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God's Sovereignty And Free Will


BillM
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Hi all. I have a question about notions of God's sovereignty and free will (obviously). Last Christmas Eve, my granddaughter, Moriah, was killed in a car accident on the way to my house. We were all going to celebrate a Candle-lighting service at my church together. Instead, we spent it at the hospital, grieving for this 5-year-old little girl. She was a tornado who could tear my house apart in a matter of minutes...and I loved her for it. I miss her dearly.

 

Most of my friends and family are Christians who say that Moriah's death was part of God's plan, that if God didn't directly cause it according to his will, he at least allowed it. For them, God's sovereignty means that God is "in control", that nothing happens unless God makes it happen.

 

The driver of the vehicle that hit my daughter's car was on his cell phone at the time, video-conferencing. He was going over the speed limit. Moriah died almost instantly. In my opinion, this driver, not God, is the cause of the accident and should be held culpable. He exercised his free will in being a careless driver and that is, therefore, to blame.

 

But, that is me. I don't know how we can have free will or be held responsible for our actions if everything we do is dictated by God. What do you say? Is there a way to harmonize God's sovereignty with our free will?

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Dear Bill,

 

I'm so very sorry to hear about your granddaughter's death. My heart goes out to you and your family. I'm a bereaved mother, so I have some awareness of the pain. But each family's grief is unique. I wish you well on the long journey of healing you and your family are on.

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Greetings Bill,

 

So sorry to hear of your loss. I have 3 grandchildren of my own. Such a loss could be devastating to both parents and grandparents to say the least.

 

The driver made his choice to speed and be distracted by his conference call and will, i assume, pay societies consequences for his actions. His choice i see as limited by his genetic propensities, state of mind at the time and a myriad of variables too numerous to mention. I don't personally believe his choice was wise but if i "were him" at that moment, i would have unfortunately made the same choice. No i do not believe in nor do i really know if we truly have free choice as in "The ability to act or to make choices independently of the environment or of the universe (and all that that entails)" but i know things are not as they seem and presently see true free will in humans as an illusion..

 

Our choices to me seem evolved and limited. What comes to mind is Jesus saying " Forgive them Father for they know not what they do."

It would seem to me that for whatever reason the driver didn't expect such an outcome and probably had made the same choice numerous times before without the consequences. How many times have we ourselves been guilty of driving under the influence or speeding and been spared some disastrous consequences?

 

I asked the question not to excuse or blame any individual but to say that all is not as it seems and the individual may not have really known or understood the seriousness of his/her actions or they would not have done it. I say this from a past personal mindset where if circumstances were different it could have been me. So some will say it is part of God's plan or God allowed it. I would say neither. I would only say It is part of the universe unfolding and while that offers little comfort, it is reality.

 

Love in Christ with best wishes for healing,

 

Joseph

Edited by JosephM
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Hi all. I have a question about notions of God's sovereignty and free will (obviously). Last Christmas Eve, my granddaughter, Moriah, was killed in a car accident on the way to my house. We were all going to celebrate a Candle-lighting service at my church together. Instead, we spent it at the hospital, grieving for this 5-year-old little girl. She was a tornado who could tear my house apart in a matter of minutes...and I loved her for it. I miss her dearly.

 

Most of my friends and family are Christians who say that Moriah's death was part of God's plan, that if God didn't directly cause it according to his will, he at least allowed it. For them, God's sovereignty means that God is "in control", that nothing happens unless God makes it happen.

 

The driver of the vehicle that hit my daughter's car was on his cell phone at the time, video-conferencing. He was going over the speed limit. Moriah died almost instantly. In my opinion, this driver, not God, is the cause of the accident and should be held culpable. He exercised his free will in being a careless driver and that is, therefore, to blame.

 

But, that is me. I don't know how we can have free will or be held responsible for our actions if everything we do is dictated by God. What do you say? Is there a way to harmonize God's sovereignty with our free will?

 

It's not possible, Bill, to harmonize certain theological doctrines with free will. So if you're being told (or if you believe) that God has sovereignty over us and nothing happens without preordination, predestination, or Divine decree, you'll be unable to reconcile the role of free will in your granddaughter's death. There are other theological paradigms, however, that speak in a different way about God, death, and free will. One of those paradigms is Jesus' paradigm -- the Kingdom paradigm -- which was radically different in its theology from Paul's Temple paradigm.

