Is God Sovereign?

crownA friend of mine lost several million dollars in a bad investment. He is well into his seventies and this was his retirement money, so this is a big blow. How did he lose it? Well, here’s my theory: He took some bad financial advice from a dodgy analyst and put his money where he shouldn’t have. But my friend doesn’t see it like that. He told me, “God is in control. I guess he didn’t want me to have all that money.” In other words, God is to blame for his loss.

When I heard this I was too stunned to speak, but my friend was just getting warmed up. “I guess I’m a lot like Job who suffered at God’s hand. At least I can say, ‘God gives and God takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord.’”

Well, isn’t that just swell?

As I have explained elsewhere, Job was wrong about God being a thief and a killer. Judging by the reaction that post stirred you’d think I was a heretic, but I was merely repeating something Jesus said (John 10:10) and Paul said (Rom 11:29).

Today I want to go a little further and address three lies or half-truths that may need to be rooted out of your belief-set.

Lie #1: “God is in control of everything”

There is perhaps no more damaging lie than the belief that God is in control of everything and that he is the reason everything happens. You hear stuff like this all time:

“I got cancer but God is sovereign. He permitted this to happen to teach me something.”
“God took my baby. I guess he needed another angel in heaven.”
“I lost my job. Perhaps God took it because I was enjoying it too much.”

Statements like these are ignorant. How many people did Jesus give cancer to? How many people did he rob or kill? Jesus did none of these things yet some think his Father does them on a regular basis. Jesus went around healing the sick, raising the dead, and preaching good news to the poor. If God were making people poor, sick, or dead, then the Father and the Son are a house divided. But he isn’t and they’re not.

If God was in control of everything, then he would be responsible for all the evil in our world – all the wars, killings, disease and destruction. But contrary to what some misguided souls in the Old Testament might claim, God is not the author of evil. In him there is no shadow at all.

The Bible never says God is in control. Instead, it says stuff like this:

We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one. (1 Jn 5:19)

Much of the world is under the influence of evil. It remains captive to what the New Testament writers called “the power of darkness.” Yes, Satan was defeated and disarmed at the cross, but his influence persists wherever the light of the gospel is not seen.

The problem with thinking “God is in control” is it makes us passive spectators in the ride of life. We’ll just sit there and take whatever life hands us saying, “C’est la vie. God is in control. It’ll work out.” Can you imagine how short the New Testament would be if Jesus and the apostles believed that?

The truth is that God is not in control of everything. The good news is that his sphere of influence increases as we, his children, shine in a dark world. He has given us his authority to resist the devil and his evil influence. We have been empowered to heal the sick, raise the dead, drive out demons and otherwise reveal the gospel of his kingdom in dark places.

EinsteinLie #2: “God is sovereign”

My bankrupt friend wrote off his loss saying, “God is sovereign.” In other words, it was God’s divine and mysterious will for him to lose all his money. He was not saying “God is king” – no argument there. He was saying, “Everything that happens is God’s will.” Again, this is simply not true. Consider the following:

-    It was not God’s will for Adam to eat from the forbidden tree (Gen 2:17), but Adam ate
-    God is not willing that any perish (2 Pet 3:9), yet people perish
-    God commands all people everywhere to repent (Acts 17:30), yet many don’t

You don’t have to read more than three chapters into the Bible to realize that Almighty God, the Supreme Ruler of all, does not always get what he wants. How is this possible? This verse explains it:

The highest heavens belong to the Lord, but the earth he has given to man.  (Psalms 115:16)

God is Lord of the universe but we are little lords of our own little worlds. This is God’s gift to us – the freedom to choose how we live. The problem is, we often make choices contrary to God’s will.

Why do you think Jesus taught us to pray “Let your will be done on earth as it is in heaven”?

The “God is sovereign” mantra is trotted out nearly every time something bad happens but it’s just not true. The word “sovereign” is not even in the Bible! (If you don’t believe me, read this article by Andrew Wommack.)

The truth is that God is not sovereign in the sense that he always gets what he wants. Fact is, his will is not always done. The good news is that he will write the final chapter of human history and for those who trust him all things will work out for good. And the really good news is that we can walk in the will of God here and now with the aid of the Holy Spirit. It’s the best way to live.

God's_willLie #3: “God could’ve stopped this from happening but he didn’t”

A boy takes a loaded gun to school and God doesn’t stop him. An earthquake flattens a city and God apparently does nothing. What kind of God is this?!

The “God could’ve stopped this but didn’t” chestnut is another way of saying, “This bad thing is God’s fault. He allowed it to happen.”

Like all the lies on this page, there’s a measure of truth behind this. Everything that happens happens because God gave us the freedom to do what we like, even the freedom to hate him, kill our brothers, and then blame him for what we did. Of course, we look like fools when we do this. We look like Adam who blamed God for giving him a woman who led him into sin (Gen 3:12).

We are masters at playing the blame game. When something bad happens we blame our genes, our parents, our spouses, or our kids. We blame the government, the system, immigrants, Communists, so we might as well go the whole hog and blame God. “I got sick. God allowed this to happen. God is at fault.”

Jesus, on the other hand, never blamed anyone. He just took responsibility for other people’s messes and fixed them.

Believe the lie that God is behind everything that happens and you’ll end up in the ash heap of life licking your wounds and examining your navel like a perplexed Job. You’ll bend over whenever the devil wants to kick you. Who wants to live like that?

The truth is God doesn’t always stop bad things from happening. The good news is that sometimes you can. You can bring the weight of his purposes to bear on your circumstances simply by trusting in him. You can walk through the valley of the shadow of death without fear knowing that he is with you. Life doesn’t have the last word when you’re walking in the spirit.

A simple test

To see how well you are getting this, ask yourself this question: Which of the following two Jesuses is found the Bible?

•    Jesus #1 sat around powerless, making excuses and doing nothing to help those who had been made sick by God
•    Jesus #2 went around in the power of the Spirit doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil

Hopefully you know the second Jesus is true (see Acts 10:38). Yet many of us look more like the first Jesus. We’re not walking in the power of the spirit, we’re not healing the sick, but we’re making excuses. Chief among them is this one, “God is in control. It’s his fault, not ours.”

I don’t write this to condemn you – we’re all learning here – but to make you angry at Satan’s lies. James said “resist the devil and he will flee from you.” It really is that simple. We resist, he flees. But we won’t resist if we think God is doing the devil’s work and making us sick, killing our kids, and robbing us blind.

God is not making you sick and poor! He is not the reason you lost your money, your job, your marriage, or your kids. These are the tragedies of a life cursed by Adam’s sin. But the good news is that one greater than Adam has come and he has given you authority to proclaim the good news of his kingship to all creation.

•    Are you sick? Talk to your sickness about Jesus by whose stripes you are healed (1 Pet 2:24).
•    Are you poor? Talk to your bank account about your rich King who became poor so that through his poverty you might become rich (2 Cor 8:9).
•    Have you been robbed, discouraged, and beaten by life? Then be like David and strengthen yourself in the Lord your mighty God (1 Sam 30:6).

Why did Jesus come? Did he come to help us understand why God never lifts a finger to help? No! Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8). In his name go and do likewise.

Good_stuff
Related posts:
- Which Jesus are you trusting?
- Where was God in the Connecticut school shooting?
- The Christchurch earthquake: 4 questions Christians can answer

Comments

  1. You would be politely asked to keep quiet about this at my old church…the last conversation I had with my pastor regarding this issue ended up with him telling me that the problems of the world have a purpose because they bring us closer to God. I used to believe that reasoning, but now my eyes have been opened to the Truth of who my Abba really is. That explanation could be likened to me breaking my son’s two kneecaps so that he must be totally dependent on me. That’s twisted.

  2. Wonderful article. God was really speaking through you today. If God was responsible for everything that happens and got his way all of the time, what would be the need for His Grace in us?
    I am dealing with a wife mired in adultery right now who convinces herself that God sent this other man to her. She says that God gives and He takes away. Horrible lies of this world’s prince.

