I’m a bit of a comic book fiend, I think I must have mentioned that before; especially if it’s a DC title/story-line, then it’s almost impossible for me to resist. Now if you’re familiar with the DC Universe or even major Justice League/Superman story lines, you would have definitely come across the term “The Anti-Life Equation”. It’s the equation that gives the user/possessor control over the will of any sentient specie or form of life. That is it gives the user control over any form of life that has sentient intelligence, usually humans, but in comic book universes that usually includes other forms of intelligent alien life and the like.
Now about two days ago I finished reading Final Crisis: Revelations and I loved it. Maybe because I’m not used to seeing comic book writers re-imagine theology in a way that isn’t faintly(or starkly) blasphemous; it was surprisingly, decidedly Christian and gave me a lot to ponder on the issue of free will (plus portraying the immortal Vandal Savage as Cain the brother of Abel was really quite fascinating). If you can, find the series and give it a read; it’s a five part series collected into one volume.
Since then I’ve been musing about it if you will and I decided to share some of my thoughts here.
I’ve always felt second to Jesus; the other great gift God has given us is free will. The ability to make our own decisions, including to believe whether He actually exists or not; the right to say Yes or No; the singular difference between us and high functioning self aware intelligent robots.
Free will places on us ALL the responsibility. It means we can be held accountable, just like Adam was. For the Christian it means there is a conscious effort on your part to serve God. Not just some blind ignorant reliance on grace; using grace as a crutch to escape responsibility and accountability for your actions; you and you alone are responsible to and before God. For the unbeliever it also means a conscious decision not to serve God.
Why am I saying this? I find that we have a habit of trying to shift the blame back to God (amusingly enough, this is a time honored argument atheists, humanists, agnostics etc use) for decisions we make ourselves. Adam tried it when he promptly shifted the blame to God for the woman He had given him instead of owning up to his error of eating the fruit. Apparently it was God’s fault that he made a helper for the young man. I’ve had people ask me, if there’s a God why does He let so and so happen? Truth is shi* doesn’t just happen like people say it does, people make shi* happen. You don’t go to a public toilet and just see a load there, someone left that load.
God intended free will as a blessing, one of those defining qualities that made us miniature versions of Him, but our use of this gift has turned it into a curse. Deliberating over this, I began to understand why the equation was called The Anti-Life equation because subverting one’s free will is taking away the power to determine his/her life’s course from them.
It’s why I’ve never believed destinies are set in stone; by yourself you could align yourself with God’s plans for you and by yourself you could deviate and chart your own. It’s also why I’m amused when some people get mad when you tell them if they continue in sin they’ll go to hell. They feel like they’re being forced, you’re not; it’s just the end result of your life’s worth of decision making. It’s like someone getting mad because they are told they would fail if they do not read for an exam, it’s not exactly compulsory but you’re guaranteed a full blown Heath Ledger-styled-Joker-smiling-F if you decide in your wisdom not to read; whose fault is that? The teacher’s?
The basic principle of the Butterfly Effect is that just one decision or act could have multiple repercussions over time, over many different people and in possibly many different locations. So when a man decides to fool around with a married woman, just how far, how many people and how deep, will the consequences of his decision reach?
As a Christian let me go further by saying that the Anti-Life Equation isn’t just about subverting man’s ability to make his own decisions, it’s also about making the wrong decision; the wrong decision about accepting Jesus, the wrong decision about living for Christ or doing things your own way and invariably living in sin; the wrong decision about choosing between life and death.
What am I saying; it’s your decision eh?