Thursday, November 19, 2009

Doctor Who and God's Sovreignty

David Tennant is nearing the end of the most successful run for an actor playing the Doctor since Tom Baker’s first four years. All of Doctor Who fandom is awaiting Christmas Day with a mixture of anticipation and dread. This past Sunday, fans were treated to the next step in that eventual end with the latest episode, “The Waters of Mars.” It was, as always, exciting, moving, and pretty scary for a family show.

One of the big issues raised in this episode was the idea of fixed points in time. How if the idea of time travel were possible, that it would put history in flux, but that certain events in history are set and must occur no matter what. This “time travel” speculation has been particularly popular lately, in things like the new Star Trek movie and the series Fringe. Carmen had some interesting thoughts on it related to the film “Déjà Vu,” and Ted Dekker’s latest book “Green” built its whole this-is-the-beginning-AND-the-end premise on it. (Somewhat problematically for both its theology and plot.) When you look beyond the sci-fi nature of this thought, it can also relate to the idea of God’s sovereignty and man’s free will in history.

How does this paradox work? How can God be in control of history and mankind have free will at the same time? There is one train of thought that says that God will accomplish His plans, regardless of man’s cooperation. Say God wants a certain group of people to hear His message and He calls you to go tell them. If you say no, He will accomplish His plans through someone else. God is not dependant on man’s will to do what He wants. That being said, how sad would it be for you to be selected by God for a task and miss out on it and the blessings that go with it because you were to deaf or scared to trust Him and go?

In that sense, history really is more like a river. There may be little obstacles that divert a portion of the river and create little ripples, but the flow of history will always stay on track and go where it is intended, according to God’s plan.

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