  3. Another excellent post, Paul! This is a home run.

  4. Colleen G says:

    Thank you so much. This is one topic that used to make me so queasy. Just because God is all powerful does not make Him some demented puppet master pullling the strings of humanity directing both the evil and the good. There are some out there that make God a slave of His own sovereinty wher He “has-to” actively direct everything.

  5. Thanks, Paul! Another great truths explained in the context of our present misguided world of distorted philosophy! Let light shine that darkness flees! :)

  6. Superb, really excellent article. I used to believe the lie that God is in control of everything. I realized it was the Devils lies that kept me from operating in the authority that Christ won for me at the cross. This doctrine makes the Church passive and weak, when we have the same power that raised Christ from the dead living inside of us. Thanks Paul.

  7. Lori Dillon says:

    A while back I wanted to ask a question of you but hated to ask because at that point none of the articles ( that I had read by you) seemed to relate to my question…NOW it has been answered…THANK YOU! = D
    This is also used when people are talking of the doctrine of predestination. Something I REALLY have an issue with as well. I would enjoy reading what you have to write about that subject .
    Thanks also for the article by Andrew Wommack.
    Lori

  8. Simply because “when pastors pray for the sick and the sick person does not get well and the pastor is ashamed of himself and thinks his faith is very small” gives the pastor a “right to say ‘it is not God’s will’ for you to get well.” Come on pastor! Healing is not based on your faith or on you! ….

    Having said that, last year I got robbed. my wallet pick pocked from me. it was a moment where I ask God “why did this happen to me?” and the carnal mind reasoned “you haven’t prayed enough”. i lost a good amount of money from the robbers. It was bearable. but what if something more serious happen? our flesh finds comfort when it finds logic. and most of the time, we blame God because. the worst I asked – “maybe because i did not tithe?” LoL

    - grace and peace

    oh by the way, did I mentioned that I got a new job that pays really really high?

  9. I’ve been battling this lie for a while now. One of the things I’m failing to understand is this: If God desires for us to live within His will, and the fall was due to the choice that Adam and Eve made to live outside of Gods will – doesn’t that make the death of ressurection of Jesus Gods plan b? If you need a plan b then doesn’t it follow that something has occured that you weren’t expecting or anticipating?

    • No, for the Bible speaks of God’s eternal purposes (e.g., Rev 13:8). God’s decision to endow Adam with free will fully knowing the consequences of that act, tells us that God was prepared to die rather than live without us.

  10. jeremypenwarden says:

    I agree with all you say Mark. However, I also think that God IS in control sometimes. Let me explain. We recently looked into upgrading to fibre broadband. However, the costs would be at least £150 for upgrade plus new router. So I decided to keep with the old system. Today, we’ve had some problems with our broadband and I got fed up and decided that I would upgrade because that would solve the issue. I found that my ISP has a six day promotion with free upgrade and free router. It ends on 6th.

    Had I not had the problem, I’d never have heard of the promotion. So I feel that God was in control of the situation and worked these things together to give me a good outcome. I really do not want to throw that baby out with the bathwater.

  11. An excellent article! It has taken a while to get to this point of clarity, but I now realize that if you buy in to these lies, you’re subtly buying into resignation…..and resignation is not faith, It’s a thief. And when we see the truth, we find out who God is, and that He is much better than we all thought.

    • How can you have faith in a god that is NOT in control of anything? Can His will and plans can be perpetually thwarted by beings he created (e.g. the devil or weak mortals)? If the condition of the earth and the salvation of humanity is reliant on imperfect vessels and our level of faith or ability to muster up “power” (whose power is it anyway?), then we’re all in trouble.

      Out of God’s mouth comes man’s destiny (lam 3:37,38), He directs our paths (Gen 45:8; ecc. 7:13-17; Prov 16:33, 21:1). We breath only because God allows it (deut. 32:39; 1sam 2:6,7; James 4:13-15).

      We have faith BECAUSE God is in control (Matt 19:26; Luke 1:37), and He can take care of His people (Matt 5:45, 6:26, 6:30, 10:29, Is 45:5-7; Rom 9:18)

      • If Job was “blaming” God, then he would have been lying, yet the Bible says he did not sin (Job 1:21,22). God is ALL powerful (2Chron 20:6; Prov 21:30; John 19:10,11) and is holding everything together (Col 1:16-17; Ps 33:9-11).

        That is the God I believe in.

      • The Bible also says Job was bitter (Job 3:20, 27:2), self-righteousness (Job 13:19, 32:1-2), and longed for death (Job 3:21, 7:15, 17:13). So go figure.

        No one is saying God isn’t all-powerful. I’m saying he’s not all-responsible. Big difference.

  12. Paul, what a great reminder! I just came across this scripture in Psalms 115:16, and it really sums it up well, doesn’t it?

    Paul referred to Satan as the “god of this age” (2 Cor 4:4) and even Jesus called him “the prince of this world” (John 12:31).

    I think this “God’s in control” mindset is so pervasive and creates such passive Christianity. Thanks for helping to get this message out.

  13. Rick Shafer says:

    This fantastic! At last, an intelligent argument against our own stupidity. We simply cannot accept and maybe even believe that the ways of God are just so simple. Once one first sees that the first reaction is ” nah, that can’t be right”. Then we continue in frustration and pain. All we have to do is simply say, “but what if it is right”; how can I ‘get in on this’. The Cross changed the world, history, man forever. The power of “His stripes to heal”, the power of His blood to remember our sins past, present and future NO MORE is outstanding. It is so very simple once you see it and you can only see it in the Word Itself your eyes opened by the Spirit that lives within you. Once you begin to see the “mystery of Godliness”, the over 900 references to Jesus in the Old Testament, the beauty of the Hebrew language and how it even points to Christ, once all that comes you will feel as if a cleansing waterfall as just hit you; your eyes will open to the little treasures hidden which when known become the blood line to Jesus and the Cross. We humans seem to have to make the simple complicated simply because “it can’t be that simple” Come away and be surprised and refreshed in the simplicity of The Father, the Son and the Spirit. Come away and LIVE!

  14. If the prophecy were fulfilled there would be nothing unjust nothing filthy, a man had the ability to seal the prophecy and was told not to. You and I have that same ability, Rev 21:9

    Some basic logic ,truth and lies. You decide! Death has been overcome.
    Cancer = death = Lie ?
    Your treasure is in Heaven.
    Bankrupt = destitute = Lie ?
    Paul its like this I really believe ! so it is impossible for me to be sick or poor or an orphan, I am victorious in all things and cannot fail , only because I live in him,I am no longer my own , I am dead but I live in his promises.

    The devil is unable to take your authority you can only give it away! How do you do this ? easy you believe the lie! Paul if I am misguided please help me. Resting….

  15. YES YES YES! I wish this was being preached in the pulpits across America and abroad. I know so many pastors are well intentioned and many just have not gotten this truth…. yet. Many find this so controversial but when I first heard it while listening to Andrew Wommack it was life changing. I am believing and praying that the Pastor of my own church will have a light bulb moment and begin to lay hold of this truth and truly receive it. It is amazing to me that my church and many Christians I know say they are believing God for healing but the next second they are accepting of all the crap that Satan is dishing out on them and perceive God is the one responsible. I hate it when I hear people say “God is trying to teach the something.” As if God is inflicting sickness, or a family members death or financial loss upon them. What a horrible thing to believe! I just had a fellow staff member who only 2 days ago lost their 14 year old daughter. She had been missing and later that night they found her in the woods behind their home. She had died as a result of some freak accident. Thankfully she had a close relationship with the Lord and is with Him. I know this family is experiencing unimaginable pain right now as are their two younger children who are students of mine. Unfortunately I know that many of those I work with have the mindset that God is Sovereign and I am certain that many of them attribute her life being taken ultimately as part of Gods plan. I have run up against this when praying/believing for fellow staff for healing when they were sick. Sometimes I just want to say, if you believe that God has inflicted you with this sickness or disease why pray at all, why seek a doctor if this is part of Gods plan and His sovereign will for you? There is a Christian song that apparently the writer pulled from the book of Job (you touched on it) One repeating phrase is “He gives and takes away”. Whenever I hear this song I literally talk back to it. It misrepresents God and the person who wrote that song really did not comprehend what they were reading. I think it is probably easier for a new Christian who has not been brought up in the church and drenched in doctrine to recognize this truth and change what they believe about God. Like Andrew says “Some people won’t allow the Bible to get in the way of what they believe.” Sadly, they have accepted a view of God that is false and it does seem to paralyze and render them passive as well as useless.

