Nyssa's Hobbit Hole

Date: February 7, 2015

On the Idea that God has Someone in Mind for You

Finding a mate is not always a matter of patience, waiting for God’s match for you to come along.  It could also be a matter of where you are in your life, how willing you are to take the initiative, how you act, how picky you are, etc.

Sometimes it’s not you, but the lack of good or available catches in your social circles.  (You begin to think arranged marriages are a great idea.)

Even getting married is not the cure-all it’s made to seem in popular culture.   Sometimes people find the “perfect” man/woman and get totally disillusioned.   Sometimes people will be married for many years and then get divorced.   Sometimes a spouse will have affairs or be abusive in some way.

There’s no such thing as the “perfect” mate.  I also don’t believe in soul mates: We use God’s Word for direction in choosing someone, but ultimately that someone is our choice (and theirs).

The idea that God chooses everything for us–mate, career, college, etc.–as part of an overall “plan” comes from Protestant fundamentalism.  I don’t believe it comes from ancient Christianity.

Looking for the perfect someone could leave you lonely.  Looking for someone you can get along with, and then working to keep the relationship in good shape, is more successful than expecting to find a lifelong passionate love affair.

Being single is not always fun, especially since you can’t do certain things if you don’t believe in premarital sex.  But if you focus on doing things you enjoy, find some good friends, and have a job or ministry or hobby that you like, that can help keep the loneliness at bay.

Several months after my ex-fiancé broke up with me in 1994, I found myself having a great time because I didn’t have to deal with his emotional abuse anymore–and a few guys were interested in me at the same time.

I’m married now, but went through many years of loneliness before finding this person.  I wish I knew these things back when I was single, so I wouldn’t have been so desperate to find somebody.

Written around 2005/2006/2007

Index to my theology/church opinion pages:

Page 1:

Tithing 
End Times and Christian Zionism 
God’s Purpose/Supremacy of God Doctrine 
Cat and Dog Theology 
Raising One’s Hands in Worship 
Christian Music 
On the “still, small voice” and Charismatic sign gifts
On church buildings 
The Message Bible 
The Purpose-Driven Life 
The Relevance Doctrine, i.e. Marketing Churches to Seekers 
Republican Party 
Abortion Protests 
Creation 
The idea that God has someone in mind for you 
Literalism in Biblical interpretation
Miscellaneous 

Page 2:

Name it and Claim It Doctrine, Prosperity Doctrine, Faith-Formula Theology, Word-Faith Theology,  Positive Confession Theology, Health and Wealth Gospel, and whatever else they call it
More about Pat Robertson
Dr. Richard Eby and others who claim to have been to Heaven
Women in Marriage/the Church
Spiritual Abuse 
Other Resources 

Page 3:

Why do bad things happen?
Should we criticize our brethren’s artistic or evangelistic attempts?  Or, how should we evangelize, then?
Angels: Is “This Present Darkness” by Frank Peretti a divine revelation or fiction?
Halloween: Not the Devil’s Holiday!
Hell and the Nature of God 
Is Christmas/Easter a Pagan Holiday? 
Is everybody going to Hell except Christians?
How could a loving God who prohibits murder, command the genocide of the Canaanite peoples? 
What about predestination?
Musings on Sin, Salvation and Discipleship 
An Ancient View which is in the Bible, yet new to the west–Uncreated Energies of God

Page 4:

Dialogues
The Didache 
Technical Virginity–i.e., how far should a Christian single go? 
Are Spiritual Marriages “real”?  (also in “Life” section, where it’s more likely to be updated) 
Does the Pill cause abortions, or is that just another weird Internet or extremist right-wing rumor?
What about Missional Churches, Simple Churches, Fluid Churches, Organic Churches, House Churches or Neighborhood Churches?
Is Wine from the Devil–or a Gift from God?
What is Worship? 
Evangelistic Trips to Already Christianized Countries
Fraternities, Sororities, Masonic Lodge 
Was Cassie Bernall a Martyr?
Some Awesome Things heard in the Lamentations Service (Good Friday evening) during Holy Week

Conversion Story

Phariseeism in the Church

On Creationism

People spend huge amounts of time trying to refute evolution and trying to force the teaching of “alternatives” on schoolkids.

