Another curious thing with Daniel’s prayer is that he may not have even needed to make it!
After all, God, through Jeremiah, foretold that the nation would be in captivity for 70 years and then return. The seventy years are about up; it is time to go home.
God decreed it, so there’s no need to pray. Yet Daniel prays anyway, asking God to do what he already said he would do.
Could there be causality?
Is Daniel’s prayer needed for God’s intention to come to fruition?
Or perhaps God’s decree is given with the foreknowledge that in 70 years Daniel will pray for deliverance.
Was it predestined that the people would be repatriated after 70 years or was it predestined that Daniel would pray, resulting in their return?
In another wonderful God paradox, the answer is yes!
A theological conundrum is the concept of free will versus predestination. While the Bible teaches that we have the ability to make our own choices (we have free will), it also says that things are predetermined (predestined). Which is it?
It is both, presenting us with a delightful paradox. Though my mind somewhat grasps this as a holistic, unified truth, I am woefully unable to articulate it.
It helps a little to consider that one understanding of “predestined” is to “foreknow.” Another helpful consideration is to realize that God — who created time-space, exists outside of time — likely seeing the past, present, and future as a singular reality.
However, it is the book of Daniel that gives me the most help.
A prophecy is given about evil king Nebuchadnezzar. Because of his prideful arrogance, he will be struck with insanity until he acknowledges God (free will) and for seven years (predestination).
Free will and predestination are not mutually exclusive concepts, but opposite sides of the same coin.