Divine Nescience of Future Contingencies a Necessity
By L. D. McCabe, D.D., LL.D.
Divine Nescience of Future Contingencies is Necessary to the Impression that Ought to be Made on the Mind of a Probationer for Eternity.
IF my endless future be now pending, the most impressive view of my responsibility that possibly can be taken ought to be presented for my calm consideration. That view of my case which can most thoroughly arouse and inspire me to put forth volitional energy to escape a sad and to win a bright destiny, is my inalienable birthright as a probationer for eternity, accountable at the bar of the universe.
Suppose your dying at nightfall is an event dependent upon your own will, and that you believe that it is now certain in the divine mind whether you will or will not die at nightfall. Can this belief that the event is already a certainty in tire mind of God fail to lessen the definiteness and energy, of your volitions? Will it not depress the energies of your freedom? If it does not, then no conceivable belief can exert any detrimental and enervating influence upon your determinations. It would, therefore, be a matter of no moment at all what opinions men are taught, advocate or embrace. And, upon this supposition, St. Paul's great tenacity for sound doctrines, so frequently expressed, was wholly uncalled-for, if not unjustifiable.
But, on the other hand, suppose it is now uncertain in the divine mind whether you will or will not die at nightfall, that it is an event lying wholly within the purview of your own freedom, will not the belief that with God the event is now uncertain nerve your will-power to determine against dying at nightfall, and to translate your resolution into history? To this question reason can return but a single response. Belief in the present certainty of a future event always enervates, or more or less weakens the will which is to be the sole author of that event. The uncertainty of a future event most powerfully arouses and animates the autocrat of the soul to meet his greatest requirement and to realize his greatest fruition. This is the testimony of uniform consciousness.
Divine nescience of contingencies is necessary to give validity to our religious consciousness. It is necessary to a full conception of the true greatness of the human soul, and to a complete idea of its personal responsibility for unending results. It is necessary to the highest inspiration of which we are susceptible, and to the completest unfolding of the fathomless resources and capacities of our moral freedom. Divine nescience of future contingencies takes human choices out of foreordination, out of fatality, out of constraint, out of the enervating influences of foreknowledge, and out of all metaphysical mysteries, and places them just where they really and rightfully belong, in free originative capacity of a responsible man. And to this view, this presentation of the case, the human soul, as an accountable agent, has an inalienable birthright, founded in the profundities of eternal justice. The theologies of the world have, however, shriveled into insignificance and paralyzed into imbecility the stupendous capacities of human liberty. They have not only slandered the Almighty, but they palsied humanity. Prescience hides from the probationer the profoundest and most moving views of his own capacities, and to these views he has blood-bought claims, bought on the cross by his adorable Redeemer.