Wednesday 30 June 2021

What does God Want us to Do? Saving our-selves or being-saved?

One vital insight I got from William Arkle is that God primarily wants us to do what God wants us to do - and not to be always 'thinking about' God. 

This related to another insight that God primarily wants us to work-out for ourselves what to do. And not, therefore, mainly be-guided or controlled in what we do...

Although there is a back-up possibility of being-saved by God, when we have got into a situation where our capacity for working-things-out has become hopelessly impaired. 

This contrasts with 'traditional' teaching that emphases God's active role, and Man's helplessness (or Man's necessarily malign choices, due to the supposed innate and core wickedness of original sin). Traditionally, a Christian ought primarily to be obedient; and conversion itself was visualized as a yielding to the external grace of the Holy Ghost.  

Yet the way the world is set-up (here and now, in 2021), and the way that we personally are set-up, is that we are obviously meant to do as much for ourselves as possible; make our own discernments and decisions. 

And this even applies to Christian conversion - because (in 2021) if someone does not make a positive choice, nor expend any effort towards becoming a Christian - then it is very unlikely that he will become a Christian.  

Likewise, as a Christian; if someone does not take an active and personal role in his Christian faith and life - it is likely that he will be led away from faith by the dominant influences and forces in his church and generally. 

Theologically speaking, it remains true (as always) that it is the existence of God the Creator which makes everything Good possible; and that we are God's children (thus partly divine - we have God within-us) which makes our own good choices and efforts possible. We must follow Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost will give us comfort and guidance. 

But this does not imply that an attitude of passivity and obedience towards the divine is appropriate or effective. 

It is just an empirical fact that modern Man must be active, discerning, and take the lead in the efforts of his life. The default condition is that we create an evil world of rebellion against God; but if we want instead to sustain God's creation, and if we desire heaven - then that impulse needs to come from within-us. 

Such is the nature and challenge of these End Times. 


Lucinda said...

In conversations with my philosophical brother, he persuaded me about personal preference being an important basis for morality. This sounds very immoral to most people, and I'm not equipped to argue the point.

But what the idea did for me was allow me to stop worrying so much about social things, to think more endogenous-ly despite being not naturally endogenous.

This should be distinguished from an attempt to pass myself off as endogenous, which is quite a different thing, and counterproductive.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Lucinda - "pass myself off as endogenous". This is how 'progressive' Christians strike me.

They seem to be trying to convince themselves and others that they are bold and original individualists, operating on the basis of deep motivations; yet are merely conforming to the standard, mainstream, mass media, official sexual (im)morality and leftist politics.

Lucinda said...

Back to your original point, the modern situation with it's prosperity and perceived safety invites Christians beyond mere survival-oriented obedience. Clearly prosperity and safety (eternal death-avoidance) are aspects of our heavenly hope, but they don't constitute an answer to why life is better than death.

Unfortunately the delay in needing to consider death (as opposed to life) is mostly exposing that people are not really interested in being active in creation and are squandering their life trying to shift identity in order to avoid 'accountability' for who they really are. What they've actually done is to miss out on a grand inheritance.