Saturday, June 04, 2011

God's Sovereignty, Man's Responsibility, Free Will and Durians

Marmite Soldiers and Soft Boiled Egg
"Our Mate"

The morning after being grilled along with some mystery meat at a Korean BBQ, was still considerably in awe of God.

"If God knows everything that will happen, why didn't he just make everyone obey him?"

That's exactly what we would do if we were the too-flawed-to-wield-so-much-power Bruce Almighty. But, as if as additional proof that God wasn't made up by any human being, that's precisely what God does not do:
  • he made the whole world, including human beings who were allowed to choose between trusting him completely and throwing their lot in with a sneaky snake ("You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die." - Genesis 2:16-17);
  • knowing that Adam and Eve will head up a whole nasty race who will have nothing but hatred for him, God nevertheless lets them live and blesses their descendants;
  • knowing that mankind will harden their hearts, God nevertheless woos them with rescue-after-rescue, signs and wonders, faithfulness, prophet-after-prophet, warnings;
  • knowing that his own justice must be served and the guilty punished, God decided before the beginning of time that his Son would die to pay for our sins
He didn't have to do any of these things but he did.

It's excellent to have questions about God's omniscience and human free will because this is precisely the sort of stuff you would come upon if you were paying attention to the Bible.

Not convinced by arguments that God gave us so-called free will because he craved genuine love not robot love. No where does it say that God so loved the world he gave them democracy. The Scriptures just states both God's knowing-it-all and man's choice as facts and doesn't bother to explain it to plebs.

Jurong West, Mao Shan Wang Durians
In fact, the Bible doesn't just stop there. To show you who's boss, it goes one up and adds a durian to its juggling routine - predestination, that is, nothing happens without God's say-so (Colossians 3:12, Ephesians 1:4-10, Romans 8:29-30, Romans 9. Have a listen to Jonathan Fletcher and a stare at Broughton Knox). It's not an embarrassing boo-boo that needs to be kept under wraps made but a proud, loud and constant refrain throughout all those different books by different human authors, writing in vastly different ages and nations. For example,
  • Exodus states baldly, in the matter of a certain king of Egypt, that the Pharaoh's heart was hardened (Exodus 7:13,14,22; 8:19; 9:7), the Pharaoh hardened his heart (Exodus 8:15,32; 9:34), the LORD hardened the Pharaoh's heart (Exodus 9:12), and God knew beforehand that this would happen (Exodus 9:35).
  • In case you were mistaken that Jesus sweet and mild didn't come in for such imperialistic predestination stuff, he was recorded as saying "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day." (John 6:44), "You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you..." (John 15:16), and also "If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. (John 15:6)".
The Bible is really quite adamant about God's sovereignty, omnipotence and total control over everything on one hand, and human ability to choose and bear responsibility for their choices on the other. It's the same as there being one God and the Trinity, and as Jesus being fully human and fully divine.

A cop-out? Well, it's a bit silly for those who have trouble following The Matrix trilogy or Inception which are but human constructs, or who can't keep a handle on simplistic political arguments that don't even take into account the system dynamics of SimCity, to find this both-and aspect of God's world offensive. Why, even the brightest minds and hard-working generations have hardly scratched the surface in explaining the known universe (aka science), it's really not surprising that we can't understand this. (I like to harbour suspicions that it'll all be revealed as several strands of elegantly beautiful mathematical equations in the end - but that's hardly biblical.)

Furthermore, the ultimate whys and wherefores are not quite our concern. What we can know is that we and our fathers before us have always been slacking off at work but drawing full salary and benefits. We don't know where the money comes from but we think it has always just been that way and we are fully entitled to it. We mess up the office, steal, murder, rape and do all sorts of crimes within his compound. Not only does the big boss not sack us like he should, he even bothers to bail us out of jail, and comes to our little cubicle to show us that he is the source of our funding, persuade us to acknowledge him as boss. We, of course, won't have any of it. But when the law catches up with our evil deeds, the boss sends his only son to take our punishment for us, and so grant us reprieve.

If we were in the lethal injection chair or in the clutches of some other choice method of capital punishment, and seconds away from death, it would be a bit academic (and also illogical) to decline this last minute reprieve on the grounds that there were things we didn't understand about, oh, i don't know, maybe the boss's taste in wallpaper and if you really had the free will to choose whether to accept this salvation. Just grab the reprieve, say thank you and you will realise that all this is a comfort: a God worthy of worship must surely know all and be in control of all things and be ultimately beyond the minds of mankind.

And it is for his glory isn't it because who would not say that that is one heck of an awesome God.

Super Kun Yu (Kunyit) Durian 坤玉榴梿

On constant repeat on all available audio devices:

Behold Our God, from the Risen album by Sovereign Grace Music
Who has held the oceans in His hands?
Who has numbered every grain of sand?
Kings and nations tremble at His voice
All creation rises to rejoice

Chorus
Behold our God seated on His throne
Come, let us adore Him
Behold our King—nothing can compare
Come, let us adore Him

Who has given counsel to the Lord?
Who can question any of His words?
Who can teach the One who knows all things?
Who can fathom all His wondrous deeds?

Who has felt the nails upon His hands?
Bearing all the guilt of sinful man
God eternal, humbled to the grave
Jesus, Savior, risen now to reign

Tag
You will reign forever
Let Your glory fill the earth

from Risen, released 22 March 2011
Jonathan Baird, Meghan Baird, Ryan Baird, and Stephen Altrogge
© 2011 Sovereign Grace Worship (ASCAP)/Sovereign Grace Praise (BMI)



Our God, Chris Tomlin
Water You turned into wine
Open the eyes of the blind
There’s no one like You
None like You
Into the darkness You shine
Out of the ashes we rise
There’s no one like You
None like You

CHORUS
Our God is greater, our God is stronger
God You are higher than any other
Our God is Healer, awesome in power
Our God, Our God…

Into the darkness you shining
Out of the ashes we Rise
There’s no One like You
None like You.

Our God is greater, our God is stronger
God You are higher than any other
Our God is Healer, awesome in power
Our God, Our God…
Our God is greater, our God is stronger
God You are higher than any other
Our God is Healer, awesome in power
Our God, Our God…

BRIDGE
And if Our God is for us, then who could ever stop us
And if our God is with us, then what can stand against?
And if Our God is for us, then who could ever stop us
And if our God is with us, then what can stand against?
What can stand against?

Our God is greater, our God is stronger
God You are higher than any other
Our God is Healer, awesome in power
Our God, Our God…
Our God is greater, our God is stronger
God You are higher than any other
Our God is Healer, awesome in power
Our God, Our God…

And if Our God is for us, then who could ever stop us
And if our God is with us, then what can stand against?
And if Our God is for us, then who can ever stop us
And if our God is with us, then what can stand against?
Then what can stand against?
Then what can stand against?

Our God is greater, our God is stronger
God You are higher than any other
Our God is Healer, awesome in power
Our God, Our God…
Our God is greater, our God is stronger
God You are higher than any other
Our God is Healer, awesome in power
Our God, Our God…

Labels: ,

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home