Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Answering a Prayer Meme

I will confess that I generally detest Christian and atheist memes.  More often than not, they misrepresent the view they are usually ridiculing and only serve to take cheap shots at the opposition.

For example, consider the meme pictured in this post regarding prayer.  It would have the reader believe that it is absurd for the believer to pray because, after all, "God has an unalterable and perfect plan for every person...!"  So it seems to follow that there is no point in praying!  You see how dumb those believers are?

Now, I wouldn't be so shocked at this incredibly shallow shot across the bow if it were not for the generally high amount of confidence I hold in the skeptic's ability to come up with creative solutions to apparent problems.  Think about it.  The skeptical community has given us such creative explanations as the multi-verse, punctuated equilibrium and even panspermia!  But when considering how God could use the prayers of a believer to accomplish His own purposes (or "unalterable plan"), the skeptic apparently loses all ability to come up with a creative solution to the apparent problem.

In truth, this is not a problem at all and with a little bit of critical thinking, this supposed absurdity evaporates.

As theologian and philosopher Norman L. Geisler explains, God has ordained our prayers as a way to accomplish His purposes:

“God is omniscient…and an all knowing Being cannot change His mind. If He does, He is not really all-knowing. Therefore, God cannot change His mind in answer to prayer. When we pray (or have prayed), God not only knew what we were going to pray, but He ordained our prayer as a means of accomplishing His purpose."1

So in the same way God includes us in His plan to reach a lost world, God uses our prayers to accomplish His purposes. God not only supplies the end, but He also ordains the means and in the case of our communication with God, He has ordained our prayers as a way to accomplish His purposes. This means that the prayers of the believer truly do have meaning.

Now, someone could object and say, “But doesn’t that make God dependent upon our prayers?" No. No more than it makes God dependent upon us for the gospel to be shared to the ends of the earth. God has chosen to include us and our prayers in His plan of redemption, but He did not have to.

So, this meme, like so many others, serves to only misrepresent the position of an informed believer and demonstrates the skeptic's unwillingness to consider possible solutions to an apparent theological problem. Perhaps their time would be better well spent making substantive arguments instead of memes. I'm grateful for those who do.

Courage and Godspeed,

1. Norman Geisler, Systematic Theology, Vol. 2, God/Creation.

No comments: