At times I read near-death experiences or NDEs as they are called by some people.
Today I was at the website of IANDS, which is iands.org. There is the alleged NDE of a person who apparently tried to kill himself. I am calling this NDE #1185, because that is the number in the url of the page at iands.org which tells the story of this alleged NDE.
So, this person allegedly had tried to kill himself and God tells him or communicates to him the following: God wanted him to go back to earth; God would respect his decision either way; God has plans for him and wants him to fulfill his destiny.
Now, if it had been me who heard God say such things, my questions would be: 1) what reward, if any, does God offer to me for going back to earth to live? and 2) what are the odds (and what is the likelihood) that I would actually fulfill what God believes to be my destiny if I returns to earth to live as God claims He wants–or as was believed by this man that God wanted for this man’s life? Those are my questions and I have some other questions also!
In the Bible, when God calls people to do a thing, God at times makes them promises. Often the promises are of success or protection, but sometimes the promises are promises of a reward.
I am not sure if I should be so difficult, but what reward does God offer, if any, for doing this thing that God claims to want of this man with NDE #1185? Is that a reasonable question to ask? It is upsetting to God to be asking what reward He, God, offers to me or to any man for engaging in what seems to be the risky behavior of living on earth?
Now that I have started to ask about the odds of failure, should I guess that God will abstain from speaking to me of having a destiny? Once I or you realize that there are odds involved and that achieving a destiny is not guaranteed and we should ask about the likelihood of success, does God abstain from using the word destiny or even the word promise to us, because now we realize that “our” alleged destiny and any promises God might give us are actually quite uncertain? Or, is our destiny and the fulfillment of all God’s promises perfectly certain? What if we don’t meet some conditions God has? What if we don’t pray enough or pray in the right way? Are God’s promises dependent on our praying enough or praying in the right way?
If the reward God is offering is accomplishing my destiny or the destiny of this man, is that something that is certain or accomplishing the destiny merely and actually an unreasonable possibility? What are the odds of his destiny actually being accomplished? What are the odds of my destiny actually being accomplished? Are the odds good or bad? Is it sacrilegious to speak of the odds of someone’s destiny which has been given to them by God in fact being done? When God speaks of a destiny for someone to accomplish or to do, are there odds it will not be accomplished? What are the odds of the failure of one’s destiny to be done?
I don’t mean to be difficult, but are there odds involved in such cases when God’s speaks of a person having a destiny to fulfill? If not, why does God intervene by encouraging the man to return to earth, presumably to fulfill his destiny?
In one of the Star Trek movies, Kirk and Spock have done on a journey to see a being some believe to be God and the being wants their starship. Kirk then says, “Excuse me. Excuse me; I would just like to ask a question. What does God need with a starship?”
And the being who is believed by Spock’s brother to be God then gets very angry!
And, if some people have a destiny, what are the odds it will be fulfilled? If there are odds to be considered, is the use of the word destiny proper?
If God says you or I or some man has a destiny that He God wants you or I or some man to fulfill, is it impious of me to ask if the odds are bad of fulfilling it? Just, what are the odds, if I may ask? If the odds of success are poor or the grief involved in trying but not fulfilling one’s destiny is great, then, is it wise to embark on the mission of trying to fulfill one’s destiny? Is it better to abstain? What if the odds of fulfilling your destiny are good but not certain and there is great and overwhelming grief which comes to you if you try and do not fulfill your destiny? Is it better to abstain to avoid the risk of the grief?
In the movie the Empire Strikes back, one of the humanoid robots says, “Sir, the odds of surviving a direct assault upon an Imperial Star Destroyer are . . .” and he is cut off by Leia, who says to him, “Shut up.”
In the movie Rogue One, a star wars story, there is one time that k-2so the robot says that there is a 97.6% chance of failure of their action. Is it like God to propose to us to do things that have a strong likelihood of failure? Should we wait instead until God promises us success in our endeavor, as God allegedly promised to Moses, Joshua, Gideon and Peter? If God asks you to do a thing and God does also not promise success, should you or I assume that the thing we do will succeed?
