Woody Allen said, “If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plan”. And the band Van Zant has a lyric in their song “Help Somebody” that says, “If you want to hear God laugh, tell Him your plans”. And lastly, all of this apparently comes from a Yiddish proverb… “We plan, God laughs”.
Fate. Destiny. Is it all really pre-planned? The Bible says that God has a divine plan for us. But how much of a plan? Did he really foresee and decide every choice I’ve made to this point? I almost hope not, because I’ve done some dumb, silly, rude, mean, unethical, and sinful things. If God did plan all of this, why?
And is this really the life He wants for me? I know that sounds selfish, but some days, I think there is so much more for me. Yet on other days, I realize that I’m pretty darned lucky. That I should be a little more grateful for the life He’s given me.
According to an article I read on the Got Questions Ministries site, fatalism (the belief that all events are predetermined) is not biblical in the Christian sense. It is however, a premise in Islam, Hinduism, and Greek mythology. However, even parts of our scripture point to fatalism; Psalm 139: 16 – “Your eyes beheld my unformed substance. In your book were written all the days that were formed for me, when none of them as yet existed”.
But it can’t all be predetermined, because God gave us free will. But He had to know we’d screw up. He says we are responsible for our actions. 1 Peter 2: 16 – “As servants of God, live as free people, yet do not use your freedom as a pretext for evil”.
He gave us the ability to choose, but I don’t believe there are accidents in God’s universe. We are not supreme rulers of our own fate. He has a plan that will somehow fulfill His original idea for us.
I look at fate vs free will like I look at nature vs nurture. Both aspects have a place in a person’s life. God has a plan. That is finite and true. Just like the fact that I have a certain set of genes, chromosomes, and DNA. Those things are undeniable. However, we can choose how we use His plan for us. And in the sense that our “nature” somewhat molds us but gives us liberties.
Acts 2: 23 – “This man, handed over to you according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of those outside the law”. Here Luke is describing that there was human responsibility for Jesus’ death and the inevitability of that death in God’s plan.
I think there is a beginning and an end for us (God’s plan), but that how we get to the end is up to us (free will). Unfortunately, there is no bright green Fidelity arrow pointing in the right direction. We need to figure it out on our own. But we can use the Bible, Church, our pastors, friends/family, etc to try and help teach us the way.
References: https://www.gotquestions.org/fate-destiny.htmlImages: fidelity.com, Skeptic Ink, and debate.org