June 30, 2021

God knows all things, but he still leaves us with freedom. How can God influence you and still leave you free? Well, consider various kinds of influences. First, turn a key in the door. There is the impact of something material on something material and the result is the opening of a door. That is one kind of influence; the influence of a material thing on another material thing. But there is still another kind of influence. In the springtime you plant a seed in the garden. The sun, the moisture, the atmosphere, the chemicals in the earth all begin to influence that seed. It certainly is not the same kind of action as turning a piece of steel in a lock.  There are tremendous capacities for growth in that seed, and what most awakens the seed to growth is something invisible, namely, the rays of the sun. Now go a stage higher. Consider the case of a father talking to his son, trying to influence him, for example, to become a doctor. What actually influences the son is some invisible truth, as well as the deep love of the father for the son and the son for the father. Love brings out in the son a free act. The son is not obliged to do exactly what his father wants; he is free to do the contrary. But truth and love have so moved him that he regards what he does as the very perfection of his personality. Later on he may say, “I owe everything I have to that conversation I had with my father. I really began to discover my true self.