God's "plan" and what actually happens

But this means that God has no plan for my life. Precisely. He has no "plan" for my life in the sense that he has some idea of what I "ought" to do that is at all different from what I actually do, or which I can discover beforehand and "try to follow." God's "plan" for my life is absolutely identical with his knowledge of my life; and his knowledge of my life is his knowledge of the actual life I live, based on my own free choices, which in his providence, he causes to occur as free and as dependent on me. It is impossible for me not to follow God's "plan" for me, because his eternal knowledge of my life is just exactly whatever I do, not some blueprint of what I "ought" to do.

The Christian must get this straight. God's "plan" is no more something he "would like us to follow" than our knowledge of what a person is doing is a "plan" this person ought to be following. In both cases, it is simply knowing what the facts are. God's knowledge of anything exactly corresponds to what the facts are, because God's knowledge is always true--not because God can't make a mistake, but because his knowledge causes the fact to be what it is.

To put this another way, the usual interpretation of God's "plan" for us is that he knows what is "good" for our lives, whether we follow this or not. But goodness, as I tried to show, is a human way of knowing; it is meaningless when applied to God. God does not think in terms of "goodness" or "badness"; and so for God there can be no "falling short" of his "plan."

To put it still another way, what happens is God's will for the world; but there is no distinction between God's will for the world and what God wants or would like for the world. He actively wants to happen what actually happens, because it is his will that it happen that causes it to happen as it happens.

I stress again that his causing something to happen as it happens does not force it to happen that way. He causes it to happen as it happens; and this is in dependence upon the causes in this world--such that, if they had been different, what happens would have been different. For instance, if I had decided to read during the period I am writing this instead of what I actually decided to do, the words would not at this moment be going on my computer's screen, and in all probability the words that you would be reading would be different from what they really are. God causes me to be writing now as this act exists; and it exists as determined by my decision.

There is a mystery here, which we must not gloss over. My choice is mine and free, but it is also caused (as a finite act) by God; and he has control over it in the sense that if he were not to cause it, it couldn't occur (because it would then contradict itself, and contradictions can't happen). So the choice depends both on me and on God; but it is specified by me.