Monday 29 May 2023

What is God doing with the world?

To ask what God is doing in the world - in whole or in part - is regarded as either futile or blasphemous by many/ most religious people through history - and even today. 

Yet for Christians the question is (or ought to be) permissible; and through the past several generations the has indeed become unavoidable - since it will be asked by others and by culture generally, even when a Christian declines to answer it. 

Since the question is permissible and in practice culturally unavoidable, it may well be (which is already to assume the answer!) that indeed God actually wants us to ask this question - and even to expect a satisfactory answer - when the specific question is legitimate. 

But if we want a satisfactory answer to any question, we should stick to that question. We should not keep changing our ground. 

If we are asking about what God is doing with the universe as a whole, this is different from asking about Mankind-as a whole, and this again is different from asking about Modern Man in The West. And these are each different against from the God's intended meaning about something bad that happened to me in childhood, or earlier today. 

Furthermore; answers to large scale questions and about 'my' life, will become confused and unsatisfactory if we shift the question to - "yes, but what about what happened to grandfather in the war" or "but how can that apply to those people I read about in yesterday's newspaper?"... 

That is; very specific questions about 'other people' - and concerning matters for which we have only hearsay, and perhaps vague, unreliable, distorted, or dishonest evidence. 

So, we can know "what God is doing" for our-selves, maybe for those we love and know well; but (surely?) not for those we neither genuinely care for nor genuinely know. 

On top of this, there is this shifting the question, moving back-and-forth between questions about Mankind across the centuries and millennia; and Me questions about Me-Here-Now. 

God can guide us to answers about both or other aspects, great and small, long- and short-term -  and within limits of our comprehension. But any comprehensible answer will necessarily be relatively simple and brief - therefore the same answer will not work for each and every possible specific question. 

God was hardly likely to be doing exactly the same thing during the fall of the Roman Empire, as he is during the current fall of Western Civilization. We should not expect one answer to work for all questions. 

If we ask a specific question, and do so sincerely and for 'Christian' (rather than self-seeking or worldly-expedient*) reasons; we can expect from God a specific answer...

But we can't expect that particular short and clear answer to what God is doing, also to be directly applicable to every other question about what God is doing. 

No doubt, in an ultimate sense, many short and specific answers will fit together and make one coherent 'master' answer - yet there are an unlimited number of possible questions - so such answers can only be given in terms of God's nature and motivations, God's 'character' as a Being. 

To get for oneself a personal (a direct, relational) apprehension of God's nature is (I believe) the single best way of getting a unifying and coherent sense for what God is doing with the world.  

This is possible for Christians because of what we know of and from Jesus Christ, from the guidance of the Holy Ghost, and from directed prayer and 'meditation'  - because (for Christians) we are all the nascent divine children of God, with a share in His divine nature...

Ultimately; because God wants us to know, and - as creator - can make it possible for us to know...

After that - to know what we need and would benefit from knowing is up to each-of-us.

* - It should not really need pointing-out, but does (because we forget); that if we want to know what God is doing in this world and our mortal lives; we can only get true answers insofar as we consider this-world and our mortal-lives in the context provided by eternal resurrected Heavenly life - which is the ultimate purpose, hence meaning-provider - of our world and mortal life. 

1 comment:

agraves said...

Bruce, I would say that individually God is providing important lessons for present and future growth, and by future I mean a life after this one and on an evolutionary scale. There is much growth to be gotten. On a mankind level the entire humanity, the earth, solar system, etc are all on a trajectory into the future development the details of which we cannot be sure. Christians like to say that humanity is a fallen race but it appears God has placed us here to grow into greater beings, however long it takes.