Choice is the most dangerous thing in the universe. It is also the one thing God does not dare go against.
Every person has choice. They may not think about it. They may not use it. They may not even realize it. But choice is what makes humans "human."
I can choose, right now, to leave the seat where I'm typing, take a pen, and stab my choice of three people. I can choose to throw four or five computers and monitors to the floor to the ground, right now, just to see them break.
I can choose to continue this blog entry. I can choose to do some homework, study the Bible, or join a cribbage game online.
Any physical item can be used for multiple purposes. Many emotional and logical things can also be tools of good or instruments of destruction. It is choice that makes them so.
It is choice that turns a gun from a physical object that can propel small metal chunks at a very high speed, into a deadly weapon and a threat, instead of a glorified hole-punch.
It is choice that turns the human voice into a harsh tool of domination, a wonderful musical instrument, a carrier of ideas, information, and memes.
It is choice that defines humanity. Choice is the image of God.
How so? God is the prime mover, but because every move is planned, He is also the prime chooser. In His book, choice is the only thing that matters, in the end. What a person chooses, how they choose it, why they choose it, these are what the Bible is about.
When God says, "Do for others what you would have them do for you," He means it. He means that other people are as infinitely valuable to Him as you are. That means that they are infinitely valuable to you, as well.
Because consequences are part of the choice that spawned them, because the consequences wouldn't even exist without the choice in the first place, the consequences are as important when judging a choice as the motive of that choice in the first place.
Most people can't get past the syllogism:
1: God is omnipotent and omniscient.
2: Bad things happen.
3: Therefore, God is not good.
Their assumptions are what keep them from getting past it:
1.5: ...Therefore He has the ability to stop bad things from happening, and the full knowledge of all the bad things that will happen, when they will happen, how to stop them, and the full consequences of stopping or allowing them.
2.5: ...Therefore God allowed them to happen.
3.5: ...Because a good person would have stopped them.
My only quibble is with 3.5. Let me say that again. My only quibble is with 3.5. What does that mean? It means that God had better have a damn good reason for allowing those bad things to happen.
It turns out He does.
The prime chooser made us little choosers. We have the ability, given by Him, to make choices of utter inconsequence or life-shattering horror. We have, in a word, freedom.
It is freedom, choice, that God respects, that God will not touch. We earn the good and bad consequences of our choices. If He negated the consequences, even if they are only the bad consequences, He would be treating us as children, and not as adults. He will not be patronizing.
It is freedom that America enshrined as the highest virtue, it is choice, with its good and its bad, that our government is built on.
It is freedom that we are giving to Iraq, with its good and its bad. We hope that they will be grateful to us, we hope that they will not use their freedom to attack us.
It is freedom to make choices, an arena of possibility, that God has given to us. Our abuse of that freedom is called sin, and it is the consequences of sin that turns abused children into confused, codependent adults, that turns strapping young men into shattered veterans old before their time, that turns fear into anger into punishment for imagined crimes.
Sin is choices that hurt other people.