Well I was sitting in Philosophy section the other day, and again I realized how people there talk differently. I guess the biggest thing I noticed was their peculiar use of the word “concern” or “concerned.” They use it regarding a philosophical argument the way I use it regarding people. You know, I might be concerned about how my sister’s doing at school, or concerned with a friend that might be struggling, or even concerned with a pet. But I sit in section, and they regularly say “I was concerned with Nagel’s argument regarding subpoint C” or whatever. And the funny thing is, they look really perturbed. I almost feel bad for them, and wish I could do something for them, to relieve their concern, but I can’t. And it’s not like their concerned with the thrust of the argument itself – that you either agree of disagree with – they have concerns regarding the intricacies of the particular argument in question. I feel so sad, cuz, you know what? A lot of them are dead, and they can’t change their papers, so we’re stuck. Eternally concerned with Frankfurt’s point regarding multiple orders of desire. So sad.
Another thing that’s been going on has been a lot of theological questions in my head. You know, recently there’s been a lot of theological issues raised at my church and fellowship, pretty heavy stuff, and it’s been making me think about a lot of things. I guess the biggest thing really is predestination. You know, KCPC is pretty hard core Calvinist, or at least I get that impression. So the sovereignty of God is a huge deal, and the logical consequences of that are interesting. Other things too. One thing I guess that’s been troubling a lot of people has been whether God loves all people – sinners included. One idea is that God’s love is a saving love, and it doesn’t make sense that He can love all people and yet send people to hell; thus He must not love all people. It’s important to remember that God is love does not mean love is God, and limit Him in that manner. Just a lot of interesting ideas.
To be quite frank, I was really unsettled by these issues, but I think I’ve come to a place of peace now. Really the biggest thing that helped me out was eating with John Yoon. He said I think 2 really profound things. One was that a lot of times, we can take an idea and think about it tons and make many logical implications, but those may not necessarily be what the Bible teaches. Not that that’s what’s happening, but it’s an interesting idea. I think that’s true. I don’t like the idea that some kind of thesis so dominates my thinking that I have to look at everything in the light of that particular thesis. I mean, it might be OK in some circumstances, but when it feels like I’m explaining certain parts of the Bible in ways that seem to be contrary (even in part) to those sections of the Bible, it concerns me. (Ha!) I think I like (want) to take the Bible for what it says, or just seems to say, especially when it’s pretty straightforward, you know? Sure, I need guidance, but should I take that to the point where I can’t read and interpret on my own as I might interpret incorrectly? I don’t know about that. For a while Catholics (my fellow Christians) did not want / allow laypeople to read the Bible on their own, as they believed that the guidance of the clergy was strictly necessary. I think this idea’s misleading, so anything similar to that makes me wary, you know? I guess I grew up in a Baptist church, and I’m pretty Baptist. My dad says Baptist pretty much hate theology (which of course comes with its own weaknesses) and I think I do too; not that I don’t have one, but it’s much less important to me than other things. And it’s not so powerful that it reinterprets things. Anyway, when it all comes down to it it seems like Christians when it comes to practical things pretty much agree on the same things so all of this is moot.
Anyway, another thing I guess is the predestination / free will issue. Where do they intersect? My impression is that hard-core Calvinists pretty much let predestination dominate. I don’t know… I think I believe in both, and strongly in both. Again, my bud John helped me, I think (sorry to include your name amidst so much heresy, John). He was sharing about his own salvation, that when he was in the process of accepting Christ, it seemed like it was all his doing, that he was the one totally making the decision and being the one in control. And that was cool. But in retrospect, having looked back, he realizes and sees that it really was all God, in every sense, and without God, nothing would’ve happened. That’s so profound to me. I think there’s a mystery to it. That really, if we all look at ourselves, we could say the same thing. It really is a mystery – we do choose, I think, but yet it’s all God.
My dad also talked to me about some things. Like the human perspective and Godly perspective are naturally different, and what appears to be may really not be, but we must look at things in certain ways, since we are stuck in the human perspective. He also said something interesting – he believes in the duality of predestination and free will, and that they are both true. The reason being is that he is a physicist, and I guess draws his reasons from the dual nature of light / electrons. To him, physical nature serves to help illuminate the nature of God, and this is one example. Light is both a particle and a wave, and each model helps explain light better under different circumstances. Logically, though, it’s difficult to accept this duality, but it’s still necessary. He said how if someone were to try to take only one aspect of the duality and explain the other aspect completely within the terms of the first, they’d basically be screwed, cuz you could do all that work but you’d still be missing something. So it’s essential that one accept this apparent logical contradiction of duality. To him that helps him understand other dualities. Like the issue raised above. So they are somehow both true, and if you try and let one dominate the other, or define the other in terms of the one, you’re up a creek with no paddle and missing something – it may be that they’re not meant to be harmonized, but intended to be dual.
He also noted that the Bible indicates that predestination is true, and yet calls for response and action on our part. John Yoon noted that the apostles, they all said predestination, and they all preached repentance. Again, there’s a mystery to it. My dad also mentioned the passage where Jesus says Come to me all who are weary and you shall find rest unto your souls – it really is an open invitation, and doesn’t really seem (at least to him) to make sense as otherwise; come unto me all who are weary, well all excepting those who yadda yadda yadda. So it seems like an open invitation. But just before, he says something to the effect of no one can come unto me except whom God has chosen – I’m probably mangling the verse but it’s something to that effect. So he thinks that Jesus himself notes the duality and doesn’t try to harmonize it, but lays them both out there. Interesting.
Anyway, that’s where I stand; I think I believe strongly in both things: free will and predestination. In a practical sense, I think I would encourage a non-believer to make a choice, to accept, and let him realize the burden lays on him. But to one who’s been in the faith, I think the best thing is for him to realize that it’s been God all the way. Quite a mystery.