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“Each of us is born into this world with an instinctive desire to find meaning and purpose in our lives…I say, as do all Christian men, that it is a divine purpose that rules, and not fate…Many people have accepted that life must be meaningless on the basis of the secular worldview, but hardly any of them live consistently with that belief. People who believe life has no meaning or purpose and that objective truth is a delusion will actually take on convincing you that it is true that there is no truth or meaning as the purpose that gives meaning to their lives! This is not just ironic. It is also self-contradictory. It is self-referentially absurd. It cannot be true. Such people simply cannot be right.” (Kevin Scherer, Alfred the Great, Donald Williams)

We wonder, “Does evil serve a purpose?” The mistakes we have made, or even the terrible tragedies and catastrophes across our history would seem somehow more acceptable if we could see them playing a role in some later, greater good. Our faith does not reconcile evil with good. Rather, it tells us that good overcomes evil and moves towards its end in a manner that, while not abolishing evil from the story of things, makes the story to be what evil sought to prevent. The story of Joseph in Egypt is a primary example. His brothers’ evil action in selling him as a slave to the Egyptians is “undone” or “overcome” after a fashion. He says to them, “You meant it to me for evil, but the Lord meant it to me for good.” Of course, the Cross is the greatest of such examples. The powers of this world meant it for one thing, but the Lord meant it for His own great goodness – the redemption of all things.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

“… though God is Lord of history, he does not coerce or force obedience and conformity to his will. Coerced conformity is dehumanization, whereas fulfilled humanity - which is the divinization of human life - must be free, since God is free. This raises the question of Divine Providence and Human Responsibility….Christianity holds these two in paradoxical tension: man is responsible and must act, but God accomplishes his will, either with or in spite of man's actions. Ideally, human actions are harmoniously integrated with divine purposes in a perfect synergy of divine and human wills. This belief is but an extension and application of the…doctrine of the divine and human natures in the one person of Jesus Christ. Ethically, this means that we are not permitted simply to wait upon God. Rather, we are committed to the exercise of self-determination and responsibility in conformity with both human reality and divine purpose…” (Rev. Dr. Stanley S. Harakas)

“Of course, we encounter any number of difficulties and hardships, things that seem to work the opposite of our well-being and salvation. Those actions of human freedom are not considered God’s Providence. But even with these things, God’s Providential working makes our well-being and salvation possible, such that St. Paul can say, “For those who love God and are called according to His purpose, all things work together for good.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

“The Nicene Creed begins by defining the divine Father and concludes with our desire to be with Him forever. Here is the ultimate purpose of life. All that happens from birth to death plays a part in our salvation. Here is the true peace that transcends all comprehension. Here is where the believer will uncover the secret joy within the soul. Only Christ can deliver such ecstasy. Here is why Jesus compels us to get beyond mourning and greet the everlasting morning that has no evening.” (Fr. Vladimir Berzonsky)

“God chooses according to His divine purposes. Our task is to pray, believe, and to trust...Our perspective can also become distorted by pride if we fail to recognize that God is working His purposes through us.” (Life Application Study Bible, 2 Corinthians 12:7-8, Isaiah 10:12)

“Since it is not possible for us to see the whole picture from God’s perspective, we must exercise faith and believe that the God of all the earth will do right and that all things do work together for good to those who love God, who are called according to His purpose.” (Foundation Study Bible, Genesis 45:5)

“We are foolish to try to fit God into our mold—to make His plans and purposes conform to ours. Instead, we must strive to fit into His plans…A sincere purpose to please God will result in an alignment of your desires with God’s desires.” (Life Application Study Bible, Isaiah 55:8-9, Psalm 97:10)

“For you will certainly carry out God's purpose, however you act, but it makes a difference to you whether you serve like Judas or like John…You will never find your deepest purpose in life until you find your place in building God’s kingdom.” (C. S. Lewis, Richard Stearns)

“We are sacramental by nature, always seeking meaning and purpose in the things around us. This is one of the things which defines us as human beings…The ultimate purpose of man's existence is to attain the glory of God....The glory of God is both eternal righteousness and eternal life.” (Archpriest Lawrence Cross, Orthodox Study Bible, Romans 3:23)

#ArchpriestLawrenceCross #CSLewis #RichardStearns #OrthodoxStudyBible #LifeApplicationStudyBible #FoundationStudyBible #KevinScherer #AlfredtheGreat #DonaldWilliams #FatherStephenFreeman #RevDrStanleySHarakas #FrVladimirBerzonsky

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