The Soul Mate Myth

Is the hope for a Soul Mate a mythos or a myth?

Readership: All
Author’s Note: This post was submitted by Oscar.
Reader’s Note: In this post, a myth is defined as being a set of superstitious beliefs or assumptions about something, and is compared to myth or mythos, defined in literature and psychology as a traditional or recurrent narrative theme or plot structure.
Length: 1,000 words
Reading Time: 3.5 minutes

Introduction

Recently, on Sigma Frame, the article titled, The Meet Cute Phenomenon (Scott’s Axiom) (2020 December 6), racked up an impressive count of 153 comments as of this writing.  Clearly, the subject struck a chord.

Several commenters brought up the Soul Mate Myth (AKA, The One).  Now, Scott’s idea of the Meet Cute is NOT the same thing as the Soul Mate Myth (SMM).  The Meet Cute is when a woman goes nuts over a man and this event starts up a relationship.  The SMM is an expression of a sinful dream of self-completion that creates unrealistic expectations and prevents one from participating in real opportunities that come up in life.  Frustration is the result.

Because of the confusion surrounding this matter, I’d like to explore this a little further.

What is the Soul Mate myth?

Supposedly, there is a person somewhere out there for everyone.  A person who is a perfect fit for you, and no one else, and when you meet that person, you’ll just know it.  The following scene from Sleepless in Seattle illustrates the concept magnificently.

Tom Hanks’ character is very sensibly explaining to his son that “no one is a perfect fit”, when he literally stops mid-sentence, completely forgetting what he was saying, because he saw her… the one… his soul mate.  He doesn’t know her name, he hasn’t even met her, but his intellect is powerless to protest, because deep in his heart, he just knows.

It matters not that he was once married, and is now a widower (was his first wife ever the one?), or that he’s currently dating another woman (she’s definitely not the one), he just knows.

This is a common romantic trope.  But why is it so powerful?

The Soul Mate Myth is my favorite example of culture’s power to transmit ideas over generations.  Pretty much everyone in American culture has heard it, believes it, hopes for it, and yet hardly anyone knows of its origins in Greek mythology.  Plato explained it in his Symposium (simp – osium?  Heh!).

You can read Plato’s full explanation in the following link…

Ancient Greece Reloaded: Aristophanes’ speech from Plato’s Symposium (2019 August 3)

…but I’ll summarize it for those who, understandably, would rather not take the time.

Basically, the gods created mankind as two-in-one beings.

Mankind’s two-in-one form made them too powerful for the gods’ comfort, so Zeus split them apart.

But, the gods had already created all the souls of every human that would ever be born, so they also had to be split in two.  That means that you were born as a half of a whole, destined to pine, and long for your other half, your soul mate, your…  The One…  without whom you’ll never feel whole.  Hence, the dreadful Oneitis.

This silly myth might seem cute, even romantic, but it destroys marriages, and therefore families, and therefore communities, and therefore nations.

You see, as the story goes, when you meet your soul mate, everything will just “work out”.  Marriage will be easy.  It therefore stands to reason that, if marriage becomes difficult (as a union of two sinners tends to do), then you must not be married to your ever blessed soul mate.  In fact, that means your “true” soul mate is somewhere out there, pining for you, longing for you, thirsting to be made whole…. by you!  So, now you must abandon your difficult marriage and go search for your soul mate!  In fact, it’s the compassionate thing to do, because in doing so you grant your current non-soul-mate spouse the freedom to go find his/her soul mate!

Worse still, Christians believe this myth.  In fact, they attempt to justify it.  It’s Yaweh, not Zeus, you see, that has one special person selected just for you, and no one else!  The two of you are like Isaac and Rebecca!  Don’t think about inconvenient inconsistencies, like widows, and widowers, or theological principles like which Old Testament stories are prescriptive, and which are descriptive…  No!  Don’t think at all, because like Tom Hanks in Sleepless in Seattle, you’ll just know!

That is, until you, or your spouse, get the seven-year itch.  Then, all of a sudden, you’re not so sure anymore.

Conclusions

Here’s the reality for us Christians.  Some people are more compatible in values, personality, interests, etc. with each other than others.  Regardless of how they come together (dating, courting, arranged marriage, whatever) marriage sanctifies their union.  God makes them one upon marriage.  From that point forward, through a long process of sanctification, they grow together, and become intertwined in ways that St. Paul described as “a great mystery” (Ephesians 5:32).  I’m in the middle of that process, and I don’t comprehend it.

What do we do with this information? We renew our minds.  We purge our own minds of the myth, and we inoculate our children against it by explaining to them where it comes from, and what God’s word actually says about marriage.

Scott once said that you won’t know if you have true love until you reach the end.  I got to see that with my parents.  My dad died at 86 due to a series of strokes.  He was bedridden for weeks.  My mom cared for him until the end.  After he died, I helped my mom dress him in his only suit at the funeral home, because she said “he wouldn’t want anyone else to take care of him”.  Afterward, she told me that she felt empty inside.

That’s what it means to become one.

To me, true love looks like an elderly lady spoon feeding her bedridden husband, knowing he has days to live.  I pray my wife and I will get there some day.

