There’s an ancient debate among theological circles between the ideas of God’s sovereignty and man’s free will as they are presented in the Scriptures. If you’re not familiar with this, don’t dig too deeply…trust me, your faith will be damaged. The crux of the infighting, though, is an attempt to decipher if what happens in our lives is the result of our own independent choices, or if we are simply puppets with God pulling the strings.
Personally, I sway to the (almost extreme) end of our free choice. I won’t bore anyone with the reasons why, because by now you know my distaste for theological hate…oops, I mean debate. I’m wondering lately, though, about how this plays into the concept of fear.
Specifically, my fear is of our government of late and the freedoms that I remember us once having that we give so freely away now (for more comment on this, see my Newsvine column…link on my sidebar). I’m not really an activist at heart, though, so I have to find something to do with the fear that I feel. I know many others with different fears: fears that past mistakes will return to bite them (don’t we all have that?), fear that their significant others really are cheating, fear that their job could vanish from beneath them…most of us have felt these at some point in our lives, a realization that there is no such thing as security, or at least that we can’t create such an animal. That being the case, do we completely take our hands off of the proverbial wheel and let life go where it will? If we can be confident (my assertion is that we can) that our choices hold the key to the ramifications in our lives…physical, emotional, and spiritual…then doesn’t the age-old argument that “God has it all under control” lose its weight?
Somehow I’m attempting to reconcile that in my head. My gut says no, that He still does, but that if we’re hell-bent on screwing things up, He’ll let us. Of course, He still can make good come out of our screw-ups. Still, however, I’m left with fear, and with that fear comes bondage.
I think America is existing in the bondage of fear right now, so part of that is cultural in nature. As free as I may feel, though, it stands to reason that I’m being held back from my potential by these latent fears of family, friends, and country that lurk in the dark recesses of my spirit. Feeling free and realizing that you’re not is an exasperating sensation, one for which I don’t have an answer.
Perhaps, though, an acceptance of paradoxes is at its core, believing that two contradictory metaphysical elements can simultaneously occur and exist within our lives. It seems to me that we must accept these at some level, because God is (or at least appears to our finite little brains to be) paradoxical at times. Which leaves us with a choice: we can either become arrogant theologians who presume to think that they can ascend to understanding at some point, or we can opt on the side of faith and accept the mystery of our spiritual existence.
I don’t have much taste for the first, and I’m finding that mystery is one of life’s…and God’s…most beautiful qualities.