“Hound of Heaven” Meditations: 27. The Intermediate Goal
Mt 1:21 he will save his people from their sins
We are following the works and ways of the Hound of Heaven who formulated a Plan before they created a material world, and who works quietly and persistently to bring that Plan about, a plan that would take millennia. The Hound may be persistent but He is not in a rush. This is a plan that will take eternity to work out.
But it is a plan born out of necessity because if they are to create human beings in their likeness, then those human beings must be free to communicate, to act to be creative, to choose, and in that choosing there is the danger, because they will be able to choose wrongly.
We take ‘free-will’ for granted but it is at the very heart of our existence. Every choice we make – what clothes to wear, when to get up – is free will at work. Every creative act we perform is an expression of free will – what to cook, knit, paint, write, compose, plant, design, plan, invent, discover, construct etc. etc. Every time we speak it is an act of free will – to be kind, compassionate, caring, sensitive, etc. etc. but also free will can be hurtful, harming, damaging, heartless, insensitive, cutting, thoughtless. Every ‘sin’ (wrong against God) is an act of free will, every ‘crime’ (wrong against State) is an act of free will. We would like to erase all the negatives from these lists but the trouble is, you can’t.
I think THE big question for skeptics is if YOU were God – all wise, all powerful, all knowing, WHAT would you DO to prevent it. The instant answer is do away with free-will but as you do that you simply make robots who can never love, never appreciate beauty, never go “Ahhh”! at an amazing sunrise or sunset. Isaac Asimov had (initially at least) three rules of robotics, one of which was that no robot may harm a human being and it was programmed into every robot that was made. But no robots could compose a beautiful orchestral peace, or a ‘War and Peace’ or heart stirring poetry. No, God had to allow free will and so allow Israel to constantly blow it! The Old Testament is a catalogue of unbelief and rebellion, of self-centred godlessness (i.e. Sin). But when the apostle John realized that “God is love” (1 Jn 4:8,16) he didn’t mean that love was God but everything about God was an expression of love. Thus the eternal plan, made before all else, was that one day in earth terms, the Son would come and his apparent father would be told, “he will save his people from their sins.” That was the Plan, that although free-will would allow sin, it would also allow many to respond to the call and receive salvation from sin, a new generation could be born, “children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God!” (Jn 1:13) Wow!