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About Jack

Jack is a world traveling artist, skilled in trading ideas and information, none of which are considered too holy, too nerdy, nor too profane to hijack and twist into useful fashion. Sigma Frame Mindsets and methods for building and maintaining a masculine Frame
This entry was posted in Choosing a Partner or Spouse, Churchianity, Courtship and Marriage, Desire, Discerning Lies and Deception, Education, Fundamental Frame, Hamsterbation, Models of Failure, Relationships, Self-Concept, Solipsism. Bookmark the permalink.

91 Responses to The Soul Mate Myth

  1. Sharkly says:

    Excellent post, Oscar.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oscar says:

    Jack made a few small edits that I think greatly improved my writing. Thanks, brother.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. cameron232 says:

    It’s a corny saying I guess but:

    “I didn’t choose her because she’s the one, she’s the one because I chose her.”

    Christian marriage is a (co)creation of the will with an ontological existence independent of moral or legal status/recognition. It’s a real thing.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Scott says:

    They don’t/can’t unless you explain it them when they are little girls.

    God has metaphysically sewn two hearts together through a mysterious transcendent process that is only understood in the eternal. He magically takes two otherwise totally unrelated people and MAKES THEM NEXT OF KIN.

    Most women? Yawn.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Elspeth says:

      I think it’s the most incredible thing ever that two people who are biologically unrelated (usually, though not always historically the case ) can be declared next of kin by God Himself.

      That is romantic, and I think even a woman who has never thought about these things would probably agree.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Elspeth says:

    I have explained to our daughters the silliness of the SMM. They aren’t particularly romantics anyway, which I suspect they get more from me than from SAM. And yet…

    When I met my husband, it was unlike meeting any other person I’d ever met. Which was probably a product of my age coupled with a sheltered upbringing. I’m glad to have experienced that as I think it helped me as I learned to grow into a worthy wife.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Scott says:

    When I received the talk:

    “I met the right guy at the wrong time”

    (The married man she was sleeping with and who eventually went crawling back to his wife and kids)

    The first thing I thought was “the ‘right’ guy is the one you currently have a valid marriage to. There is no undoing what God has done.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Scott says:

    Yeah. It’s super awesome when you think you married your soulmate and then your soulmate says to you that you totally aren’t soulmates or whatever.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Lexet Blog says:

    If you are a Calvinist, you have to believe in the myth, as a tenet of the belief system is determinism and a lack of free will. (Unconditional election/predestination). While this is somewhat debated in Calvinist circles today, the Calvinist church of old- the one that heavily influenced early America via the puritans, were high calvinists and strict in this regard.

    Like

    • Scott says:

      Right. I used to go crazy with my professors at the Calvinist seminary I went to

      What part of “Gods absolute sovereignty over the free will of man” is confusing about that?

      Like

      • Lexet Blog says:

        Lol. It would be interesting to hear your story of seminary and dealing with calvinists.

        My journey out of Calvinism, which is something I’ll have to write about once I have time, was pretty interesting. Essentially, realizing that of the varieties of Calvinism out there, the only one that was logical (internally consistent) was a higher form of Calvinism. Then an examination of tulip/high Calvinism and determining its in no way biblical.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Elspeth says:

      @ Lexet:

      Charles Spurgeon, one of the most famous Calvinists in modern church history, wrote this in 1858:

      ” The system of truth is not one straight line, but two. No man will ever get a right view of the gospel until he knows how to look at the two lines at once. I am taught in one book to believe that what I sow I shall reap: I am taught in another place, that “it is not of him that willeth nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy.” I see in one place, God presiding over all in providence; and yet I see, and I cannot help seeing, that man acts as he pleases, and that God has left his actions to his own will, in a great measure. Now, if I were to declare that man was so free to act, that there was no presidence of God over his actions, I should be driven very near to Atheism; and if, on the other hand, I declare that God so overrules all things, as that man is not free enough to be responsible, I am driven at once into Antinomianism or fatalism. That God predestines, and that man is responsible, are two things that few can see. They are believed to be inconsistent and contradictory; but they are not. It is just the fault of our weak judgment. Two truths cannot be contradictory to each other. If, then, I find taught in one place that everything is fore-ordained, that is true; and if I find in another place that man is responsible for all his actions, that is true; and it is my folly that leads me to imagine that two truths can ever contradict each other. These two truths, I do not believe, can ever be welded into one upon any human anvil, but one they shall be in eternity: they are two lines that are so nearly parallel, that the mind that shall pursue them farthest, will never discover that they converge; but they do converge, and they will meet somewhere in eternity, close to the throne of God, whence all truth doth spring.”

      One of the biggest issues I have with many Calvinist’s arguments (at least online) is that there seems to be an unwillingness to acknowledge the reality that God’s view is eternal, not temporal, omniscient, not finite. Mainly it’s because of a weird pride in having been chosen.

      Clearly it hasn’t been a bedrock truth that Calvinists think that man has no free will. I don’t know that anyone could ever be that foolish. But I may be wrong.

      Liked by 1 person

      • cameron232 says:

        @Elspeth

        See my reply to Scott just below. I have seen the following in written statements of faith (they call them treatises??) from Reformed Baptists and some other Calvinists:

        “God allows the elect to fall into a state of grave sin in order to chastise them.”

        Note: I might have added the “grave” part.

        In other words, if I decide to start an affair with one of the younger women here at work, that’s just God chastising me. Not positively willing my sin but allowing me to sin.

