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"What Is Fate or Destiny?" - A Response

Updated on March 14, 2013

This hub offers my own thoughts on some ideas published by fellow hubber shibashake on his own hub.


Fellow hubber shibashake has published a hub titled "What Is Fate or Destiny?" In his piece, the observation that, I think, most immediately addresses how we view the world we find ourselves in and how we then conduct ourselves is this;

"If we believe that all our individual choices are predetermined by a deity, then there is only the illusion of free will"

I suggest that the validity of this assertion depends on our understanding of ourselves, the world we find ourselves in, and the deity superintending it all. First, as to 'ourselves'; we must initially recognize that all our information comes to us through our faculties of perception. We don't just know things - we observe, consider, and form conclusions about what our eyes, ears, reason, etc, inform us of. I didn't start this paragraph with the phrase "I suggest" because I just know that 'I' refers to me and 'suggest' means I'm offering my view, I wasn't born knowing that, that understanding didn't just drop into my head - from childhood I have observed and considered and reasoned that 'I' refers to me and 'suggest' means I'm offering my view.

This of course means that we're talking about the way things seem to us, we're not talking about the objective factual reality of things. As in, it seems to me that I have free will . . . I can publish this little piece when I'm done, I can pause in my writing and enjoy a cup of coffee, or I can delete this and listen to some Savoy Brown and forget about "What Is Fate or Destiny?". And I can do any of these options without anything outside myself seeming to hinder or compel me to do so . . . so, it appears to me that I have free will.

Next, as to the world we find ourselves in; we observe that we exist in space and time . . . I am here where I am and shibashake is wherever he or she currently is, we are not together but we both exist. If I were to leave where I am and go to where shibashake is,then I would no longer be here where I am but would be over there with shibashake - that demonstrates space. The fact that I described the place where shibashake is as being where he or she "currently" is demonstrates time . . . not only am I not in the same location (space) that shibashake is currently in, I'm not currently in the same location I was in about an hour ago, and my hand is not currently just where it was just moment ago. Not every place is located in the same space and not every moment happens at the same time . . . we live in a space and time reality.

Now, there is a 'trick' to notice about this; space we can observe, things take-up space . . . the computer screen you're looking at is in the space it is in and it is an actual, material thing - the same kind of observation cannot be made of time. Whatever it is that happens in time is gone in an instant, is only a memory once it was happened . . . we can't observe time as we can space, we can only observe things happening in the moment they happen, time itself is invisible to us. That means this; when we talk about God being everywhere at the same time (and, I realize no one is talking about any deity yet, but to illustrate my point, when we talk about God being everywhere at the same time) we can't grasp such a notion - but we can imagine the point of it. We see the space right in front of us, we see the space way down the road, and we know there is more space further on . . . we only understand one person being in one place at a time, but we know there are many other places besides the one the person is currently in, and we can imagine what it would mean to be in all places at the same time.

We cannot however see time in front of us or the time that was just here a moment ago or the time that is fast approaching and will be 'now' pretty soon. So that, if we say that, just as God can be everywhere at the same time we can likewise say that God can be everywhen at the same time, we can't grasp the intent of 'everywhen' at the same time like we can grasp 'everywhere' at the same time. Because time lacks the material (and so examinable) component that space has, time is a more difficult concept for us to ponder.

However, 'everywhen' at the same time is exactly how I am going to introduce my final point to consider - the deity superintending it all. Without offering evidence or argument for the existence of a creator/sustainer deity (leaving that as it's own idea to consider) I will simply here assert my own understanding of the subject before us - "What Is Fate or Destiny?" and more specifically;

"If we believe that all our individual choices are predetermined by a deity, then there is only the illusion of free will".

God exists outside of the space and time that He created, He is neither bound nor limited by the order or course He gave to either . . . God exists in eternity (not time that goes on and on forever, but the absence of linear time altogether). God does experience one moment taking the place of the previous moment and soon to be replaced by the next moment - God exists in an ever-present now, a perpetual instant. Just as God is everywhere at the same time, God is indeed everywhen at the same time. He doesn't merely remember me as a little boy or look into the future and know what I'll be up to in a few years - God currently and simultaneously actively with me as a boy, now, and in my future. I am limited to experiencing reality within the confines of linear time, to me this right now is all that is happening, what I did as a boy already happened and what i will do years from now has yet to happen - but God, outside of linear time, is instantly and concurrently experiencing all time.

