There are many sects within Christianity who, rather than operating under the desire to follow the creative direction of a living God, are content to live by a new dead law.
Often, folks with this mindset will try to create a false hypothetical narrative within Christianity in which A leads to B, and results in the outcome of C. If God were simply a judge, if God established a law then abandoned us, and if God were simply a group of words written in stone, then such an equation for life would make sense. However, God is living and his spirit is interacting, reacting, directing, and responding to human behavior as it is accomplishing the will of a creative God who’s desire is to be in relationship with his creation.
Humans are contingent beings. Our lives change, our rhythms and patterns change, how we approach life and various circumstances change… the lens through which we view our entire existence evolves and changes… and God is contingent in his response as well.
It would be completely ignorant to pretend that whatever eternal outcome God is orchestrating from his perspective is contingent on how our earthly phase of existence results, but the method by which God interacts with us is contingent. If God is alive, as I believe, and not simply a dead text-filled scroll, then he responds to us as any sentient being in a relationship would respond. Granted, our understanding of the manner, method, and reason by which God responds to us may be able to be understood with the same amount of comprehension as which a dog understands the mindset of his master… but God does respond. He is neither a heartless orchestrator, nor a helpless reactor… he is something different.
This is where both extremes within predestination (Augustinianism) and free will (Armenianism) fail: One ideology conceives a God who is enacting a plan as if a child is controlling a remote control car (any reasonable person would refute this theology), and the other ideology is bent on some form of “association by personal holiness” in which a set of rules were simply dropped into place for us to either follow or transgress.
If either view is completely correct, then there is no need for an interactive relationship with any god. There is only a need for a formula for us to follow. Neither mindsets convey the message of Jesus, who referred to God as Father. Since I assume God is a good Father, then I can only suppose he interacts with us in a manner that responds to our existence… not in a manner that is oblivious to it.
Thomas Merton explains this concept in his book No Man is an Island:
The will of the Lord is not a static center drawing our souls blindly toward itself. It is a creative power, working everywhere, giving life and being and direction to all things, and above all forming and creating, in the midst of an old creation, a whole new world which is called the Kingdom of God. What we call the “will of God” is the movement of His love and wisdom.
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