I went to see the new movie staring Nicolas Cage last weekend called KNOWING with one of the youth. We had a good time and the movie sparked some great convo between us on the way home. Without spoiling the movie’s ending I will try to share a few thoughts we had.
A quick summary of the movie is this; 50 years in the past a 5th grade girl puts a sheet of paper in a school time capsule and it is sealed up. Flash forward 50 years to present day where the paper lands in the hands of John Koestler (Nicolas Cage) an astrophysicist who teaches classes at M.I.T. in Boston. He discovers the pattern of numbers predicts the happening of tragic world events in which deaths occur. As he struggles with the idea that everything in life is not random but planned with a purpose he becomes consumed with trying to help others avoid the inevitable. I will not share anymore with you so I don’t ruin the movie ending. Here are a few thoughts I had after the movie was over.
1. Randomness vs. Determinism. Before the movie gets moving pretty quickly there is a scene where the college class is having a discussion on the two opposites of Randomness vs. Determinism. One of the students asks John Koestler (Cage) “What do you believe, professor?” He responses with a rather sarcastic tone. “I believe that everything is Random and just pointless crap” The idea of Randomness and Determinism is both addressed in the Bible. First, God gave us free will, a sort of randomness, that we can choose to do and say what we want. We can decide for ourselves what we should accomplish with our life. We have the ability to choose to do right or wrong, just as Adam and Eve first did in the Garden of Eden. God made us this way so that we would not be mindless robots, but have the choice to love God for who He is. The Bible also speaks of a bit of Determinism. The Bible says that God determined the exact time of our birth and the place where we would be born (Acts 17:26) and that His thoughts of us go back to before the creation of the world. (Ephesians 1:11-12) God set His determined plan into motion, but allows us to choose how our story is finished.
2. Why do bad things happen. We just recently finished a Bible study with the youth about “Why do bad things happen?” Many questions can arise from this topic some of which are; What is the source of all evil in the world? Is there a difference between evil act and a moral evil? Is there a supernatural being that is the source of evil? If God created everything, then did God create evil? I will not try answer these question here in this blog, perhaps another time, another blog. The Bible says that evil entered the world through one man, Adam (Romans 5:12) and that through that one man, sin has been passed down from generation to generation. The serpant (Satan) tempted Adam and Eve (Genesis 2:15-17 , Genesis 3:1-11,14-19) into breaking the one rule that God set before them ,do not eat from the tree of Good and Evil. I’m sure if I was there, I would have done the same thing. While pain and evil are not fun, they do have a purpose according to the Bible. The Bible says for those who are children of God, that God makes all things good out of the bad things in life (Romans 8:28). Sometimes we may not be able to see that right away, or perhaps even never see it, but we know that God has a plan for it. A few chapters before, (Romans 5:1-5) God promises that out of our suffering will triumph many good things like endurance, character, and hope.
I don’t know where you are in life, but perhaps you are in a painful situation in life. You can’t help but be depressed if you listen to more than 5 minutes of a news cast today. Many people have lost jobs, homes, and much more. I don’t have an answer for the question “Why?” but I know that God does. Hang in there and trust Him with all your heart.
I will save my other two thoughts for a second blog sometime later this week. If you would like to talk about anything written above please feel free to contact me or if you just want someone to pray for you, I’d be honored to do so.
Serving Jesus with Joy,