So if things happen the way they are going to happen where do we fit in as we go about our life? Why do acts of mercy and try to alleviate suffering? Why do mission work? Why study, go to school etc, if things happen by necessity? The theological premise is that God is all powerful and all knowing or He would not be God, therefore from the perspective of God all things happen just as He wills. We can see this from the scriptures in the example of Jesus’ own suffering and death. In Acts, in Peter’s sermon on Pentecost, in Acts chapter 4, he says that Jesus’ betrayal, Jesus’ suffering and Jesus’ death happened according to God’s plan and foreknowledge. The people acted as God had determined. In the same way, you can see this in Jesus when He is arrested in Matthew 26 Jesus says: “So it must be”. On the other hand, about these same events, Jesus warns Judas and Jesus warns Pilate. Jesus words seem to indicate that folks might be able to do otherwise. From the divine perspective, things are laid out, yet the future seems to be contingent on what we do or leave undone. So the latest issue in the hospital when the patient says it is all in God’s hands, that is a great theological point. So when the patient has a reaction and seems to be having a stroke or some other debilitating event we will stand by and watch as whatever it is happens. There is no need to intervene because what happens will happen, and it is God’s will. I see a law suit in the future and maybe that is destined as well.
So we have a kind of conundrum if we are thinking people. There seem to be less and less of those around so if you find one it is kind of fun to talk to them. Thinking about these issues usually breaks into two different camps. The fatalist is the “what will be will be” camp”. The other major camp is determinists’ . They believe that all events are caused by things that happened before them and that people have no real ability to make choices or control what happens. Most folks that are around us spend their life trying to figure out how to change or manipulate events and the future. Most of the stuff that we hear and read and have to listen too day by day are designed to get us to think about the future and how we can change it. “Make America Great Again”, loses some panache if we add the caveat “if God wills”. Yet that is what the letter of James says. James lays out a situation of planning for a business trip to go and make money here and their and James response is “You do not even know what will happen tomorrow! What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord is willing, we will live and do this or that.” 16As it is, you boast in your proud intentions. All such boasting is evil.… This is from James 4.
Tomorrow we look at Judas from these two perspectives –