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The Angel of Destiny

The Angel of Destiny

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An angel directs our fate, our future, from ‘the Book of Life, written from the foundation of the world.’ (Rev.17. 8 ) All the ancient faiths from around the globe have always agreed on the question of destiny : everything is predestined by the high ordinance of heaven. Que sera sera. What will be, will be.

Men and women have lived quite happily through several millennia believing everything they did was determined by fate. Many hundreds of millions still do. This may sometimes encourage a lazy degree of fatalism (often wiser than an excessive initiative, history might suggest.) Yet it quickly becomes clear if we dream the hours away, our fate will not be the same as if we seize the day. Fate does not affect freewill.

Astrology has always been associated with fate and astrologers may predict the impact of future celestial configurations in general terms. It is really the phenomenon of clairvoyance, almost commonplace in dreams, which proves the rule. If anything can be foreseen, the infinite circumstantial geography of every event implies the entire future is predetermined. If the future is ever foreseen in dreams, it implies our unconscious minds must be deeply aware of these secrets at all times. The power of our Unconscious to keep secrets is not in question.

Fateful Logic
The essence of the idea of fate is the essence of logic, cause and effect. Each moment being what it is, the next moment can only follow accordingly, predictably. However inscrutably to our eyes, however uncomfortably to our ears.

Physicists used to believe in predetermination when they thought they understood the simple mechanics of the physical world. It is not clear how this determinism accounted for the unpredictability of the human mind. Now they have discovered an ultimate sub-atomic subtlety beyond their comprehension and Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle. This subtlety and uncertainty suggest points of contact of the physical world with the metaphysical.

The classic vision of the French astronomer and mathematician, Pierre Simon Laplace, expressed this rather mechanistic idea two centuries ago :

‘An intellect which at a given instant knew all the forces acting in nature, and the position of all things of which the world consists ― supposing the said intellect were vast enough to subject these data to analysis ― would embrace in the same formula the motions of the greatest bodies in the universe and those of the slightest atoms; nothing would be uncertain for it, and the future, like the past, would be present to its eyes.’

This vision, updated to a supercomputer, still holds true for our rather subtler understanding of our world, if we embrace the metaphysical realm, if we embrace the mind of God. It is not impossible, in metaphysical theory, to know everything about everything. To be omniscient. Of course the mind of God itself, the universal Spirit, does enjoy such a comprehensive embrace. Astrology, metaphysics and theology assure us we share in the mind of God, deep in our unconscious minds, deep in our hearts : our own immortal spirit is one with God.

This might be crudely illustrated by the new idea of a quantum computer. The great Blue Mountain supercomputer with 6,144 processors, working in parallel, achieves three trillion calculations per second, using 500 miles of fibre-optic cable and requiring 530 tons of cooling equipment. Theoretically this could be replaced by a quantum computer using just 13 atoms. Atoms are almost Neolithic compared with what the universal Spirit is made of.

The Destiny of Christianity
The learned doctrine and metaphor of the Book of Life goes back to the beginning of the Bible in Exodus (32. 33 ) and although God, with necessary rhetoric, tells Moses he will ‘blot out’ of the book those who have idolised the golden calf, the very idea of the book implies predestination. Otherwise what would be the significance of inscribing any names, rather than waiting to see how people turned out ? The idea of predestination is certainly much clearer in Isaiah (4. 3 ) and particularly Psalm 139 ( 16 ) and when ‘the Book’ appears in Daniel, (12. 1 ) the authoritative New Jerusalem Bible identifies it as the ‘Book of the Predestined’ or the ‘Book of Life.’ The Book of Life has always been associated with predestination by biblical scholars.

Predetermination and the notion of fate is deeply unfashionable today even among Christian circles. Apart from the question of free will, it goes against the grain of our twentieth century pride in achieving the astonishing, the expectation to always be amazing, better than ever, pushing back the frontiers. Our dangerous conceit.