There are mistress you can see who will give you an impossible task and you try to do this thing and you fail and then they punish you and it is their fun thing to do. Does God ever instructs people to do a thing that won’t be done or won’t work out? I don’t know. I would hope not, but if God has a mind to afflict and torment you, then, one way to do it is to encourage you to do something that is not possible or won’t work out.
What are the odds of a destiny not being fulfilled and what goes wrong for us if the destiny is not done? The Bible has some verses about people going to hell and other verses about people being cursed by God. What about people who have bad luck or those don’t try hard enough or those who don’t know how to pray in such a way as to accomplish their destiny? Do they find that the bad consequence is that they are cursed by God or put in hell as a result? Should that be a deterrent to some people if they are considering trying to make God happy by accomplishing a destiny God says He has given to them?
Was it the destiny of King Saul to rule Israel well and in happiness or to die in defeat and shame while having made the way for someone else to rule? Does everyone have a destiny or is it just some people? Presumably David the king had a great destiny, but does that mean that Saul did not have the destiny of being king with a life of blessing? Do we say that Saul did not accomplish his destiny?
We have the stories of the Pharaoh of the Exodus, of King Saul and of Gehazi and of Judas. These are men who died in defeat or shame or who were cursed in various ways by God. Was it their destiny to be cursed and then die? Did they have a favorable and blessed destiny which they did not accomplish? If they had a blessed destiny which they did not accomplish, then, there are some people who do not accomplish their destiny. Correct?
Either their destiny looks bad or some people have a blessed destiny which they do not acccomplish or a lot of people have no particular destiny at all. At least so it seems to me.
Was it the destiny of Pharaoh to repent quickly and let the children of Israel go and the Pharaoh of the Exodus failed to accomplish that destiny? Or, was his destiny to do repeatedly rebel against God, be cursed repeatedly and have God go on a deadly angry rampage against the people of Egypt under his rule?
What penalty or grief does God or the universe impose on those who live and do not accomplish their destiny?
When a man reports a message from God as this man does in NDE #1185, then, we kind of tend to assume that there is a reward for doing what God wants and that the reward includes one’s destiny or results from accomplishing one’s destiny. But the Bible somewhat implies that there are men who both live and who don’t accomplish their destiny . . . or they presumably have no blessed destiny . . . and/or their destiny is shame, cursing and death.
In the movie the Empire Strikes Back, Vader implies to Luke that it is his destiny to rule the galaxy with Vader. In Return of the Jedi, the Emperor implies that Luke’s destiny is to turn to the dark side by attacking him in anger and hatred. A few minutes later, Vader speaks to Luke of meeting his destiny by dying and we see that Vader and maybe the Emperor have now changed their views on Luke’s destiny–but is there any such thing as an actual God-given destiny for us?
So, these are questions I would ask about the message this man says he heard from God about his returning to life on earth or not.
I saw the movie Gold today. There is the lead character played by Matthew McConnaughey. He has helped create a gold mining scheme which is actually a fraud. We don’t really know for sure if the character fully knows it is a fraud, but he betrays dozens of people, including a woman who had been his girlfriend. In fact, he has betrayed hundreds of people and there is $17 million or $17 billion dollars which is lost. Of course, $17 billion is an interesting number for the movie, because it is also the amount that Iraq says that United States owes it for stealing oil revenues from Iraq in the last 15 years. Now, I am not sure if the character of Matthew McConnaughey has helped people lose $17 million or $17 billion!
After there is a breakup of the character played by McConnaughey and the girlfriend, at one point the McConnaughey character knocks on her door. He says, “May I come in?” Of course, this is a funny question for a man who is her lover and the character played by McConnaughey has been her lover. Of course, since he had betrayed and failed her, and since he had betrayed and failed others, it is now a reasonable question for him to have to ask. Maybe she does not want him around and perhaps she has good reason!
