Monday, October 29, 2007

The Accidental World

Whether future events are open or closed might not make much practical difference to us humans. Whether God has already composed the entire score or is brilliantly improvising as we go, the understanding of the entire piece is beyond our understanding. As a practical matter, open and closed theology are not opposites of each other so much as both opposite to our delusion that we can predict what will happen.

Whether the events of our lives are truly accidental or merely seem so to us hardly matters as we get our daily bread. We are going to make guesses about the future and plans in advance, and we will be wrong a significant portion of the time.

Watching a Blackaby* video in adult Sunday School yesterday, a friend very rightly observed that we resent God not letting us know the plan in advance. After some thought, it came to me that we are going to resent someone or something anyway. We will make plans, something will happen to upset them, and we will resent our fate. Whether those plans were ours, or our guesses as to where God is going, we’re still going to feel that the rug has been pulled.

Even to an atheist, it may be better to have an attitude of being ready for anything, than to attempt to methodically prepare for everything we can thing of. We can predict much, and observing predictabilities has allowed Western culture to prosper. But the predictability is only comparative. The Enlightenment belief in control of events through systemization is a delusion. As human beings are the least predictable part of the system, and humans become more interconnected, we enter a period of less predictability, not more.

*I have mixed feelings about Blackaby’s writings, which I may go into at some other time. In brief, I think his approach to experiencing God is worthwhile, but I find that he is not entirely fair to the ideas of those who might disagree.

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