Thursday, June 01, 2023

Allow? Will? Plan?

[W]e know that God does not will our sin, but that He does not allow our sin to drive Him out of our lives. Even as sinners we remain under God's Hand. God knows our sin beforehand, but He does not will it; nor does He commit it; and yet it does not happen apart from His will. He does not look at it helplessly, as though it could frustrate His plan. Even when we sin, He remains the Lord of our existence, in every part of it. What we have done against His will has already been, from the very beginning, part of His plan. How this can be we do not know; this interplay of "not- willing" and "not-doing" on the one hand, with the will that plans and rules on the other, is something far beyond our understanding. It has no analogies with the world with which we are familiar. To wish to operate here with such an absolutely concrete category as that of causality is contrary to sense; is it not true that we no longer understand anything about "persons" or "responsibility" when we try to think in causal terms? On the other hand, here we are not dealing with a "dilemma" or a paradox; that could only be the case if we wished to comprehend the divine omnipotence by means of the causal idea, and would then have to contrast it with freedom.—Emil Brunner, The Christian Doctrine of Creation and Redemption, 174

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