And, in the movie, this woman does let him in again. But it seems to me that the questions are there for the woman, “What reward, if any, does this man offer me?” and, “Is this man about to betray me again in some new way?”
From 1996 to 2010, there were about six people who gave me what they said were messages from God to me. Now, one of them has written she would not use the phrase, “a message from God.” She merely said or says that she had a strong feeling in her spirit . . . and another of them gave me a message, without using the exact words, “message from God,” but with the implication that this was a message from God. She in fact had this ministry of praying for people for healing and she claimed that in 75% of her times of prayer for people, she felt or was led to give them messages of promises or prophecies or instructions or counsel.
And the implication of one or more of these messages was that God wanted something from me or for me. Now, as seems to be normal for me what God wanted was not done . . . or so it seems. (Whether this is normal for many other people I do not know.) Of course, perhaps God wanted nothing at all or nothing in particular and perhaps the messages which implied God wanted something were wrong!
Some people believe that whatever happens to us and whatever we do is what God wanted and there is no destiny to speak of for anyone, other than, what turns out anyway. Of course, one could believe that whatever happens is what God wanted beforehand and that God does not want anything without it happening as a result, but I don’t know that to be true. Maybe it is true, but it is not clearly and obviously true. At least, it is not obvious to me. Maybe it is true, but it is not that I know it to be true at this time.
So, some questions I have are, “Is God loving of all people and good to all?” and “Does God help people accomplish what He wants?” I don’t know, but it looks like God is pretty sleepy and does not. If God helps some people accomplish their destiny, it appears that it is only a few people–perhaps one in several thousand. Is it more likely that you will win the lottery than that God will help you accomplish your destiny? I don’t know . . . does winning $100 count as winning the lottery? Do you have to win several million to be considered as winning the lottery? I think there are some games in which you play the lottery and you win $2.
Do you personally or do I personally have a destiny?
Maybe God would help a lot of people accomplish a destiny, or maybe there is no destiny at all for many people to accomplish other than what seem to be the ordinary affairs of life: eating, sleeping, work, sex, raising kids, sickness, injury and death and learning some things along the way.
If your destiny is to deliver pizzas for domino’s pizza and you already are delivering the domino’s pizzas, then, God has helped you accomplish your destiny. Is that right? I suppose. Should we want and desire more than to deliver pizzas for dominos? Does it matter? Should we be content with whatever work we have? Paul says, I have learned, in whatever situation I am in, to be content. That is Philippians 4:11.
Paul says he was happy being content either with having food or while starving and in want; one question I have is, should we also be content with accomplishing our destiny or not accomplishing it? Do we even have a destiny that we should worry about? Do each of us have a destiny we should desire to be accomplished? Is it some of us? Is it a handful of us? Is it one in 10000 of us who has a destiny? Who says, if I may ask? If I am supposed to worry about an unknown destiny or desire it to be accomplished, how does that fit together with being content and not worrying? That is also something we are also supposed to do, at least if we go by what the Bible says.
I said that between 1996 and 2010 there were six people who gave me messages they said were from God which did not come to pass as best I can determine. Some years before that I was LDS or Mormon. I had a Mormon friend who also, at the time, gave me some prophecies or messages he said were from God and these messages also did not come to pass.
This friend believed that knowing and finding God was a bit like a person getting through a brick wall. An ordinary person may have no idea if there is anything valuable on the other side of the wall. This friend of mine believed that another person might paint a picture of life with God as being so attractive and so valuable that “you” or I would spend a lot of effort to get through the wall to find God.
In other words, an ordinary person must intentionally become or be made discontent with his life in order to find God. Paul says that he has learned in all things to be content and this Mormon friend of mine said I want to make you very discontent with your life. Your life is nothing or worthless or you should regard your life as worthless and nothing compared to life with God which you don’t now have and which you should seek by attempting to get through what amounts to this brick wall.
I knew another person who claimed that the people who don’t know God are merely like those who don’t desire air because they are drowning and about to die due to lack of the air. In other words, he was promoting discontent and psychological disturbance as the way of finding God.
