Wednesday, April 18, 2007

It Really Does Depend on Choice

When we are praying about the result, say, of a battle or a medical consultation the thought will often cross our minds that (if only we knew it) the event is already decided one way or the other. I believe this to be no good reason for ceasing our prayers. The event certainly has been decided--in a sense it was decided 'before all worlds'. But one of the things taken into account in deciding it, and therefore one of the things that really cause it to happen, may be this very prayer that we are now offering. Thus, shocking as it may sound, I conclude that we can at noon become part causes of an event occurring at ten a.m. (Some scientists would find this easier than popular thought does.) The imagination will, no doubt, try to play all sort of tricks on us at this point. It will ask, 'Then if I stop praying can God go back and alter what has already happened?' No. The event has already happened and one of its causes has been the fact that you are asking such questions instead of praying. It will ask, 'Then if I begin to pray can God go back and alter what has already happened?' No. The event has already happened and one of its causes is your present prayer. Thus something does really depend on my choice. My free act contributes to the cosmic shape. That contribution is made in eternity 'before all worlds'; but my consciousness of contributing reaches me at a particular point in the time series.
~C.S. Lewis, Miracles, Appendix B (1947)

1 Comment(s):

At Tue Nov 20, 09:05:00 AM EST, Blogger Marlo Peddycord Francis said...

What a thought provoking passage. As I have been a Baptist all my life, now finding a place in an Anglican church ... I have been doing a lot of sorting and asking and thinking as to doctrinal differences and the way we approach God. In all of that, these sorts of conversations have taken place so much ... these thoughts of the things "settled before the world began". I've always grown up with the idea of our "free will" being the crux of everything - but I'm now being presented with ideas of how much has already been decided and settled long before my "free will" had a voice. These thoughts by C.S. Lewis pull all that together in a way that I, too, have been processing it. I know that we do have "choice" in matters, but at the same time, to our Father, it's done ... has been done for as long as time itself. We just get there when we live it. What an awesome concept to see the timeline of mankind in that light.


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