Friday, July 30, 2010
The ordinary life of a matchbook
This is about freewill, resting on this analogy:
Man is to matchbook as
God is to His Creation.
Imperfect, to be sure, but helpful I hope for a Facebook discussion of free will.
There is a matchbook on my stove. It’s there because the electronic igniter has malfunctioned. It’s a bit less than one quarter used. I know that the matches have been used to light burners (THE PAST.) I know, with a pretty high degree of certainty, that most of the rest of the matches will also be used for lighting burners (THE FUTURE). Suppose I’m standing with a recently extinguished match smoking in my fingers—that’s THE PRESENT. Even allowing for my finitude, I know a lot about the matchbook.
God, infinitely greater than his creation, knows everything that has ever happened (“Nothing is hidden from his sight"), all that is now happening (“I know your rising up and your sitting down”) and all that will (“Where can I go from your presence? If I go to the highest Heaven, You are there. If I hide myself in the depths of the sea, You are there.”) The psalmist is speaking of spatial infinity, but an infinite God also extends unbroken into the Past and the Future. Nothing changes with him. The future is now. A long time ago someone told me about the eternal present, which doubtless got me thinking on this. It certainly wasn’t a Philosophy Professor—I’m not sure I’ve even met one, much less studied with one.
Now, I haven’t touched on free will, but it doesn’t limit God’s infinity. He knows all that has ever happened and ever will. Yet there is clear language describing our choices and our responsibilities. I’d much rather live with that paradox than to impinge in any way on God’s infinity or sovereignty.