set up for failure? what’s your theology?

Once upon a time, I read a book called Perelandra, written by the amazing C.S. Lewis.

I happened to read it during a week when I was travelling in South Dakota, in a year before I discovered the joys of audiobooks.  It was engrossing– so much so that I may have been reading the paperback while driving down I-29.  This is not a confession. 🙂

Perelandra is Venus, and the protagonist of the book (Dr. Elwin Ransom) travels there, where he finds Venus’ version of pre-fallen Eden, including an Eve character.  There is also an evil character there (Dr. Weston/the Unman), and he and Ransom function as the good and bad angels on the shoulders of “Eve,” each trying to influence her either to commit that first sin or not to.

As you can well imagine, this “conversation” (especially in light of Earth/Eden/the fall of man) would be stimulating to the normal person– to an obsessive-compulsive, it was like sheer panic.  OCs want things to be solved/clear/understood NOW– and instead we are met with the panicked feeling that things will NEVER be that way.

I drove seven hours one day while I was still in the midst of reading that book.  By the time I got home, I screamed in my car.  No joke.

Here’s my question, as we consider Eden:

Did God set us up to fail?

For those in the free will/arminianist camp:
*Wasn’t giving humans free will setting them up to fail?  That is, if you give a created being an option to choose the wrong thing, aren’t you setting them up?

For those in the calvinist camp:
*Did God predestine humanity for failure?

There is also the thought that being set up for failure was perhaps exactly what He intended.

I’d like to generate some discussion on this, especially now that I can consider things without letting my brain blow up!  (Spattered gray matter all over just from obsessions was messy work! 😉 )

So, what do you think?
1) Did God set humanity up to fail?
2) Was His goal really that we would continue in perfection?
3) If He knew the cross would be necessary one day, then doesn’t that show that we were only pawns there in the Garden?

6 thoughts on “set up for failure? what’s your theology?

  1. I’m not saying I have all the answers by any means, but there are some things that I know for sure:

    1. God works for His glory, for He alone deserves it
    2. God foreknew that we would fall in the garden
    3. Somehow, the cross brings Him more glory than if He had created a bunch of machines who couldn’t choose to bring Him glory
    4. We were created ex nihilo, out of nothing. We are in no position to demand anything of God.

    From these beliefs, this is what I have to conclude. I am nothing, save created by a glorious and merciful God whom I will never fully understand. Somehow He thought it good to give me a place in the story He is writing. Just like a character that I write into a book, that make-believe person is not going to animate before me and ask me why I created them a certain way. But then again, my character is not allowed to choose his/her life’s path. God gave me the choice of whether or not I would serve and glorify Him, which is much more than I deserve, and it hurts God more than me when I choose to not glorify Him through my thoughts, words, or actions. I am not the one losing out here. I AM SO BLESSED that God predestined me to be what I am, knowing full well that I am a sinner, and that without Him I would literally not exist. If I were not a fallen creature, would I be as grateful to God as I am (and even then, I’m not as thankful continually as I should be)? If I am a clay pot, what right do I have to ask the Potter, why have you made me so? Then try to spin the wheel myself, fashion my own form, which had been given to me, into something else? I have no right, and no ability besides.
    I live to bring Him glory. I have no other purpose, and it is the greatest blessing. If having us become fallen creatures brings more glory to God… well, that’s frankly what we were created for.

  2. I wouldn’t say it is setting us up for failure. Rather I would look at it as God gives us the option to fail…and a lot of the time we do, however this also allows for real relationship to happen. It gives the option of allowing us to accept his gift and experience a love that is greater than we can imagine. Like when we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior we are choosing to submit, to obey, to enter into that beautiful relationship with God. If we were forced to be in a relationship, I don’t see the love in that. I don’t believe that a God of love would predestine us to fail and to be eternally separated from Him our creator. I could write lots and lots about this and talk and talk about it but I’m going to stop so I can get back to work. I fall in camp 1.

    Also watch “stranger than Fiction” and pay attention to the cookie scene. Let me know what you think of it. Good depiction of gift and what it means to accept/ reject the gift/ giver.

  3. 1. No, God didn’t set humanity up to fail, but in order for humanity to have free will, there had to be an option to choose wrong. Without the option to not obey GOD we couldn’t fully love HIM, because love is a choice that we make. And without that choice there is no free will.

    2. Yes HIS goal was that we would continue in perfection, but in order for that to fully manifest itself humans need to to have the free will to choose GOD or not.

    3. Knowing that the cross would one day come just shows that GOD is all knowing and all loving. That does not show that we were pawns. If we were just pawns in some game I would seriously question why the cross, or why even care so much. But we do know that GOD loves us so much that HE bought us from sin and death and gave us HIS SPIRIT OF LIFE.

  4. Pingback: A to Z Bookish Survey! | Lights All Around

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