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Author Topic: Thwarting the Will of God  (Read 403 times) Average Rating: 0
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Justin Kissel
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« on: April 17, 2012, 01:51:46 AM »

There is a story (whether apocryphal or not I don't know) about Benjamin Franklin and his invention of lightning rods. The story says that when he created the lightning rods and started putting them on buildings, so that fires would be prevented by the lightning hitting the rods and not the buildings, that Christians were chastising him, saying that Franklin was thwarting the will of God. After all, if God wanted to burn down a building, who was Franklin to prevent it?

Now I suppose this story could be dismissed as a simple misunderstanding, and we could say that lightning does not (usually) serve to carry out the will of God in burning down things, but is just a natural phenomenon that God lets happen without interference. Still, it brings up the question: can people thwart God? Is that possible? Or is it that God allows us to use our free-will, and thus however we use free-will will always be in line with what God wants? Yet common sense, and experience, would seem to indicate that what we wish to do through free will, and what God wants, doesn't always match up. God doesn't just give us anything we pray for, for example, but gives us what it is his will to give us, for our benefit, as St. John seemed to be getting at in this passage:

"And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him." (1 Jn. 5:14-15)

Is there a difference between wanting and acting? Is God willing to tell us "no, that's not for your benefit" when we ask in our heads or with our mouths through prayer, but not willing to say "no, that's not for your benefit" when we physically try to bring things about? Are not both things activity, and both things part of our free-will manifesting itself? When does God thwart and when not? But to add to this, what do we do with passages such as Numbers 22, where God does seem to stop us from acting as we wish? If God sends something meant to stop us, or tell us something, and we ignore it, are we thwarting the will of God?
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NicholasMyra
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« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2012, 02:06:40 AM »

"I know that You can do all things, And that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted." -Job 42:2

"Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling." -Matthew 23:37

Yes.
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if Christ does and says x. And someone else does and says not x and you are ever in doubt, follow Christ.
GabrieltheCelt
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« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2012, 02:12:57 AM »

Kudos for incorporating the word 'thwarting'.  I'll share a cold one with you, but Scrabble ain't happenin', bubba.  Smiley
« Last Edit: April 17, 2012, 02:13:27 AM by GabrieltheCelt » Logged

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Justin Kissel
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« Reply #3 on: April 24, 2012, 05:34:29 AM »

"I know that You can do all things, And that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted." -Job 42:2

"Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling." -Matthew 23:37

Yes.

Generally when I make a thread I have 15 questions rattling around in my head. Some of them even get into the thread. So... "yes" to what?  Cool

Kudos for incorporating the word 'thwarting'.  I'll share a cold one with you, but Scrabble ain't happenin', bubba.  Smiley

Thwart is a fun word to say, especially if you divide it into two syllables: th-wart!
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« Reply #4 on: April 24, 2012, 05:32:41 PM »

I think you can disobey God, but no purpose of his can be thwarted.

Not that that helps much.  Wink
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if Christ does and says x. And someone else does and says not x and you are ever in doubt, follow Christ.
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« Reply #5 on: April 25, 2012, 11:27:59 AM »

Doesn't the answer to this question really come down to how one and how our  Church, regards the role of God in the day to day events of our lives and surroundings?

The 'thwarting' argument is used by sects who reject modern medicine for example. While Patristic, Apostolic Christianity has had its share of struggles with science, our Faith surely doesn't steer us away from medical help to prevent disease or  delay our ultimate death.

Isn't it presumptuous for us to assume what the will of God is or isn't? Lightening still destroys property and kills people. Our church has rods and suffered a direct hit a few summers ago, the electronics were 'fried' and the master circuit board damaged. I wouldn't necessarily assume that He was singling out our parish in some direct manner - nor, I suppose, should I assume He was not doing so. A conundrum....
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HabteSelassie
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« Reply #6 on: April 25, 2012, 11:36:22 AM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

The nature of the Will of God is a deeply Mysterious as God Himself.  However if I were to take a philosophic guess, I'd say that if God insistently and genuinely respects the free-will of His creatures and the natural cycles of His creation, then that itself is the Will of God which can't be thwarted then by the interaction of creaturely free will or natural events, because God wills even the seeming freedom of these!  If God wills to respect our free-will in instances, then that itself is the will of God which then is not thwarted by our free-will but then fulfilled and manifested.

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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"Yet stand aloof from stupid questionings and geneologies and strifes and fightings about law, for they are without benefit and vain." Titus 3:10
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