“Biblical thought eliminates the notion, found in many pagan mythologies, of a primordial, inescapable Fate to which man and gods are subject, a Fate that can, at times, be manipulated though incantation, divination, and wisdom. Instead the Bible is preoccupied with the moral condition of mankind, with the signs of divine providence and the wonders that accompanied the formation of Israel, and with the meaning of mundane, historical events in relation to the supreme and unconditional will of a God not limited by destiny or Fate.
Perhaps the overarching theme of the Bible is the tension between God’s will and man’s: between what should be (God’s demands) and what actually is (man’s failure, on the whole, to respond adequately to the divine expectations). As a result, the basic theological conceptions of sin and faith, holiness and redemption, justice and repentance are reworked and given new significance.” (Robert Seltzer, Jewish People, Jewish Thought, 1982).
I was just reading some of the stuff over at ‘My Jewish Learning’ concerning the epics of Ancient history and the biblical accounts…when I happened upon this 2 paragraph piece.
What I like about it is it hits the point of this ancient document called the bible and what it addresses. I had a talk with my brother over the weekend about a few subjects – fate, choice, and randomness.
I fall on the side of ‘choice’ – things happen because of our ability to choose. My brother did not feel the same way on this – life has randomness to it – and things happen that are outside our personal control. It made me wonder – what is the point of a life of randomness?
What does any of this have to do with Seltzer’s quote? Well, the bible is filled with stories and teachings that are concerned with the human society – in it’s ‘working out’ (morality and human will). The bible does not seperate the human will from morality – but it would seem – morality is subject to the human will (and thusly can help improve society). It is this I care about also in the focus of my life.
I cannot control or determine every single thing that happens in the whole world around me – as much as I like to speculate about everything. But I am in control of what ‘I do’. This is where faith becomes a central component of my existence.