Predestination is very clearly expressed on numerous occasions in the New Testament, quite apart from the principle of prophecy which is fundamental to Christian origins : the prophecy of the Messiah, and to a Christian future with the prophecy of Revelation and the Second Coming.   Apart from references to the Book of Life, the New Testament often refers to ‘the Elect’ or ‘the Chosen’ and these terms go back to the Old Testament where they were applied both to outstanding individuals, Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Aaron, Saul, David, Solomon and David but also to the Chosen People, Israel.

We can readily see this predetermination has proved immensely impressive in the case of Israel which was told it would be ‘a light to the nations’ (Is.42. 6) and, despite being no more than a quaint little cross-roads for the great powers of the day, has come to dominate the western hemisphere of the globe with the message of its Messiah, its Christ.  Yet this special status did not give Israel cause for complacency or conceit.   Quite the reverse.  The accolade of being ‘chosen’ or ‘elected’ by God seems to confer the dubious privilege of being watched particularly closely and receiving especially harsh punishment for any infringement of divine law, for every human failing. Yahweh was indeed ‘a jealous God.’

Karma : Just Fate Forever
This links remarkably closely with the eastern idea of fate, or predetermination : karma. This is absolutely central to spiritual understanding both in Buddhism and Hinduism. Karma conceives our lives as preordained but following a natural law in which virtue is rewarded and evil punished. We always receive our just rewards. This is also called ‘the law of cause and effect.’ It is the same law of absolute logic we found above among western scientists but taken somewhat beyond the logic of Mr Spok. This law factors in the spiritual dimension.

This may take immediate effect, ‘instant karma,’ or it may be postponed to future lifetimes. Karma is inextricably bound to the belief in rebirth, that future lives will be determined by ones past actions.

Essentially good deeds will be rewarded by good results, directly or eventually, and by an increased capacity for further good actions while evil deeds will produce the opposite. We can readily see this natural justice in life and there are many wise aphorisms advising us we will ‘reap what we sow.’ Equally we often recognise that good or evil rewards may be postponed but ‘they will get what’s coming to them one day.’ Karma takes this truth to its logical conclusion, recognising the power of the spirit to record every thought and ensure every seed sown bears its true fruit. Justice never fails and we always learn the lesson we need to make progress, to find our true selves, to find God.

Of course this sense of justice is very much what we ourselves instinctively feel and try to enforce. But when we take on God’s job we often commit greater crimes than any criminal, with the apparent impunity of righteous justice. Forgiveness forgotten, mercy turned to malice. And so we reap as we sow. As it could easily be predicted. As it is written, no doubt, against our names in the Book of Life.

Being Chosen
Like the promise of immortality, the accolade of being ‘chosen,’ ‘the elect,’ has a characteristically exclusive edge : only for the good, the faithful. This partisan favour is easily understandable in the context of ancient times and the centuries that followed. Faith needed to be dramatised in black and white, heaven and hell. Now, in a new age, we are beginning to appreciate life is not quite so simple and is often a question of difficult-to-distinguish shading.

Paul insisted the Christian understanding of the resurrection / reincarnation of the dead (pg.2 Resurrection) extended to “ the upright and the wicked alike.” (Acts 24. 15 ) and so we can all enjoy the assurance of immortality, eternal life. Equally we can recognise the fact of predestination applies to us all.

This is not a matter of some being damned for all eternity, others born to the assurance of eternal salvation. Realistically we can recognise we all share in both these fates to some degree. It is just a question of shading. We all have our faults which will attach to us until we learn to overcome them and we all have our virtues, our saving graces. All in different measures, perhaps, but who can judge ? God alone. Or the Spirit within. And if one pupil is chosen for special attention, special detention, who can say it is not because he or she has some special hidden potential ?

What we might recognise is we have all been chosen for the human adventure, to benefit full measure from the benign vigilance of the universal Spirit, our own immortal, omniscient spirit. We’re all on the same trail, heading for the same gold and we will all make it sooner or later. Perhaps those who expect to arrive sooner may be delayed, some who expect less may find themselves surprised. The usual spiritual paradoxes.

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