So, again we have excerpt from a famous Christian mystic, this time a woman, Marguerite Porete (1248/1250 – 1310), who was eventually deemed a heretic and was burned at the stake for not changing her views and for not removing her book from circulation.
AFL Blog Week 3 Part 4: Human Will and God’s Will
The excerpt comes from this book and, well it doesn’t seem all that heretical to me, but of course, back then Christians were pretty quick to kill off truth seeking people if their ideas and experiences didn’t match that of the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church.
Basically what she proposes is the same thing all the mystics have been saying; that knowing God is really knowing that we don’t know God – or at least not really. She, as the others, speaks of Jesus as Saviour and as the only one who truly knows God. She just simply concedes that we’re not capable of fully knowing that which is wholly divine. But Jesus, being fully human AND fully divine, is capable.
Part of the controversy is that she suggests that the soul actually has no will of its own, and that the will it has is willed by God to have in the first place.
So this would suggest that the idea of free will is nonexistent, which may be the thing that got her killed, but it it’s not an entirely crazy concept.
For instance, John Calvin suggests something similar in the doctrine of election, which states that no human is capable of seeking God, much less finding God, on their own. Any turn to God must come from a prompting of the Holy Spirit to turn to God in the first place. I guess where he still holds to free will is that he goes on to say that we can then reject God, however, if you’re familiar with Calvin (or more likely, Calvinism) the doctrine of election and predestination suggests that God chooses (or probably more accurately “knows”) who will turn to him and who will reject him. Thus, it’s pretty similar to Marguerite’s suggestion that ULTIMATELY we are only capable of willing for ourselves what God wills for us.
The idea also reminds me of that movie The Adjustment Bureau.
(click on the link if you want to watch the trailer. for some reason it’s not loading like other videos have) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wZJ0TP4nTaE
Another greatly influential theologian, this time of the 20th century, Jurgen Moltmann, argues a Universalist point of view that also seems to coincide with this. He says that because God desire to have ALL things redeemed and reconciled to him that even those who reject Him – those who freely choose, or willed to believe otherwise or not at all – that their will shall be subject to God’s ultimate will to have them reconciled. That is to say that the will of a human being is ultimately not stronger than the will of God.
do you agree? Seems pretty straight forward. But that would mean, of course, that in the end there is no free will. It would also mean that everyone eventually is saved and is reconciled to God in Heaven.
please share your thoughts. Peace.