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Purpose And Cause!

The following is a post from one of my contributors, Brandon Foster.  He is a high school student in our Student Ministry at New Life.

Pupil: “You say everything happens for a reason.”

Teacher: “Yes; I hold it to be true, at least.”

Pupil: “Even when the initial cause of something doesn’t satisfy it’s intended purpose?”

Teacher: “Can you couple your question with an scenario?”


(characters are named from “the boy’s” perspective)

“Let’s assume a boy plans to hang out with two of his friends at a Lake after school, but during the last period of the day he finds out one of his friends will not be able to come. The boy decides to walk his friend (who can’t make it to the Lake) half way to his house and then head back to return to the Lake.

The bell rings, class is dismissed, and we find the boy and his friend outside of the school building searching for the boy’s other friend who was also invited to the Lake. To the boy’s disappointment, this other friend of his tells him that he won’t be able to make because of a a last minute event. The boy and the first friend continue walking on their way, but — to their surprise — they encounter two of their acquaintances from school whom they have previously noticed also like to frequent the Lake. However, the boy notices that one of the acquaintances isn’t heading for the Lake as she usually would but is heading to to her home, instead (which just so happens to be along the same path that the boy and his friend are taking).

The boy, his friend, and the two acquaintances converse among themselves and eventually arrive at a point where the road splits into three smaller roads. At the fork, one of the acquaintances takes a left, the boy’s friend continues on forward to rest of his way home, the other acquaintance begins to make for a right, and the boy heads back toward the school in order to make his way to the Lake (as he had previously planned). He does this even though his two friend who he had invited won’t be there, because he figures he might find some of his other schoolmates at the Lake anyway.

To the boy’s surprise, yet again, the acquaintance who started to make a right at the fork reconsiders her decision and decides to turn around and go back toward the Lake, in the same direction as the boy. As the boy and the acquaintance walk to the Lake, they have some small talk and learn a little more about each other. They arrive at the vacant Lake only to notice it’s been completely dry for 5 entire weeks. They walk and talk their way back to the fork where they once began their quaint journey to the Lake and depart to their respective homes.”

  • What if the boy and his friend stopped to get a drink of water for a couple minutes before they left the school building?
  • Teacher: “I see. So, neither the boy nor his friends got to hang out with each other as they planned.”

    Pupil: “It is sound to say that the cause of this event is when the boy and his friends planned to hang out.”

    Teacher: “Surely.”

    Pupil: “Therefore intended¬†purpose of the cause was not yet fulfilled — correct?”

    Teacher: “That depends on how the boy sees it.”

    Pupil: “How so?”

    Teacher: “Well, did he enjoy the time with his acquaintance?”

    Pupil: “Without a doubt.”

    Teacher: “Now we need to look at the purpose of why the boy wanted to spend time with his friends at the Lake in the first place.”

    Pupil: “To have a good time, of course.”

    Teacher: “And to expand the relationships among themselves as friends, too, wouldn’t you agree?”

    Pupil: “I suppose so.”

    Teacher: “Isn’t this the same purpose as the cause in your given example?”

    Pupil: “But is it sound to say that the purpose of the boy and his acquaintance walking to the empty Lake was satisfied?”

    Teacher: “Then you’d have to ask what the acquaintance thought of it.”

    Questions for the Reader

  • What if the boy chose to go directly to the Lake and not walk his friend half way to his home?
  • What if the Lake wasn’t dry?
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