Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Prayer and Authority (2) God's Will is Best

Yesterday I posted about the futility of changing God's mind.

A possible exception is Abraham arguing with the angels about Sodom in Genesis 18. God seemed to give into Abraham’s persuasion by agreeing not to destroy Sodom, if there were ten righteous men in it. However, it is not clear that God did change his mind. Sodom was still destroyed, although the angels saved Lot and his family. It is possible that God agreed with Abraham, because he knew that there were not ten righteous men in Sodom. God did not change his mind, rather Abraham was persuaded to agree with the justice of God’s action against Sodom. Their may be some debate about this interpretation, but anyway this incident does not give me much confidence that I can change God’s mind.

The truth is that we should not want to change God’s mind. His will is good. He only wants what is best for us, so a sensible person will not want anything that is not God’s will. Something that he does not want to do can only lead to second best. We get the best by seeking God’s will, so we do not need to change his mind.

Praying to change God’s mind is generally a waste of time. This does not mean that prayer is a waste of time, because prayer is about assigning authority, not about persuading God to act. To understand the purpose of prayer, we must understand the way that authority works in this world, and to understand that we must go right back to the beginning, but that will have to wait until tomorrow.


william said...

What about the account of King Hezekiah. He was told to set his house in order and was told he was going to die. He prayed and God granted him additional years. Was this part of God's plan which led to the Babylonian captivity or was God's will changed (Hezekiah made some bad choices after this)?

Blessed Economist said...

You could be right about Hezekiah. There are a few exceptions, but not enough to encourage me to have a go.

Perhaps Hezekiah illustrates my second argument, that changing God's mind would lead to second best.