a changing God?
May 15, 2007
I received a SMS a few days ago from a friend who is 17, and asking the question whether God decided everything beforehand, or whether sometimes God decide stuff on number 99. I thought I’d maybe give some thoughts here, then anyone who want to can give their take on this.
The thoughts I’m giving here was developed from my own struggle with trying to understand God. It might not be a very good discussion on any particular part of scripture, but this is simply the way I’m thinking about this right now.
Firstly, I think we should admit the fact that we can never really talk about God, making final claims about who God is, and how God works or how he doesn’t work. Even making final claims about whether we can ask questions like “who” or “how” when talking about God remains a mystery to me. Someone said a few days ago that the word “God” is just something we use to talk about something much bigger, which we won’t ever completely understand. Kind of reminds of the use of the Hebrew word Yahweh don’t you think, for those with a knowledge of Hebrew.
OK, so that being said, some things I would take into consideration. Thinking that God made every decision beforehand, somewhere in the past, assumes a linear view of time. It assumes a view where time moves laniary from point A to point B in time, from beginning to end. It assumes that God is then caught up in this same view of time. But what if time works differently? In Space, Stephen Baxter plays around with the idea of a certain creature that experience time in reverse order. Meaning that for them the end is the beginning, and the beginning the end. What if we broaden the idea of a God being omnipresent to not only include space, but also time. God being omnipresent in time, and therefore not having a beginning and an end, not making certain decisions at the beginning which would only come into being at the end. This might just be playing around with some philosophy, but what if? And I’m not so sure that this isn’t in keeping with Biblical theology.
And what about the relational aspect of God? If we take the idea of God in relation to people, whether as a whole or with people as individuals, seriously, what would happen. Will it still be a relationship if it’s only a one-way influence, if God can influence the ways of man, but man cannot influence what God do? And if we take the autonomy of people seriously, won’t God sometimes react to that which they did, sometimes “making decisions” influences by what people did? Again, I think this might be Biblical as well, I think we have enough stories of where God changed his mind because of people.
The Bible seems to give us freedom to be in a real relation with God, even differing from God at times, struggling with God, being mad at God, challenging God, in through all this living with God through everything.
But then again, I think our talk about God would always be in process, I won’t be comfortable with making a final decision with how God works. But thinking in this way kind of helped me to live life.