  16. Another very insightful article. I am struggling with this one. Some deists believe that God ‘wound up’ the universe like a clock and then just stood by to watch. It seems that to say God is not sovereign reducers Him to a role of mere bystander. Couldn’t it be argued that God is in control of all and has a say in all? Everything that happens, good and bad, must filter through His hands first. He doesn’t ‘make’ bad happen (that is Satan), but He allows it. His reasons are often beyond our comprehension. He says His thoughts are not our thoughts; His ways are not our ways. Bottom line question: How can I trust a God who is not in control? Not trying to be argumentative. Just confused. Thanks.

    • Laura, the Bible itself says God is not in control of everything that happens, so it’s meaningless to speculate that says he is. Where we can rest is in the understanding that God works all things together for good to those who love him (Rom 8:28). If you love him, then you have good grounds for trusting him. If you don’t love him and don’t trust him, well, he won’t force himself on you. That’s not his way.

      The scripture you mention about his ways not being our ways is trotted out whenever something cannot be understood – “God is so mysterious everything is just a big mystery.” But that’s not what Isaiah was talking about when he wrote Is 55:9. That passage is a direct reference to the new covenant which was something those under the old covenant could not have imagined – it was beyond their comprehension – except with the aid of the Holy Spirit.

      • Thanks, Paul. This makes sense. I went back and read Isaiah 55:9 in its fuller context. You are right. But if God is not in control of everything that happens–i,e., Satan is the prince of this world–it is because He has chosen to give Satan this authority. It is not because Satan stole a march on Him and gained the upper hand without God’s allowing this to happen. The Bible makes the end of the story clear: God will ultimately defeat Satan. Wouldn’t you agree?

      • God wins, yes definitely! That’s the good news.

        But I would not say God gave Satan anything. Jesus said the devil is a thief (John 10:10). Thieves steal. They take what is not their own. Satan fixed his eyes on what God had and said “I will have that for myself” (see Is 14:13-14). This is a picture of rebellion, not God designating authority. True, Satan could not have done this except that God has blessed us with freedom. But if we use our freedom to steal and kill and generally do things contrary to God’s will, we can’t honestly blame God for that can we?

        The history of the world: God gave earth to mankind; first Adam gave it to Satan; last Adam took back what the devil stole.

    • chrisvanrooyen says:

      Hi Laura.
      Giving up control and giving up authority do not happen simultaneously. You can give up control but still have all authority. God has done the same. In effect he still has control as he has the authority to take it back. The awesome thing is that we also in his Son have this authority. You can trust God!!! Hope this helps you.

      • Chrisvanrooyen~Thanks for sharing your insight to help clarify the issue for me. This is pretty much how I understand the issue. It is what I was trying to get at when I said things like ‘God allows’, but perhaps my wording took minds along a different path. Some of the finer points that many of us actually agree on may get lost in the semantics. Many of us sharply disagree over other points. But one thing all of us in this forum seem to agree about is that God is love and is infinitely trustworthy. Thanks again. -Laura

    • Colleen G says:

      May I ask a different question, one that plagued me for years. “How can I trust a God that says He is loving, kind, good and perfectly just, if He is also the guy who is directing all the awful things in my life to happen, or at least giving the stamp of approval via “allows”?” Either God is who He says He is, all those wonderful character traits, or He is a demented liar who says one thing yet participates in the evils of this world. There is a great difference in God being all powerful and His being a slave to that power and “having” to act. God has the ability/power to kill every person on this planet but He does not. No one ever questions that. So why do we think that God is actively or passively participating in cancer, natural disasters or untimely deaths? I find no comfort with the idea of a God who is so in “control” that He caused the bad things in my life to happen. God steps back and lets sinners sin. If He can do that without insulting Himself or His sovereignty then why “must” He play dictator with other areas of badness?

      • Hi Colleen, I understand what it is to feel plagued by something. I wonder if we are a little on the same page after all. You say ‘God steps back and lets sinners sin.’ I agree. I don’t think God is bad in anyway, or that He sins or tempts us to sin. That is contrary to the Bible. But in stepping back and to allow sin, He in essence is allowing all the bad that goes along with it. We are in a fallen world, and the consequence of Satan’s sin is Adam’s rebellion; and a consequence of Adam’s rebellion is a world filled with pain. But God has allowed all this. (He can even use it to make us stronger) But His desire is to redeem all of His creation and deliver us from this pain, and from the enemy who rules this world. I am only expressing this as my understanding. I certainly don’t have all the answers. I learn a lot by reading others’ inputs and am glad it is all under the umbrella of grace!

      • Hi Colleen, God has given every person free will. This is the freedom to choose to do good or evil whatever the consequences. For God to play dictator in evil is violating people’s free will and against the character of God. Instead, what God actually does is He uses the evil things that happen and make them into something good that benefits us, however improbable that is. Pastor Prince explains that very simply in a sermon and I quote “If Satan throws lemons at you, God catches the lemons and make them into lemonade for you. “

  17. This is one problem i’ve been having with a friend from Brazil. She said she used to be a christain and now agnostic. She keeps asking me if there is God, why is evil rampant on earth? I wish she could read this

  18. Lori Dillon says:

    I use to get email alerts as comments were made on one of your articles. How do I start getting them again?

    • Lori, there’s a little box you need to tick when commenting that says, “Notify me of follow-up comments via email.”

      • Lori Dillon says:

        THANKS! I see it now! I must have known to click it at one time then forgot about it later. Probably ‘God’s will’ … ; ) ; )

  19. In 1977 as a very young believer The Lord woke me with a dream about my Mom’s bank getting robbed. I was going to go hang out at her bank the next day as I was recovering from a car accident and surgery on my femur, I didn’t move very well. Anyway, I prayed a prayer something like this. “God, please don’t let that happen and if it does please don’t let me be there.” I told my Mom in the morning and she was trying to explain dreams to me. When we got to her bank (she was the branch manager of a very large savings and loan;) she told her employees about my dream and went over the security measures concerning bank robberies. There was a substitute teller that day and asked my Mom if she could take her lunch an hour early, Mom asked me and I told her I didn’t care, so our lunch was delayed. When it came time for our lunch we went 2 blocks down the road. When we started back we both noticed white cars parked on the sidewalks (this was Peachtree Street in Atlanta) we knew it was not normal. Welp! The bank was robbed when we were at lunch. I couldn’t walk fast was on crutches because I had 3 screws in femur and k-rod. The CEO and other upper management wondered about it all. The robber went in with his gun and made everyone get on the floors and demanded money. My Mom’s under-study lied to the robber and said she didn’t have keys to safe. He took all the money out of their teller drawers. Not much time past and I asked The Lord why he didn’t stop it because I asked “please don’t let this happen.” He told me he couldn’t stop it because the man had predetermined to rob that bank and his mind was fixed to do it. But he could get me out of there. The Lord is so sweet! That was almost 40 years ago and he periodically gives me dreams and visions to warn me or teach me or just because he wants me to know what’s up. Just thought I would share. PS. Do you know any good churches in Pinellas County/Tampa Bay Area that teaches like you. Thanks

  20. Paul, thank you for your further explanation in response to my question. I think I can see what you are saying and will have to give that perspective further consideration. Bottom line, even though right now I know only in part, what I know in full is that God is trustworthy. I may not fully understand how He works, but I know that He does work all together for good, for His redeemed ones.

