Over the past several months I have had a unique opportunity to interact with atheists on matters of faith (or “lack of faith” as it were). It is interesting to me how time and time again they tend to be keenly aware of the problems in the church, although not always a full understanding of what biblical Christianity is all about.
One recent observation was made by Hemant Mehta in his post titled “God Doesn’t Have a Plan for Your Life.” You may be inclined to quickly react against that, but before you do consider the fact that it is essentially a line taken from another post, of which Mehta’s is a critique. Donald Miller, famed Christian and author of Blue Like Jazz, wrote a post titled “Does God Have a Specific Plan for Your Life? Probably Not,” where he explains that unless you have heard a donkey talk to you or have become pregnant in spite of never having had sex, God probably does not have a specific program for you to follow.
What’s the Difference?
The striking thing about these two posts is not their differences but their similarities. If God does not have a plan for our lives (of if God does not exist per Mehta), then we are left to do what we will. Hopefully we will make something good out of our efforts, but essentially we are left to our own devices. Both suggest that we do things with our lives that gives back to others and makes the world a better place. The reason is entirely different, but in essence the process is the same.
I may be wrong (as I have been before) but what I read from Genesis 3 is a story of the first two people whose sin was thinking that they knew better what was good for them than God did. They thought that if they were able to determine for themselves what is good and what is evil then they would not need God.
A second thought: Ephesians 2:10 says specifically that we were created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand. Perhaps there is another way to interpret this passage, but it sounds like to me that God does indeed have a plan for our lives and that he essentially gave each of us an assignment to be completed. The passage also reminds us that it is not by our works that we are saved, but it does seem to imply that once we are saved that God has a job for us.