 

It's very hard on the soul within to look at the circumstances of your granddaughter's death and NOT see it as the result of free will on the other driver's part. It's correct for you, as a human, as a soul, and as a child of God, to understand what happened as a result of free will. It's also correct for you to believe that God or God's angels may have been able to step into this situation and save your granddaughter, yet this didn't happen. This is the hard part. How do you put these two apparent contradictions together? Why did your granddaughter have to die? (I know what it's like to rant and rail against God for the death of a precious child so I understand the difficulty.)

 

Despite what many religious leaders over the past few millennia have claimed, it's not true that human beings can overcome death or be guaranteed a long life without illness or suffering. Some people live more fully in a few short years than others live in their entire biological lifetime. I eventually had to come to terms with the fact that my son had lived well and taught brilliantly in the three years he was with us. He was a person of great courage and trust. Eventually, I came to understand that his example would always be my guiding light in this life. Although he knew nothing of theological doctrines or debates, he knew everything about what's important to the soul. He will always be one of my personal heroes. I feel his love to this day.

 

God's purpose in putting us here on Planet Earth has nothing to do with worship or salvation or healing the universe or other eschatological claims along this line. God's purpose in putting us here is to give us the chance to work through some very difficult emotions and experiences because we, as persons-of-soul, want and need this opportunity. Because God knows what we're capable of and because God TRUSTS us as souls, God gives us the opportunity to wrestle with ourselves and learn more about ourselves through that wrestling. God gives us the opportunity to see what it feels like to use our free will to FORGIVE when it seems completely impossible to forgive. Yet it's not impossible. This is what Jesus spoke of.

 

The driver of the car that killed your granddaughter is now presented with possibility of learning how to forgive himself (damned near impossible) and you and your family must now see if you can find any kernels of transformation hidden within this tragedy. This process of digging into tragedy until meaning and purpose is found was the subject of Dr. Viktor Frankl's master work, "Man's Search for Meaning." Logotherapy -- the school of therapy he founded after his horrific experiences as an inmate in Auschwitz and other camps -- speaks to the unquenchable need of the human spirit to dig deep into suffering and stop making easy excuses for it. Finding meaning in the midst of tragedy calls upon all your courage, all your faith in God, all your humbleness, all your relationships, and all your faith in yourself.

 

Is it easy? Hell, no. Is it worth it?

 

Totally.

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Bill, there is never any replacement for a person you love. Just want to make that clear from the start of this post. What I'm about to say isn't meant to be a consolation prize. I'm sharing from the heart in case it might help (though I understand it might not).

 

I thought I might mention a few things I did after my son's death that changed me as a person (hopefully for the better). In a way, I suppose it would be fair to say that I'd lost myself while I was growing up, and my son's death (with everything that happened around it) gave me the chance to use my free will to make new choices and reclaim my own life.

 

Circumstances taught me about humbleness. I'd been intellectually smug till that point, and it became harder for me to be smug after being so vulnerable and so in need of help.

 

Circumstances taught me about empathy. I'd never understood before my son's illness what it's like to suffer excruciating emotional pain, exhausting family pain, wearisome financial pain, and spiritual doubt and fear. Afterwards, I was much less sympathetic to the conservative "they're not trying hard enough" approach to life.

 

Circumstances taught me about my own heart. Pretty self-explanatory, really. I'd been living "in my head" but my heart got busted wide open, despite all my efforts to shield it. I cried my eyes out. My heart remains open to this day.

 

Circumstances taught me about gratitude. People were so good to us throughout our ordeal. I was amazed and beyond grateful for the help we received. I can't say I understood gratitude before that time (having been smug and intellectual). Gratitude is a miracle, in my view.

 

I learned to be a better mother to our surviving son. You can bet I never took him for granted! He's 31 y.o. now and we have a wonderful friendship and supportive relationship that grew out of our shared grief. He and his brother taught me how to learn from them, my children, an experience which has filled my life with joy and blessings.

 

I tried to give back to the community, to "pay it forward," so to speak, because I was so grateful for the care and love we'd received. I started volunteering because my heart wanted to, not because my head said it would be a smart thing to put on a resume.

 

Did God make me do all these things after my son died? No. Was it predestination? No. God stepped back and let me stumble my way through a whole lot of tears. I made the changes because I wanted to -- maybe not with perfection, but certainly with heart.

 

Free will doesn't give ANYONE the power to be separate from their environment, biology, or circumstances. Free will only gives you the right to make choices about your own thoughts, feelings, and actions inside your own little head (what Jesus called "the Kingdom").

 

But by God when people choose to take charge of their own thoughts, feelings, and actions (and stop blaming other people for their own mistakes), amazing things can happen in the world.

