Does faith in the personal God of Scripture make sense if we acknowledge that we do not have free will? This blog presupposes that we don’t have free will, but argues that far from being a source of anxiety or even a death sentence for faith, our lack of free will may actually be the central point of Scripture and essential to our inherent human dignity.
Bread of Life
said to the Jewish crowds:
"I am the living bread that came down from heaven;
whoever eats this bread will live forever;
and the bread that I will give
is my flesh for the life of the world."
appears as a prominent symbol throughout Scripture. God provides, on a daily basis, manna to the Israelites
as they journey from slavery in Egypt to the Promised Land. Elisha used twenty
loaves of barley bread to feed one hundred men (2 Kings 4:42). Jesus would feed
five thousand men (and an indeterminate number of women and children) with just
five loaves* and produce twelve baskets of left overs (John 6:1; Luke 9:10;
Matt 14:13; Mark 6:34). In the Gospels
of Mark and Matthew, Jesus performs the miracle a second time, multiplying seven
loaves to feed four thousand with seven baskets of left overs. In this Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus refers to
himself as bread, and it echoes Jesus’s breaking of the bread at the Last
Supper in the other three Gospels.
falling from heaven to satisfy all; bread multiplied to feed an improbable multitude
with more left over than the original amount; the Incarnation of God referring
to himself as bread that dissipates hunger and even death. These are all symbols of immense divine abundance.
human economy treats everything of value as scarce and requiring fair and
equitable distribution - the first in good behavior will be the first in line. The overarching
message of Scripture is that God’s economy is different. That which is most valuable is available to
all with even more left over. There is no
need to judge amongst ourselves who is deserving or not deserving, because we
will all get more than we need - the first shall be last, and the last shall be first. But like the vineyard workers, the prodigal
son’s brother, even Jonah – we don’t immediately understand God’s economy and actively dislike