What this means is, God can ordain all that is to come to pass and predetermine all I do at every instant - yet I am still making authentic free will choices that I am responsible for. God didn't, in the distant pass, predestine what I would do and now I am merely playing-out what He ordained - God is with me (and was and will be), actively predestining and ordaining as I am volitionally doing all that I do and all the consequences thereof. Our language is limited by our experience and imagination, so we have to use terms like 'pre-destining', which suggests determining a destiny prior to it actually happening - but I believe, because we exist in linear time and God exists outside of linear time, that both circumstances are valid; God is predestining all that comes to pass and we are making authentic and consequential choices, are continually happen at the same time (so-to-speak).

So that, I would adjust your conclusion of the implication of destiny from "it gives meaning to our tragedies. On the other hand, it takes meaning away from our accomplishments" to read " it gives purpose to our tragedies, and it manifests meaning to our accomplishments".


MickeySr: Getting to Know Mickey Haist, Sr

All photos used in this hub are personal photos taken by myself or family or friends and all drawings and poems were done by me.

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    • Captain Redbeard profile image

      Captain Redbeard 6 years ago from Ohio

      Good point. I like to think of eternity in a moment by moment instance. Christ was not a 33 year old man, he is ever existant just as the Father yet he is more tangabe to us because we can see a moment of his time with us. Just as these moments we live in are our more tangable moments.

    • MickeySr profile image

      MickeySr 6 years ago from Hershey, Pa.

      . . . plus, with this topic in particular, our language fails us. It's tricky enough to grasp the concept of eternity, of a non-linear time condition, but we have to try to discuss it using time-related terms . . . a non time reality equals, eh, a perpetual now, and ongoing instant . . ? we can never be certain that the other fellows is getting what it is we are trying to convey.

    • Captain Redbeard profile image

      Captain Redbeard 6 years ago from Ohio

      At the very least it is easier when the person reading or with whom you are speaking, has a relative idea of the subject.

      I believe although hubs such as these are great they tend to be a huge challenge because it does take more than a few paragraphs to accurately convey the point or idea.

    • MickeySr profile image

      MickeySr 6 years ago from Hershey, Pa.

      Thanks very much Captain Redbeard . . . trying to insert outcome and consequences into a concept that is beyond our experience is not easy to articulate. I hope I did get my sense of this across, it seems a bit easier face-to-face, but I'm not at all sure that it is.

    • Captain Redbeard profile image

      Captain Redbeard 6 years ago from Ohio

      This is good work sir. I have always explained the phenomenon of "everywhen", "everywhere" as a tree. More precisely your tree, God is the observer here viewing this tree and see's every branch. Every fork and every spot. Some are rich and green, baring fruit and other parts are dead and shortened. You traverse this tree with every action and choice you make yet God see's it all. The past present and future as one, he see's the what ifs in their entirety and is present in all instances. I am currently writing a book called, "Ramblings of a foolish man" in which I take an entire chapter to cover this view of "free will" and "predestination".

      I enjoyed this hub and am looking forward to reading more. voted up sir!

    • MickeySr profile image

      MickeySr 6 years ago from Hershey, Pa.

      Thank you all for the favorable review, it's much appreciated.

    • phillippeengel profile image

      Deng Xiang 6 years ago

      Great musings. I enjoyed reading your hub.

    • andromida profile image

      syras mamun 6 years ago

      We always can change our path to a particular direction-indeed we have the power to choose or build our fate to a certain extent.Thanks.

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 6 years ago from California

      The issue of destiny seems always to be a thorny one regardless of the religious context. For those who believe in reincarnation, destiny is also an important precept--This was a very interesting hub--I enjoyed it--

    • mljdgulley354 profile image

      mljdgulley354 6 years ago

      Destiny-it gives purpose to our tragedies, and it manifests meaning to our accomplishments". Awesome way to define destiny. Great hub