I just heard a psychologist say she didn’t believe in destiny because “what’s the point of living if our destiny has already been written.” David writes in one of the psalms “Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” I have been in peace believing that my days have been written beforehand so I don’t have to fret about my days. I live a day at time, doing the best I can with my time. Is she right? What about opportunities that come to our lives some which we take and others we don’t? The choices we make, do those make a difference? Does God change those written pages in our book depending on how we choose?
Sandra, @sandra956 this is a beautiful question, and I’m so glad you launched this topic!
It is very complex. (Please bear with me as writing is not my thing.)
What about opportunities that come to our lives some which we take and others we don’t? The choices we make, do those make a difference? Does God change those written pages in our book depending on how we choose?
I would consider the first place to start is with the nature of God.
It is very safe to say that since God is the Creator of time, He is infinite, unbound by time (outside of it) able to observe the universe He created with foreknowledge in a manner that is beyond our comprehension. We, on the other hand, are finite beings bound by time and space where He has placed us for our welfare.
I think some of the confusion in the destiny dialogue comes into assuming an “either or” with the fact that God is fully aware and knowledgeable of every moment, able to work His will in each of our lives that He has given us, while simultaneously allowing us ability to execute our own free will during our time on earth. He is powerful to work His perfection through our choices because He is not thwarted by them. He is not bound by either/or. In other words He can manage both giving us freedom to choose and performing His will.
Perhaps the psychologist has a very narrow view of God, because indeed if we were meant to operate rigidly with no free will God would have created us as wind up toys or robots and our destinies (as defined by our time here on earth) would be narrow, limited, and frankly quite grim. What would be the point? And how would we ever really have a glimpse of His amazing and unexpected ways?
His love for us is demonstrated by the fact that we are able to move about, make choices, seek Him, have communion with Him, make mistakes, repent of sin, see Him operating or refuse Him completely. (Jesus makes it quite clear there is no lukewarm affiliation with God.)
David writes in one of the psalms “Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” I have been in peace believing that my days have been written beforehand so I don’t have to fret about my days.
Amen! You are so wise!
I am also reminded of:
For I know the plans I have for you”—this is the Lord’s declaration—“plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11
There are universal destinies set by God such as life, death, and judgment. And judgment will be very different from person to person depending on our relationship with God.
And just as it is appointed for people to die once—and after this, judgment— so also the Messiah, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him. Hebrews 9:27-28
From one man He has made every nationality to live over the whole earth and has determined their appointed times and the boundaries of where they live. He did this so they might seek God, and perhaps they might reach out and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us. Acts 17:26-27
In our moment by moment walk through this life He works and is present calling to us. Do we realize this relationship is really our destiny? I’m grieved over how many are now rejecting that relationship today.
Enter through the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the road is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who go through it. How narrow is the gate and difficult the road that leads to life, and few find it. Matt. 7:13-14
Ravi spoke a lovely word over this relationship in His book The Grand Weaver: How God Shapes Us Through the Events of Our Lives
> We derive our identity from relationship. We carry within us a deep-seated bond to those we love and know and represent. It means something more than just my own individual life. I cannot simply be me without connections and repercussions. Our society is gradually seeing these bonds loosen as we continue to define ourselves in isolation.
> Who am I? What does it mean to “be”? The answer is this: I am a child of God related to my heavenly Father. I must be this child in my own understanding. I am not my own. I belong to him. Resting in that knowledge, I know what it is to be his. I should pursue doing God’s will, then, and by his grace he will enable my will.
Thank you so much for taking the time to write this, I greatly appreciate your insight. I’ll certainly re read the Bible verses you pointed out and ask God to reveal Himself to me. He says those who seek Him find Him when they seek Him with a willing sincere heart. I like the fact that I got an answer to my question. This makes me very excited and not at all regretting having joined this community. I trust I’ll learn more about God’s character and how it is reflected on his children. Thanks again!
Again, you are so wise to seek answers in the Word of God! We are so glad you’re here, and may God bless you as you seek His ways and His guidance.
Thank you for your question . You have already received an excellent response from @BloomHere. On initial reading, the psychologist’s statement seems quite an odd one. Not believing in a set destiny because of the foreseeable consequences of having your life predetermined, does nothing to say whether it is true or not. The psychologist appears to be making an emotive statement based on her likes and dislikes. It would be similar to an atheist saying “I don’t believe in God because I wouldn’t like to be accountable to Him.” The remark is a subjective opinion, not a statement claiming knowledge or truth.
To the wider question that you raise, which April has already written well on, is that there is a difference between being created as a robot that can only output what comes from an external input (predetermined), and God creating us with free will. If God has foreknowledge of every decision we make, and sovereignty to act due to this knowledge, it in no way cancels out our ability to make free choices. The Christian message is of a God who gives free will to humanity, because He loves us, and wills and desires for us to freely choose an eternal relationship with Him.
Every decision has consequences, whether good or bad. It is why in this life we must be precious with how we use the time and resources that are given to us. Are we using them to serve and honour God, or, for laying up earthly treasures? This is not saying that the grace of God does not cover us from all our sins. It is more to appreciate that life is short and that we want to make good and wise choices out of obedience to our Lord.
Psalm 90:12: So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.
Ephesians 5:15-17: Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
It is why discerning the voice/ will of God is such an important area of desired growth for many Christians. However, if we understand God as being all-knowing and thus having foreknowledge of what choices we will make, then God already knows the end story when each of us are to stand before Him at judgement. Not knowing all the results of all our actions ourselves, we continue to strive to serve God according to our faith and love for Him .
Thank you Brian for taking time to answer my question as well. I love that you identified the psychologist’s statement as a subjective opinion. Which with the comparison with the atheist statement, rings true. Thank you again. God bless.
As I was reading your question, I was reminded of the analogy of this man who set a football match to record so he could watch it later, after work, but as he was heading home that evening someone texted him the scores . The question posed here is, since the man already knows the scores at the begining of the match, does that mean the players do not have the freewill to make play choices in the match? Similarly, does an Omniscient God’s knowledge of the end from the beginning deprive mankind the freewill ability to make choices or choose as they want/desire? I believe not.
I believe it’s only in a world where we have freewill that true love can genuinely be experienced in the way of giving or receiving. God created us in such a world so that we can freely choose to love Him and experience Him.
I hope this is helpful .
God bless you.