  21. Great Article Paul ! i have a Question i ‘ve been wanting to get some answers , perhaps it has something to do i mean it fits well with this article ,, it is that ( if God who is Omni present , who sees everything helicopter view , it always startles me when i think the time He sees the gunman walk into the school , let me get it clear , i don’t beleive He causes it , no no ,,, i use to beleive like that but no more ,,, So now going back to what i was saying He is Almighty , all powerful He can smack the guy dead before, or twist his mind or whatever , just when He sees the guy shooting , but then He dosn’t do anything just stands there and watches ?? on the other hand many times He protects Us ! , and We Testify also one of His name is God Our Protector ! that is who He is ! so is He missing some Events ? if He is Our Protector , and We Sing Worship Songs about it ? this I don’t get ! and what does this phrase really mean , could it have any connection with what i asked ? and How ? (Life Dosn’t have the last word when your walking in the Spirit )

    a week ago a Pastor’s 7 yr old Child Died in his arms as She had a sudden Asthma attack , i don’t get it ! yes he did say that The Lord gave and The Lord took away , yet he also said that God is not the aothor of death it is the devil , , i Personally have been listeneing to Andrew womack the last 2 years I agree on the way he teaches , I also agree with this Article , it just i cannot connect these 2 dots together ,, God is Our Protector , yet ooppps ! i didn’t protect You there ? not sure how to understand this ! perhaps you have some answers , thanks You Paul ! I love Your Articles !

    • Sarah, I wrote the article to address the lie that says God is to blame for all the evil we do to each other. God is omnipotent and all powerful but he cannot stop us doing what we want to do without taking away our freedom. God’s gifts are irrevocable.

      That said, I understand your perplexity on the protection issue. Camilla and I along with our first-born would literally be dead if not for divine protection, so yes, I do believe that God protects us. Yet there are many saints who seem to die for lack of protection. I cannot connect these dots together either. It puzzles me. I know it’s God’s will for everyone to be healthy, yet not everyone is. Many I pray for do not get healed. I can’t figure that out and as far as I know Jesus was the only one who healed 100% of those he prayed for. We’re all still learning here.

      • maybe it has something to do with the tasks we have been assigned while we are here in this body…? Jesus said the man was born blind not because of his or his parents’ sin – but so the work of God might be displayed in his life (john 9:3)… and then He continues to say we must carry out the tasks assigned to us… eph 2:10 reiterates this also…
        before i understood grace and could see Jesus in the OT, i used to wonder why God didn’t let moses live to enter the promised land… when all he did was strike the rock (the cult/religion i grew up in said that God punished him because he was a murderer). i was comforted when i got the revelation: he had completed the task he was assigned… ;)

      • I really liked your article and appreciate the clarity on the “God is in control” mindset, but you really lost me on the healing and prosperity implications.

      • So you’re saying God neither makes us sick nor heals us?

  22. After a church class that is held in someones home by a minister w/a strong Holy Spirit presence we end w/ going into foyer, and the minister prays with each person individually. It is small (only about 6 people) but there was strong Holy Spirit presence. Some may think this is weird but after we were all done, we noticed a small mouse lying motionless in the foyer entrance. . My first response was excitement of “lets lift it up” (at least worth a try?) and escort out the front door. None of us want our houses overrun by rodents but this was one little mouse. The minister quickly picked it up in embarrassment and threw it in the trash with disgust. There was nothing disgusting about this little creature to me and considering that it appeared when everyone was in a raised consciousness, I looked at it as a perfect opportunity put before us and I was upset to have missed that. I emailed one of the people that I know best with my thoughts about the little creature and this was the response that I got:
    “Please do not worry and give it to God. Everything happens like it happens for a reason, it’s in God’s divine order. I don’t think there is anything wrong with having an appreciation for God’s creations. I get a thrill out of things people would never even notice. Please
    remember death is not a negative thing, it’s spirit has moved on with God and this is okay”

    I don’t understand everything but I don’t agree at all w/this persons take on things. Maybe I should just let it go yet I still want it known that I don’t buy into this type of thinking. Do you think this would be a good article to send to her or do you think there is something in your articles that would fit the situation better (she spoke of God’s divine order)? Or am I out of line and a little nutty? If you think I’m nutty though, I won’t buy that either.

  23. Richard Conley says:

    That is the most ridiculous thing I have every heard. Whoever wrote this must not have a full copy of the bible or believes only certain parts are true. God is not sovereign? You better pray He is or you can have no certainty of God ever ultimately accomplishing His plan….
    Please who ever wrote this, out of Christian love I say this to you, you have gone beyond the irreverence for a Holy God. If you do not like the God ALL of the bible talks about it is not the God of the bible you worship but an idol one made in your own image.
    In Christ,
    Richard

    • Richard, no one is disputing that God makes all things work together for good to those who love him. I suspect you read neither the post above nor E2R’s comment policy. In future, please keep comments short (<250 words) and comment on the post, not merely what you think the post says. Thanks.

  24. I think your friend who lost the millions is actually in the best place. Abiding Life Director, Mike Wells wrote; “I actually believe that the Lord, on occasion, has allowed me to be cheated, stolen from, have money misplaced, and even to have it fly out a window or drop down a sewer. Why? We can say that our security is in Him, that we believe in His provision, and that we are living under His control. However, our reaction to money lost is an indication of where we really stand in relation to those things. When I give and give liberally, I am in faith. I have control over the giving. However, theft is uncontrolled giving without the consent of my will. It is giving what I had not planned to give. It is giving what I had laid aside for use I predetermined. If I react negatively when it disappears, what does that reveal about my heart? I am living under His provision, and as the Scripture says, “The Lord gives and Lord takes away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” Your friend will be fine as I’m sure he knows it is the Lord’s responsibility to look after him. He will pray as we do, “Give us this day our daily bread”.

    • Stewart, with respect, this is exactly the sort of half-baked, wishy-washy, covenant-mixing doctrine I want to combat. It is fatalism dressed up with Christian jargon. Live like this and you’ll never resist the devil when he comes to rob, steal, and destroy. Why would you – it’s all God’s will!

      If God allowed thieves to steal, they wouldn’t be thieves.

      • Laura Sande says:

        Could it be that both of you have glimmers of truth in what you are saying?

        God didn’t cause the money to be stolen, but He can certainly bring the best out of bad situations for those who put their trust in Him. Bad things, while not from God, do have the fruit of refining our perspective and encouraging more dependence on Him. The Scripture says that even Jesus Himself learned obedience through the things He suffered while on earth.

        Respectfully,
        Laura

      • Yes, Laura, God is a great redeemer, able to take our broken lives and make something beautiful out of them. My point in this post is simply that God’s not the one who breaks us. He doesn’t break our bodies, our health, our bank accounts or our wills. But he is more than able to pick up the shattered pieces and restore us.

      • In response to Stewart… I can’t imagine my own earthly father thinking like that. Even though the topic is mostly about money. I still cannot fathom my dad saying to me his earthly daughter that God “allowed” certain things to take place in my life. That God would allow(even cause) me to become deathly ill at 8 years of age and see another child younger than I suffer and die in the room right beside me. That somehow God allowed if not put his stamp of approval on it? That HE would allow a group of girls to brutally bully me for over a year because I stuck up for another girl they were abusing and because I was not one of them racially. That He allowed someone to rob from me at age 15 and be assaulted at 19 so that I would somehow feel secure in Him? Thankfully I don’t attribute any of those things to the loving God I serve. He did not put me through (allow or permit) all of that to happen to me. It was satan that set out to steal from me, to harm me if not destroy me. There is NO darkness in Him (Jesus)!

