Ever notice that within Christianity philosophy and theology that, similar to everything else, there are “right” and “left”, “conservatives” and “liberals”? As if there is always a fine cut and complete shades of White and Black. Honestly there is so much that is debated and most of it comes down to the fine intricate details of the placement of words and the meaning and intention behind them. But what if… What if every non-heretical theology that is a predominant stance is a the same as its opponent?
Predestination versus Free will, the Arminian vs. Calvin theology is a fantastic example. What makes one side right and the other wrong? Are we in our feeble bodies capable of such a free will to thwart and distort God’s perfect will? Or is God’s sovereign Will powerful enough to cut into our free will? Whatever answer you choose you are faced with the next question, How do you know? To which any of the logical and rational arguments that were used to support your view are now not enough evidence because they are used up and you have to hit a deeper level of how you KNOW that piece of information. Back to my point, what if they are different sides of the same thing? Like two sides of a coin, or two faces in a cube. It is the same object from different angles and perspective but ultimately it is still God who is the final factor. He gets the final say. Yet we argue and debate on opposite ends of a spectrum because we hold to extremes because why? Why is it the extremes? I think it is a multifaceted problem. First off we start trying to think like God and make arguments on how we “understand God” when we have no flipping idea of anything. I mean who honestly claims to know the thought process of the God who clearly exclaimed that His ways are higher than ours? That the earth is His footstool? It is almost crazy to even claim to know more than what is revealed to us in scripture, and scripture is clear to show us we only know the inch of the tip of Mt. Everest. We don’t even see the 29,000 feet below it. Go on… keep looking… You ain’t going to comprehend it when you’re on the atomic scale in comparison. Second I think we, as human beings can only rationally argue the extremes unless we are extremely intelligent and/or high functioning sociopaths. Without being crafty we cannot argue for middle ground without an extreme, and extreme arguments are the ones that define the terminology and direction of an argument.
Once again refocus and we will press on to the same side argument.
One theologian views Man as having free will. This is a fairly popular view for those of us who like power, we like the opportunity to choose, we need our power, us, me, I… to be honest it is a great viewpoint in the sense that it glorifies God when we choose to worship Him. Yet it still is a very selfish, I (humans) NEED to have the POWER to CHOOSE. Some people like to argue that here is where this opinion hits the pavement and really starts gaining traction: Missions. If we all have a choice to follow Jesus then people need to go out and do missions so that people will have the choice to accept Jesus. This list can go on but we will stop it short here and you can keep thinking on Arminianism on your own.
Then you have people who believe in Predestination, the Calvinist. While the hard part of Calvinism is when people bring up missions they argue the extreme: “if we are predestined then we should not worry about missions”. To which I used to say that is a valid reason to argue against Calvinism, but then it was brought up: We as humans would not know who would or would not be predestined so we would need to go and do missions nonetheless. The argument where Calvinists have a BIG weight on their side is: The creator God who is infinite, all powerful, all knowing, and outside of time is completely sovereign and His will being greater than Man’s cannot be thwarted.
Of course there are arguments against and for both sides. But those are the dumb downed versions of the arguments. We could argue hours upon hours and honestly the implications of either side slightly change your view of God and shape the rest of your theology. My question is does it really matter? If you and a friend peek into a room from different angles and see a three dimensional sculpture from different perspective will your description be the same? In essence it will be the same thing, but you and your friend may argue that it was something completely different from the other. Especially if you do not determine that there were multiple viewing points and neither one was capable of viewing the entirety of the sculpture.
In short I’m a middle man, a Calminiam, or I reside in the gray on this issue. I think both parties have good points and some points terrible points. Though in the honestly does it truly matter? In short God will be glorified beyond our arguments, and perception. He is in control either in complete control or in self restrained in allowing us to have a marginal amount of control in our free will. Through it all He is Lord. He is God. Your opinion isn’t really going to matter when your finite mind glimpses the eternal God. Just think upon that. Chew on that for a bit.
-From Moody Bible Institute with love,