 

God bless.

Edited by Realspiritik
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Jen, I appreciate your thoughts and perspective on this, Jen. My journey has been a long and arduous one and I don’t yet know where it will lead. But, yes, when I was a Calvinist, I believed nothing happened apart from God’s will. After all, Jesus did say that a sparrow didn’t fall apart from the will of God (ha ha!). But I’m now in a place, just speaking for myself, where I don’t know if Jesus even existed or said what the Bible claims he said. I don’t even know if I’m a theist anymore. However, if I did believe in God, I would think (or like to think) that God is more of an influence toward the good rather than an all-controlling force or power, a manipulator of events here on earth.

 

That being said, I think your advice to simply let people grieve the way they want to is wise. Though I have no doubt that they care, they say, I believe, what comforts them. For me, given the suffering and death in our world, I find no comfort or common sense in the notion that God is controlling all of this. I do tend to think we have a certain amount of free will subject to the laws of nature.

 

I’m sorry for the loss of your son also. I feels so unfair, but, then, whatever made us think life would be fair, right? Some days I think I’m learning things from all of this. Other days the wind is still knocked out of me. And I guess I struggle with the way some Christians “Romans 8:28” this to death, as if this is an easy and simple thing to deal with if one only has faith.

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Joseph, thanks for your condolences. Your post seems spot on to me. I don't know as we have "free" will, either. I think we have will, but, as you say, it is shaped and limited by many things -- some we can control and others that we can't. I have no doubt that the driver of the other vehicle didn't not intend for this to happen. He is 21 with a 3 month old baby and though I am still upset about the accident and what happened, I can't help but feel sorrow that this child will probably lose the presence of a father-figure for quite a few years if the courts have their way. So while we lost our baby, this other baby will lose a father, at least for a while. It is, IMO, simply a tragic situation. Finding the good in it, as Jen has written about, is hard. I doubt I will ever get off this. I don't want to, for it would somehow diminish my love for Moriah if life just went on as if she meant nothing. Life will go on. But it will be...different.

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Bill,

 

I can't imagine what you are going through. I'm so sorry.

 

You are in a faith crisis that causes many people to lose faith entirely. It's the question of if there is a God and God loves us, then why do bad thinks happen to us.

 

You've already heard a standard response: it's all a part of God's plan.

 

I do believe that God makes plans of some sort, but I do not believe God is thinking that his child, Bill, needs to learn something that only can be facilitated by a loss like this. For learning, for saving, for changing in any way.

 

I do believe from much personal experience that God seeks us in our brokenness. It was in Jesus's brokenness that great love was given to the world. Even if you can't believe in Jesus as divine and a savior, you can find meaning in his forgiving his tormenters with his final breaths.

 

 

When I look back on my life, I often think well if such and such bad never happened then such and such good would have never happened. It's easy to conclude that it happened the way God wanted it to happen. But I think that another response could be if God had not been with me every step of the way, then these good things would never have happened. And that response should be immediately follow with Thank You God.(not for my loss, but because of your faithfulness)

 

There is likely little if anything I could say to you that will give you comfort, but perhaps you might consider giving God a chance to see you through. Or if you can't do that perhaps you could consider delaying judgment on the Christian faith for a little while longer. I don't think you will regret it.

 

God is looking for you in your broken places right now.

 

Blessings, friend

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Fatherman, I appreciate your input also. This has caused me to search my heart deeply as to what my beliefs are and what my values are. I've never felt (or at least never think I did) that my life should be free of suffering. I've even been reluctant to use the word "blessed" because it implies that God might be somehow partial to me and actively working on behalf. But suffering can make us feel alone and singled out, even if that is not the reality of the situation. I recall Jesus crying out on the cross, asking why God had forsaken him. And, as you've mentioned, even if the heavens were silent to his plea, he still forgave those that placed him there. I wonder if he, in those dark hours, saw it all as part of "God's plan of salvation." I doubt it. But I certainly don't know.

 

I try not to be judgmental of other people's faith unless it really seems harmful to me. In that regard, well-meaning Christians are using the language of their faith to try to comfort and console me. And I find myself thankful for their intentions even if it is sometimes painful to hear the clichés. They are good people and intend good.

 

One thing that I have definitely learned: Don't take your loved ones for granted. Tell people how you feel about them. If you have babies (of any age), tell them how much you love them, how much they mean to you, and how you can't imagine life without them. You might just have to.

