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God Has a Plan For You

In recent news, elite institutions like Yale Law School and Harvard Law School decided to withdraw from voluntarily reporting information to the U.S. News and World Report law school ranking system. [3]

Allegedly, the move was intended to make it easier for these powerful law schools to admit students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Nonetheless, many commentators have pointed out that refusing to participate in voluntarily providing data for the rankings system will not actually remove these schools from the U.S. News list. This move will only force the rankings to rely more heavily on data like reputational rankings, which are already one of the biggest components of the ranking process. As one cynical commentator wrote:

“If Yale Law School really wanted to make a difference, it would use its gargantuan horde of financial and social capital to greatly expand the number of people it teaches while developing lower-cost models of education… [instead of] denouncing an outside interloper.” [2]

It is infuriating that, for the legal profession, schools like Yale and Harvard have a stranglehold on opportunities for greatness. It is certainly inequitable and feels unfair. However, as Christians, we must not fall prey to the idea that everyone can, or even should have, the exact same outcomes in life.

In Jeremiah 1:5, we see evidence of God’s divine providence and plans for the life of each and every human being. Here God says to the prophet Jeremiah, “Before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

The reality is that God has given certain people authority and power that He has not accorded to all others. Even then, as the Gospel account of John illustrates, that power is not always desirable. For instance, Jesus said to Pilate, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above” (John 19:11). It is very unlikely that Pilate took any comfort in those words.

This is not to deny the idea of free will; after all, we have plenty of biblical evidence that other prophets, like Jonah, ran away from the calling of God (Jonah 1:1-3). Nonetheless, it does indicate that, whether or not we accept God’s plans for us, there are purposes for which each of us are created.

God did not make every person for the exact same purposes. He did not intend for everyone to get into the best law schools or ivy league universities. That does not make any individual any more valuable in the eyes of God than any other. Like cogs in a finely tuned clock, each of us can play a crucial and constitutive part in God’s plan of salvation. This fact comes into conflict with one of the great debates of contemporary America: the question of social inequity.

Before getting too excited about solving the “problem” of inequity, one should note that this idea of equity is distinct from equality.

As one article defines the distinction: “Equality means each individual or group of people is given the same resources or opportunities. Equity recognizes that each person has different circumstances and allocates the exact resources and opportunities needed to reach an equal outcome.” [1]

Although it is fairly easy to know how to give everyone the same set of opportunities in foresight, it is nearly impossible to ensure that everyone has the same outcome. Not only is this difficult because no one can possibly know all the variables that affect outcomes, but it also actively seeks to undermine the idea that God intends for people to play different roles in His Kingdom.

While this may seem fatalistic, it is not to say that we should create a new caste system or reject all forms of ambition. Instead, we should understand that each of us has a solemn duty to pursue God’s will for our life. God made us all equal. He did not intend for all of us to have “equitable” outcomes. As we can see with the example of YLS, even attempts to create this equity are often disingenuous and unlikely to succeed.

We owe one another dignity, love, and respect, not accolades or positions of honor. As Christians, we must understand that God did not give everyone the same outcomes. And that is okay.

Foundations of Truth hereby waives all claim of copyright (economic and moral) in this work and immediately places it in the public domain; it may be used, published, edited, and distributed in any manner whatsoever without any attribution or notice to Foundations of Truth.


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