Every so often I get into the classic, predestination/free-will debate.
It’s a fun conversation…for me, at least.
But, inevitably someone chimes in (and it’s only during conversations on this particular issue) with something along the lines of:
“There are some things we will never know. We just have to trust God.”
“God’s ways are higher than our ways and his thoughts are higher than our thoughts.”
“Salvation is a mystery.”
“We only know in part, but one day we will know fully.”
I certainly agree.
We cannot understand everything. I would even go so far as to say that we can’t even fully understand one thing. In the millennia that humans have existed, the complexities of even the smallest particles in existence still baffle scientists. It was only recently discovered that there are particles smaller than protons, neutrons, and electrons. The theory of Quantum Mechanics suggests that there are even particles that “exist for such a short period of time that they are not considered part of reality” (See the “Through the Wormhole” video in the link).
So, I agree that our knowledge of God is limited and will always be so. The wisdom and knowledge of God are a treasure unfathomably deep. His judgments are unsearchable and his paths untraceable. If civilized humanity can exist for ten-thousand years and still not understand the tiniest particle of his creation, how can we ever understand its maker?
But, there are also some things that we can know, even though they take lots of digging to get there.
Going back to science—the mysteries of creation are still being discovered. We may never fully understand it, but there is no reason to say, “Alright, scientists. Pack it up. This is unknowable, so you should just stop.” Scientific discoveries are making our lives better every day.
The same goes for theology. God has given us the privilege of plumbing the depths of the riches of his knowledge and wisdom. He has shown us at least some of his judgments and traced out some of his paths.
I can’t help but plumb and search and trace. His infiniteness is all the more reason to do so! To borrow from the prophet, Jeremiah, it’s like “a fire shut up in my bones. I’m weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.”
I will continue to question, discuss, and debate.
I will continue to critique and be critiqued.
Because, while many things will be hidden from our finite minds for all eternity, I don’t believe this is one of them. I believe we can know something about the relationship between the will of God and the will of man, because God has given us some understanding of it in Scripture.
We will probably never know it fully. We will probably debate about it forever.
But, don’t let mystery cause you to cease searching for the truth. And don’t deter your brothers and sisters from searching and discussing, even if you are uninterested or afraid of the answer.
Searching for, and finding answers does not cheapen mystery. It should humble us in the realization that sometimes God chooses to make his mystery known to us.
And that is something truly mysterious.
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What do you think? Is the relationship between man’s will and God’s will unknowable? Is it worth discussing?