Category: The Meaning of Life

FREE WILL: REAL OR ILLUSORY?

Once I started questioning if reality is exactly what we perceive it to be, I began to discover some of the weird, wacky and wild philosophies at large in the human mind throughout history and in today’s world, including that of many professing Christians…

Some Buddhists believe that we aren’t really here: reality is just an illusion which we create in our own minds, and all we need to do is create the right kind of reality. Of course, the logical question here is “how can something which doesn’t exist think?” I’m not sure how they would answer that one, because I’m only just beginning to delve into the multitude of strange ideas. Not that I’m shopping: it’s a matter of interest only. Among these ideas are such related issues as determinism-secular and “religious”; destiny; fate; predestination; providence; Murphy’s Law*; Karma; luck and fortune, and preordination.

The “free will” which most of us like to think we have is subject to at least one of these forces, according to many millions of people in all parts of the world, and throughout history. From the Christian perspective, does God impose his will on everything we do and everything which happens, as many Christians believe? These people are convinced that if you pick up a box of Corn Flakes at the store, it’s because God decided and decreed it, or ordained it, long before you were born or before the world was made. Or does the Lord just step into some situations and guide some of our lifetime events?

From the secular perspective, is nature itself arranged in such a way that certain things, or even all things, are “fated” to happen? Is there a natural flow of things, as in such philosophies as Daoism and Stoicism, which we would do well to willingly yield to, rather than attempt to fight against?

How many Christians are aware that Martin Luther rejected the idea that we have free will, particularly when it comes to salvation? He wrote, among other things:

“This false idea of ‘free-will’ is a real threat to salvation, and a delusion fraught with the most perilous consequences.” (Martin Luther, Bondage of the Will, p.106-107).

Luther wasn’t the first to make this claim, and later, John Calvin came along and  impacted the Christian world forever with his strong views on predestination. As Augustine had argued, Luther and then Calvin believed that salvation and faith come solely at the discretion of God’s will, long before we are born. If you are chosen, you will receive faith and so be saved. It has nothing to do with you wanting to seek God or loving Jesus Christ.

If you are not chosen to receive faith, you will not be saved. And in Calvin’s “double predestination”, God not only chooses who will go to heaven (and that, a small minority of the population) but also chooses who will go to hell-long before they are born. It doesn’t matter how much you pray and try to live for the Lord and how much you love Jesus: your designated destiny may be the fires of hell. For all Calvin knew, most of his congregants, who were all but forced to attend church, may have been of the damned. I can’t see how he could have been sure of his own salvation. Apparently you have to test yourself to see if you are doing the works that God requires in increasing measure. But surely, that’s works, not faith.

In my own life, my interest in the subject of free will began when I started to observe how many things happen in life which seem to be beyond natural events and coincidence. This mostly applies to “bad” things. I also met the acquaintance of a Calvinist who attempted to pull me over to his persuasion. I hadn’t experienced this thinking before, and I wanted to get a grip on it.

He’s a good man, but arbitrary predestination of the soul? No thanks: my God isn’t that cruel. Yes, God is God and we are not, and He can do what He wishes. But a God whose love is so deep as to send his only son to die at the hands of men, is not then going to be so pernicious as to block the vast majority from seeking or finding  salvation. If salvation comes from God alone, and not from our works, which I firmly believe, then the idea that God gives some salvation and sends others to hell even before they’ve had a chance to live is not consistent with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Reality, fate, fortune and free will are all unfathomably deep topics. And how can we come to any conclusions at all if what we see is not real? No, I think a God who can create such an orderly and beautiful universe can also make as much reality as we need to be clearly seen to us. What we see is only a part of reality, yes, but what we see is real. My observation at this point in life and in my walk with God is two-fold:

1/ We do live in a real, physical universe in which our actions and our decisions and our thoughts have real, physical consequences. Having said that, I’m sure that our reality is greatly affected by many unseen forces: God’s occasional or even regular intervention; Satan’s opposition to the people of God and mankind in general; spiritual attack and deception; God’s testing of us; the Curse; God’s faithful angelic beings; the fallen nature of man at work in our world, and yes, luck and real, natural coincidence. God does not drive us like automatons.

