A Biblical Alternative to the Traditional view
Sacred cows make the best hamburger, but the meat can be hard to swallow. Christians cherish a mythology that, along with their theology, shapes and directs their lives. Perhaps no myth more strongly influences us than our understanding of how to know the will of God. We want to make right decisions, for we realize that the decisions we make turn around and make us. As we choose one end of the road we choose the other. When we select a life’s work, a life’s partner, or a college, we desire God’s direction in those choices.
Yet when we ask. “How can I know the will of God?”, we may be raising a pagan question. In the ancient world kings and generals consulted the oracles to gain guidance from the gods for their plans. The oracles provided such direction by vague and illusive counsel and worshipers could read into the enigmatic responses what their hunches told them to do. Convinced that their plans had the stamp of the gods, generals could lead their troops into battle with unfounded courage. By 300 B.C., however, the oracles had gone out of business. Too often they had led their devotees to staggering defeat.
If we ask: “How can I know the will of God?”, we may be asking the wrong question. The Scriptures do not command us to find God’s will for most of life’s choices nor do we have any passage instructing us on how it can be determined. Equally significant, the Christian community has never agreed on how God provides us with such special revelation. Yet we persist in searching for God’s will because decisions require thought and sap energy. We seek relief from the responsibility of decision making and we feel less threatened by being passive rather than active when making important choices.
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