"I am forever an effect of God."
Any effect is made what it is by its cause. The cause determines what the effect is. If I strike a billiard ball with my cue stick, the ball has no say in where it goes. The effect of the ball's motion is entirely determined by the stroke of the cue (plus other causational things like the state of the table surface, etc). So if I am "an effect of God" I don't really have any say in determining what I am; that is determined by my Cause, God. This is why it must be true that, "As You created me I have remained" (1:3). I cannot change what I am; God "forever and forever [is] my Cause" (1:2). Does this seem to preclude free will? Yes, it does, in so far as actually determining what my nature is. And thank God it does! Otherwise, we would have irretrievably damaged ourselves and made sin and hell into realities. Free will, as the Course says in its Introduction, does not grant us the right to "determine the curriculum," that is, to decide what we must learn; it only grants us the freedom to choose when we learn it. And what we are learning is what we are, as God created us. That cannot change.
God's Will is "to have a Son so like his Cause that Cause and Its Effect are indistinguishable" (1:5). What an amazing statement! Indistinguishable from God! Wow! That borders on heresy or incredible hubris, doesn't it? And yet that is what the Course is telling us about ourselves; that what we are is the same stuff of which God is made. If God is Love, so is His Son. "God is but Love, and therefore, so am I" (Lessons 171 to 180).
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