Divine intervention and free will

This topic suggestion, They say “everything happens for a reason” – do you think this is true?, is from The Daily Post as part of the Post-a-day writing challenge.

I was asked by a friend on Facebook recently what my thoughts were on whether everything was planned or whether there was the possibility of coincidence.
I believe that God is omnipotent, knowing everything that has happened, is happening and will happen. He has a plan for our lives: “for I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord.” However, God also have us Free will. He gave us the ability to choose for ourselves. My picture then is of God watching a sporting match. While he knows the result, he’s there, surrounded by all his angels cheering us on, rejoicing when we choose the right path, and consoling us when we make a mistake.
Does that leave any room for coincidences? I think so. I’ve heard the phrase “god-incidence” used to describe those situations where it could only have been influenced by God. I truly believe these happen.

So does everything happen for a reason? For has a plan for our lives – it’s up to us whether we follow that plan.

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  1. I am not sure how far I go with “everything happens for a reason” – probably not very far. For me lots of stuff happens which is just part of life in our world, and the results of the free-will choices I and others have made. The meaning of “free will” is that God does not control it, we do. For me the really important thing is to do what I can to weave those experiences into a positive story of me and God in the world. A friend said yesterday that as she looked back over the past 10 years she thought God had clearly been preparing her for a momentous decision she had made a couple of years ago. It could be, but I am more inclined to think that a whole lot of things happened that helped her to be in a better position to do something that otherwise would have been really hard for her to do. Turning our experiences, however we think they might have happened, into learning experiences is how we make progress in our life of faith.

  2. What I don’t get is that God gave us free will and everyone says it’s a very important thing, but the bible is filled with people that God compelled to do things for him. This could be thought of as their free will is overridden due to a type of divine intervention. The bible is almost like a record of all God’s divine interventions with man. How can man not believe and not obey when God or an angel appears and directly communicates with him, effectively overriding free will?

    1. Hi Why? and thanks for your comment.
      As someone who has been called by God to ministry, let me try and explain my understanding of this.
      When God calls someone, that person has a choice to accept that calling, or run away from it. There have been a number of people who have run away from the call. For some people, their life is never quite complete. Others are able to live seemingly fine lives.
      For me, I think God had planted the thought of ministry a long time before he called me, so that when I heard his call, I was willing to accept his call.

      While the Bible is a record of divine intervention, at each occassion, man has a choice to follow him or not. For example, take a look through Kings and Chronicles, a record of the various Kings who did and didn’t follow the word of God.

      Hope that helps.


  3. My Karma ran over my Dogma when my vibrant 16 year old son died a preventable death on a People to People Student Ambassador Trip to Japan. I no longer worship an angry and jealous God who killed and destroyed his people. My ‘heavenly Father’ is a God of Love.

    ‘You do not know me. If you knew me, you would know my Father also.’

    No. Things do not happen for a reason. Our rational minds try to find a reason.

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