Saturday, June 2, 2012

Randomness and God

     One of the many revolutions that are occurring in my life at the moment is my increasing attraction to the idea of predestination. Despite the ostensible mutual exclusivity of the two ideas of free-will and predestination, I tend to think that both being true is just one other example of a number of characteristics of God’s nature that is simply beyond the capacity for humans to grasp, the idea of the Trinity is an obvious one that comes to mind.

While it could be claimed that believing both are true is just pusillanimous fence-sitting, it seems to me that Scripture makes a convincing case that both are a reality.

The content of this post doesn’t deal with predestination specifically, but the theme of the post fits perfectly into it.

     A  recent revelation had exposed an interloper in my worldview. I realised that I had unwittingly adopted aspects of methodological naturalism, which is an atheistic concept that dominates every aspect of the Western world. I had fallen prey to naturalism despite the fact that I had spent the better part of the last decade furiously warring against this anti-theistic behemoth. I thought I knew it well enough to prevent it from invading my personal worldview, but it proved to be a far more insidious foe than I gave it credit for!

As keenly aware as I was of the atheistic worldview, I had no idea how deeply engrained it is into the thinking of the Western world, and also my own. My personal worldview was the result of having spent a great deal of time delving into the natural sciences. I noticed how everything in the universe ticked along like clockwork quite nicely (albeit clockwork that’s running down and malfunctioning) without the immediate presence of God; planets revolve, cells replicate, clouds precipitate, all without any supernatural action. All this logically led to the idea that natural events were random and devoid of any meaning or purpose, events like rain, earthquakes, celestial activity, bushfires, although God would most certainly use nature to bless or curse humans at will. Also, if natural events were random, what about stuff like kicking a toe on a rock, or winning two dollars on an Instant Scratchit, or a car pulling out of a park just in time for you? Are these types of things random as well? It’s a slippery slope. Once the principle of randomness is adopted, the simple fact is that there are no bounds to it’s ambit.

Randomness and purposelessness are simply NOT Scriptural concepts, but rather concepts that are wholly imported from the atheistic worldview of methodological naturalism which demands that everything must be purposeless and random if God does not exist. Many have unwittingly adopted this atheistic thinking into their Christian worldview to some degree.

While most Christians have no trouble believing that God is omnipotent, few are aware of what this logically leads to. God’s omnipotence, omniscience and omnipresence means that His dominion over His creation is total, He knows & sees all (1Jn3:20; Ps139; Pr5:21;15:3; Heb4:13; Isa46:10), and nothing is too hard for Him (Gen18:14; Job42:2; Jer32:17; Mt19:26). Even Satan and his minions are fully bound by the will of God, as the account of Job testifies. So if nothing happens without His knowledge, then absolutely nothing can happen without God’s approval; not a supernova explosion, not an earthquake, not a car crash, not a broken finger nail, nor even the flux of an atom in the atmosphere. God’s dominion is supreme.

God is described throughout Scripture, implicitly and explicitly, as conforming all things to His will. Everything does His bidding, and nothing can resist (Is 43:13; Rm8:28; Eph 1:11; Ps155:3,135:6; Dan4:35).

The picture of God that is painted in Scripture is a God of purpose and design. I can find absolutely no Scriptural reference, either explicit or even implicit, to randomness or purposelessness, it is totally alien. It is an interloper into the Christian mind, originating from an atheistic worldview.

So this puts things into a better perspective: If God has perfect control over the movement of even all the atoms, then it makes perfect sense that God would direct the motion of all things in the universe to accord to His will; the movement of the atoms, and molecules, and biological cells, and clouds, and the winds: Everything is in His control and is used to achieve his will. Thus not only does it seem nonsensical to me for a God who has total control over everything to allow random movements of things, I actually question if it would even be possible for there to be randomness if God has total control! It seems to me that this would be a logical contradiction, just like a ‘married bachelor’ or a ‘straight curve’. Since God is omnipotent, then He has control, so therefore in my mind there just can not be randomness in the world. Of course if nothing is random then nothing can be purposeless either.

And this brings us back to the how it all ties into Predestination. If absolutely everything is God’s will; the good of winning a car to the bad of being in a car crash; or something ostensibly insignificant like the flux of traffic on the road, or the arrangement of the pencils in my pencil-holder, then it makes perfect sense that it all had to have been planned. Can this be honestly denied if God even knew us from before we were even born?! “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born” Jer 1:5. Christ’s defeat of Satan was foretold way back at the dawn of time (Gen 3:15), so just think about all the infinite arranging of peoples lives and the circumstances and events surrounding their lives that were necessary to bring this into reality! It seems to me that the universe has to be predestined for this to be achieved.

To everything there is a season, and a time for every matter or purpose under heavenEcc 3:1
The Lord has made everything [to accommodate itself and contribute] to its own end and His own purpose—even the wicked [are fitted for their role] for the day of calamity and evil.” Prov 16:4

     For me believing in randomness in the universe became a spiritual ‘wall’ in my heart which was preventing the Holy Spirit from fully working in me. How could I fully embrace and believe in the reality of things like miracles and providential events -even though I wanted to- while at the same time holding the contrary belief that the functioning of the world is random? There simply can not be providence in random events, the two are mutually exclusive, in psychology this is called cognitive dissonance; holding two contradictory beliefs at once.

The spiritual effect of me now believing that God’s will is in everything has resulted in a total revolution of my attitude in life. Stress, anxiety and the burden of expectation has vanished. Believing that absolutely everything is God’s will means that there is nothing worth fretting over. This is no longer an abstract and ethereal fantasy for me, it is now a tangible reality, and the peace in my heart and the joy in my stride that this reality brings is beyond what I thought was possible.

1 comment:

  1. Love this post...fantastic topic! Well written too.