Is There Such A Thing As Fate?
Speaker: Dr. Harold J. Sala | Series: Guidelines For Living | And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
Is there such a thing as fate, or is fate simply the whipping-boy of human experience, a catch-all for what we cannot explain? The Mirriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary defines fate as “that which remains destined to happen.” Our English word comes from the Latin fatum which meant something ordained from the gods. It grew out of a story from Greek mythology which involves three goddesses. The first, Clotho, or the Spinner, was supposed to weave the thread of life while the second, Lachesis, or the Disposer of Lots, determined the length of the thread. It was the third in the trilogy, Atrophos, or the Inflexible One, who allegedly cut the thread of life causing fate to strike its sinister blow.
Today it is common for people to blame fate for all kinds of things over which we have no control, whether it is a bolt of lightning or the assassination of a world leader. Is there such a thing as fate or chance? If there is a sovereign God who directs in the affairs of mankind, fate is not a viable option.
The Bible, and in particular the writings of the New Testament, tells us that God intervenes in the affairs of humanity, that all history is moving towards a fixed point of reference when time is absorbed by eternity and life as we know it comes to an end. But what of our personal affairs? How emphatic is God’s intervention in the everyday affairs of life and living?
First, the New Testament says it is not Atropos or fate who cuts the thread of life. Hebrews 9:27 (KJV) says, “It is appointed unto man once to die, but after this the judgment.” Paul addressed the issue of fate for the child of God when he wrote to believers at Ephesus saying that God ” works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will,” (Ephesians 1:11). The book of Romans says very clearly there is no fate for the child of God who walks according to his Father’s will. Remember the comforting words, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
Sounds good, right? But does it translate into life when things go wrong? Is God likewise responsible for wrong things as well? When something happens which doesn’t quite fit into the scheme of things as I think it should, I ask three questions:
Question #1: “Is Satan opposing me?” And there are times when clearly he has hindered the work of God. If Satan hindered Paul from coming to the Thessalonians when he wanted to do so, why shouldn’t he be able to hinder us today?
Question #2: Has God allowed this difficulty as discipline in my life to bring me back into his will?” (Please make a note of Proverbs 3 and Hebrews 12, which tell us it is because God loves us that He disciplines us just as a father does his children.)
Question #3: “Is this simply a combination of circumstances which are the result of the fact that Satan has cursed our Earth, for which there isn’t any particular deep spiritual significance—say, a flat tire or an appliance which has worn out?” Naturally these irritations try our patience, but I can’t really see the intervention of either God or the devil in some things, though God can use everything to shape us and bring our lives into conformity with His plan.
How did you answer that question, “Is there such a thing as fate?” For God’s children, the will of the Father rules out chance, fate, or even luck. That’s a fact.
Resource reading: Romans 8:19-39