But is this really a good use of our time?  If scientists found something that absolutely proved evolution, what would happen to our faith?  (Actually, it can be argued that they have long since proven evolution.)

I feel it’s better to just say, God was behind whatever happened.  Whether He used evolution, six 24-hour days of creation, or whatever, God was the great Designer.

Now let’s get on with more important things, such as spreading the Word and helping our communities.

This writer says that the Early Church did not understand the 6 Creation days to be literal.  They were, rather, “six successive enormous periods of time.”  I’ve heard this may not be totally accurate: “Biblical Interpretation in the Early Church” by Dr. Daniel F. Stramara, Jr.

Also see this view from a Russian Orthodox missionary leaflet: “Orthodoxy and Creationism” by Fr. Deacon Andrey Kuraev

The Orthodox church does not reject God-driven evolution, just atheistic evolution, and does not say one way or another how things worked.

Many Orthodox believe evolution is incompatible with Genesis; many believe it is compatible.  One bishop will say evolution is how God created; another will emphatically deny evolution.

But also note that Adam and Eve are treated in Church writings as actual people, not metaphors, so we must take care before dismissing them as simply allegories:

OCA: Evolution and Orthodoxy

We shall not compare the biblical story of creation with modern scientific theories of the origin of the universe. The protracted dialogue between science and theology has not yet come to any definitive conclusions about the connections between biblical revelation and scientific developments.

It is, however, very clear that the Bible does not aim to present a scientific account of the origin of the universe, and it is rather naive to polemicize on the biblical narrative understood in its literal sense. Sacred Scripture regards all of history from the perspective of an interrelationship between the human and the divine.

The authors of biblical stories often use metaphorical and symbolic language and they often rely on the scientific knowledge of their own time. This, however, does not diminish the significance of the Bible as a book through which God speaks to humanity and reveals God in all His creative power. —The Six Days of Creation

Also see:

The classic patristic writing is Basil’s nine homilies on the Six Days of Creation, the Hexaemeron. Most of the key doctrines whose origin is wrongly attributed to Augustine in the Western tradition can be found in Basil and Gregory of Nyssa two generations earlier.

The world does not begin in time, but in God’s will and word (Hexaemeron, 1:5ff). The six days of creation are not 24-hour days (caused by the sun, created on the fourth day) but long epochs.

There is no “three-storey universe” as in Rudolf Bultmann’s caricature of patristic teaching. The created order is unfinished, dynamic, moving towards its fulfillment.

Heaven is not a place but an order of many-­dimensioned reality closed to our senses. –Paulos Mar Gregorios, A Theology of Nature: an Introduction

Among the visible things that God created is the crown of His creation, man. In Genesis we read the story of God’s creation. We cannot interpret this story to the letter; however, its message is loud and clear:

God is the creator of everything that exists; there is order in God’s creation, and a development (even “evolution”) from lower forms to higher forms of life; God created everything good; man, created in God’s image and likeness, has a very special place in God’s creation, called to be God’s proxy toward His creation. –His Eminence Metropolitan Maximos of Pittsburgh, The Dogmatic Tradition of the Orthodox Church

From the Orthodox Study Bible, the “Creation” essay, page 2:

Regarding questions about the scientific accuracy of the Genesis account of creation, and about various viewpoints concerning evolution, the Orthodox Church has not dogmatized any particular view.

What is dogmatically proclaimed is that the One Triune God created everything that exists, and that man was created in a unique way and is alone made in the image and likeness of God (Gn 1:26, 27).

Here is the Catholic view: Adam, Eve, and Evolution

Theodore G. Stylianopoulos writes in The New Testament, An Orthodox Perspective:

A reaction to this liberal academic tradition is the fundamentalist interpretation, ranging from simplistic to sophisticated expressions.

Although fundamentalist interpretation developed in deliberate opposition to liberal biblical studies, especially historical criticism, it was compelled to imitate some of the perceived enemy’s tools.

Based on its own ideological interests, its definitive feature is the use of rationalism, even if artificially, to defend positions such as creationism and the absolute inerrancy of Scripture.

A particularly American phenomenon since the late nineteenth century, it has spread as well to other areas of the globe in the wake of conservative Protestant missions.

