Scriptures - Exodus 3:1-15, Matthew 16:21-28
Both the scripture readings today speak to the fulfillment of prophecy and what might be understood as Moses’ and Jesus’ respective destinies. God tells Moses that he is to free the Israelites and Jesus foretells of his own death and resurrection.
These two scriptures got me to thinking a lot about destiny and what that means to me and perhaps other people of faith. When we look at interpretations, even definitions of destiny, that is “a predetermined course of events often held to be an irresistible power or agency” (that’s from Webster), the belief is, naturally quite philosophical, as well as complex and simplistic at the same time.
So, in doing my research I learned that John Wesley, one of the founders of the Methodist movement, rejected the Calvanists’ theory of pre-destination, that is, "that some persons had been elected by God for salvation and others for damnation.”
Which is possibly where the term, “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” comes from.
Rather Wesley and other Christians influenced by Dutch Theologian, Jacobus Arminius, believed that “while God is omnipotent and knows the choices that individuals will make, he still gives individuals the power to ultimately choose (or reject) everything, regardless of any internal or external conditions relating to the choice.”
As a Methodist, I’d rather believe that although God may know what I’m going to do, I still have choices in life. And in modern society, most of us have the luxury, or the dilemma, of many choices…we can choose where we live, our occupation, what we eat, who our friends are, when, and if, we’ll have children and ultimately who, if anyone, we want for a life partner. (Some people make that choice more than once, but that’s what free will is about.) Anyway, we now have a lot of choices, probably more than people have ever had and even more than many cultures still have.
So, how do free will and destiny work together? Does it mean that no matter what choices we make we are fated to end up where we end up?