Why Akathleptos?

Why Akathleptos? Because it means Uncontainable. God is infinite. Hence, the whole universe cannot contain Him. The term also refers to the incomprehensibility of God. No man can know everything about God. We can know Him personally but not exhaustively, not even in Heaven.

Why Patmos? Because the church is increasingly marginalized and exiled from the culture.

Why Pen-Names? So the focus is on the words and not who wrote them. We prefer to let what we say stand on its own merit. There is precedent in church history for this - i.e., the elusive identity of Ambrosiaster who wrote in the 4th century A.D.

“Truth is so obscured nowadays, and lies so well established, that unless we love the truth we shall never recognize it." Blaise Pascal

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Does God Have A Perfect "Soul Mate" For You?

The common idea of a “soul mate” is that for every person, there is another person who is a “perfect fit,” and if you marry anyone other than this soul mate, you will never be happy. Is this concept of a soul mate biblical?

No, it is not.

An anonymous man (apparently a Christian) blogged the following ...

I remember the evening well.  I was a new Christian and just starting my freshman year of college.  Needless to say I was very impressionable.  One night I joined some fellow Christian friends at an event called, “Finding Your Million Dollar Mate.”  A local church brought in a well known pastor from an Atlanta mega-church to preach on the topic of finding your spouse.  My interest was definitely piqued.  After all, who wouldn’t want to find a million dollar mate?!  Basically, the pastor’s message could be paraphrased as such:

“God is a sovereign God, and He knows all your needs because He is God and, after all, He made you.  Therefore, God also made a perfect soul mate for you.  All you have to do is be patient for Him to reveal exactly who he/she is, and then you’ll be happily married.  In the meantime, just follow the Lord with all your heart, fall in love with Jesus, and pray for your soul mate.  Then, one day when you least expect it, He will bring this one person into your life and you will live happily ever after.”

I left this event believing that God had a soul mate already made for me, and it was only a matter of time until I accrued enough spiritual growth for God to lead her into my life.  This seemed like such a great thought… until it was time for the proverbial rubber to meet the road.  Failed attempt after failed attempt at dating soon left me questioning God’s ability to provide.  “What if she was supposed to be my soul mate, but I blew it?  She seemed so perfect for me, what if I messed up my chance with my soul mate and I’m doomed to singleness now?  Maybe I’m not praying hard enough for my soul mate…” 

Or maybe this whole soul mate thing isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be…


He raises an interesting question. Does God have one single "perfect" soul mate for us? Or is it possible that we are free to choose from several potential mates and still marry within God's perfect will? Tyler O'Neill wrestles with the question here.

..... Christianity affirms romantic love, and the woman in the article sincerely loves her husband. "There is no biblical basis to indicate that God has one soul mate for you to find and marry," the wife, Hannah, admitted in the article. But she quickly added, "Once you marry someone, that person becomes your one person."

Her marriage, she wrote, "is based on a daily choice to love this man, this husband that I chose out of many people that I could have chosen to love." The freedom of this choice may have led Hannah to love her husband even more than the imaginary boy she thought God had stored away for her. Indeed that's exactly what she wrote – and it may be more romantic than the notion of her predestined relationship.

While God is absolutely sovereign over everthing and everyone in the Cosmos, Scripture also affirms our moral freedom to choose. While this is irreconciable from the human perspective, the Bible astonishingly affirms God not only knows in advance our free choices, but also uses them (even if evil) to accomplish His good. The supreme example is the crucifixion (the greatest evil ever perpetrated) to accomplish the salvation of the lost (the greatest good.)

While God is sovereign, our choices are truly our own.

The most interesting story in Scripture of God’s involvement in bringing together a relationship is found in Genesis 24 – the story of Isaac and Rebekah. Abraham sent a servant to pick out a wife for his son, Isaac. Abraham said that God would send an angel to help his servant find a wife. The servant prayed and asked God to reveal the wife He had chosen for Isaac. God led the servant to Rebekah and Rebekah’s parents who let her marry Isaac because they believed God arranged the marriage. This story is often used to support the “soul mate” idea.

However, the story of Ruth appears to throw a wrench into this theory. Ruth’s first husband led her into a relationship with God. Previously, she worshipped another god. Unfortunately, her first husband died and according to Jewish law, she was then supposed to marry her husband’s closest next-of-kin. But her closest next-of-kin refused to marry Ruth. Ruth then married Boaz. And it is through this marriage that Ruth and Boaz became part of Jesus’ family tree. Which person did God choose for Ruth? Is it possible that God picked all three for her? Is it possible that God picked two of them for her? If so, then God did not pick only one soul mate for Ruth.

Then comes the story of Hosea. God asked him to marry an adulterous woman. Hosea obeyed God and chose to marry Gomer. God is probably not going to ask you to marry an adulterous woman like He did Hosea, but maybe this is how God also works. Maybe God says date and marry a certain kind of person, and then lets you choose a specific person who meets those standards. God cares about who you date and who you marry. God can orchestrate your relationships. At the same time, you clearly have choices in the matter.

The soul mate concept is often used as an excuse for divorce. People who are unhappy in their marriage sometimes claim that they did not marry their soul mate and therefore should divorce and begin the search for their true soul mate. This is nothing more than a blatantly unbiblical excuse. If you are married, the person you are married to is your soul mate. Mark 10:7-9 declares, “A man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” A husband and wife are “united,” “one flesh,” “no longer two, but one,” and “joined together,” i.e., soul mates.

A marriage may not be as unified and joyous as a couple wishes it to be. A husband and wife may not have the physical, emotional, and spiritual unity that they desire. But even in this instance, the husband and wife are still soul mates. A couple in such a situation needs to work on developing true “soul mate” intimacy. By obeying what the Bible teaches about marriage (Ephesians 5:22-33), a couple can develop the intimacy, love, and commitment that being “one flesh” soul mates entails. If you are married, you are married to your soul mate. No matter how disharmonious a marriage is, God can bring healing, forgiveness, restoration, and true marital love and harmony.

Is it possible to marry the wrong person? If we give ourselves to God and seek His guidance, He promises to direct us: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6). The implication of Proverbs 3:5-6 is that if you are not trusting in the Lord with all your heart, and are leaning on your own understanding, you can go the wrong direction. Yes, it is possible, in a time of disobedience and lack of close fellowship with God, to marry someone whom He did not desire you to marry. Even in such an instance, though, God is sovereign and in control.

Even if a marriage was not God’s desire, it is still within His sovereign will and plan. God hates divorce (Malachi 2:16), and “marrying the wrong person” is never presented in the Bible as grounds for divorce. The claim “I married the wrong person and will never be happy unless I find my true soul mate” is unbiblical in two respects. First, it is a claim that your wrong decision has overridden God’s will and destroyed His plan. Second, it is a claim that God is not capable of making a struggling marriage happy, unified, and successful. Nothing we do can disrupt God’s sovereign will. God can take any two people, no matter how mismatched, and mold them into two people who are perfect for each other.

If we maintain close fellowship with God, He will lead us and guide us. If a person is walking with the Lord and truly seeking His will, God will lead that person to the spouse He intends. God will lead us to our “soul mate” if we submit to Him and follow Him. However, being soul mates is both a position and a practice. A husband and wife are soul mates in that they are “one flesh,” spiritually, physically, and emotionally united to each other. In practice, though, there is a process of taking what a couple is, soul mates, and making that a day-by-day reality. True soul mate oneness is only possible by implementing the biblical pattern of marriage.

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