A reader writes from (appropriately enough) Scotland to say…

A reader writes from (appropriately enough) Scotland to say… November 10, 2016

so Im on a molinism site that discusses different understandings of gods sovereignty, foreknowledge, predestination vs freedom, etc…and are now critiquing the Calvinists who are saying God pre-ordained Trumps win…all sorts of banter going on…the best line I saw? ….”and the open theists are saying “Wow – not even God saw THIS one coming!” (That just about KILLED me!)

Scotland is, of course, one of the great nexi of Calvinism and all the barren and fruitless arguments that surrounded predestination and all that.  One reaction to heretical Calvinist predestinarianism (in which God assumes a sort of Islamic function and does *everything* including making sure that sinners sin against him so he can sadistically have somebody to damn in order to fill some bizarre quota for some reason) is something called “open theism” (in which God has no idea what’s going to happen next and is as clueless as you and me about how the billiard balls of history are going to bounce).

Catholic faith, of course, is that God is in control of all of creation.  All the hairs of your head are numbered.  Not a sparrow falls without the Father’s knowledge.  And he is Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end, who was, who is, and who is to come.

At the same time, the tradition insists that God’s sovereignty is not a zero sum game in which it’s either his power or our freedom.  On the contrary, Paul says, “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”  So his power is precisely the ground of our freedom and his omniscience does not cancel out our ability to make real (and often sinful and stupid) choices.  Our free actions are part of his Providence.  He sees us act in his eternal Now.  And of course, to see a person doing something is not to make him do it.  God has been seeing the election of Donald Trump–and all other human choices–in the Eternal Now from all eternity.  This did not take him by surprise.  Nor has it thwarted  his will any more than the betrayal of Judas did.  God orders all things to the good of those who love Christ Jesus and are called according to his purpose.  That does not, of course, mean “Let us do evil that good may come of it.”  But it does mean that we can have good Hope in Christ that this evil too shall be redeemed.

Meanwhile, we do what we do: seek God’s will and try to do it as best we can.  For me, that means going to Mass right now and praying for a friend who is in serious crisis.  Please pray for her, will you?

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