The fallen nature of man greatly affects our lives. We are constrained by numerous obligations such as work, taxes, alarm clocks and human laws. For most of us, the day is already shaped for us before it starts. But this isn’t any cosmic denial of free will, it’s the natural consequence of living in a world and a society in which we want to survive, to adhere to a certain amount of moral law and propriety,  and to stay out of prison.

2/ God cares for all people. This is the testimony of scripture. No, I don’t believe that everyone will go to heaven, but I do believe that we all have the opportunity. Some may have their hearts hardened, as pharaoh ‘s was, because he was already wrapped up in his own pride and power and opposition to our God. God can foresee the future, and the hearts of all men who will live, and acts accordingly. I’m sure he knew well before Judas was born that he would betray Jesus, but I do not believe that God selected him to do it without first knowing what kind of a man Judas was. There’s no other conclusion to draw than that we all get the chance, when we read scriptures such as this one:

“And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me” (John 12:32 KJV).

Thanks for reading. I welcome comments and suggestions, or information. I may write more on this subject at a later date. You could search for my series titled “Why Do We Suffer”, and my post on Murphy’s Law*

https://nickyfisher.com/2016/12/10/toast-murphys-law-and-the-bible-2nd-edition/

 

 

 

SEEING GOD

Millions of people make the gigantic mistake of expecting God to peep through the clouds, or to audibly speak the winning lotto numbers, before they’ll believe he’s there. God isn’t undetectable. He isn’t “the God of the gaps” as one famous evolutionist insists we evangelicals believe. He isn’t only in the things we can’t explain.

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In fact, God is so there that it’s really impossible not to see his handiwork, unless you are that determined not to see it. What evolutionists observe while intentionally ignoring the fact, is God’s workmanship. Go and look outside, or look in the mirror: there’s all the evidence you’ll ever need that there’s an amazing, mind-bogglingly intelligent Creator, full of beauty, love, power and order. What we can see, hear and touch, and the fact that we can see it, is proof enough:

“Since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse” (Romans 1:20).

ARE SCIENCE AND GOD INCOMPATIBLE?

A common argument against any consideration of the existence of God and of divine Creation is that science and God are two separate things: God is all about “faith and fairy tales”, whereas science is concerned with reality. This, dear reader, is poppycock…
Prinicipia-title.png
 My initial rebuttal in this situation is that God IS the Master mathematician, and the Master scientist: no God, no universe! Evolution is an “opt-out” excuse for those who want to ignore God and hope that he isn’t there.
Great scientists of the past-those who actually made the discoveries rather than being indoctrinated and then employed according to their obedience to the politically correct views, recognized that science proceeds from the mind of an omnipotent creator. They were the men upon whom the foundations of true science were built. Those who try to fudge this fact are really trying to defend evolutionism by calling it “science”.
True science is observable and testable: evolution is a theory which cannot be demonstrated or observed. You may have been told that some bacteria in the lab underwent some sort of change. However, those little creatures are still bacteria, are they not? This is not evolution in the sense of microbes to man: it’s variation. It does not prove that you are related to a slug, and it does not prove that life came from non-life.
Sir Isaac Newton gave us the three laws of motion and his law of universal gravitation, among many other amazing things. In discussing these laws The Department of Physics at the University of Illinois states:
“Newton’s Three Laws of Motion and his Law of Gravity are probably the most famous of all physics. He was one of the greatest scientists in history” (note 8).
Newton said in his “Mathematica Principia” in 1686:
“This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being. This Being governs all things, not as the soul of the world, but as Lord over all, and on account of His dominion He is wont to be called Lord God, Universal Ruler.” 
(note 7).
Larry Vardiman, PhD, writes, “The modern scientific method was developed in the 16th and 17th centuries. Many Christians contributed to the procedures for doing science. The use of careful observation, experimentation, the development of laws, hypotheses, and theory, and the use of mathematics were all important parts of its development. Scientists like Isaac Newton, Francis Bacon, Johann Kepler, Blaise Pascal, and many others who were Christians believed Genesis and honored God in their science” (note 1. See also an article by T.V. Varughese, PhD note 2).
Louis Pasteur (December 27, 1822 – September 28, 1895) was a French biologist in the nineteenth century. He was a microbiologist and chemist, renowned for his discoveries of the principles of vaccination, microbial fermentation and pasteurization. He is remembered for his remarkable breakthroughs in the causes and prevention of diseases. He created the first vaccines for rabies and anthrax.
Pasteur said:
“The more I study nature, the more I stand amazed at the work of the creator” (note 3).