        That’s how they explain it when someone in their congregation does something awful. E.g. Josh Duggar.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Lexet Blog says:

        It’s for your sAnCtIfIcAtIon, duh. Most don’t believe god causes sin. They develop the doctrine of compatibilism to resolve the twists in logic. God causes and determines all things, except sin.

        The entire system is illogical and is dependent on a twisted reading of scripture

        Like

      • Lexet Blog says:

        There is a decent size group of Presbyterians who buy the full determinism and believe everything they do is a result of gods determination for them.

        Like

      • Lexet Blog says:

        Re your last paragraph, let’s set up a scenario where the belief is that we have free will except over salvation/believing in Christ.

        Do we have free will in regards to salvation is the most important question of all.

        What is the purpose of the gospel if our election is completely out of our hands?

        Why bother evangelizing if even hearing the gospel results in nothing unless god pre ordained that person for election?

        At that point, the soteriological system is just a computer program operating itself. There is no power to hearing the gospel. There is no glory to god either.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Elspeth says:

        The whole point of my inserting that portion of Spurgeon’s sermon, was to make clear that I don’t know the answer to your questions. Indeed, that my ability to know is limited by my humanity.

        Our job is to do what Christ commands. Spread the gospel, be salt and light, exhort people to come out of darkness and into the light. We do our part, and let God do His.

        When we accept that we have no power to save anyone, nor to choose right or wrong for them, we can have peace with the fact that our finite minds cannot reconcile the two parallel lines of truth that Scripture clearly reveals.

        This what faith is.

        Liked by 2 people

      • cameron232 says:

        I think maybe the “hardshell” Baptists too but I don’t know how common they are.

        Like

      • Lexet Blog says:

        I empathize with that viewpoint, as I justified putting off an in depth study of tulip for many years on the grounds of “taking it in faith.” Quite frankly, taking on tulip as a study is an endeavor very few people take on.

        After realizing it’s not a biblical system, I realized ho wrong I was using “mystery of faith” to justify belief in a doctrinal error.

        Like

      • Elspeth says:

        You seem to be of the impression that I identify as a Calvinist. I most assuredly do not. I do not believe that “Reformed” equals “TULIP”, so I have no reason to study or defend tulip. If I was forced to label my doctrinal approach to the faith in any way other than Biblical, this is as close to what we believe as anything I have read; Reformed Arminianism

        Click to access Arm_Reformed%20Arminianism%20-%20Ashby.pdf

        .

        Liked by 1 person

    • SFC Ton says:

      Puritans influenced yankees and new England. Probably why their new religion of woke’ish is so joyless

      Liked by 1 person

      • Lexet Blog says:

        There is actually a lot of scholarship out there that links SJW activism to Puritanism. As noted by a comment above, a twisted sense of pride develops when you believe you are special because you were chosen over everyone else.

        Liked by 1 person

      • SFC Ton says:

        The Puritans have replaced God with all sorts of weird things over the generations and progressivism was one of the 1st things they chased after

        Liked by 1 person

    • Jeff Barnes says:

      Lexet I would be very interested in hearing your journey out of calvinism. I have recently had that journey myself, and kept asking question till I ended up in Orthodoxy. It was a very interesting and multi-layered journey if I do say so myself. Wondering where you are now theologically yourself?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Lexet Blog says:

        I’ll definitely write about it in length in the future, but am super busy for the foreseeable future.

        Short story is
        – I recognized the church environments were not healthy. Leadership structure and operation of church was not biblical.
        – I realized most people I had attended church with never read the Bible, weren’t interested in it, and only attended for their self image
        – I realized numerous doctrines were illogical, and then realized they strayed from any common sense reading of the Bible. As an attorney, it’s easy for me to spot textualist wordplay. I realized that the system required manipulating certain texts so they could attempt to create a body of belief that is “internally consistent.”

        Longer story.
        I realized the hypocrisy of how the churches were run, and how the “movement” has turned into a cult of personality. I have a bunch of articles criticizing big Calvinism and people like MacArthur and John piper, who are the 2 sycophants that have a complete hold on churches across the US.

        From attending several churches that were linked to the 2 mentioned above, all I saw was a toxic environment of people with little to no knowledge of scripture bullying everyone around them and cutting off personal relationships out of spite. No one can question the system in those churches- system being the leadership, local church policies, or broader theological teachings.

        A big trend is for churches demanding arbitration agreements as a condition of membership. As an attorney that’s a massive red flag/walk away moment. I know people who are now related to very famous Calvinist figures who had to sign NDAs to socialize with the families of these people.

        I left the PCA because of the federal vision movement gaining ground. I don’t buy post millennialism, or the idea that the church is a continuation of the ot priesthood. In some churches I saw dangerous trends where new theological positions were being advocated, such as continued justification (a doctrine that really woke me up and caused me to evaluate tulip). The new perspectives on Paul and reinterpretation of genesis by many really disturbed me as well.

        From there, I started reevaluating all of TULIP.

        Today, I agree with most of what the “provisionist” (old school southern Baptist) beliefs.

