Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Unbounded Now

Hey guys! I know its been some time since I posted. I've got several excuses as to why, but I won't go into those since I know none of you lost any sleep over my brief sabbatical : ). I see that during the break I've gained another follower. Score! Thank you Bethany, I hope you enjoy what you find here.

This has been one heck of a summer so far. Perhaps I'll write about it sometime. I find myself struggling to find topics which I want to write about on this blog. If anyone has suggestions or preferences I'd be more than happy to listen.

Now on to another marathon post:

In school this past year we read a book called, The Screwtape Letters, by the ever popular C.S. Lewis. Yes I enjoyed it and yes I would probably read this sort of material anyway.

For anyone isn't aware of the plot I'll lay out the basics. The story is a collection of letters written from one demon to another. Screwtape, is the 'uncle' writing to his young nephew Wormwood. The junior demon has been given his first job trying to corrupt a young man's soul. Entirely from Screwtape's perceptive, the book details demonic strategies to tempt humans into sin. Lewis' genius here, is his ability to help people view things from a radically different angle.

Though I agreed with most of what he said, I wanted to bring up one issue. Predestination. What a controversial subject! I'm neither qualified nor willing to address this issue properly, but I want to bring something which struck me while I was reading.

This entire subject (or at least the one I'm addressing) is based around Protestant Christian theology. If you are unfamiliar with this subject then this post might be hard to follow, if not, you're probably smarter than I am.

First off, let me give a very basic definition of predestination:

Predestination: that God has divided humanity into two groups. One group is "the elected." It includes all those whom God has chosen to make knowledgeable about himself. The rest will remain ignorant of God, and the Gospel. They are damned and will spend eternity in Hell without any hope of mercy or cessation of the extreme tortures. God made this selection before the universe was created, and thus before any humans existed.

Different sources might word it differently or debate semantics but that covers the concept in a nutshell.

I also want to include a list of scriptures which are used to back up this belief. I'll write out one or two here, but if you're interested in finding out more you can look up the rest. Keep in mind these are by no means the only verses on the subject.

Ephesians 2:8-10
Romans 8:29-30
Acts 4:27-28

(Eph 1:3-5 [ESV])
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will.

It may sound a bit harsh, but the thought behind it is this. Man cannot accept God of his own free will. Ever since sin was induced in Genesis, human nature has been irrevocably altered. Of our own 'free will' we are only capable of sin because that has become our nature. It is only through God, and his son Christ Jesus that we can experience freedom from sin.
Therefore God in his infinite wisdom chose a given number of people.

Of course a central objection to is this philosophy is the issue of free will. If God has determined the future before hand then where (if anywhere) does free will factor in?

C.S. Lewis addresses things in this manner. Because we humans are limited by time and space we cannot fully comprehend how God could exist outside of their grasp. We have a difficult time conceiving of a place where time does not exist.
But since God does 'live' outside of time then he's not limited by the past present or future as we understand them. C.S. Lewis says that God sees all of history as one big eternal now. God doesn't look ahead to the future, everything is spread out in front of him.

Here is a excerpt from the book about it:

If you tried to explain to[the human] that men's prayers today are one of innumerable co-ordinates with which [God] harmonises the weather of tomorrow, he would reply that then [God] always knew men were going to make those prayers and, if so, they did not pray freely but were predestined to do so.....For [God] does not foresee the humans making their free contributions in a future, but sees them doing so in His unbounded Now. And obviously to watch a man do something is not the same as making him do it.”

So then, the question must be raised; what about salvation? If God operates without a time-line then does He still choose whom He will save, or do we as humans make that decision?

I tend to believe that God still makes the final call. Lewis' belief in an 'unbounded now' is perfectly logical to me when applied to anything but the question of salvation. I think my belief in predestination is backed up by scripture.

But, as a 16 year old I've still got time to live and learn. This is one concept I don't think I'll have nailed down anytime soon.

Thanks for reading!



  1. Interesting post.

    Here is my opinion on the matter.

    First I think semantics are often important, because they indicate perspective.

    Christians generally believe:

    1) God is omniscient (all knowing)
    2) God is omnipotent (all powerful)

    Predestination is our perspective of this. So semantically predestination is:

    Christians recognise that humanity can be categorized into two groups:

    1) Those God gives his gift of salvation to.
    2) Those God gives his judgement of condemnation to.

    Christians generally believe God asks us to choose whom we will serve:

    1) God
    2) Not God

    Free will is our perspective of this:

    Christians recognise that humanity can be categorized into two groups:

    1) Those who accept the gift of salvation.
    2) Those who accept the judgement of condemnation.

    God doesn't, necessarily, divide humanity into these groups, we from our human perspective divide humanity into these groups.

  2. I like what you said about semantics. I'm also glad you found the post interesting.

    Personally I tend to shy away from semantics because I tend to a avoid conflict. Although I don't think I would categorize predestination as a insignificant.

    Thanks for the feedback.