There Room for Human Freedom?
Do we as human beings have free will or does fate or God determine everything? The human life is lived in constant interaction with a complex of forces, energies, experiences, and events. Those are so varied that it is impossible or difficult to break it down to either or a duality of free will or fate. There is a pattern of what we have done, experienced, or are a part of. Yet, we are aware that there is a greater being, one that can be called divine. In that awareness, that of the divine presence, there is always a choice and possibility to create a new self in the image of God.
In the book “God and the World”, an expression in Arabic Maktub was brought up which means, “it is written”. The question that was asked to Cardinal Ratzinger was whether or not God shows us the way we have to go so that we only have to recognize what is designated for us. His reply was that in Islam it is addressed that everything is predestined and that we in a way live in a ready-woven web. That belief is contrary to Christianity because it always considers the freedom factor. In other words, on one hand, God embraces everything; he is aware of everything and guides the course of history. However, he has so arranged it that freedom has a fit in it. (58)
In my understanding, Cardinal Ratzinger’s thoughts are as follow. Destiny is not predetermined. God has given you the choice to choose the right or wrong and also your destiny. If you do what God has commanded you to do, you escape hell and destruction. When you obey God’s commands, God saves your life and gives you eternal life after the physical death of your body. Christians pray because they’re told to. God is all knowing so he does know what we want and we still pray because it shows God that we recognize him as God and that we care enough to talk to him and keep in mind.
In the article “Does doubt belong in faith”,...