Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Where Does My Accomplishment End And His Begin?

For whatever the reason, I've been thinking about the nature of God a lot recently but more particularly about the things that we do in our lifetimes. Do we ever accomplish anything by ourselves in our lifetimes or has everything been designed for us to accomplish, by God?
I started on this train of thought as my wife and I have been watching the TV miniseries "John Adams". It is really good and it makes you be amazed at how brilliant many of those men were. However, many people believe the design of our nation to be divinely inspired which would make one question how much those men actually accomplished themselves. When Thomas Jefferson sat down to write the Declaration of Independence, did God put certain thoughts into his head to put on to the paper or were they merely his own thoughts? What about when they wrote the Constitution? Is it too much to say that those already brilliant men felt compelled to start this nation completely without any prompting from God?
I understand that all human beings have choice, but if God designs them in a way where they will choose a certain course of action when the choice presents itself, did they really take that course of action themselves? When I think about this subject, I'm often reminded of one of my favorite movies, The Truman Show. I'm particularly thinking of the end, when Truman is talking to his "Creator" and their conversation takes on a very religious and philosophical context. After learning that everything in his life was a fabrication, Truman, frustrated, asks, "Was nothing real?"
Maybe I'm too proud. I've always kind of been that way, too quick to take credit for certain actions or certain enlightening thoughts. Part of me sometimes just wants to yell out, "I did that! By myself!" completely cutting God out of the accomplishment because his inclusion makes it seem like I didn't do anything at all because I had His help.
Let me try to explain. Say that on Friday, I am going to be given the choice between going to Chili's or Olive Garden for dinner. If I choose Chili's, will I be going there because I actually chose it or because God created me in a way that he KNEW that I would pick Chili's? I guess in a way its a debate between "choice" and "fate" and I'm having a hard time seeing how the two can actually work together like many people believe them to do.
Perhaps it doesn't matter. I suppose even if God did create me so I would say "Yes" or "No" to a certain situation, it is still my choice. In the Truman Show, when Truman asks "Was nothing real?", his "Creator" answers, "YOU were real." And though vain it might be to say it, even if God could potentially take credit for anything we do, since he's not here to dispute it, we'll be fine taking the credit ourselves. :)


Stace-Ghost said...

I think that God does play a role. I think he puts things in front of us and it is our decision what we do with it. I think that God gave you certain talents, and what you decide to do, or not do, with them is your own decision. You have free agency

Delirious said...

I LOVE that mini-series. I don't normally get that channel, but I got it free one weekend and got to see part of it. That is an excellent show!

I think there are many people who are given abilities, and inspiration, who don't follow through with it. There are probably alot of people who could have been a John Adams who didn't live up to it. I think that those men were inspired, but they also had to use their own brain and knowledge. Remember that scripture that talks about men shouldn't have to be commanded in all things, but they are agents unto themselves and the power is in them. God doesn't force us to do anything. Kind of is an awesome responsibility to wonder if I am doing all with my talents and abilties that I should be.

Amber said...

I agree with the other comments, God created us, and God presents certain situations and opportunities to us, and he inspires us, the rest is up to us.

keira said...

I think the Lord's hand in our lives depends on the situation. For example, I don't think the Lord really cares if you go to Chilis or Olive Garden for dinner unless the choice will somehow effect your life, then He will inspire you to make the correct choice, but like we all know, it's up to you to choose correctly. But on the other hand, there are certain things that must happen in this world, such as the creation of the United States, the restoration of the gospel, etc., and someone has to do it, but once again, it is still up to that person to do what they have been prompted to do. If Joseph Smith had never gone to the grove to pray, someone else would have and the gospel would still have been restored.

Inside Stories said...

Keira expressed my thoughts, only better. Keira - when you get feeling better you ought to start up blogging again. I miss reading your blog!