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Question About God, Fate, & Free Will


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I'm not exactly sure where this belongs so I apologize (and ask the moderators to move it if it is on the wrong board) in advanced if it belongs elsewhere.

 

My background: I was taught (and question) that God makes everything work out for the best, what is supposed to happen will happen, etc.

 

I just completed my teaching credential last Spring although I've been interviewing and trying to get a permanent teaching position for the last 3 years. (I'm harmed by having a Master's Degree which requires districts to pay me more money and a lack of connections in school districts since I'm unrelated to anyone in CA).

 

People keep telling me that I will get the right job at the right time, etc. etc. From my growing up I *want* to believe it is all in God's hands and that everything will work out for the best, etc. etc. But the logical part of me says that not all teachers are happy in their teaching positions (schools, districts, etc.) I also see a huge contradiction of God being "in control" and people having free will. If God is in control then how do people exercise their free will?

 

Thoughts, feelings, etc.

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Hmmm.... I think ending up "in the right place", synergy, or whatever - which I actually believe in, more from experience (!!!) than theology, requires an openness and is not inconsistent with free will. In my life, many of the major variables have been determined by what seemed like chance occurences at the time and, in retrospect, look like open doors. Mostly, they are not things I would have or could have planned (and I used to be very into planning). Random-seeming, but with far-reaching consequences or anticedents :>

 

For example, if you've been looking for a teaching job for 3 years... don't grasp... be a little Buddhist :>.... meditate, look around, be open, get in sync, in the dharma, be guided by the holy spirit (ok, I still like ghost :>). God only knows what is out there for you :P . For me, when I say something along the lines of, "ok - just give me a hint, I'll go with the plan (but I hate blind corners!)", there's a peace, a decrease in grasping, a trust (sometimes effortful!), and things start to move.

 

Deepok Choprah writes explicitly about this... some of his books got too commercial, but there is much worth reading. Despite the horrendous title (which kept it, a gift, on my shelf for about 10 years!!!) "The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success" may be helpful to you about now.

 

Back to your question, if God is in control And people have free will, then they can choose whether or not to go along. It seems, from Jung to the Dalai Lama, that many of the same choices will be yours again in one form or another.... :P . There is a great saying, "God will tap you with a feather, then he starts throwing bricks" - sorry, I don't know who to attribute it to!

 

Sorry this is rambling... experience is not easily put into words. I know it's not easy to work for something and then get stuck. Compassion, living with no regrets, meditation, mindfulness, love, trust..... that's what religion boils down to, for me, in real life... In my experience, God will show up - but, like Aslan, he's good, but not safe or tame.... so hold on!!! Godspeed ;)

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I also see a huge contradiction of God being "in control" and people having free will.  If God is in control then how do people exercise their free will?

 

I agree. Free will and God being in control are contradictory. If free will truly exists, God cannot assure the end result. Simply put, if God has all the power we have no power at all - no free will. It is better to think of God as creatively persuading us towards the right decision, rather than coercing us. This persuasion however is not going to always succeed as it is dependent upon our free response. Being open to God, attempting to hear his "voice" (so to speak) is what I think prayer and mediatation is all about. It's allowing one to persuaded by God, not forced by God to do anything.

 

Furthermore, if God is in control and pulling all the strings then God is responsible for sin. It appears strange to me that God would be in control in regards to what job we may have, but lets sin run rampant in our world. Sin exists because God could not prevent it from happening.

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Back to your question, if God is in control And people have free will, then they can choose whether or not to go along.  It seems, from Jung to the Dalai Lama, that many of the same choices will be yours again in one form or another....  :P .  There is a great saying, "God will tap you with a feather, then he starts throwing bricks" - sorry, I don't know who to attribute it to! 

 

Sorry this is rambling... experience is not easily put into words.  I know it's not easy to work for something and then get stuck.  Compassion, living with no regrets, meditation, mindfulness, love, trust..... that's what religion boils down to, for me, in real life...  In my experience, God will show up - but, like Aslan, he's good, but not safe or tame.... so hold on!!!  Godspeed ;)

 

This is Jen here, chuckling at your description of God being like Aslan -- good, but not safe or tame, so hold on.

 

Many is the day in my life when my beloved guardian angel Tom reminds me an awful lot of the TV character Dr. Gregory House, played by Hugh Laurie. Dr. House has a reputation for being prickly as hell on the outside, but if you're a patient with an undiagnosed and possibly fatal illness, you're lucky to have his knowledge, experience, and unflinching dedication aimed your way. This doc doesn't blink when the going gets tough.

 

In one episode, a patient of Dr. House is adamantly refusing to be injected with a medication. Dr. House knows the medical situation is so dire that it's literally a choice between the needle or death. But he can't get near the patient, whose loved ones are hovering protectively around the bed. So Dr. House lies. He tells the patient he respects his choice. He turns as if to leave the room. Everyone lets their guard down. Then House turns and plunges the needle into the patient's leg. The man is saved.

 

I thought this episode was one of the most authentic spiritual stories I've seen.

 

Love Jen

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Omnipotence doesn't mean God is pulling all the strings, making all the decisions, being "in control," etc. Omnipotence simply means that all power in the universe is God's power; i.e. there is no other fundamental agency in the universe that God is competing against. Same goes for our knowledge, our desires, even our very existence. All created existence participates in the Being of God, and so we find ourselves caught in a paradox whereby our lives, while completely and utterly our own making, are at the same time woven into a tapestry which at no time escapes the knowledge and providence of God. This paradox is at the very heart of the Christian message -- and I would argue, of all the major spiritual traditions of the world. It's become fashionable to drop divine omnipotence in light of the problem of evil, but IMHO the problem is based on a false understanding of an omnipotent God as some kind of divine puppetmaster.