      • Laura Sande says:

        Similarly, Amy, I struggle to think that God allowed my husband to die the horrible and traumatic death he died. But then again, either He allowed it or He was powerless to stop it. I honestly cannot figure out which is worse! It has been a longtime struggle, trying to figure all this out. All I can do is rest in a love that I can bank on even though I don’t understand all the in’s and out’s of how it works. Hope you can find rest as well. If something works in your heart and mind and there is scriptural support for it—and the end result is a viable relationship with God—just hold to it, that’s what I would say. We are all imperfect and will not arrive at the same understanding of these issues.

      • It is a wonderful thing to have the peace of God Paul. To be able to go through cancer (yes with all the prayer support including healing prayer), or lose millions and actually learn what it is to live like a sparrow. (It could be a great blessing for your 74 yr old friend to have this revelation with Jesus before he exits this earth). To not fear because you know there is nothing that the nearness of Jesus will not overcome. I have chosen to live like I have a God who is in control and there is nothing that comes to me that has not passed through His hands first. It is interesting that the ghastly things Amy has shared happening to her in her youth, did not stop her from receiving the revelation Christ somewhere in the midst of that? Could it be that God with His IQ of Trillions, actually uses what Satan means for evil, for His purposes?

      • Yes, Stewart he does. He is truly a great redeemer, able to take the messes of our lives and make them beautiful. As he says, “I am making all things new.” Satan must feel like an absolute fool to see his diabolical plans constantly frustrated by the Lord and those who trust him.

  25. Paul, in the case of your friend, there seems to be a false dichotomy in relation to God’s “part” in the matter. There are two possibilities: either God causes/wills everything to happen or he doesn’t. The way I understand it is that the former includes the latter. If my son wants to do something that is not aligned with my will (e.g. color on the walls with a permanent marker) his ability to go against my will (not coloring on the walls with a permanent marker) doesn’t mean that I don’t have control over him and that I’m not sovereign over him. I can see him uncap the marker and either 1) take the marker from his hand and stop him or 2) I could do nothing. No matter what happens, I’m still in control.

    The same for God. If you say that God isn’t sovereign, then he doesn’t control creation. That’s not what Psalm 135:6 says.

    I do agree there is a line here between saying that God, since he is completely sovereign, would be responsible for evil and would therefore not be good.. While I don’t believe that to be the case that God directly created evil, I do believe that he had to be aware of it before he created the world… if he wasn’t aware of it, then he wouldn’t be all-knowing or perfect. Ultimately, though, while evil does exist, it is under his control — Psalm 146 and Job 5 let us know that God thwarts the plans of the evil, and Lamentations 3 (vv 22-24) tells us that we are not consumed because of his mercy and grace. Far smarter people than myself have addressed that.

  26. I think I am beginning to understand this for the first time!

    Can you explain God hardening Pharoah’s heart – it seems He was in control of him and his actions, etc. You have probably addressed it somewhere else, perhaps? Maybe you could direct me to another post touching on that..Thank you!

  27. Richard Conley says:

    Paul, Thank you for your response. Your last comment to Stewart you said, “If God allowed thieves to steal, they wouldn’t be thieves.” That is exactly the opposite thing taught in Gen. 50:20 God did allow Joseph’s brothers to to be kidnappers and liars. Did it absolve the brothers from guilt? NO. But did it happen as an act of a Sovereign God to accomplish the saving of a nation? Yes. It may not be immediately apparent how God is using your friend losing his money, but to say that God isn’t ultimately in control over that and using it for His glory is something else. I would in love caution anyone who would say that.

    • Gen 50:20 You plotted evil against me, but God turned it into good, in order to preserve the lives of many people who are alive today because of what happened.

      Joseph’s brothers wanted to murder him but sold him into a life of slavery. Can you imagine being betrayed by your own family? Yet out of this atrocious evil, God brought good and saved many lives. This is just one out of many brilliant examples in the Bible of Romans 8:28. God can bring good out of the evil men create for he truly is a great redeemer! But you are sadly mistaken if you think God desires to murder and enslave people to bring about his larger purposes.

      It is such a cop-out to say “God allows evil.” The truth is, God hates sin so much he died to end it’s terrible reign. He suffered the brutality of the cross to show us how much he hates sin, yet there are passive souls out there who let sin and evil run rampant saying, “It’s okay, God allows it, it’s all part of his great plan.” This is fatalism, it’s a doctrine of demons, it’s anti-Christ, it is opposed to the gospel and I hate it with a passion for it suggests my loving Father is not who Jesus says he is.

      • To take this a bit of a different direction, what if our unqualified definitions of what is ‘evil’ and what is ‘good’ aren’t exactly square with God’s? We define death and sickness as ‘evil.’ But the OT indicates God sent sickness to people. He also struck them down in death. So was He the hand of evil in these cases? Or were sickness and death not evil in these cases? I know about old vs new covenant (and read the Wommack article cited in the blog above), but what about NT examples like Ananias and Sapphira? And doesn’t God discipline us through suffering? Jesus Himself learned obedience through suffering. In short, is suffering always ‘bad’?

      • You raise a lot of big questions here, many of which are addressed in posts found in the archives. You can also use the search box at the top right of this site. But just to address one point, no, God never, ever, ever disciplines us by inflicting suffering on us. The word “discipline” literally means “training” and Paul said, “All scripture is useful for training so that the man of God may be perfect or thoroughly equipped” (my paraphrase of 2 Tim 3:16-17). If the Holy Spirit can use the Bible to teach you everything you need to know, why would a good God resort to inflicting suffering on his kids?

      • Paul, while I really appreciate your taking the time to respond to my question…and I like the sounds of your explanation (I have an earthly father who was always gentle in his instruction and would like to know that God is the same)…I struggle with unqualified statements about how God does or doesn’t work. I hope He never would bring us pain; but if it were ultimately for our good, I can see how He may. I have to shrug and hope you are right. It would make me feel less anxiety if you were! Thanks again.

      • Laura, when uncertain about the character of God, look to Jesus. How many people did Jesus curse with sickness, suffering, or pain? Zero. How many sick and hurting people did Jesus heal? 100% of those who came to him. Jesus is the express image of the Father (Heb 1:3). I don’t know why some believers suffer and die and I’ve seen a few. I have many questions about these things. But I’ve also seen many people healed. If it helps, I encourage you to separate your uncertainties from your certainties. One thing I am 100% certain about, is that it is always the Father’s will to heal and bless us. He is a good Father. The very best!

      • Wow…I learn tons not just from your posts but your replies as well! Awesome stuff.

      • nickvahalik says:

        How is it a cop-out if it is true? If the Lord restrains evil, then how can it be said that he doesn’t allow it. After all, what do we deserve since we are sinners who deserve nothing but his wrath and judgement?

      • It’s a cop-out because it promotes passivity. Can you imagine Jesus going up to lepers and saying “God allowed this illness”?! No! The Bible says such folk were “oppressed by the devil” (Acts 10:38) and Jesus went around destroying the devil’s works. If God had allowed (meaning given implicit permission) to what Jesus was opposing, the Father and Son would be opposed in purpose. They most definitely were not. Jesus said, “I only do what I see my Father doing.” Since Jesus healed the sick, what does that tell you about the Father? It tells you he is NOT that thrilled about sickness, it is NOT his will, and he’s looking for kids who are keen to see his will done on earth as it is in heaven.

        I guarantee you, those preaching “God is in control of everything” are the same folk who are not healing the sick, driving out demons, raising the dead, etc. They’re too busy arguing about words that aren’t even in the Bible. Anyway, gotta run. The harvest is white, etc. etc.

      • nickvahalik says:

        Paul, this passage from John 9 (vv1-5) contradicts what you are saying. In this passage, the man’s blindness from birth perfectly serve’s God’s will. Because Jesus states that sin doesn’t play a factor, what are we left with as a cause? Did the Devil strike him blind? Possibly. Remember that God has struck other people blind as well. Jesus is clearly doing the will of God by removing the man’s blindness — but he also clearly states that his man’s blindness serves God’s purpose. Which God very well could have struck him with!

