Behind certain types of fatalism is that belief that God has a plan and that plan will be worked out regardless of cooperation and the external preparations of silly human beings. The idea from yesterday that God would allow all bullets to strike the enemy whether they practiced or not is an example. I have been know to say that the hairs of my head are numbered and the beats of my heart are measured and I am not going to waste heart beats on running around the block a hundred times to get my heart rate up. Doctors don’t like talk like that.
Fatalism can extend to places like mission work. There is the famous scene from history when young William Carey asked some ministers if the Church had done all it could for the heathen, and received this answer: “Young man, sit down. When God pleases to convert the heathen world, He will do it without your help or mine.” He is considered the Father of modern missions. “Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God” is his famous saying. The attitude that God will do his will regardless of our help extends into mercy work. Trying to help people out of poverty or to get them medical assistance, or to care of orphans is ultimately hopeless and meant to fail, some will say.
Does God have a plan? Yes. Do things work inexorably toward the fulfilling of that plan? Yes What’s the plan? It is a public mystery.
The mystery of God’s will about which Paul goes on about in the Letter to the Ephesians is the issue of a benevolent, merciful plan of God centering in Christ. It is a plan to be carried out, to be put into effect in the fullness of the times, namely, to gather up into one all things in Christ as the Head. How does that work and how does our work fit in? More tomorrow.