        The doctrinal qs I asked along the way are:
        – is revelation prophetic?
        – are we currently in the millennial kingdom where our swords were turned into plow shares and we are growing the kingdom? (I think not, snicker)
        – is genesis historical, or “allegorical poetry no one can interpret”?
        – what was the role of Israel, and what is the role of Israel (the people, not the nation)
        – what is the role of prophecy, what has or hasn’t come to pass yet?
        – do you understand the concept of grafting? Apply that to theological texts re the church and Israel.

        what is the gospel? Does the gospel have power?

        If you would have asked me a year ago, I would have had a very long explanation of the gospel. It would have been similar to a book from 9 marks ministry called “what is the gospel?” If you read that book, you will not understand what the gospel is. It’s actually rather simple, but the theological system of Calvinism makes it unnecessarily complex. I eventually realized this is because Calvinism preaches a false gospel.

        Logically, if we are predestined to be saved, the gospel, and the command to share it are meaningless.

        Like

      • cameron232 says:

        Lexet, I don’t know much about Baptists or their history/theology but I was impressed with some of the Free Will Baptists in my area.

        Like

      • Lexet Blog says:

        I also have to add this and say that the red pill really started my journey. It happened after I broke off an engagement. I started questioning what the role of husband and wife were, what the role of the church was, what the role of an individual is. What’s sad is that most people I know who attended church their entire lives never bothered to answer these questions for themselves.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Scott says:

    “It will just work it’s way out” or “it was meant to be” is code for “if I’m grinding away in exctasy atop my soulmate, it’s just minor details that I’m married to someone else while my children are at home wondering where mommy is. Who are you to judge?”

    Liked by 3 people

    • cameron232 says:

      @Scott, this is a reference to Calvinism?

      Some Calvinists believe that an elect mommy grinding in ecstasy atop her “soulmate” is being chastised by God. That’s some chastisement!

      Like

  10. Scott says:

    Spurgeon is saying “God is totally in control AND you are totally responsible for your actions. And I don’t have to understand it fully right now.”

    Which in my opinion puts him in a similar predicament as me when I say “evolution is compelling science AND God created the universe and everything in it. And I don’t have to fully understand it right now.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Elspeth says:

      Yes. 100% correct. The analogy fits perfectly even though I haven’t found evolution as compelling. Maybe I haven’t studied it enough, but I’m happy with where we’ve landed.

      It is the height of hubris for any person to think we can discern, understand and fully know the mind of God. Why aren’t we content with the mystery for right now, rather than drag God down to our finite way of thinking?

      Like

    • Sharkly says:

      What Spurgeon described was a hermeneutical reconciling of two seemingly opposing statements by our all-wise God, who is the Truth.

      So, you trying to stretch openings for the theory of Evolution into God’s word is not really analogous. Here, you’re just trying to incorporate your own ever evolving external beliefs into the framework of what God has told us regardless of the seeming opposition of your beliefs to God’s statements.
      “Compelling” is a personal opinion. Plenty of researchers aren’t compelled, they just get silenced, defunded, and Etc., for not going along with the world.

      It will be interesting to watch as the rapidly advancing field of Genetics gets crossed up with folks who believe that genders and races are artificial constructs of society. One would think that “Evolution” would contradict those crazed beliefs, but many of the same folks are trying to push both of those opposing beliefs.

      I think when you’re dealing with God’s truth you are assured that even though you don’t fully grasp how it all works together, it is clearly all true. Whereas when you bring your own ever evolving theories of Evolution and try to reconcile them into God’s record of special creation, you may just be wrong and justifying your own cognitive dissonance as being the unfathomable mysteries of God and “science”.

      Like

      • Lexet Blog says:

        The two are perfectly analogous. In Calvinism, the theological contradiction is reconciled through a logical cop out called compatibilism. There’s no biblical basis for it. If you deconstruct the arguments that require this resolution, you will quickly find flaws in them.

        Like

    • Lexet Blog says:

      That’s compatibilism in a nut shell. Many people in Calvinists churches never think about this, and instead take it in faith.

      It’s pointless in trying to convert them on this point too, since it’s one of the “meatiest” theological topics in their system.

      Instead, challenge them on some of the basics first.

      -what are the positions of authority in the church
      -what are the qualifications for elder and deacon?
      – how is a service supposed to function in the New Testament?
      -what is communion, how important is it, how often to take it?

      Answering Those questions alone should be enough for the average person to realize their church is upside down.

      Throw in some curveballs. Ask: what is the head covering in 1 Corinthians? Is it applicable today? If not, why is any New Testament command from an epistle to be listened to?

      The purpose of these question is to show how the church is disobedient.

      Next: direct them to Romans 1-2, revelation 1-3, as well as the last 1/4 of the OT. Ask them to study what happens when gods people and the church are disobedient.

      Like

  11. SFC Ton says:

    I think nerds make up a lot of stuff a out God, things those nerds could never possible know, in the hopes it will help them pull a hotter chick

    Ie, Calvin etc all are probably talking out their ass just to hear themselves talk but it got them social standing with their own clique and followers

    Liked by 4 people

  12. Scott says:

    Also, in the eastern tradition, “existence” is not contemplated in these terms anyway. So one is not required to struggle with eternal truths as if he is somehow able to anyway.

    God the father (Oca, in Srpski) actively creates existence, every second of every day from the beginning of time until He decides not to.

    Every instance of your existence, every cell in your body, every atom in every corner of the universe, every cloud in the sky, every war, every marriage only “exists” because is God is currently, actively causing it to. If He decides to quit, we all just cease to exist.