        Clearly something like blindness (which we’d all agree we’d never want to happen to us) can be used by God whether it is for 3 days (in Paul’s cause in Acts) or for part of a lifetime, in this section in John. Why not cancer?

      • Nick, it’s a bit of a stretch to link congenital blindness to the temporary loss of sight Paul experienced as a result of seeing a bright light. You may blame God for Paul’s blindness, but he himself did not (see Acts 22:11).

        The passage in John 9 illustrates my point perfectly. On the one hand, you have some people asking questions (“Who sinned? Was this his parent’s fault?”) and doing NOTHING to help. On the other hand you have Jesus who says, “Assigning blame is not important. See this instead as an opportunity for the work of God to be made manifest in his life.” So we can follow those who ask questions and do nothing, or we can follow Jesus who does what he sees his Father doing and heals the sick.

        Suggesting that God made this man blind so that many years later Jesus could heal him is bizarre. It’s also unbiblical. According to Acts 10:38, sickness is a form of oppression. It is a work of the devil. The devil is God’s enemy and he’s our enemy. God’s enemy does not ask and does not have God’s permission to do the things he does. If he did, he wouldn’t be God’s enemy. God is not the author of evil and he only gives good gifts. So no, I don’t think he gives anyone cancer either.

        Jesus came to destroy the work of the evil one (1 John 3:8) and one way he did that was by healing the sick. Go and do likewise.

  28. this has always been a hard thing to grasp,itslike a tennis game.but since God is a gentleman,he wont interfere,yet sometimes it is hard understand.

    • God is a gentleman? Where do we get these ideas? I love the take someone (Bill Johnson perhaps?) said about that – tell Saul that God was a gentleman when He knocked him to the ground as he journeyed to Damascus and blinded him for three days…

      • I use the term gentieman to simply express his nature.kind loving etc he has anger he has wrath but he is love,and it seems there are times when people get a wake call like paul..

      • Come to think it Peter had a couple of wake up calls to.

  29. Behind all this lies one question for me – why did God (who is omniscient) create Satan in the first place?

    • Colleen G. says:

      To give humanity choice. Without choice God would have been creating an multitude of slave robots who had no alternative but to “love” and follow HIm. There is no real love in preprogrammed reactions.

    • I don’t believe that God put Lucifer in the garden to tempt Adam and Eve. I believe because he was an angel he was placed their to minister to the needs of Adam and Eve and serve them. I think it was in the garden that Lucifer perceived he could rise above his own position and be as powerful as God. (Here is where the gift of choice, not being a puppet or robot is quite obvious.)Lucifer chose a different path than what he was created for, and set out to deceive mankind. He is not God’s equal in power. God could obliterate him in a NY minute. I don’t believe God created Satan to be what he is today. Anymore than I think God created Jack the Ripper, Charles Manson or Hitler to end up doing what they did. They were given free will.

  30. I guess we all have different ideas as to what ” in control’ actually means. I liked that analogy that God is in charge, but not in control. Overall, God is sovereign and He is in charge, but He is not in control, in that we have free will, and since we have free will, we can choose wrongly and behave inappropriately. Also, if the powers and principalities also have free will and choice, which I believe they do, their choices will affect us in the physical realm as well, and i am of the understanding that the evil we see in this world is a direct result of that. I think you said Paul that God is not sovereign, but can He not be sovereign and still not control every detail? Does sovereign not mean “over all” and the highest rule? That sort of sovereign i do believe he is. Just not the sort of sovereign that micro manages His creation.

  31. Dont let seemingly obscure passages confuse us when we have immensely clear and simple passages to set things straight…

    Everything can be settled with just one statement.

    3 John 1:2 Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.

    That is God’s will, and it cant get any clearer than that.

  32. Rene Larman says:

    4So Joseph said to his brothers, “Come near to me, please.” And they came near. And he said, “I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. 5And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. 6For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there are yet five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvest. 7And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. 8So it was not you who sent me here, but God. -Gen 45. Joseph keep on saying here that it was God who sent him in Egypt. I like your post Paul but I’m a little bit confused here. Stay blessed.

    • Hi Rene,
      The modern “God is sovereign” doctrine comes straight out of Israel’s ancient history. Back then, the Israelites had virtually no conception of Satan and his ways. Consequently, they tended to blame everything that happened – good or bad – on God. Job is a prime example of this and even today, despite Paul’s exhortation in 2 Cor 2:11, some read Job with the understanding that Satan was on a mission from God! (If you need more on this, I recommend this book.)

      So what are we to make of Joseph’s words? I’ll give you four alternatives and you can choose:
      (1) I’m wrong and God really is the author of evil – selling Joseph into slavery was his express will
      (2) Joseph was wrong in thinking God that had caused him to be sold into slavery
      (3) Moses was wrong in writing up the story in such a way to cause some (not me!) to think that God had set up the slavery thing

      Now I could pull rank here and say “He who is least in the kingdom is greater than any legend from the Old Testament” simply because we’ve seen Jesus and they hadn’t, but this would only add fuel to a fire I have little interest in fighting. So let me offer a fourth alternative:

      (4) Joseph was not saying, “It was God’s will for me to be sold into slavery”; he was simply saying, “What you clowns meant for evil, God used for good because he’s a good God, a great redeemer, and that’s what he does.” This was certainly Jacob’s understanding for he told his sons to ask forgiveness for “the sins and the wrongs they committed.” He didn’t blame God. Neither did his brothers for they wondered “What if Joseph holds a grudge against us and pays us back for all the wrongs we did to him?”

      Jacob didn’t blame God, the brothers didn’t blame God, it’s not clear that Joseph blamed God, and I certainly don’t blame God. Rather I give him all the praise and glory for weaving the evil plans of men into his eternally good purposes. He truly makes all things work together for good to them that love God and who are called according to his purposes.

  33. Richard Conley says:

    Paul your argument is not sound in Gen. 50:20 You said “God turned it in to good” The word “turned” is not in the text nor is there a Greek word in the text that implies God reacting to the brothers action. The Greek word could mean plan, intend, meant. I couldn’t find a reputable translation that used the word”turn”. Quit adding to the word of God to fit your theology. God does not react to man, He is omniscient, omnipotent. There are plenty of text in the bible that say man is moved by God.

    • I was paraphrasing to bring out the connection with Romans 8:28. I really didn’t think, if pressed, that you would blame God for selling Joseph into slavery! Since you do, I don’t know what to say other than what I have said above.

      • Richard Conley says:

        Yes Paul I would blame God, He had a plan to use that to save a nation. Just as He had a plan to used Assyria to judge Israel in Isaiah 10:5 and following. I am not trying to be hateful and please know that I am not intending to be. But to deny God is in complete control but just reacts to our silly choices paints a picture of a weak god that is not omniscient or omnipotent and hence not God.

      • …and a God who is ultimately responsible for all the evil in the world, is not good.

        You seem to think that a God who is secure enough to give freedom to others is weak. On the contrary, this is a sign of great strength. And since he knew in advance that the choices of mortal men would result in his death on the cross, it is also a sign of great love. God is good ALL the time.

  34. THANK YOU PAUL!!!
    This is such a hot topic within the church. We grew up in the Reformed/Calvinist faith and let me tell you, you could practically get stoned for not seeing God in CONTROL of EVERYTHING.

    I LOVE my Calvinist brothers and sisters … my whole family practically still is. My husband and I just don’t see it that way anymore.

