On an earlier thread, Manus, Toad, and Mr Badger have been debating the question of whether we can talk about God having or not having a plan.
I think this is really the same thing as the question of whether there is a dichotomy between ‘free will’ and ‘predestination’. To me, it seems that this dichotomy is more apparent than real, and comes down to the difficulty we have with envisaging an eternal now that also (in some way that we cannot quite grasp) includes action and reaction, motive and consequence. An analogy would be describing the image on a coin – your description will depend on which face you see. Yet there is still only one coin.
Here’s my attempt to rewrite (presumptuous, I know) the first two paragraphs of the Pope’s Christus Rex message in the language of the eternal now:
It is obvious when you read Exodus, Deuteronomy, and Leviticus that God’s template for Israel does not include a kingdom. The kingdom is, in fact, a result of Israel’s rebellion against his prophets, a defection from the design given to Moses. The design is for the law to be Israel’s king, and, through the law, God himself…But Israel is jealous of the neighboring peoples with their powerful kings…God gives them a king as they demand in their obstinacy – but a new kind of king. The son of David, the King, is Jesus; in him God enters humanity and espouses it to himself.
If we look closely, we shall discover that this is, in fact, the usual form of the divine activity in relation to mankind. God does not demand that we conform ourselves to a fixed plan; on the contrary, he has many different ways of finding man and even of turning his wrong ways into the right ways. We can see that, for instance, in the case of Adam, whose fault becomes a happy fault, and we see it again in all the twisted ways of history.