    Like

    • SFC Ton says:

      You can do what you want when you are the Almighty

      Liked by 3 people

      • Ame says:

        Yep. Studying the book of Job right now. Nothing like that book to put humankind in its place, and realize God’s, as much as our small minds can fathom, at the same time.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Sharkly says:

      Acts 17:28 For in Him we live and move, and have our being: as certain also of your own poets have said. For we are also His offspring.

      However God, who cannot lie, has also said we will live eternally, so He isn’t going to suspend or dissolve our existence. We, His offspring, won’t be aborted. He holds all things together, and will continue to hold us together. So we needn’t contemplate our soul’s disintegration or annihilation, since that won’t be happening. We should presently be making preparations to best assure our eternal destiny, through faith as evidenced by our actions.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. redpillboomer says:

    “Here’s the reality for us Christians. Some people are more compatible in values, personality, interests, etc. with each other than others. Regardless of how they come together (dating, courting, arranged marriage, whatever) marriage sanctifies their union. God makes them one upon marriage. From that point forward, through a long process of sanctification, they grow together, and become intertwined in ways that St. Paul described as “a great mystery” (Ephesians 5:32). I’m in the middle of that process, and I don’t comprehend it.”
    Amen. There is no such thing as ‘the one.’ There are lots of potential ‘The one’s’ out there. Once married she/he is by default, ‘the one.’ Now it is a process of growth and development together, sanctification of the union if you will that is what matters. I married my wife 31, almost 32 years ago. There were other ‘the one’s,’ particularly the hometown girl I had ‘oneitis’ for. Either way, if I’d married her or the girl I did marry, it would still have been a sanctification process either way over the years. So both could have been ‘the one.’ One became ‘the one’ the other didn’t. but either way, I can now see it would have been the same sanctification of the marriage process over the years. There is no such thing as a Soul Mate out there who will magically eliminate the sanctification process. i.e. you marry her/him and ‘live happily ever after’ in some sort of blissful union. No way.

    Like

    • Lexet Blog says:

      I’m not sure if I’m convinced of the sanctification argument when it concerns marriage though. I point to all the passages in proverbs about a bad wife (better to sleep on a corner of the roof, they are rot in your bones, etc)

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Novaseeker says:

    One of the biggest issues I have with many Calvinist’s arguments (at least online) is that there seems to be an unwillingness to acknowledge the reality that God’s view is eternal, not temporal, omniscient, not finite. Mainly it’s because of a weird pride in having been chosen.

    Clearly it hasn’t been a bedrock truth that Calvinists think that man has no free will. I don’t know that anyone could ever be that foolish. But I may be wrong.

    Yes. I think there’s generally a lot of muddiness about these things, precisely because it can be challenging for many people to toggle between the divine/eternal perspective and the created/temporal one.

    It is not, and never has been, controversial that God foreknows all of history. This is a necessary consequence of God being eternal and omniscient — that is, he knows what will occur at every point in created time before he creates time, because he is present at all points of created time at the same time, since he is eternal. This is basic metaphysics and has never really been controversial.

    The intersection of this and human free volitional will (ie, freely chosen actions) is where people get a bit messed up. Inside the space of created time, we do have free will in that we are not God’s marionettes, generally speaking. God is active in history as his own player, and when he wishes to influence a certain course of action, there are “setups” that are designed so that people do, according to their free will, certain things. Again, God knows everything that’s going to happen — all “causes and conditions”– prior to the dawn of time, so there are no surprises for God from his perspective. But within the space of created temporal causality, we have been given volitional free will. I don’t believe that the Calvinists all deny this, perhaps apart from some of the very online uber-Calvinists.

    The issue arises with respect to the interaction between the human will and grace. For Luther, following Augustine, the human will was almost entirely corrupt, and therefore from Luther came the famous Reformation slogans such as Sola Fidei, Sola Gratia and so on. But … despite that, Luther nevertheless believed that the grace which saves is freely given to all, and that all are free enough to accept or reject that free gift of grace at any time — meaning that God provides the means to everyone to accept his gift of saving grace, but that this gift can be rejected and resisted by the human will. This is consistent with Luther’s view that the human will was corrupted. Again, in Luther’s view, God knows who will accept and who will reject, but he lets the individuals make that decision using their created temporal wills.

    Calvinists (it’s not actually clear how much John Calvin himself subscribed to what subsequently became “TULIP” Calvinism) later insisted that the grace that saves is effective (ie, it never fails to save in any case where it is given), and therefore that it cannot be resisted by the act of the will, or through a stubborn refusal to accept the gift of saving grace. This means that God does not provide such grace to everyone, but only to those whom he chooses — otherwise all would be saved, since saving grace never fails per the Calvinist scheme. Therefore, in the Calvinist understanding, God moves from foreknowing to differentially saving by his own fiat, which gets rolled under the all-encompassing “sovereignty” concept that lies at the core of all Calvinist thinking. It is this understanding — not of “predestination” in terms of God knowing what’s going to happen (he must know), but rather that he individually determines himself, irrespective of anything other than his own inscrutable sovereign will, who is saved and who is not, and only provides grace to the saved, while withholding it from the rest. The Calvinist view does not follow from the view that God knows what will happen — it is a step further, and says that God determines outcomes in a very specific way, inside the temporal space, in such a way that human freewill is completely irrelevant when it comes to salvation — it’s a process that is fully automated, fully orchestrated by God, and which never fails in any individual case of an individual that God determined to be among the ones to whom he would provide saving grace before time began. That’s the view that runs counter to the idea of free will, and it isn’t a view that is held by anyone but the Calvinists. Today, even many who refer to themselves as “Calvinist” or “Reformed” will back away from this “hard double predestination” viewpoint in favor of a more “Arminian” view (which creates a separate category of “prevenient grace”, which is the grace that is given to all which all can accept or reject, and if one accepts that grace, then the never failing saving grace is provided in response to that acceptance).

