The Love that Overwhelms Us
In The Bondage of the Will, Luther notes that ‘necessity’ is an unfortunate term in describing the alternative to contingency. “Its meaning is too harsh and foreign to the subject; for it suggests some sort of compulsion, and something that is against one’s will, which is no part of the view under debate.” He goes on to use it, having no alternative on hand, but I appreciate the recognition of its deficiency. I’m not sure I have any better suggestions, but I agree with Luther completely here. When discussing foreordination and foreknowledge, no freedom is displaced or intruded upon; rather the sovereign will of God works in a mysterious and wonderful way upholding, enlivening and directing every last detail of the universe. We are not oppressed or coerced into the path that God would have us take. If any oppression or coercion is taking place it is solely as a result of our own freedom and will. We are only inhibited by our own nature. God does sometimes directly interfere in what we might call the ‘miraculous’, but the usual miraculous (if we dare call it usual) is a result of the constant joy overflowing the Trinitarian fellowship. The world is won over to God by His love. It’s the sovereign grace of God that compels all things, the dance and song of the Triune fellowship that invites the world to follow the path laid out for it before the foundation of the world. It is no faceless necessity that binds us to the God of heaven. Like the perfect lover that He is, it’s the rich and (seemingly) careless love of the Trinity that wins every detail of the universe. And thus the vast galaxies and every last stray atom sing his unending praises because we are all deeply smitten.