 

Fortunately or unfortunately, all this doesn't leave us with much "practical advice" about how to live. But it does, I believe, give us a perspective of faith from which we can confidently engage our lives, trusting that even the worst forms of evil and tragedy can be made into something worthwhile.

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Yes. God creates and sets things in motion and interaction everywhere. But as His/Her creations in their image, the continuance, survival, and positive transformation of the creation is determined by our free will and choices within the field of creation. It's just the way it is.

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i've heard the recent explanation that God's power is always relational and never from a place of coercion

 

i just can't remember where i saw this recently (borg?)

 

allows you to keep the "all" in all-powerful and still lets you have faith after watching the news this week (maybe)

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  • 2 months later...
I'm not exactly sure where this belongs so I apologize (and ask the moderators to move it if it is on the wrong board) in advanced if it belongs elsewhere.

 

My background:  I was taught (and question) that God makes everything work out for the best, what is supposed to happen will happen, etc.

 

I just completed my teaching credential last Spring although I've been interviewing and trying to get a permanent teaching position for the last 3 years.  (I'm harmed by having a Master's Degree which requires districts to pay me more money and a lack of connections in school districts since I'm unrelated to anyone in CA). 

 

People keep telling me that I will get the right job at the right time, etc. etc.  From my growing up I *want* to believe it is all in God's hands and that everything will work out for the best, etc. etc.  But the logical part of me says that not all teachers are happy in their teaching positions (schools, districts, etc.)  I also see a huge contradiction of God being "in control" and people having free will.  If God is in control then how do people exercise their free will? 

 

Thoughts, feelings, etc.

 

Hi october,

 

I have come to believe that we are co-creators with God in everything that happens in our own little part of the universe.

Sometimes I don't WANT to believe that,but it has been my experience that we could answer a lot of our own prayers by praying this prayer.."Father...help me to do EVERYTHING I CAN to make this happen".

 

Please continue to share your thoughts on this...it is very timely for many of us.

 

 

 

Blessings,

 

 

jerryb

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I would recommend Dr. Greg (Gregory) Boyd's book "Is God to Blame"? He is an advocate of Open Theology that seeks through scripture and our experience to explain these issues. I have found it intrguing and although the concept of Openness Theology scares many evangelicals, I found it absolutely empowering and provided purpose to existence. It as successfully as anything (IMHO) explains the issues of God's sovereignty, free will, etc.

 

North

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I hope you don't mind me mentioning this but have you thought about moving? You could always go to another country and teach. Here in Canada, we are desperate for teachers who are willing to move to reservations. Maybe you could look abroad? Africa? UK?

 

 

Cheers and hope it works out,

 

 

 

Kendra

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Currently I'm subbing at the same school almost every day of the week.  They are out right now (year round, single track school).  I like the school a lot and am hoping that I'll end up there permanently next year.  It is certainly a pleasant, even if not perfect, environment to be in!

 

 

Hi October,

 

 

My prayer is that you will find that special place to pursue your teaching career.

And by the way.....I'm still working on the topic you started about God being in control, and our free will. That is an excellent topic for all of us to consider.

On my wife's spiritual pathway thread , they have been considering something very similar. Their topic was...."If you are certain that God exists...is that faith or knowledge"? What do you think ?

 

 

Blessings,

 

Jerryb

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Currently I'm subbing at the same school almost every day of the week.  They are out right now (year round, single track school).  I like the school a lot and am hoping that I'll end up there permanently next year.  It is certainly a pleasant, even if not perfect, environment to be in!

 

 

Hi October,

 

 

My prayer is that you will find that special place to pursue your teaching career.

And by the way.....I'm still working on the topic you started about God being in control, and our free will. That is an excellent topic for all of us to consider.

On my wife's spiritual pathway thread , they have been considering something very similar. Their topic was...."If you are certain that God exists...is that faith or knowledge"? What do you think ?

 

 

Blessings,

 

Jerryb

 

 

It is faith. My experiences can lead me to confirm my belief in God's existence while someone else's experience can lead them to their non-belief. It is all based on interpretation.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The principle is now beholding to you. He owes you so it looks like you have worked yourself into a job. That prinicple can also give suggestions and recommend you to another school if there is not an opening at his.

 

To tackle the God control, I feel we have free will, but with a limitation. It is like a dog tied to a stake because the dog is free to do whatever it pleases, but it cannot go further than the length of the leash without experiencing pain. Jesus said, "Whatever you sow you shall reap." Therefore, the evil person will have no greater enemy than himself because everything that strikes the evil person will just be that person's own evil actions coming back. Pain has this function of teaching us the right path. This reaping what one sows is nothing but the scientific law of cause and effect. Our present life is ruled by our past just as our future is affected by our present actions; we are therefore, punished only by our own actions. These actions form our destiny so it seems that the ego has not been created by nature to follow its own arbitrary impulses to an unlimited extent, but to help make real God's purpose, which is self-realization. This realization comes into play when the ego starts to get rid of its desires, its fears and tries to get to a deeper more basic form of existence. The ego must be able to listen attentively and give itself without further purpose to mental expansion, spiritual growth and self-realization. I feel God is in evolution working and that we are evolving biologically and we evolve to a place where we evolve spiritually.

 

http://thinkunity.com

Edited by soma
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  • 3 months later...

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