.
I am sorry, folks, but I'm not very content with that contradiction. I need another understanding of the concept of predestiny.
If God is the author of The Book of Life, then my God is a living writer. God didn't die and go to Heaven, leaving behind him a book that chronicles every choice that we will ever make. God is writing the choices and then chronicling which ones we choose.
God didn't write the Book before the beginning of time. God isn't sitting on some high perch someplace making sure that we make all the choices he wrote that we would make before he began Creation.
God is actively writing the Book.
But in that view, what is predestination? What philosophical concepts are supported by a future view that includes predestination? If we are, as we all realize we are unless we are certifiably insane, if we are making choices and if as we make those choices both of the roads ahead are real and both just as inviting, if neither road is blocked and we know it, then where is the predestiny?
The answer to me seems perfectly clear.
Before we get to that fork in the road, both roads exist. The fact that we will come to the point where we will exercise the life force within us defines predestiny. Predestiny is the belief, the philosophy, that the choices will be there. In other words, predestiny is the philosophy that the future will be there when we get to it. It is not the philosophy that the fork will show us which way God, before time began, chose for us to go, it is the philosophy that the fork will be there, that there will be a future, that God won't pull the plug and end it all.
There is an irony to all this. The people most likely to say they believe in predestiny also tend to believe that "the end is near." In other words their definition of predestiny is the direct opposite of mine. Instead of seeing predestiny as God's guarantee that the future will come, they see it as God's guarantee that the earth will be destroyed, that God has the book all written and the end is near.
Why is it that so many wonderful concepts in philosophy are so obscured by fundamentalist religion when the truth seems so perfectly simple? The future exists! It will be there when we get there and if we perish, then it will be there for our children and our grandchildren and for their children and grandchildren. God will still be writing the Book.
Those who would have you believe otherwise are deceiving you. They aren't the godly ones. They are the children of destruction. Unless, of course, I am wrong and the end is near. But I think those who believe that just want life to end. I don't have much respect for people who think that way. To me, that's just suicide, a philosophy of mass murder/suicide.
Just because the road to destruction is the one most traveled in recent times and the other road is growing grass, that is no reason for choosing that road. Both roads are equally fresh this morning. "I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference."

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