Saturday, March 04, 2006

Reality Greater than Fiction

God is the ultimate author. He crafts the plot arcs of millions of protagonists and countless contributing characters, all of whom have some level of freedom to choose from an array of possible paths. I look at my own life and believe that I could have taken another path and still been within the bounds of God’s will. So often we believe that God’s perfect will is a black and white issue, which might be the case if we had been born into a black and white world. But we were not.

This is not to say that absolutes do not exist. It is only to affirm that our God, in all His infinite complexity and splendor created an existence that is structured but at the same time beautiful. There is a broad way that leads to destruction and a narrow that leads to life, but within these paths, I believe choices can be made further that will lead to different areas, some that have perhaps never been explored before.

This, I think is what separates our God from the simple 3dimensional concepts of Calvinism and Arminianism. We have a degree of free will, but God has the ability to direct our paths in that free will to something that our free will could never have been able to foresee or plan. He works all things together for good to the called, even though we may not have the same thing in mind.

How can free will and God’s sovereignty be reconciled, being that they are such seemingly contradicting ideas? I think they can be, because our God is not limited to the dimensions we see. This is not to say that other mutually exclusive ideas can be supported –ideas like Jesus “I am the way the truth and the life” or Krishna’s “All paths, Arjuna, lead to me.” The reason is that while the Bible affirms ONE path to God, it does not affirm one view of his sovereignty or man’s free will. The Bible, of course, not our experience is to be the final authority on all things relating to faith and life. But while the Bible is dogmatic on God’s nature, man’s nature, and the means of salvation, it is not in this area of free will and determinism. More verses allude to God’s sovereignty, without question, but does this make the verses like Hebrews 10:26-31 null? God is sovereign, AND man is free.

This is what is so incredible about this God we worship. He is an author sketching a story so unfamiliar and magnificent no human can duplicate because his characters are not two dimensional words on a page, but living, breathing, thinking and choosing people. While our creations are two-dimensional (although the best authors create the illusion of their three dimensional qualities), our God is working with material that is not only three dimensional, but has some stake in the supra-perceptual dimensions. And while human authors are bounded by at the most four dimensions, this author is bounded by none. He is the author, par excellence. He is the prototype of all authors, what all authors can only aspire to be. The plot arcs he has crafted for us are beyond comprehension because our God does not limit Himself to a three dimensional understanding of existence.

This is why I think Calvinism and Arminianism are fictional. They are finite attempts at categorizing an infinite God. Proponents of both views limit God and make Him look smaller than I think they realize. If His characters have no choice, they are little more than two-dimensional words on a page. God’s story is real, and the wonder and mystery in this world are far deeper and more complex than any fiction I’ve ever read.