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The other thing I learned in all of this, gentle people, something of which I was guilty before, is to not drive while texting or being distracted with my eyes off the road. Please don't do it. Texas is one of only four states that don't have a law against texting while driving (although whether the other states actually enforce it is probably debatable). It's not worth it. It can wait.

 

PIC_MORIAHMORISETTE_41699322_zpsrw772ozz

 

http://www.dentonrc.com/local-news/local-news-headlines/20150919-dangers-of-distraction.ece?ssimg=2443636#ssStory2443637

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Bill

You have my thoughts with you.

 

I also lost my son eight years ago, a little over.

 

These things are events in an ocean of causes. We pick out a single event and not surprisingly hold them special. I would not be here without my special event. These events are our touchstones.

 

My wife and I discussed James's death on the way home from the hospital. My wife asked in a round about way, Why? I answered, it just is. "My" event lead me here, to now. It led me to my lack of belief in free will and to some of the resultant possibilities. It taught me the difference between acceptance and apathy.

 

As the years pass, your bit of the universe will unfold too.

Just some chaotic thoughts.

All the best my friend.

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Thanks, Romansh, for your kind words. I'm sorry for your loss also. To me, it doesn't feel right that we should out-live our children or our grandchildren. But it often happens that way. The question of "Why?" is a haunting one. It haunted me also when I believed God (or fate) controlled everything. But that question is (slowly) fading into the background as I consider and reconsider my response to this special event, this touchstone. I can become bitter...or I can become better. Not moral or spiritual superiority, just a more compassionate person.

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A couple more random thoughts on this subject. I tend to be rather agnostic these days. I have my beliefs, but there are few things that I claim to know. So I can’t say for sure whether events here on earth happen due to God’s divine plan or due to human free will or some combination thereof. I need to go read the thread on Free Will here. But whereas I can’t really speak of what I know, I can say what I subjectively feel. :)

 

Maybe most of us who consider ourselves to be progressive have had our views of or understandings of God change over time. Mine certainly did the night Moriah died. That night, there was no Rock-of-Ages there for me. There was no Shelter-in-the-Time-of-Storm, no Friend-that-Sticketh-Closer-Than-a-Brother, no Great-Protector. I was left to look at her mangled face and hold her cold hand all by myself, with the whisper on my lips of, “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?"

And, yes, over the next few weeks, the “answers” began to trickle in:
“God needed another angel in heaven.”
“We simply have to entrust these things to our loving Heavenly Father.”
“She’s in a better place.”
“God’s ways are not our ways.”
“She’s in Jesus’ lap now, nothing can ever hurt her again.”

As I’ve said, I recognize that people offered these things out of their concern and compassion. Still, none of these answers rang true for me. Those that helped the most were not those who offered answers, but those who cried with us. And, to me, that is what I think we are called to do, to suffer with others, to be close enough to feel their pain as our own. Condolences are, of course, welcome and proper. But I would not have any answers to give. The problem of theodicy is, IMO, unsolvable given the typical Christian view of God. As an agnostic, I question whether God exists, whether God is all-powerful, whether God is all-loving. I would rather live with those questions than to accept the faith position that everything is going according to some divine plan. IMO, if it is, it is not very divine. But that is me where I am.

On a side note, I'm exploring Arthur Broadhurst's "Christian Humanism" which focuses on following the ethical and moral teachings of Jesus without a working definition of God. It is an interesting point of view. "Non-theistic Christianity." Hmm... :)

Edited by BillM
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Bill,

 

It does sound like an interesting point of view. (Arthur Broadhurst's)

 

It seems to me both good and wise not to work with the definition of others concerning God. It makes less clouds to obscure the view of what is.

 

Joseph

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Bill, part of your story reminds me of something that happened to me recently.I've only shared this with few people because it is very personal and few people would even believe it. I share not to pressure you into believing something, but simply as a witness. You'll find your own way. This is a good forum for that. It's helped me many times over the last decade.

 

Earlier this year, my son of 15 attempted suicide. We never saw it coming. My son has been an atheist since he was 5. In his note, he expressed that in the vastness of the Universe, his speck of life had no consequence or meaning. The stresses of his life had become unbearable and he saw no reason to suffer any longer.

 

His means of killing himself was particular disturbing and graphic. I could not get the image out of my head. Although I did not see it, I could invision every last detail of it, which turned out to be eerily accurate.

 

Late that night I couldn't sleep so I prayed. I could not feel the presence of God at all. I'd never felt so alone and in so much pain. And although my son survived, my brain could only see his death.

