One of my favorite topics is free-will theology, and one of my favorite modern scholars that has most influenced my thought in this area is Thomas Jay Oord. I was so honored to be asked to contribute a response to his latest book for publication on his website and - eventually - as a collection of essays compiled into a book. Here are my thoughts ~
The Orlando shooting. The Brexit. The refugee crisis. This election season’s heated, painful political debate. These events all inspired fear and panic — and in many cases illicited anassurance from Christians that “God is in control.”
For a world plagued by suffering and questions, I don’t find this response to be very helpful — and I don’t find it to be true.
The classic problem of evil and free will presents two traditional options: 1). God has in some sense orchestrated the events of history; thus our actions, our existence, and our story are already determined, or 2). God has given us free will to chart our own course and make our own decisions, though God already knows how the story will turn out. In their own way, each of these options relies on the idea that God is in control.
Neither of these belief systems provides an adequate representation of our experience in the world, and neither provides a framework robust enough for understanding what God is up to.
hat is an adequate framework? I provide some possibilities, in my article on Dr. Oord's website.