Friday, January 11, 2013

which is it?

yesterday i mentioned i would be blogging through my thoughts on Romans (& eventually the whole NT). below are just a few of my thoughts on Romans 1:24 (from The Voice translation)...
“So God gave them just what their lustful hearts desired.” 

Free will?

does God give it or do they choose it? 


Did God give them over to it or they chose what they wanted & made it happen themselves? 


at least from this particular sentence in Romans it seems the answer is yes to both.

but obviously the weight of it leans in the direction of people choosing their fate & the natural results of that choice follow.

it's as if in this particular context, God’s wrath is here via his “hands off” policy. Giving us over to whatever we want. Human sin & depravity are both its cause & effect.
God is simply giving us what we want. Like a parent saying, “sure, if you’re gonna pitch a fit, then you can have whatever you want. You can eat a gallon of chocolate ice cream for breakfast. So the parent isn’t even actively punishing the child… just giving them over to natural consequences. The parent doesn’t MAKE them sick. They just get sick because of what they CHOSE to do.

so are we really even directly punished by God for our sins? 
or are we just punished by our sins?

maybe it’s more natural like that. God set the world up to have natural consequences. 
You stub your toe = it hurts. cause & effect.

Sin punishes on its own.  so, does God make me stub my toe, then? I don’ know, man… I think you just swung your leg too near to the fireplace… 

does God make you get sick? Dude, I think you just didn’t drink enough fluids and get enough sleep…
            [as always, this is just what I’m thinking today. Could all change tomorrow.]

seems like there's a lot of natural consequences/cause & effect/libertarian free will flowing out of Paul here.
& Romans is even the big Calvinist book, right? I remember reading chapters 9-11 in college & after college & being like “Dang. Yep, I’m a Calvinist now. & so is Paul & Jesus. Wait, that’d be a little backwards… maybe Calvin was a “Paulist”… never mind."

I’ve been both a Calvinist & an Arminian (almost). i've read Romans while on both sides too. seems to always agree with whichever side of the fence you’re standing on. Funny how that works, eh? :) 
I am intrigued by all this – although I don’t waste a lot of time thinking about it these days. Not for several years now. I’ll let someone else worry about it. I’m comfortable with the tension. I’m even comfortable saying I’m a Calvinist & an Arminian. Or neither. It all works for me. 
in actuality - i think they're both silly categories. there's a third way on a different level that we'd be better off to think at. we'd probably be better off ditching all those labels for good.
us modernists and our silly categories :)

Instead of thinking too much about it I just love to indulge in shows like Lost and Flash Forward that REALLY make you engage with these ideas of determinism and free will. too bad they're both gone.

so, does God really have a "hands off" policy when it comes to our choices? or does He give us a little deterministic nudge in a certain direction?
is Paul saying "yes" to both?

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