Perhaps one of the most perplexing conundrums people face is the notion of free will, on the one hand, and the sovereignty of God on the other. Unless people have true freedom of choice, how can God possibly be just in punishing anyone for doing evil? How can God hold them responsible for something which God made them do and in which they had no choice?
On the third hand, both good Calvinists and Muslims maintain that if things can happen which are contrary to God’s will, it means that God is not totally sovereign – His power is diminished.
The answer is, of course, that though God is totally sovereign, He has deliberately limited His own power, for a time, to allow people genuine choice. Nothing can happen that God does not allow, but He allows things which are contrary to His will. Because God allows people to choose He can also, with perfect justice, hold them accountable for their choices.
This raises some interesting questions. To what extent does God withdraw Himself from human history? We all know that He allows horrible, even cataclysmic, things to take place. Yet Christians also have Jesus’ promise that nothing can take us out of His and the Father’s hand (John 10:28-29). Paul writes that nothing can separate us from Christ’s love (Romans 8:35-39), and the writer of Hebrews assures us that God will never forsake us (Hebrews 13:5-6).
Since we have these promises of God, by what means does He intervene in our lives? Hebrews 1:14 raises an intriguing possibility. There it says that angels are sent to serve those who will inherit salvation – that is, Christians. Another passage hints that we may actually encounter angels without our knowing it (Hebrews 13:2).
Though each of us has free will, and that means we may have to suffer as the result of someone else’s exercise of their freedom, I suspect that God probably interferes in our lives (or rather, directs or intervenes in our lives) far more than we realize. I also suspect that we often do not recognize the agents of divine intervention. We would probably be shocked and humbled if we knew what all God has spared us from and what forms His angels have taken while ministering to us.
These ideas and themes found their way into the novel I wrote last November during National Novel Writing Month. In it a guardian angel takes an unusual form (unusual as far as I know, that is!). Hence the title of the book: Pi-Dog Miracle.
One of the possible consequences of free will (it was not inevitable) is that people will choose to do what is wrong. A major purpose of Jesus’ coming was to redeem us from the results of our sinful choices. In addition to Christ’s sacrifice, redemption takes many forms depending on the circumstances and the individual. This, too, is one of the major themes in the book.
The plot centers around a Bible teacher who is trying to find his equilibrium after his wife’s death. He feels God’s call to leave his home in America to set up a training program for church leaders in Pakistan. In the process of finding renewed purpose, God uses him to redeem several others. His loneliness is filled from an unexpected source.
I hope you have as much fun reading the book as I had writing it. You can get your copy from the links in the right sidebar.