So, if we die and God says you or I or we should have had more discontent, do we reply that Paul says to rejoice always and give thanks in all things? If you or I or we die and God says that we should have been happier in life and found pleasure and joy in the small things available to us, do we reply that Paul says we should have been coveting some spiritual gifts instead?
Are we supposed to both covet things we do not have and which God may never give to us and also to be quite happy with our lot in life? Is coveting a gift you do not have and wanting to be happy going to create a conflict? I could be dumb but it kind of looks to me like there is going to be a conflict. You perhaps can be happy and you can perhaps earnestly covet gifts you do not have. I am not sure if you can do both at the same time!
I read widely and there have been studies of the psychological state and tendency of believers in certain churches. There are a number of churches and strains of religious thought which inculcate depression as measured by the psychologists.
Anyway, supposedly, finding God is like finding a great treasure. Based on the great treasure that finding God would be like, a person will sacrifice time and effort to find God. Now, I am not saying that finding God or God’s helping you is not valuable.
Now, is finding a great treasure what seeking and finding God is like? I don’t know. What is there to be found? I somewhat think that preaching like this will induce a certain unhappiness. Am I wrong? In my case, at least, the teaching led to my discouragement and I prayed to die and wished to die for months and years. Now my question would be, What is so valuable about knowing God? Maybe knowing God is valuable . . . I don’t know. How would I know? What does God do for people who know God that God does not do for others, if anything in particular? I’ve had some people tell me what they thought God was so great at doing and it does not seem as if God does a lot of the things they have said, in either my life or their lives.
God is great but God just does not do a lot, in general, or so it seems. God is great but God is really great when you realize that it is ok for God to do very little other than what happens naturally . . . and so God really was also great when you did not know God anyway . . . and why would someone bother getting to know God who seems to act about the same for those who know God and those who do not? I do not know.
Paul says to Christians that they should covet the best gifts, I Cor 12:31; I Cor 14:1, 5, 39. So, you and I, if we are Christian, are supposed to be content and happy, and we are also supposed to covet and pray for good spiritual gifts. Is this because your life is not very good without them? If you lack a spiritual gift which you want and it grieves you that you lack it, how are you also to rejoice always? Do you rejoice that you are grieving? Paul also says, “Rejoice, and again, I say rejoice.” Philippians 4:4. Is being happy and content inconsistent with coveting a spiritual gift you do not have, one which may be illusive? Is it or is it not?
Is God telling us to be happy and content with our lives or to be unhappy about the absence of God’s healing and God’s help in any obvious ways and the absence of spiritual gifts?
I read a story once of a woman who earnestly and repeatedly prayed for the gift of healing and was later told by God or Jesus that that would not be a good thing for her to have and would destroy her.
Are there spiritual gifts which would injure or destroy you or I as God or Jesus reportedly said to this woman about the gift of healing in her life?
Maybe the destiny of most people is simply to live on the earth, go to the opera and the symphony, get married, have kids and die. If so, then, we could say that God helps people accomplish their destiny and God has done so simply by having them be born and there being a place to live where there is the opera, the symphony and a woman whom one can marry and with whom one has kids.
At least, in the lives of some people, it appears to me that God is sleepy and does little or nothing to help them accomplish their destiny, unless by destiny we mean living on the earth, eating, sleeping, having sex, reading the news, doing some right and some wrong, being cursed and frustrated or finding a pretty sunset or appreciating the colors of a bird and then dying.
Of course, not everybody is frustrated in life. Some people are content and they are content, seemingly without God acting much on their behalf or their accomplishing some destiny they have from God. A lot of Buddhists seem happy. A lot of Buddhists are happy. Some people are Buddhists and some people are Stoic and they are strongly and deeply reconciled to the fact that the world is what it is, as it is. Perhaps they or a loved one is sick, injured or dying. Maybe someone has lost a love relationship, been paralyzed in an accident or run for President and lost. Well, “what will be, will be,” as the song says. Que sera, sera as Doris Day sang many years ago. Right or wrong?
