Sometime around A.D. 100, a Roman satirical poet known as Juvenal wrote, “the People…anxiously hopes for just two things: bread and circuses [Latin–panem et circenses].” His point was that the government was pacifying the Roman populace and distracting them from important issues by giving them free or cheap food and entertaining them with spectacles. It seems to be basic to human nature that if our bellies are full and we have entertainment put before our eyes, we will become distracted from anything important and fall into a stupor of apathy.
23 June 2013: The news on any random day is enough to raise hair on a lizard: a war in the Ukraine, the threat of yet another war in the Middle East, disease outbreaks that might mushroom into pandemics, what seems to be a new shooting rampage every week, possible weather chaos from climate change, the epidemics of diabetes and dementia, and the list goes on. And then there is the personal news we might be confronted with at any time, such as a friend being diagnosed with cancer, someone’s husband killed in a car accident, and a child dying of a congenital heart defect. Faced with such reports, we can find ourselves becoming anxious, fearful for the world, fearful for our friends, alarmed that one or more of these terrors may come upon us personally.
A. Many good, Bible-believing Christians would answer this question with one word: “Nothing.” Their reasoning would be that, because election is unconditional, then nothing determines whether someone is elect or reprobate. But the answer is not so simple. What determines whether an animal is a squirrel or a turtle? Certainly, no choice the animal made determines its species, and no works the animals does makes it either a squirrel or a turtle. So, being a squirrel or a turtle is unconditional as far as the animal is concerned. Yet, we would have to agree that something determines whether it is a squirrel or a turtle, something that is outside of the control of the animal. So, can election be both unconditional and determined by something?