    I think the easiest way to explain it is …
    ~We are not robots who God just sovereignly controls, for that is not love. If you had the choice at your child’s birth to implant a chip into them that would make them behave at all times and love you at all times … would you chose that? Or would you be raising a robot?For isn’t it within our free will that love can be true? If we were God’s robots that He just controlled, that would not be “real” love, but controlled love. He wants us to chose Him freely.
    ~Think of God’s authority like an owner/renter. God is the owner of the property (earth). He owns everything and created everything. But … he gave authority of that temporarily to the renter (man). The renter has basic rights and privileges of the property now because he is in charge. The owner can not just barge in without permission. He has given up his “control” to the renter within the agreement, yet he still owns the property. (mind you … God gave this right to Adam … who gave it to Satan … who Jesus had to come to get it back … and NOW it is back in the hands of REDEEMED man)

  35. We put together a whole SOVEREIGNTY section on our website as we were trying to figure this all out. Go to: http://www.mytrueidentity.org Click on: “SOVEREIGNTY” … scroll down (it’s a great collection). Paul … could we add this article? THANKS!!! :)

  36. Leen Lynch says:

    If you trace back to where this doctrine started you will find out that John Calvin wrote a book on the Sovereignty of God after he had a doctor friend of his burned at the stake because he did not believe the way Calvin did. In essence he said that if it wasn’t Gods’ will to burn the friend at the stake He (God) would have stopped him. The NIV who takes out the word al=mighty God and puts in sovereign Most of the translators were Reformed/Calvinist Or Presbyterian.

  37. I am getting hung up a bit on saying God is not sovereign. Ultimately I believe He is. However, perfect love requires choice/free will. We have free will, angels and demons have free will and because of this the world is broken. My pastor Greg Boyd teaches a lot on this. Knowing that God does not cause human tragedy has freed me up. The world wasn’t supposed to be this. Our image of God shapes our attitudes of Him. If we believe God is capricious, distant, causes tragedies, how can we see Him as beautiful and someone that we can embrace? and ultimately as someone who really loves us? To know what God looks like we need to look at Jesus. Jesus is the exact representation of God (Hebrews 1:3). So getting back to sovereignty…He has given us choice and so has I guess in a way limited himself for a time. I believe He does restore, redeem and make beautiful things out of the tragedies and pain of this world….

  38. jeremypenwarden says:

    Jennie has got Mark 9:3 wrong. Jesus says that it was not his or his parents sin. Full stop. New thought. BUT that the works of God be displayed in his life I say be healed.

    God didn’t make him blind. That was the devil. This scripture shows the impative for us to go around doing good healing all opposed of the devil because God is with us. It does now say that God makes people sick in order to show how good He is when He fixes it.

    • i was paraphrasing… and i was not implying that God made him blind – sorry if the way i wrote it was misunderstood (technically, there is no punctuation in the original greek)
      this verse also shows us that sickness is not necessarily the result of sin… that God makes all things (the good, the bad, and the ugly) work together for good… and no matter what condition people are born with or into – Jesus can change them! ;)

  39. In my last comment I meant to say. you sure opened up a can of worms, IN any case I see it as the floating question [ why?]. LIKe the kid that keeps asking why? In any case it, God has the last word.His ways are higher then ours.

  40. PS: WHY IS MY COMMENT WAITING MODERATION?

    • Because I’m sleeping.

    • Colleen G. says:

      oh my word really!? I feel sorry for you Paul. No you don’t need to publish this. Just wanted you to know I empathize with the pressure. Keep up the good work and thank you for the articles.

      • Thanks Colleen,
        I have to moderate the comments otherwise these threads would degenerate into brawls, such as you find on Facebook, and shameless advertising. I try and approve comments as they come in but some mornings I find 20-30 waiting to be approved. It’s not hard – just a click of a button. Short comments are easily approved. Essays are easily deleted.

  41. Colleen G. says:

    God is all powerful and has the ability to control everything down to minute levels. Does this mean that He is a slave to His power? Does He “have-to” micro manage just because He has the power to do so?
    I have the authority(power) to schedule my family’s life down to 15 minute increments but I don’t. Does that mean I’m not actually managing my family? Am I any less Mom just because I don’t plan our lives out that way?
    Is God any less the all powerful God because He does not direct everything, all-the-time, on the atomic level? Is He a slave to His own power?

  42. The shepard uses his hook to protect from predators,give us a tap every once and a while when we need it, and the hook to rescue us, a old friend of mine use to say [you know they dont call us sheep for nothing] which I thought kind of fit in the debate.

    • chrisvanrooyen says:

      Sheep are the dumbest animals but ask any sheep farmer and he will tell you they have one natural skill , and that is to find the hole in a fence, a way of escape .No wonder God compares us to sheep

  43. chrisvanrooyen says:

    You can only make sense of any scripture when looking at it through Gods eyes, these eyes see all, his perspective is not ours. when we have his perspective on things we live in him and he lives in us. The more you get to know him the more will be revealed to you , there are no contradictions only the our inadequate point of view
    Gods ways are not our ways we interpret things in the moment and do not see the past the present and future simultaneously.
    Someone close to you may be suffering from cancer you only see the present and your emotional response is determined by what you see or experience God sees and experiences the past .present and future at the same time.You would be feeling heartbroken and frustrated. God may be feeling hopeful due to the past, Heartbroken and frustrated because of the present .Also ecstatic and joyful because of the future . It is difficult for us to comprehend this mixture and emotion ,But we judge God !! .
    Your Father does not live in the moment his main focus is on your awesome destiny that nothing , not even you can take out of his hands.
    This is only one small way in which Gods perspective differs from ours we serve a awesome God.
    Scripture is never wrong it is preserved by the Creator of the universe.
    If scripture is in error who is Jesus.

    • Re: someone suffering from cancer…if that’s the case with regard to God’s perspective, then why did Jesus heal ALL who were oppressed of the devil (Acts 10:38)? If I am to believe that all of it is God’s will, which I don’t have the power to understand, then I should never ask for healing or seek medical attention…that would go against God’s will.

      • chrisvanrooyen says:

        It could never be Gods will that you be sick , but it may be his will , that you persevere through it and still have faith in God, if you do this you you do not only bring great Glory to God but make the works of the devil impotent to achieve their purposes. It may also be Gods will that you receive a Miracle this also brings Glory to God . Why God decides either way I will leave you to work out .
        Jesus healed all who were oppressed of the devil but not all he healed were oppressed of the devil !!!!
        The man was not born blind because of sin.
        This is a very common way to misinterpret scripture and leads to all types of strange doctrines,
        To illustrate in Revelation when searching for someone to open the scroll , It is stated that none could be found but then the exception is stated. The exception to statements usually bring great revelation.These exceptions are not always given but require diligent study to find.

        Healing in the new testament says more about salvation than healing Jews believed that sickness was a result of sin .In healing Jesus illustrated the salvation he would bring the forgiveness of sins . this rattled the Jewish authorities.

        Please read again carefully what I have said. You seem to be making incorrect assumptions.

    • Until you watch someone in severe pain and watch them dwindle down to a person who may not resemble their former self,I don’t think you would be saying this.Cancer is evil.God has nothing to do with that horrible disease.Sorry I am still reeling from the pain of it in my life.It is so horrible I would not wish it on my dog.So tired of this teaching in the body.Why can”t people get this.

      • chrisvanrooyen says:

        Sandy until you see a innocent man beaten beyond recognition as human , and crucified you will not understand God. You do not have the things off God in mind or alternatively you do not understand them. Jesus said we should follow his example and lay our lives down . And i can assure you I am well acquainted with human suffering. Off dishing it out and of being on the receiving end.

      • Suffering with disease is not the same as suffering persecution. they can not be put in the same category.Yes we suffer persecution for the gospel.Jesus died (yes, I am aware of Jesus suffering beyond what we could comprehend) for cancer. The two are not to be put in the same “suffer” for Jesus. this is where the church misses it.

  44. I always thought it was the divine nature of Christ that allowed him to perform miracles. Now I see the necessity of him also being fully man to have authority/dominion. Thanks for the great article.
    I think it’s interesting how Acts 10:38 emphasizes Jesus’ earthly title, Jesus of Nazareth. The anointed and empowered MAN that went around destroying the works of the devil. Of course, He also had to be born without a sin nature (He is also fully God) to not be under the dominion given away to the devil by the first Adam.