 

The next day, and for the first time in my life, I believed that God was a lie, or at least that he had abandoned me. I met with my pastor, but it didn't help. My faith was dead, and I was furious.

 

The next night I could not sleep, so I tried one last time to pray. Here's how it went.

 

Me: God,where are you?

 

God: I am here with you.

 

Me: But why weren't you with me last night when i needed you?

 

Me: I have me reasons. David, listen to me.

 

Life is pain.

 

But I am God.

 

Me: Were you with Chris when he tried to end his life? Did you intervene?

 

God: No, that was all Chris. He needed to see that he did not truly want to die.

 

Believe what you will about this experience, but I can tell you that this "God" did not fit my theology or beliefs. This started a new kind of relationship for me. I'm not sure what to think of it yet, but God stopped being an idea to discuss and became something very real to me.

 

I believe that we do not get to choose how or when God reveals himself to us. There is no right or wrong way. For example, I believe God is something greater than just male or female, but this was a father, no question.

 

It would do little good for me to intercede in prayer for you because I have no idea of what you truly need. But I hope that you stick around and let us help you at least work out your theological struggles.

 

Peace.

Edited by fatherman
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Thank you, Fatherman, for sharing the recent events in your life with me. I try hard to listen to other people’s testimony without judging them (neither the person nor the testimony). Growing up with the theology that God loves each of us personally and the same, I do, of course, wonder why things go the way they do, but I try to refrain from judgment because that is far above my pay grade. Plus I am very reluctant to speak for God or what God would or would not do. My daughter, Moriah’s mother, has interpreted Moriah’s death as some kind of punishment from God upon her life, for some sin she has. Although I don’t hold to that kind of theology, I don’t confront her about it because she is a “Bible-believer” and there are stories in the Bible of God killing babies or ordering their deaths as punishment for sin. She believes that though God allowed Moriah to die for her sin, God will ultimately forgive her when she joins Moriah in heaven someday. Who is to say what the actual reality is? Not me.

 

I can understand, to some extent, the futility that your son felt. But I also know that in the vastness of the universe, there is only one of your son. There was only one Moriah. That makes each of us extremely rare and precious. So for her life to be snuffed through either negligent carelessness of a motorist or through the care-lessness of a God who simply doesn’t care about one human life makes the pain deeper.

 

I, too, went through a time of anger. But, speaking only for myself, I came to see that what I was angry at – a loving, protective Father-God – doesn’t really exist. This god was an idol in my mind. Moriah’s death smashed that idol into tiny bits. There is, IMO, no god watching out for us in the universe. That is why we must be our brother’s keepers and watch out for and care for one another.

As I’ve mentioned, I’m not qualified to judge your experience, Fatherman. All I can tell you is that Moriah’s death has caused God to become less real to me. He was no father to me that night, nor since. Yet, I am still drawn to the teachings and person of Christ. Can I be a non-theist (someone who doesn’t believe in a personal, intervening God) and still be a Christian? I do not yet know. But I find something in Jesus and the way he treated others that is unique, special, compelling. But I no longer believe in a (tongue-in-cheek) protective "sky-Daddy." I suspect that Bonhoeffer, a Lutheran pastor who died in a German prison camp at the end of WWII, was right when he said that we must learn to live in a world without God. He believed in God, but he believed we must not depend on God.

 

I will, if it’s okay, stick around the forum here at TCPC for a bit. I know that people here are wise and compassionate, and that is helpful. And I know they care enough to listen. That is also helpful. I have no idea where my journey will take me. But I hope it is deeper into the truth of reality.

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I do very much believe that there is room in the Christian family for atheists and agnostics. I am struck by the fact that we both referenced the parable of the sheep and goats within the same 24 hours. Perhaps you read my post first. I think this is a very much overlooked verse by a huge number of Christians. I wonder how these more Pharisaical Christians see themselves in the parable? But for me, it is a cornerstone in a sense. Jesus is pleading with us to drop this notion that our rigidity in regards to our religion whether it be the laws of righteousness and sin or our creeds and dogmas and all of the ugliest that that leads to. "Do you love me?" he asks Peter later. "Then feed my sheep." That's it. Not, if they aren't lazy bums, then feed my sheep. If their Christian, then feed my sheep. Nope.

 

If none of us who identify as Christians here on this site were feeding the sheep, then we'd just be a bunch of baseless jackasses heeing and hawing....or what's the sound a goat makes?

