Marilynn Robinson

Michael Horton: One person pointed out a comment she heard from one of your talks, “Predestination puts self interest out of the equation and this seems to me to liberate one to act on motive more consitent with Christ’s teaching.” And she went on to say of your statement, “A certain self forgetfulness is the point. Like Calvin, Robinson’s cause may be suggested by the word reverence. Her work brims with a deep reference for life for our own lives for others and finally for the mystery of God whom we cannot fully comprehend but whose unmerited grace towards us is the one fact that abides.” Is that fair?

Marilynn Robinson: I think that’s more than fair. I think that’s lovely. I think it’s true also that, you know, predestination as an idea and you could call it providence if you wanted to look at from another side, that’s something that’s all caught up with time. You know the idea that if time unfold sequentially predestination is one thing. You know because it seems to imply that you can’t never act in a way that isn’t predestined, although frankly that’s not the way that theologians understand it. But if time is something else and we only experience it sequentially, then obviously another kind of thing is being described. Something for which we don’t have a vocabulary. But if you take it that you act not in your own interest, if you take it that you can put questions of heaven and hell basically out of account, and act as you do out of the desire to know God, which is what Calvin would say, then it is entirely another thing. 

I don’t believe I have ever heard predestination described in such a compelling way. Not sure if I am for it, but it struck as an amazing way to speak of the providence of God.

Listen to the rest here. Her final thoughts on what a good book is should also be heard.


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