My New Favorite Word...

Some people may know me for being one who shies away from picking sides. Well, when it comes to my theological wonderings and wanderings I get excited when situations allow for a harmony of ideas. Case in point, a common theological impasse is the argument for God’s predestination versus human free will in the quest understanding history and the events in this world. When asked my opinion, I prefer to answer, “yes.” When asked for elaboration as to why I choose to default to my typical Daveism trait of non-committal I am able to share my new favorite word:

Participation

Yes, I know, profound! Well, for me, it actually is. The reason for this is that I believe God is continually working towards restoring shalom in our world, realized fully through the entire ministry of Jesus (life, death, resurrection, ascension) and then continued today through the presence of the kingdom that Jesus instituted. That’s the God part. In terms of predestination, I believe that God has predestined for his kingdom to be present in history, with the ultimate plan being total restoration. So I don’t completely deny God’s “plan” for history. On the flipside, humans have the opportunity to (here it comes!) participate in God’s kingdom. I think that the essence of Jesus’ teaching, particularly in the Sermon on the Mount, is about this very thing; the human choice to participate in what God is doing in the world. So to me, there isn’t really a dilemma, because I believe that God has a plan for history, which includes humanity, and at the same time this very humanity has the freedom to join God in his plan. In a sense, it’s not all God, and it’s not all humanity. There is certain (yes, you guessed it) participation happening (i.e. “Love God, Love your neighbor…” “Thy Kingdom come…”). This doesn’t mean that God is less God, or that humans are somehow like God, but simply emphasizes the dynamic relational unity that I believe the Bible talks about.

Happy participating!

(I realize that I have failed to uphold clear definitions of predestination or free will on their own. This is intentional in my quest to examine the issue as a “both/and” debate, not “either/or.” Categorically, there may be some holes. You also may have noticed I didn’t even touch on salvation. The reason for this is because I think to solely focus on salvation as the end result of either God’s plan or human choice neglects the fact that participation with God’s plan for shalom starts now!)

2 comments:

Ryan said...

Is our participation predestined?

(Just kidding Dave - I think this is an admirable way of handling this dilemma...)

dwark said...

Hey, that's a snappy theological alliteration you picked up on...

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