Last night we had the (now rare) opportunity to go into town and catch a film. We chose The Adjustment Bureau. It’s a film based on a short story by sci-fi legend Phillip K Dick and stars Emily Blunt and Matt Damon, plus that grey haired guy out of Mad Men and Terence Stamp and other luminaries.
I haven’t read the original short story but it’s a great film, a nail biter, a love story and thought provoking. The central premise is that there is an architect who has a plan and that there is a bureau of men who, bureaucratically, keep important lives on track with that plan to ensure that we don’t destroy ourselves. It’s a meditation on free will and predestination.
All belief systems have their brush with predestination: for Buddhists it is found in yuanfen which delivers predetermined principles that determine for instance how you will relate to others; in Christianity the most typical were the Calvinists who believed/believe that God has chosen a number and they will be saved while the rest will be damned. Reassuring if you are a confident person, soul-destroying (literally) if you aren’t.
It’s an interesting question on a broader level – do I believe that God brought my husband and me together? Yes, for a variety of reasons – mostly private! Do I believe that’s the only way it could have been for us? Not so sure. Do I believe that I have one and only destiny to follow? No. I believe that my future is my own, to muck up or make a success of – barring world events! But what I do know without any doubt at all is that God works to make even the worst situation better when he is allowed to. That’s why we have to be open to him as much as we can, because it’s only through us that he can make life better, not just for ourselves but more importantly for those who can’t help themselves.