Gravitational Pull

To assume that because man has ability to love he therefore has the ability to love God, is about as wise as to assume that since water has the ability to flow, it therefore has the ability to flow uphill; or to reason that because a man has power to cast himself from the top of a precipice to the bottom, he therefore has equal power to transport himself from the bottom to the top.

Predestination, Loraine Boettner, p62.

I like when theologians use physics to explain a theologocal concept. Here, Boettner is trying to explain how man has “wholly lost all ability of will to any good accompanying salvation” (WCF 9.3). The effect of sin is likened to a gravitational pull.

Like it.

Gravitational Pull

4 thoughts on “Gravitational Pull

  1. John says:

    Interesting idea (like you, I’m partial to science analogies because it’s a language I understand) but I’ll have to think about it – as with all analogies, it only works if you accept that it works (IYSWIW). As you’ll probably guess, I’m not so easily swayed to full predestination as that!

    pax et bonum

  2. John says:


    I’m not so sure about that refraction one – I suspect that diffraction would actually be a better analogy, especially if we could do a 2-slit diffraction and give discrete “event” fringes in our lives.

    Actually, keeping with the optical imagery for a minute, perhaps an even better way of thinking about how the resurrection of Christ is shown differently and at different times in our own experience is to think in terms of lenses – that Christ’s (eternal) resurrection shines through to produce real images in our lives; and that these images occur at different points depending on where the lens is focused. So, using refraction language but taking it further.

    This is fun 🙂

    pax et bonum

  3. Stephen says:

    Hi John,
    Event fringes? How many resurrections do you want? 😉

    Gaffin has in view resurrection for the Christian, which consists of two parts: inner resurrection (see e.g. Eph. 2:5), the evidence of which is personal faith in Christ (Eph 2:8), and future outer resurrection of the body (1 Cor 15), the evidence of which is, well, … a new body! The source of this personal resurrection is that of Christ.

    Gaffin’s image of refraction is therefore quite good: the source (which to be consistent must consist of two wavelengths!) when directed at the prism of the believer manifests itself in two discrete events, but intimately linked to the source.

    But, as ever, illustrations have limited use and cannot be pushed too far!

Comments are closed.