Brother Ron Barnes
Founder and Pastor
Statement of Faith
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Brother Ron answers your questions about religion, spirituality and ministry
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Free Will vs. God's Will
Dear Brother Ron
I'm getting confused. I keep hearing two things from religious people, usually Christians, that God is omnipotent, has a plan for us all, and that everything happens for a reason. They also say that God gave us free will and won't intervene in our lives (which is why there is so much evil in the world), and that there are some things out of God's power. I sometimes hear these ideas coming from the same person. Please explain how these ideas can coexist, or if one is wrong or one is right.
God is omnipotent and omniscient. He has a plan for the universe and we are all part of that plan. Explaining how free will fits into the equation gets a little tricky so bear with me.
You and I may make individual choices about how we conduct our lives. But God's plan is so perfectly constructed that our actions can not dismantle it. Let's say you throw a big rock into a lake. It makes a big splash and sends ripples to all parts of the lake. But eventually the ripples die down and the lake is the same as it was before. It's the same with God. God knew of your actions before you committed them and designed His plan to account for them. In fact, it could be argued that even the most hideous acts contribute to God's overall plan for us.
For example, Hitler killed millions in an attempt to wipe out the Jews. I believe his actions led directly to the formation of the state of Israel. Today there are more Jews than Hitler wiped out and Fascism is almost universally despised. The Catholic Church killed thousands in an attempt to eliminate other religions. Today we have a wider religious diversity than ever, thanks to the First Amendment, which was partially inspired by the abuses of the Catholics. I could cite many other examples of good coming from the worst evil.
So go ahead and live your life as God has inspired you to do. Your ripples will not drain the lake.