Weekly Impact is written for leaders by our Executive Director, Garth Jestley, who has decades of experience in senior leadership roles in the financial services sector. Each week he will share insights on life, leadership and faith.
Recently, a marketplace leader on our LeaderImpact Saskatoon City Team forwarded me an article written by Bill Gross of Janus Henderson Investors. My colleague, who is an investment advisor, forwarded it in part because of my past career in the investment management business.
The primary reason he sent it, however, was to draw my attention to a philosophical observation made by Gross in what is essentially an article discussing the investment outlook. Coming from a highly respected marketplace leader, this philosophical observation really captured my imagination. Carefully considered, it should cause followers of Jesus to be thankful and those who do not believe in God to question their disbelief.
While I don’t know Gross’s personal views on God, I was struck by one of his comments: “To my mind, free will is the key to our unique position among life’s animals. Without it, this business of living is reduced to a meaningless game.” While he may or may not have been thinking of all the theological implications of his assertion, three come to mind.
- Free will is humankind’s great distinctive. I confess to seldom thinking about the fact I am free to make choices. However, as I consider my professional and personal life, it is clear that every minute of every day involves the exercise of my free will. For this very reason, we abhor attempts by dictatorial regimes to impose their will upon us or others.Actually, the concept of free will is denied today by many academics who promote the view that our lives are deterministic, meaning all cause is external to will. In other words, what we view as free will is an illusion and nothing but the end result of our evolutionary programming. To quote atheistic scientist Richard Dawkins, “The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at the bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no other good. Nothing but blind, pitiless indifference. DNA neither knows nor cares. DNA just is. And we dance to its music.”
- Humankind is absolutely unique within the animal kingdom. This conclusion is consistent with the Genesis account of creation in the Bible wherein man and woman, unlike anything else in all creation, were made in the image of God. Secularism, of course, denies this claim since it denies the existence of God.
- Without free will, life is meaningless. Would life be meaningful if you were a robot? Exactly! While I am not a trained philosopher, it seems to me that those who believe we are predetermined must twist themselves into intellectual knots attempting to articulate a coherent perspective on the meaning of life.
For those of us who have exercised our free will and decided to follow Jesus, the foregoing is cause for gratefulness, since, among other things, Jesus infuses our lives with meaning including the gift of free will. For those of you who have not yet made this choice, I hope the foregoing stimulates curiosity to explore the relevance of faith in God in your professional and personal life.
Garth Jestley is a husband, father, grandfather, leader and business executive. Most importantly, he is a follower of Jesus Christ.