Do we say that some people have a destiny of believing in Jesus, and that God helps them believe by doing one or several miracles to show them that Jesus is paying attention, but that, other than believing in God and/or Jesus, nearly all people have no particular destiny?
If God has or had a destiny for my life, I am unaware as to what it is! And I am not aware of whatever God has done to cause the fulfillment of that destiny, other than placing me on the earth in a given family with certain friends. Does God have a destiny for some people which never turns out?
Does God have a destiny for some people and God takes little or no action to see it accomplished? I don’t know. The Bible seems to be a story of a handful of men with what seems to be a destiny, but having a divine destiny which is also a good and blessed destiny does not seem to be the story of everybody. What about the people who don’t have a God-given destiny or the ones for whom God is not doing much to bring about that destiny? Or, do we just assume that everybody accomplishes their destiny, no matter how and why they live and how and why they die?
Maybe some people have a God-given destiny and God is at work to help the destiny be brought about and others do not have such a destiny. I would hope then that God does not expect much from those who did not have a destiny. Perhaps they are quite unlike the man with nde #1185; who would expect their lives to accomplish much in the eternal scheme of things?
So, should we worry about anyone’s death, injury or affliction, or failure to accomplish their destiny, if any such destiny exists? Is it, “What will be, will be?” Or, isn’t it? How would you or I know?
Now, maybe there is nothing in particular that God wants and so it is just normal on the part of God to do little or nothing to help or to cause people to accomplish their destiny or what God wants. If God wants nothing in particular, then, sure, God’s doing little or nothing to accomplish that nothing in particular would seem to be pretty normal. God accomplishes what God wants simply by virtue of their being an earth and our being born, breathing, our going to work, having elections for president, having kids, getting into car accidents and dying, being sick or injured at times, reading or not reading the Bible, doing or not doing what it says, doing or not doing everything God wants in every way.
In the movie The Edge of Seventeen there is a teenage girl who wants several dumb things. She wants them but she really only kind of wants them; she is not sure if she wants them; she is not fully resolved; she is frustrated by not getting what she wants and then she finally comes to see that she has been wanting pointless things. She gives up wanting pointless and dumb things and accepts a few small gifts and she now seems to be, in fact, happier than she was at the start of the movie.
And in our lives there are things we do want or at least that some of us might want. Are those things things we should want, or are they vain and pointless, such as the things desired by Nadine in the movie the edge of Seventeen?
Does God have a destiny for each of us, as the man in NDE 1185 said God said he had? Or, does God have a destiny for a handful of us and not all of us? If it is only a handful of us that have a destiny that God have for us, which ones of us are the ones of the handful which have a destiny? Should we desire the accomplishment an alleged God-given destiny? Is it enough for us that God desires that we accomplish our destiny? Is our destiny nothing in particular other than to live, eat, sleep, work and die of sickness, injury or old age and along the way, experience some moments of joy, sorrow and learn a few ideas about good and bad?
So, if you by chance have or believe you have answers to several of these questions, what are your answers? And, are your answers consistent with what the Bible says or inconsistent, and why should anyone believe your answers? Is the teaching of the Bible itself on these questions consistent or inconsistent? Should you or I desire a destiny to be done or just assume that it will be or that we have no particular destiny at all other than to work, eat, sleep live and die and learn a few items maybe?
If someone says you have a destiny which you should fulfill, why should you believe that person, if I may ask? What actions should you take to fulfill your destiny? Should you adopt an approach to life that sacrifices happiness in order to have your destiny be done? Or, do you retain happiness but do something else that leads to accomplishing your destiny?
If someone says that your destiny is to be healed and rich or to be healthy and rich, is that usually correct? Or, do we simply say that everyone who goes to heaven will be healed there, and no one has a particular destiny on earth to be healed or not or to be rich or not or to have enough money to pay for normal things or not, and also pay their taxes and debts?