There are plenty of phrases and words that popular demagogues have purposely emphasized and/or emptied of their true meaning, with the intention of promoting a slew of erroneous ideas. Among these is the term destiny.
I’m assured the reader, if he lives on planet earth and is somewhat aware of the goings on in pop culture, has heard and read this term bandied about. So-called motivational speakers endlessly regurgitate it, psychologists blather on about it and even celebrity pastors (a massive oxymoron) wax poetic about it. But what do these talking heads mean when they utter it?
I’ve given this topic some thought lately due to an article I read on Chad Veach, another hipster who dresses his vacuous rabble-rousing in pseudo-Biblical terminology to give the impression that his teachings are in conformity to sound doctrine. Being profiled over at The Christian Post, Veach declares that his latest book was inspired by “…the idea that God has a plan for all of our lives. I was preaching this message in our church and I became further convinced of this idea that God has a plan for all of us.”
First observation: Notice how Veach becomes “further convinced” of an idea while he’s speaking about it to an audience. Does this mean that he took to a podium not entirely persuaded about what he was about to annunciate? First red flag.
“One weekend I was preaching and said, ‘You gotta have faith to move forward into this future that God has.’ So that’s where the whole idea came from. I just became overwhelmingly encouraged that no matter where you’re from or what you’ve done, God has a plan for your life…Everybody that God uses somehow has to overcome their past and the pain of what they’ve done and step into what God has ultimately destined them to. [Emphasis added]
I think God gives vision, God is a dream talker, the dream-giver. You’ve got to learn to differentiate what’s me and what’s God, and as you go to Him, having the humility to say, ‘This is what I want to do, this is what’s in my heart,’…I think it’s hard to mess up God’s will for your life. I think if you go against His will, He’s going to let you know. He talks, He speaks, you’re going to feel it in your spirit. You’ll get a sense of His voice. I always just say, ‘I’m going to move forward. I’m a dreamer, I want to do these things, and anytime you step in [Lord], I’ll adjust and stop anything you want me to do.'”
Second observation: Noah Webster defined destiny as the “state or condition appointed or predetermined; ultimate fate”. I would ask Mr. Veach how it is possible to use the terms faith and destiny within the same phrase, being that both are mutually exclusive terms. Either one is destined to a certain conclusion or not. Veach’s version of “faith” cannot alter destiny, no matter what. Or is he asserting that one’s destiny is subject to one’s faith? If this is the case, how can it be called destiny if the conclusion of a thing is alterable? Second red flag.
(I must clarify that I am no proponent of predeterminism. I am firm believer in free will. I ask these questions rhetorically to demonstrate the absurdity of Veach’s ideas.)
Third observation: Veach continually proclaims what has become a cliché within Christian circles: “God has a plan for your life”. Does such a phrase find Biblical support? Most would point to the modern translations of Jeremiah 29:11 to claim certification. However, the verse’s content makes no reference to Christians but to how God desired to restore the nation of Israel to its former glory after the Babylonian captivity. Furthermore, the majority of ancient texts interpret the Hebrew word machashabah to mean “thoughts” and not “plans” within the text. (Ex: “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” – King James Version)
The idea of God having a “plan” for a person’s life implies divine predestination or fate, an immutable course and end determined by God for a person’s life. This concept receives no Biblical backing and is in line with the repugnant doctrine of Calvinism. This is entirely different from the expression and concept conveyed by the Scriptures known as the “will of God”. (Mark 3:35; John 7:17; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5; Romans 1:10, 12:2; 2 Corinthians 7:8-10)
Examining all this, it becomes clear what Veach truly intends to communicate: God’s plan for your life is whatever you desire it to be. This is made abundantly clear as Veach states:
“Let’s go to the book of Proverbs. What is Proverbs all about? Wisdom! And what does wisdom say? Wisdom says, ‘I will promote you, I will give you favor.’ Wisdom says, ‘I will give you great success. I’ll give you a good name’…So when we talk about practical business tools or practical life living skills — that’s what the whole book of Proverbs is! Wisdom is so that we can move forward and do better, obtain more, have a better name, have a better revelation. I think that all biblical principles lead forward. They don’t lead you backwards, they don’t take you to a smaller audience or smaller business or smaller life, because the world is getting larger. Everything with God gets bigger, so I think we need to have wisdom and practical steps on how to build our lives so that we can obtain all that God promises to us.”
Therefore, according to Veach, God’s “plan” is focused on the temporal, ephemeral, material and superficial. It’s man-centeredness rearing its ugly head again using decontextualized, misinterpreted verses and ostentatious prose to justify itself.
Forget that Proverbs is a book which emphasizes God-granted wisdom and knowledge so that our walk pleases our Maker and so that we may avoid sin and its consequences. Nay, according to Veach, the book is a get-rich-quick-scheme.
Veach’s declarations are another example of this generation’s penchant for emptying words of their substantive meaning and thereby communicating contradictions which only worsen the public’s already deep entanglement with confusion.