    Of course, the issue of the exact interface between the human will and the divine energy in the temporal world (i.e., grace) is not clear — there is a lot of room for different views, and there always were different views running along side each other in the church. The same is true for the meaning of the word “elect”. Calvinism has its rather famous understanding of the meaning of that word, expressed above. Luther accepted the concept but Lutheran theology, like Catholic theology, generally takes the view that one should act as if one is elect, if one is being called to serve God and to repentance — that is, if one has been called to the Gospel. The stricter Calvinists hold the view that some people who experience that call experience it falsely, and are not actually “elect”. Other church fathers have suggested that the term simply means those whom God knows, due to the reality of his foreknowledge of all of history, will be saved. All of these views have existed side by side in the church since the beginning really, if you examine the early fathers. It was only later that views became hardened and camps formed, as we have today.

    Liked by 3 people

    • cameron232 says:

      The Catholic Church accepts two views, the Augustine-Aquinas view and Molinism. Neither has been declared a dogma (IOW you can believe either and be a good Catholic).

      The Augustine-Aquinas view is that God sends sufficient grace to all but only sends efficacious grace to the elect. And, importantly, God does not positively will people to hell. I believe both Luther and Calvin believed their theology was supported by Augustine. This view is not unlike Calvinism without double-predestination.

      The other allowable view is Molinism (not unlike Arminianism in Protestant theology). It is basically what is stated in the current catechism:

      “To God, all moments of time are present in their immediacy. When therefore he establishes his eternal plan of “predestination”, he includes in it each person’s free response to his grace”

      Simply recognizing that God only exists in the “eternal present” seems to solve a lot of these difficulties for me. Foreknows but doesn’t fore-will at least to the extent of overriding human free will. However God’s will as manifested in the real world cannot be entirely permissive – that would deny the incarnation as well as miracles.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oscar says:

        We can’t even communicate without references to time. For example, time exists as an indispensable component of the physical universe. That means that before the physical universe existed, time did not exist.

        See what just happened there? Before, and did are words rooted in time, but I can’t even express that thought without tying it to time, because every sub-atomic particle I’m made up of contains the element of time. I can’t conceive of an existence without time.

        There’s no way that beings like us – whose very existence is bound by time – can comprehend a being that exists outside of time, like God.

        That is, until (there it is again) we know fully, even as we are fully known (1 Cor. 13:12).

        Liked by 3 people

  15. Ame says:

    That’s beautiful, Oscar.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Scott says:

    Sharkly

    Graduated in 89

    Born and raised in Southern California

    Best time and place to be a teenager , ever.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Corey says:

      Scott, didn’t know vampires and surfing and “the lost boys” were a documentary. Course, these days no self respecting vampire moves to California.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Sharkly says:

      I would have graduated in 88, but I tested out in 87, so then I graduated from college in 91. I lived in Cupertino during High School. The heart of Silicon Valley during the dawning of the computer age, was a pretty hopping place to grow up as well. The 80’s music had a certain carefree party attitude that I liked. It wasn’t the protest music of the 70’s, or the suicide music of the 90’s.

      Like

  17. Scott says:

    By the way, the scene in Sleepless in Seattle is a total fail as a meet cute. If you (the guy) see a woman and you are so totally smitten by her that your jaw drops and you follow her out of an airport (and she doesn’t even make eye contact with you or acknowledge your existence) you already lost.

    Liked by 2 people

    • SFC Ton says:

      Plus no man would react that way over Meg Ryan.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Oscar says:

        One man would, because he’s her soul mate, and she’s his soul mate!

        See how that works?

        Like

      • Scott says:

        I’m afraid I am not qualified to comment on what “real men” think of late 80’s-early 90’s Meg Ryan.

        Its honestly one of the corners of the manosphere/red pill that strikes me as a bit cartoonish.

        At the time, she was an A-list, Americas sweetheart archetype. Pretty much the whole world had a crush on her. So negging her and attempting to display high alpha value from the position of anonymity seems to fly in the face of the true value of sites like this.

        Most men (the huge amount of guys who are under the bell curve in their averageness–including everyone on this site) would melt into a liquid puddle of goo if late 80s/early 90’s Meg Ryan so much as looked in their general direction.

        My point was, if you look at the girl and immediately drop everything you are doing and follow her like a puppy, you didn’t have a meet cute.

        Liked by 4 people

      • SFC Ton says:

        At the time I don’t remember any guys being crazy about her looks. Can’t recall anyone having her posters of her on their walls or any of that shit.

        We’ve all seen women who are hot enough guys do stupid shit for. They exist.

