Theme: God, plans and the gift of choice
Bible refs: Jeremiah 29 v 11; Genesis 2 vv 18-20
Location of clip: 14 min 5 secs to 15 mins and 20 secs
It is 2054 in Washington DC – and all crime has been eradicated because of the pre-crime department. The pre-crime lads have the technology to foresee crimes before they actually happen and so are able to arrest the criminals for “future crime” before they do any damage. A law enforcement version of prophecy.
However, one of the cops working in the department foresees himself committing murder. Now he must work to find out why this is predicted and how he can clear his name.
This is the advert for pre-crime. So far it has been an experiment in Washington DC – now there’s a push to make this system nationwide. This advert encourages the people to vote yes to national pre-crime – thereby setting in place a system for preventing crime before it ever happens. In just one month the level of crime in the city was reduced by 90%, thousands of lives have been saved from harm.
Prophecy is a strange thing. Much Biblical prophecy predicts events that will often not happen in the prophet’s lifetime. Biblical prophets often foretell a future they will not see. Not always so today. A good deal of church prophecy is of an immediate nature. It’s speaking out issues and situations that are current. Images and analogies are used, very much the same as in the Bible. But the issues addressed tend to be personal rather than national or global.
And what of the future – is it all mapped out? Is it fixed or changeable?
I don’t want to waste energy getting into the predestination thing – all I know is that Biblically we have two arguments. It’s clear that Moses, Abraham, Jonah and others changed God’s mind – and therefore his plans. It’s also clear that Jesus was amazed at times – so did not see all the future before it happened.
However other verses point to the fact that God has plans for us. Jeremiah 29, Psalm 139. Do these conflict? Well, it depends how you view the subject of plans. I have plans for my daughter. I plan for her to have a good, happy life. To have enough money, good relationships, a satisfying career. Those are my plans for her – the small print is unclear, and if she should take a different path – then I’ll adjust. The stories told of a worship leader who was agonising in prayer about picking the right songs for a service. He wanted to know God’s plans on the matter. As he prayed he senses God was saying – “I like ‘em all – you decide.”
I think we have the gift of choice because often God loves to see how we will use it.
The moment God handed the planet to Adam and Eve he relinquished total control. In my limited understanding it seems to me that the future’s there for us – choices and all.
One other thought on the gift of freewill. Sometimes it seems as if we view it as a negative thing, I guess because in Genesis it led to the downfall of Adam and Eve. But I believe it is one of God’s greatest gifts to us. I delight in seeing my daughter make decisions and choices, I think God often does the same. He loves to see us develop and learn and explore with this freewill gift we have, and yes, of course we’ll make mistakes, but that’s often how people learn. It’s certainly how Peter, one of Jesus’s closest friends, learnt in the gospel stories. I struggle with this, and need reminding often that I’m not only allowed to make my own choices, I’m encouraged to do it. Not at all easy because in my head I get all tied up with trying to work out the ‘right’ answer, the ‘right’ choices, the ‘right’ future.
1. We often talk about God being in control – but surely when he handed the planet over to Adam and Eve he was letting go of control. Allowing people to be part of the decision making, standing back and waiting to be invited in perhaps. In Genesis chapter 2 we find that it was Adam’s job to choose names for the animals. He could decide for himself what to call them. What do you think of this?
2. It’s often said that you can only steer a moving ship – i.e. God can’t guide you unless you are moving in some direction. Do you ever find yourself stuck – fearful to move forward in case you make the wrong move?
3. Have you ever felt that God has given you prophetic messages or pictures for yourself or others?
4. Some people find the supernatural side of prophecy frightening or overwhelming. It’s also requires discernment as it can be misused. What do you think?
5. Did the clip make you think about anything else?