Edited by fatherman
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Oh, and Bill, I left something out from my story. The horrible images. A therapist taught me a trick that isn't any kind news, but it helped. Every time the image came to mind, I attached a tremendous amount of emotional energy to it which was making it worse. So I just let the images come and let them go with as little response as possible. I know this different in severity for me, but I still struggle, snd it helps.

 

Just know that you are on my mind out of sincere concern even if I'm not helping.

Edited by fatherman
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Bill

Just one more comment on my history ... When James died, it left me in a fragile state. In the sense that new ideas and concepts could enter my life.

 

Time in some ways has shored up that fragility. I wonder if that "strength" is a desirable thing at times.

 

My son's death was a gift, a gift I would gladly return; but a gift nevertheless. And here I use the word gift in a metaphorical sense.

Edited by romansh
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I think I might sort of know what you mean, Roman. I still feel...raw. And in searching for ways to deal with my grief (which continue), I find myself considering things that I wouldn't have before. I'm not sure I'm where you are in being able to now say that Moriah's death was a gift, but it has, in an odd twist, helped me to reprioritize some things and to contemplate what the important things in life really are.

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I found this quote by Bonhoeffer:

 

“There is nothing that can replace the absence of someone dear to us, and one should not even attempt to do so. One must simply hold out and endure it. At first that sounds very hard, but at the same time it is also a great comfort. For to the extent the emptiness truly remains unfilled one remains connected to the other person through it. It is wrong to say that God fills the emptiness. God in no way fills it but much more leaves it precisely unfilled and thus helps us preserve -- even in pain -- the authentic relationship. Further more, the more beautiful and full the remembrances, the more difficult the separation. But gratitude transforms the torment of memory into silent joy. One bears what was lovely in the past not as a thorn but as a precious gift deep within, a hidden treasure of which one can always be certain.”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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Thanks for the quote Bill,

 

I have lost my parents and others that were dear to me throughout my life story but i find nothing in the advice of that quote that leads me to see wisdom in it.

 

To live in the past with the emptiness remaining unfilled as a way of keeping the connection between the living and the dead just to me personally seems not founded in wisdom. In my view, the present is always sufficient and life here too short to hold onto a burden of emptiness or even pleasant and beautiful remembrances that seem to me are enticing to a strong sense of self but only shadows left behind by the present reality. We are where we are as an evolution of what was and what we have learned. To consciously hold on to those things (bear them whether as a burden or gift) even what was lovely as if it were some sort of hidden treasure while it may seem to have momentary benefits is to me unattractive .

 

Of course, the majority of people i know might disagree with me because most of them are retired and say they are "making memories". I look at retirement not as making memories but rather enjoying whatever life presents me with.

 

The above response to Bonhoeffer's quote is only my own opinion/view based on my understanding of what is written. Other perspectives are welcome to me.

Joseph

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Joseph, I don’t know as I would, personally, take Bonhoeffer’s quote to say to “live in the past.” I guess we (you and I) are interpreting it differently.

There is, IMO, a lot of wisdom in the religions and philosophies which teach and encourage us to “live in the now”, to be present today – for today is all we truly have. We can’t change yesterday and we don’t know what tomorrow brings. So I can certainly see the wisdom in being present to the moment and to make the most of what each day brings to us. Stoicism stresses this to a large extent.

 

But (you knew there was a “but” coming, right?) I don’t think being present to the now means forgetting the past or being unconcerned about the future. I try to seek balance, though I’m not always successful. I know that I can’t change the past, so I don’t live there. But the past does affect my present, speaking only for myself. And the future will influence my children and grandchildren. So though I don’t want to be anxious and worrisome about the future, I am concerned about it.

 

From a practical viewpoint, I don’t want Moriah’s death to emotionally cripple me to where all I do is mourn her loss. That would be, as you say, living in the past. I would end up neglecting the living in my life for the sake of the dead. Nor would I want her death to make me paranoid about either driving or losing other loved ones in my life. That way leads to paranoia. But neither can I follow the way that advocates living so much in the present that I forget that she ever existed or makes me unconcerned for future laws in my state that could significantly reduce the kinds of accidents that led to her death.

 

This is why the question of God’s sovereignty is, IMO, important. If God or the universe conspired to kill Moriah, then, yes, mourning her loss or trying to get distracted driving laws passed is anti-God. I shouldn’t mourn her or try to change anything. I should accept it as God’s plan and just “live in the moment”, forgetting the past and leaving the future to “que sera, sera.” But my conscience will not allow me to take that attitude. I hope you can understand, even if you don’t agree.

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