 

Galileo Galilei, famous for his scientific achievements in astronomy, mathematics, and physics, and infamous for his controversy with the church was, in fact, a devout Christian who saw not a divorce of religion and science but only a healthy marriage:

“God is known by nature in his works, and by doctrine in his revealed word.” 4

Michael Faraday, who became one of the greatest scientists of the 19th century, began his career as a chemist.  His major contribution, however, was in the field of electricity and magnetism. He was the first to produce an electric current from a magnetic field, invented the first electric motor and dynamo, demonstrated the relation between electricity and chemical bonding, discovered the effect of magnetism on light, and discovered and named diamagnetism, the peculiar behavior of certain substances in strong magnetic fields (6). Faraday said:

‘God has been pleased to work in his material creation by laws’ (5).

NOTES
7 Principia Mathematica, by Sir Isaac Newton.

FROM LEFT TO RIGHT

Here’s one of those posts just crying out to be blocked and censored by social media giants! If you manage to read it, you’re probably quite lucky…

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How does a person go from being an a-moral, leftist communist in their thinking, to being a Trump-loving conservative? It’s easy, really…

ROOTS

I began my political understandings on the far left of the spectrum, in Britain. My dad, a wonderful Christian man, lived his early life in the days when unions were still struggling to win fair working conditions for working people, and his socialist views shaped mine. I was also influenced by my friends, still firmly entrenched in their way of thinking, and believing me now to be a brainwashed, “far-right” neo-nazi who isn’t worth knowing.

IRON LADY

In the eighties I witnessed Thatcher-“the iron lady”- come to power in the UK, and Reagan in the US. While I know now that they were both grossly misrepresented in most of our news media, as Trump is, Thatcher and her cabinet really were a band of cold, heartless, uncaring individuals. Even if their economy did pick the country out of a deep recession caused by socialist policies, they had no communication graces, and their snooty attitudes and some of their policies left a permanent scar on the British psyche. At that time and for years after I would rather be pulled around the streets by wild horses than vote Conservative.

THE MAKER’S INSTRUCTIONS

In the course of time, I became a Christian. My life was changed radically, because until then I was living with absolutely no thought of God but only how to get more stoned. I had no views on morality and no care for what might be right or wrong except for myself. I also moved to the US to live near relatives, and to be in a part of the world where there was space to breathe. It was there (here) that my Christian mind and heart developed, being shaped by Biblical Scripture and the few who were really preaching it. For a number of years I still saw myself as being completely “left” of any Republican ideals, including the claimed right to bear arms. I thought then that all guns should be illegal, and that no-one should be wealthy.

Cutting out the details and the process of my conversion, I find myself well and truly on the opposite end of the political spectrum in these times. Scripture and life have taught me a whole new way of seeing things. I now know that God made the world with a specific set of principles attached, and didn’t present them as being optional. For best results, follow the Maker’s instructions.

THE FAMILY

God designed the nuclear family (mum-dad-kids) as the basic building block of a safe, stable and functional society. Our society is crumbling partly because of its rejection of this fundamental fact. The “Left” of the political spectrum, in the vein of Carl Marx, wishes to see this unit destroyed or at least to be regarded as unhealthy and damaging. One of the instruments of destruction is the corruption of sexual expression, with the assertions that sex is love, and that any sexual preference is acceptable. This is encouraged through entertainment and fashion, and now politics also.