The fundamentalist approach is ideological in that it is inclined to defend an absolute position of the plenary inspiration, propositional revelation, and total inerrancy of Scripture regarding all truth–scientific, historical, and theological–beyond the claims and evidence of Scripture itself.

While the intent to uphold the authority of Scripture is commendable, the extremes to which it has led, including a kind of intellectual sophistry and fanaticism, are indefensible.

Christian fundamentalism, whether among Protestants, Roman-Catholics, or Orthodox is on the whole an obscurantist reaction, albeit understandably so, to the bewildering excesses of modernism.

It is often based on unconscious fear of losing the objective grounds of one’s security of faith in the face of new findings by scientific and historical research.

However, as has been noted by many, refusal to face reasonable facts of science and history is not evidence of sound faith but lack of it.

As Father Thomas Hopko puts it in The Orthodox Faith: Bible and Church History:

…At this time, there was a clash between the liberals and fundamentalists.

The fundamentalists, particularly in America, insisted on using the Bible as a manual of science to be interpreted literally in a manner inconsistent with the purposes and intentions of the holy scriptures as understood and interpreted in Church Tradition.

Thus in the Western Protestant world of the nineteenth century, the dominant choice offered was that of either liberalism of a rationalist or pietist variety, or sectarian fundamentalism….(p. 204)

From OrthodoxWiki: Evolution

I think the furor over evolution vs. literalist creationism may have been stirred by the Devil–not by speaking through Darwin, mind you, but by making people elevate its importance far too high.

The arguments have not only pitted atheist against Christian, but Christian against Christian.  We know God created, whatever means He used.

And the Gospel of salvation is far more important than trying to prove the so-called “atheist evolutionists” wrong.

Nazarenes Exploring Evolution

Written around 2005/2006/2007

Index to my theology/church opinion pages:

Page 1:

Tithing 
End Times and Christian Zionism 
God’s Purpose/Supremacy of God Doctrine 
Cat and Dog Theology 
Raising One’s Hands in Worship 
Christian Music 
On the “still, small voice” and Charismatic sign gifts
On church buildings 
The Message Bible 
The Purpose-Driven Life 
The Relevance Doctrine, i.e. Marketing Churches to Seekers 
Republican Party 
Abortion Protests 
Creation 
The idea that God has someone in mind for you 
Literalism in Biblical interpretation
Miscellaneous 

Page 2:

Name it and Claim It Doctrine, Prosperity Doctrine, Faith-Formula Theology, Word-Faith Theology,  Positive Confession Theology, Health and Wealth Gospel, and whatever else they call it
More about Pat Robertson
Dr. Richard Eby and others who claim to have been to Heaven
Women in Marriage/the Church
Spiritual Abuse 
Other Resources 

Page 3:

Why do bad things happen?
Should we criticize our brethren’s artistic or evangelistic attempts?  Or, how should we evangelize, then?
Angels: Is “This Present Darkness” by Frank Peretti a divine revelation or fiction?
Halloween: Not the Devil’s Holiday!
Hell and the Nature of God 
Is Christmas/Easter a Pagan Holiday? 
Is everybody going to Hell except Christians?
How could a loving God who prohibits murder, command the genocide of the Canaanite peoples? 
What about predestination?
Musings on Sin, Salvation and Discipleship 
An Ancient View which is in the Bible, yet new to the west–Uncreated Energies of God

Page 4:

Dialogues
The Didache 
Technical Virginity–i.e., how far should a Christian single go? 
Are Spiritual Marriages “real”?  (also in “Life” section, where it’s more likely to be updated) 
Does the Pill cause abortions, or is that just another weird Internet or extremist right-wing rumor?
What about Missional Churches, Simple Churches, Fluid Churches, Organic Churches, House Churches or Neighborhood Churches?
Is Wine from the Devil–or a Gift from God?
What is Worship? 
Evangelistic Trips to Already Christianized Countries
Fraternities, Sororities, Masonic Lodge 
Was Cassie Bernall a Martyr?
Some Awesome Things heard in the Lamentations Service (Good Friday evening) during Holy Week

Conversion Story

Phariseeism in the Church

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