        Mag Ryan ain’t that ugly but she wasn’t a hammer

        Liked by 1 person

  18. Ame says:

    How to find a husband for your daughter 😉

    Joshua 15:16-17

    New King James Version

    “16 And Caleb said, “He who [a]attacks Kirjath Sepher and takes it, to him I will give Achsah my daughter as wife.” 17 So Othniel the son of Kenaz, the brother of Caleb, took it; and he gave him Achsah his daughter as wife.”

    Liked by 3 people

  19. Sharkly says:

    This story would make a good post. This is where Feminism takes women:
    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-9219111/Woman-35-marries-breaking-boyfriend.html
    I didn’t make it up. Scout’s Honor!

    Liked by 2 people

  20. thedeti says:

    There are no soul mates.

    Remember Badger’s place? Someone said there long ago that every human meets, and gets involved with, at most 3 other humans they could be in a long term relationship with/married to, and really make it work. Most people don’t get to 3, they get only 1 or 2. The trick is to know what they will “look like”, and find one of them.

    Ultimately, it comes down to the choices of the partners to make a marriage work.

    Liked by 1 person

    • R says:

      For us older farts, that’s discouraging as I met my three already and either did not recognize them or else I wasn’t in a good place mentally. I married the wrong woman instead and that is even now not hard to do.

      My thirst isn’t what it was so I’d rather be alone than contemplate trying to make it work with the entitled older fatties that are available to me. Brings to mind a joke about viagra I heard when I was younger: it’s not for the men who have physical issues; it’s for the men who can’t get it up for their old, fat and ugly wives. Now I get it. What a hoot!

      Like

    • Novaseeker says:

      Most people don’t get to 3, they get only 1 or 2. The trick is to know what they will “look like”, and find one of them.

      Yep, like soul mates, except there’s three of them instead of just one of them. People drive themselves nuts with these things, really.

      Ultimately, it comes down to the choices of the partners to make a marriage work.

      Yes. That can be easier or harder, though, and therefore more or less likely, depending on the person you do marry, in terms of how attracted they are to each other, how compatible in life goals, lifestyles, personality traits and quirks and the like, and how agreeable/difficult each personality is. Some people are just poor matches for you to marry (although they may be a good match for someone who meshes with them better), and some people are just poor marriage partners in general (even though they may be quite godly otherwise … it’s a specific subset of characteristics).

      To be honest I think having a successful marriage today, where the culture is so permissive of leaving marriage, and the expectations are freighted up to the max, is very challenging for most people, whether Christians or not. Trying to figure out whether someone is a “soul mate” only makes it harder, but it’s hard even if you don’t fall into that trap. There are no supports whatsoever for your marriage from outside of you and your spouse — you are on your own. Not the culture, not the church, not family members, not friends … nothing is really rooting for the marriage, and so it’s up to how strong you are. Like everything else in our ultra-atomized alienated culture, I think.

      Liked by 1 person

      • thedeti says:

        Yep, like soul mates, except there’s three of them instead of just one of them. People drive themselves nuts with these things, really.

        I suppose. I think the thought process was a set of ever-reducing numbers from:

        all the women you have ever personally met, however fleetingly (about 5000) multiplied by 100 for all the women they know (500,000). Reduce that number by 40% to eliminate unattractive women, which is 300,000. Reduce that to the number of women in your acceptable age range, which takes you to about 40,000. Then further to eliminate married women – 20,000. Then eliminate women who won’t want you, which reduces the figure by 90%, or 2,000. Then eliminate women who you won’t want due to race or other concerns, which takes us down to about 400

        And so on until you get to 3.

        To be honest I think having a successful marriage today, where the culture is so permissive of leaving marriage, and the expectations are freighted up to the max, is very challenging for most people, whether Christians or not.

        Yes. We see this in the increasing rate of Christians’ participation in the wider culture. More premarital sex, more careerism, more delaying marriage, more divorce.

        Liked by 1 person

  21. Elspeth says:

    I never expected to be marry to a so-called soul mate. Never. And I’d think Gen X was the generation that helped create this belief in the first place.

    I think it’s a real phenomena, and I think a lot of women (and men!) fall into the trap, but I don’t think it is any where near universal. I think people grasp for it as an excuse when they can’t or won’t do the work to make the most of their marriages.

    Like

    • Oscar says:

      I never expected to be marry to a so-called soul mate. Never. And I’d think Gen X was the generation that helped create this belief in the first place.

      The belief in soul mates is millennia old. You see it pop up in Western literature, like Romeo and Juliet (although, now that I’m older, I think Shakespeare was mocking it).

      It may be that romantic movies made for Gen-X teenagers helped re-invigorate the myth. I’m not sure. I don’t know enough about romantic movies to form an opinion.

      Like

    • Novaseeker says:

      I think people grasp for it as an excuse when they can’t or won’t do the work to make the most of their marriages.

