Why do we do what we do anyway? Choices. Sure but then what really dictates our choices? I’m not so positive that we are always in control of them and I’m not just saying that our options are limited. I know I can’t “choose” to headline the band line-up for Coachella because I don’t play guitar. Okay, because of a few other things, too. But I could have chosen to learn guitar when I was younger and then chosen to start a band that became famous, at least in theory. Why didn’t I? It’s not like if I was “choosing” to go to Mars or something impossible. Was there something else that conspired to keep me from a life of rock-n-roll?
I’m raising a big issue: free-will. Does it exist? Determinists would say that our lives are on a trajectory of a kind of cause and effect. Things happen that place us on a path like throwing a stone in outer space. It will go on straight ahead unless something intervenes to alter that course. Extreme determinists talk about fate and destiny. They contend there is no choice in life; we are on set paths to follow for life (even for eternity). It can be comforting to think in a Newtonian kind of universe that God just wound us up and placed us in the direction we were supposed to go. But 20th-century physics threw us a curve ball: Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle, Schrodinger’s “Cat”, the whole crazy, miniscule world of quantum mechanics. Nothing’s for sure. You can’t know both the exact place of something and its rate and direction of movement. Little bits are too quirky. This suggests that at the neurological level of our microscopic brain synapses it’s anybody’s guess why people do what they do and what they will do next which eliminates free-will, too. The universe would be indifferent and fickle here.
Instead of worrying about my free-will, I count on God’s good will. I trust His love as the glue that holds the universe together and the energy that makes it run. I thank Him that He chose me in His grace from the dawn of time and created me in His holy image. And when I exercised my will in sinful selfishness, He provided a path back to Himself in Christ’s cross. I will then follow the path He leads me on confident it will bring me to Heaven one day. The physicists and psychologists can continue the debate about man’s free-will. I’ll be content with God’s grace that chose me for eternity.
Besides, I’m turning 50. Now what do I do, worry about if I have a choice in the matter? I’ll start with a good stout or maybe a mellow Pinot. Maybe I’ll go to the beach and watch the sun set or see a movie. I might have sushi or a tender rib eye. Chocolate will be involved but will it be a fudge sundae or cake? There’s lots of choices I’ll be making and frankly I don’t care why. I know I must live with “my” choices, though. So what I’ll do with the second half of my life (I’m optimistic) will take some prayerful consideration. It’s enough to know God is there sustaining and guiding it. Maybe I’ll learn guitar now?