WORK

God instituted work and the enjoyment of its rewards. Whereas I once believed that those unwilling to work should be provided with all their needs and wants anyway, at the expense of the rich, I now realize that genuine hard work and enterprise should be rewarded with the wealth it creates. And it doesn’t only create wealth for the businessman (or woman) but for all he employs and for all who are paid by him for their services. Work builds our society and keeps us from wasting our time. It honors God who is a creator and a builder, and who has given us all the abilities we need in this world. It’s good for us all.

NATIONS, NOT WORLD GOVERNMENT

God divided the nations at Babel. He did not want to see a global or a “trans-national” community, which he knew would be united in opposition against him. In our world the Left wishes to have another go at building that tower to the heavens, and opposes the Christian gospel and faith in the Biblical God (any other god is just fine). It seeks global governance and power over every aspect of our lives, coercing us into believing and trusting in government, not God. The Left, along with its own father, wishes to take power from God, and to become god.

God set up borders between nations. He has no qualms about borders and territories, so long as we care for those who are genuinely in need. But God wishes us first to care for our own: 

If anyone does not take care of his own relatives, especially his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever (1 Timothy 5:8).

DEFENSE

Self-defense is not an ungodly concept. If we had no means of self-defense, we would be at the mercy of the ungodly, and of ungodly government, and may not be able to protect and take care of our own. We would actually be encouraging those who wish to take, kill and destroy. The police would simply show up to clean up the mess and perhaps blame the victims (does that sound familiar?)

DEATH

Life is of enormous value, and to take it-particularly to take it from those who are helpless and who just need a chance to come into the world like the rest of us did, is one of the most despicable practices on earth, yet is loved and defended by the Left. I could never vote Left again for that reason alone.

TAKING SIDES

The list does go on. The point is that once I came to know who God is, and to understand some of his principles, I came to realize that while God does not vote one way or the other, and while good and bad are found on both sides of the political divide, he is most likely to be found among those who honor his ways.

MIND BURP 14: THE ANTI-RENAISSANCE

Take time to thank our Creator for clothing. Most of us would present a terrifying, revolting sight to the world without it.

How is it that someone who writes poorly written blog posts, with elementary-grade grammar and reasoning, attacking the Church and her Lord and her inspiration, can gain thousands of followers? Does one pay to gain wider coverage on sites like WordPress and so more sympathizers, or is it just a sign of where the heart of the average reader is? And why is it that the ads planted on my posts are so yucky? Don’t people want to sell flowers and perfume and stuff that people actually want?

The mayor of London has compared Trump to anti-Semitic dictators of the 20th Century (note 1). Ironically, leaders of the mayor’s religion sided with anti-Semitic Hitler during WWII, and remain vehemently opposed to the existence of the Jewish state and anyone in support of it-such as Trump.

Those interested in quality literature will be aware that many classics have already been removed from public access, particularly in the world of education (ex. note 2). In their place has come shallow, politically-correct social justice mush which does nothing to enrich our culture or to educate. Are we living in the “Anti-Renaissance” period?

If we evolved, then it’s evolution which produced God, religion, religious wars, death and suffering: all those things seen by the atheist as the enemies of mankind. Chew on that one.

How do I know God exists? The answer is Beethoven’s Sonata 14.

Don’t like big business? In a socialist state, the government is the biggest business you could possibly have. Even if it allowed other companies to exist, it would exert dictatorial power over all. It would be far beyond your reach, and beyond competition and comparison. It would allow you no choice and no remedy. Do you really trust your local and national politicians that much? They would be the only people between you and The corporation.

ICONOCLASM: intentionally removing or dismantling religious icons, traditions or established beliefs apart from religion.

One day recently I was pondering why, in my youth, I rejected and gave the cold shoulder to the girls who were sweet and warm towards me, and why I instead chased the girls who gave me trouble and pain. Then I remembered a great Groucho Marx line, not a verbatim quote:

“I wouldn’t belong to any club which would have me for a member…”

NOTES

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/sadiq-khan-compares-donald-trump-16242145