      I think that is true to some extent, but it’s also part of broader cultural trends regarding impermanency in general that are hard to disentangle oneself from. Our culture in the last 50-70 years became a disposability culture. If something isn’t working for you, you don’t fix it, you throw it away and replace it with something else. This happened because the replacement cost lowered enough to the point where the fixing cost was less attractive than obtaining a replacement. This created a broad mentality that has seeped into how many people experience and act throughout their lives, including in relationships. Jobs, cities, friends, social connections in general, material goods of all kinds, living arrangements, and yes marriages are all subject to the same thing — if there isn’t a quick and easy fix, it’s best to pitch and get another one, start over with a new job, new city, new partner, new spouse (if you can find one), etc. The “cost of replacement” just needs to be low enough, or be perceived to be low enough, for a lot of people to opt for replacement instead of repair, even in intimate relationships.

      And then, yes, when they do they reach for the cover stories. However, I do think in the case of the SMM, it’s acting in both capacities. For some people it’s a cover story to cover their tracks when they decide to cut and run rather than repair. For others, though, it’s a source of the determination that something is broken beyond repair to begin with — not worth fixing it, because the person wasn’t the soul mate anyway, so better to move on and replace it. And the rest of the culture is nodding its head in violent agreement, and the decision also “rhymes” with countless other decisions the same people are making in other areas of their lives to pitch and replace rather than repair.

      Liked by 1 person

      • SFC Ton says:

        I have my doubts a struggling marriage can be resolved in the current
        legal environment. There are things that would work but they aren’t worth the jail time

        Liked by 2 people

      • thedeti says:

        This happened because the replacement cost lowered enough to the point where the fixing cost was less attractive than obtaining a replacement.

        In every area but one – a husband who wants to rid himself of a wife. In many cases doing so is cost prohibitive for men. This of course is by design. Women saw men reading Playboy in the 50s and wanting that Playboy lifestyle, maybe chase his secretary around his desk, maybe he’s cheating… So let’s put a stop to that by just making it way too expensive to divorce.

        Just like 150 years ago, it was way too burdensome and shameful and status-destroying for a woman to rid herself of a husband who drank a bit too much but wasn’t an irresponsible alcoholic, or an unkind, aloof, absentee man who didn’t love her, but also didn’t beat her and the kids every day.

        The tide has turned, and now men must bear the vast majority of risk and expense in marriage. Any man who wants out of a marriage will take it in the pants, repeatedly, and this is again by design.

        Like

    • thedeti says:

      I never expected to be married to a so-called soul mate. Never. And I’d think Gen X was the generation that helped create this belief in the first place.

      Well, kind of. Gen Xers picked it up from their boomer parents. Or like me, who had Silent Generation parents, we picked it up from them.

      Like

      • Elspeth says:

        I had a Silent Dad and a Boomer stepmom. I don’t know if I could have been raised by two people more void of stars in the eyes philosophies, LOL.

        I don’t think I’ve never heard anyone insinuate that Silents were SMM types.

        @Oscar:

        Yes, I know the SMM is old. But it wasn’t widespread throughout the culture the way it has been throughout the past 60 years.

        Prior to 1950, people were much more practical and survival minded than after WWII.

        Like

  22. Scott says:

    Lexet-

    WRT free will

    I do sometimes wonder about certain passages.

    Like this one:

    “But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and though I multiply my signs and wonders in Egypt, he will not listen to you. Then I will lay my hand on Egypt and with mighty acts of judgment I will bring out my divisions, my people the Israelites.”

    So was pharaoh just an automaton? Did he ever have he ability to just say, at Moses first demand “ok. They can leave?”

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oscar says:

      Scott,

      Exodus 8:15 But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he hardened his heart and did not heed them, as the Lord had said.
      ……..
      19 Then the magicians said to Pharaoh, “This is the finger of God.” But Pharaoh’s heart grew hard, and he did not heed them, just as the Lord had said.
      ……..
      32 But Pharaoh hardened his heart at this time also; neither would he let the people go.

      Exodus 9:7 Then Pharaoh sent, and indeed, not even one of the livestock of the Israelites was dead. But the heart of Pharaoh became hard, and he did not let the people go.
      ……..
      12 But the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh; and he did not heed them, just as the Lord had spoken to Moses.
      ……..
      35 So the heart of Pharaoh was hard; neither would he let the children of Israel go, as the Lord had spoken by Moses.

      Exodus 10:20 But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not let the children of Israel go.
      ……..
      27 But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he would not let them go.

      Exodus 11:10 So Moses and Aaron did all these wonders before Pharaoh; and the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not let the children of Israel go out of his land.

      Exodus 14:5 Now it was told the king of Egypt that the people had fled, and the heart of Pharaoh and his servants was turned against the people; and they said, “Why have we done this, that we have let Israel go from serving us?”
      ……..
      8 And the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued the children of Israel; and the children of Israel went out with boldness.

      It’s true that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and it’s also true that Pharaoh hardened his own heart. There you have free will, and God’s sovereignty illustrated in the same story.

      Liked by 2 people

  23. Jeff Barnes says:

    I believe in the reality of the concept of soulmates and twinflames as described more or less well in the new-age community. I reject a lot or am apprehensive about many of the metaphysical claims, but I hold to the concept as having descriptive power. I also maintain my redpilled beliefs simultaneously as well as my christian worldview. On the surface those two perspectives may seem in compatible, but I don’t think they are particularly as I have explored each in greater depth. Scotts analogy of is useful here too, as I accept to seemingly contradictory positions while not understanding how they fit together but accepting that mystery. I don’t really have any good arguments for my belief in the former position, but I find the concepts to be helpful models in understanding my personal experiences.

    Like

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