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The Magic Island
The Magic Island

By Dave Breese

There are many lovely places in our world—countries, cities, villages which are beautiful, bordering on the exotic. For many people, the list of attractive scenes could not be completed apart from some of the nicest places of all, the islands. Islands are special things.

Jamaica, for instance, is one of our favorites. It has the ocean and the mountains with incredible greenery in between. For similar reasons, Trinidad is a lovely place to be. The islands of the Caribbean are close to paradises, with Aruba on the south and the Bahamas and Bermuda to the north. Across the world there is Taiwan, Quemoi, Matsu. Europe has the islands of the Mediterranean and even Britain itself is properly known as the British Isles. Iceland dots the North Atlantic and Greenland looms large. Manhattan is itself an island and Hilton Head a more exotic one. California gives us Catalina—the list could go on and on. Islands are lovely and stately things—standing isolated in the sea that cannot overwhelm them. In these islands and many more, we have had the opportunity to minister. The melody lingers on.

Above all these memorable places, there is a greater island yet. It is so important, so exotic and so critical that it can well be called, “The Magic Island.” This island exists; it is there. Where? It is in the core of the human personality. It is called by many names, the most descriptive of which may well be “autonomy.” It is the island where functions that most important thing, the human will. It is the place where we choose, where we decide! Decisions are there made for which we alone are responsible. It stands amid the seas of life that are sometimes calm but are more than often stormy. That magic island is the inner being of man. It is the matrix of the human soul. It is the place where the soul shaping decisions of life are made, where is made life’s greatest decision. What is that? It is . . .

“Choose you this day whom you will serve.”

The human will is the essence of life, living within the personalities of all who claim to be human beings. It is a marvelous place but, strangely enough, it is resented by many. Yes, the truth that man is a choosing, willing being is an anathema to many. In their resentment of man’s responsibility to choose, most people have invented schemes to do away with the free will of man.

One response to man’s free will, one scheme, is denial. In their denial, many have invented every sort of determinism to do away with the will of man, with human responsibility. The Darwinians say that we are determined, not by our own choices, but by natural selection. The Marxists insist that we are economically determined. Freud taught that we become what we are by sexual expression or lack thereof. The Behaviorists say that we are helpless victims of the chemistry of the brain. The Humanists insist that we are totally the product of the culture.

There are even Religionists who deny the human will by insisting that the sovereignty of God cancels all free action. Therefore, Jesus did not mean it when He said, “Whosoever will.”

Other Religionists (sometimes a nasty bunch) admit to the existence of the human will, but then say it is depraved to the place where it has ceased to function. Total depravity is a muscular thought, but it is subtly untrue. Adam, newly dead in sin, could still respond affirmatively to God.

There are some who even abdicate away their will. One of the sad phenomena of our time comes in the form of the millions of individuals who turn over the leadership of their lives to another. This happens, of course, in politics. How can one explain the myriad of bad ideas that come down from government except to say that there are bosses (we almost said leaders) and pitiful psychophants.

Spiritual psychophants highly populate our churches as well. They have long since abdicated the free exercise of their will to a robed religionist who will then make all the decisions. Religious hierarchies are in a state-of-war with the image of God in life, the human will.

Yes, to abandon, weaken or destroy the human will is ipso facto, destroying the image of God in the life of an individual. To the extent that we are controlled by anything other than the responsible exercise of our will, to that extent we cease to be humans. To that extent we allow ourselves to become natural brute beasts. The Bible indicates that such beings are “to be taken and destroyed.”

But happily, the magic island, the human will is placed solidly in the midst of the troubled sea of humanity. It still keeps its lighthouse shining. That wonderful beacon continues to rotate regularly through the entire 360 degrees of its influence. In so doing, it persists in reminding us all that the human will, choosing in a manner consonant with the will of God, is the essence of life and reality. Despite all protestations to the contrary, man is what he is to the degree that he has decided, chosen in favor of the will of God. Every unhappiness of lost humanity has occurred to the degree that that principle—man freely choosing, affirming the divine will—has been violated or forgotten.

There are many in today’s world who need to visit that magic island once again. This is surely true about a world which has lost its moorings and, therefore, respects not the will of man and regards not such a distant thing as the will of God.

Many a Christian, however, needs also to visit that magic island. Too many have been rendered impotent in today’s world by reason of their belief in a theological construct or a doctrinal system that denies human responsibility. Volition, for them, is therefore dead or dying as they move like puppets under the groundless authority of a religious hierarchy. For them, a short vacation on the magic island would make life come together again. Failing this, there lies ahead only a spiritual debtor’s prison, for the price of having sacrificed their will can never be paid.

Destiny Newsletter continued