Q. How do you Christians view fate? So many things are happening in the world right now and we can’t do anything about it. Is it inevitable?
A. First, let’s define our terms. By fate people generally mean “the development of events beyond a person’s control, regarded as determined by a supernatural power.” Furthermore, this power is usually regarded as an impersonal force, which people sometimes call “destiny“, or “karma“.
Second, let’s look at what the Bible has to say. The word “fate” appears in the NASB 9 times in 8 verses:
• Num 16:29 If these men die the death of all men or if they suffer the fate of all men, then the LORD has not sent me.
• Job 18:20 “Those in the west are appalled at his fate, And those in the east are seized with horror.
• Eccle 2:14-15 The wise man’s eyes are in his head, but the fool walks in darkness. And yet I know that one fate befalls them both. Then I said to myself, “As is the fate of the fool, it will also befall me. Why then have I been extremely wise?” So I said to myself, “This too is vanity.”
• Eccle 3:19 For the fate of the sons of men and the fate of beasts is the same. As one dies so dies the other; indeed, they all have the same breath and there is no advantage for man over beast, for all is vanity.
• Eccle 9:2-3 It is the same for all. There is one fate for the righteous and for the wicked; for the good, for the clean and for the unclean; for the man who offers a sacrifice and for the one who does not sacrifice. As the good man is, so is the sinner; as the swearer is, so is the one who is afraid to swear. This is an evil in all that is done under the sun, that there is one fate for all men. Furthermore, the hearts of the sons of men are full of evil and insanity is in their hearts throughout their lives. Afterwards they go to the dead.
• Lk 13:2 And Jesus said to them, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were greater sinners than all other Galileans because they suffered this fate?
Notice the following:
• There is one fate for all men – death. The Bible does not recognize fate in the affairs of men. Whether they are wise or foolish, men or beast, righteous or wicked, good or sinner, clean or unclean, devout or irreligious, all die. In this sense fate as death is inevitable.
• This end result is always in the passive sense, never an active agent in determining the outcome of anything, big or small. The Bible is therefore diametrically opposed to the view that fate is an impersonal force determining people’s destiny. Only God can decide on our “fate”.
In contrast, the Bible teaches that God is sovereign and has plans for our lives, which we call providence:
• Jer 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
• Job 10:12 You gave me life and showed me kindness, and in your providence watched over my spirit.
(To be continued)