    • chrisvanrooyen says:

      Great insights.Per
      Revelation also states it required a Man to open the scrolls. Someone to stand in Adams shoes and fix things Adams attempt at self sacrifice was flawed. Christ the perfect sacrifice .

  45. Paul, can you explain the blinding of Saul (Paul) on the road to Damascus in terms of God’s sovereignty? What I mean to say is, Jesus said that all authority was given to Him, and then told the disciples to use that authority. Please share any insights you have on this.
    Thanks.

    • Sorry, Diana, I don’t understand your question. Do you mean to ask, why did Paul go blind? The answer is: he saw a bright light. “My companions led me by the hand into Damascus, because the brilliance of the light had blinded me” (Act 22:11).

      • Sorry Paul, I’m having trouble wording my question. Andrew Wommack teaches on the authority of the believer, how the authority was given to mankind in the garden, how Jesus had to be fully God and fully man in order to get back authority. On the road to Damascus, it appears that God intervened (not as a man) and allowed the brilliant light to blind Saul. It seems as though He set up the situation to bring about Saul’s conversion. I know that Saul could have still rejected Jesus being the Messiah, but God did intervene, and I’m asking if you have any insights on this. Because this would be an example that I think believers would use to argue their belief on the “hypersovereignty” of God (ie: God made me sick to teach me something, God allowed the death of that loved one to get my attention, etc.)

      • Is your question, Does God intervene to bring about his purposes? Yes, often. What happened to Saul was dramatic but think about what happened to yourself when you were born again. Was that any less dramatic? Everything changed. Formerly you didn’t mind sin, now you do. Formerly you didn’t care for the things of God, now you do. Formerly you saw Jesus as an historical figure; now he is the living Lord of your life. The conversion of every sinner is a miracle. No one can say “Jesus is Lord” except that the Holy Spirit intervenes and gives that revelation.

        I’m not sure what this has to do with the post though. The point of the post is, “Not everything that happens is God’s fault or will.” But I would certainly say that “some things that happen are his doing/will” and your conversion is your own best example.

        I am well aware that some straw-clutchers would use Saul’s conversion as evidence in support of their hyper-sovereign beliefs. I am not such a person. It’s a ridiculous argument: “Saul saw God shining bright and went blind. Therefore God gives us cancer and AIDS and kills our kids to teach us stuff.” As Wommack says, “How dumb can you be and still breath” to believe something as foolish as that?

  46. Lori Dillon says:

    When I was at my daughter and son in law’s house this summer they had the nerve ;) to put my granddaughter in her own bed for the night. She had been getting in bed with them and they felt she wasn’t getting the rest she needed and was being cranky in the mornings. My granddaughter felt that this was a tragedy. I could hear her from down the stairs as her dramatic cries were filling the whole house. I had to go up the stairs to ask my son in law a question. When she heard my voice she cried out my grandma name…”EEMIE? EEMIE? COME GET ME!!” My son in law laughed. I had to hurry down stairs because, although I KNEW this was a good thing, I DID want to rescue her. She thought it was an awful thing but it WAS good for her and she was better the next morning. HOWEVER, had my daughter and her husband broken my grandaughter’s legs to make her stay in the bed or destroyed her pet dog to punish her for not sleeping in her bed THAT would have been abuse! Things may happen that WE think are awful that ARE good for us. HOWEVER, things like diseases, disasters or death? And if WE wouldn’t do them to ‘teach’ our kids how can we think that God would ‘teach’ or ‘discipline’ us in THAT way?
    I’m not sure how much this has to do with the original post but I thought of it while reading some of the comments! : )

  47. for those of you who insist that God is ultimately responsible for causing or letting evil things happen in this world, i would ask you this: do you also think God was responsible for the excruciating and horrific death Jesus suffered? i don’t know about you, but one of the most eye opening experiences i had when i was being saved was that I was responsible for the things He went through… and He loved me so much that He didn’t blame me for it either.

    • jeremypenwarden says:

      Isaiah 53:10. It was the will of The Lord to crush him.

      • yes, it pleased the LORD for him to be crushed… but then keep reading that verse: “if he rendered himself as a guilt offering he would see…” there was a free will choice of a man to be made. Jesus said no one could take His life from Him… but He laid it down voluntarily. He had authority from His Father to give up His life. (john 10:18) it was Jesus as man that did this – because God cannot die… and it was man that was required to make the guilt offering – because God does not sin. as LORD, it pleased Jesus to allow Himself to be crushed… so that you and i and everyone else wouldn’t have to be…

      • jeremypenwarden says:

        Jennie, you have to be careful not to twist scripture. Isaiah says ‘it pleased The Lord to crush him’. That is active not passive. It means that God did the crushing. So you must not change the scripture by changing the ensemble of the verb which twists the meaning to something else.

        This is not a matter of ‘either or’ but ‘both and’.

      • Well Jesus and God are the same being so I wouldn’t see this as God acting on Jesus. Look from the outside in as the prophet was doing when he recieved that prophecy it would look like God acting against the man who was suffering. However after the events we see that God was submitting or allowing Himself to be crushed for our sakes.

      • chrisvanrooyen says:

        Great until we see the cross as a great achievement and not a tragedy we testify that God is a loser .

      • i understand what you are saying jeremy… the hebrew language is not as concise as the greek is… and it uses past and present tense only… ;) i read this great sermon by john piper about is 53:10… and agree with both of his conclusions: God’s pleasure was not in the crushing itself, but what was accomplished by the crushing… and that Jesus’ voluntary suffering was for His Father’s glory. both reasons are anchored in love… God’s love for men and Jesus’ love for His Father’s name and glory. ;)
        one of the ways i look at it is this: God is Life. He is wholeness, perfection and love… death, sickness and pain do not come from Him… but they are perversions of the good things that God created (because i believe that satan has no power to create anything – he just takes everything good that God created and perverts it into something that is the opposite!) everything that is of God will last forever (things like: faith, hope, love…God’s righteousness and holiness… the spirit of a person who is born-again)… death, sickness and pain will not last forever, because they do not originate from Him – they are the perversions of the good things that are, and they do not contain Life. that being said, i am not saying that God didn’t use death, sickness and pain in Jesus’ crucifixion… but because of love, Jesus willingly gave Himself up to them and suffered every curse that was brought about since the fall of adam – to redeem us from them. like david killing goliath with his own sword of judgement, Jesus disarmed satan by using satan’s own weapon of death – by dying Himself and then being raised to Life… death is not from God, but Jesus used death against itself to destroy its power over us… perhaps that is how all things that are evil are destroyed in the end…?

      • jeremypenwarden says:

        It is dangerous to read the KJV without understanding the English of the day. It translates verse 10 as ‘it pleased The Lord to crush him’.

        But ‘it pleased me to do this’ has no sense of pleasure or enjoyment. It simply means it was my choice or decision, freely and without compulsion. Today wee old simply say ‘I decided to do this’.

        Modern translations say ‘ it was the will of The Lord to crush him’. So you cannot conclude that the Father took any enjoyment or pleasure from the event. That is simply a mis-translation.

  48. jeremypenwarden says:

    Go back to verse 4. Jesus was ‘smitten by God’ .

    Then verse 5 Upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace. The only entity that could have chastised Jesus is Father God.

    Coleen says that God was submitting or allowing himself to be crushed as if some impersonal force was doing the crushing. But that does not make sense. Isaiah is clear that the One doing the crushing is God.

    I think that Coleens comment opens up an even bigger can of worms as she appears not to understand yet the doctrine of the Trinity namely one God in three Persons. At the cross, Jesus the Son takes on the sins of the world and then God the Father punishes Jesus as if he were the sinner. Jesus takes full responsibility for our sins and God does to Jesus what he would otherwise have done to us.

    • Ok I was writing on the fly and did not quite think my responce all the way through. However God smiting Jesus on the cross does not translate out into the perverted view of sovereignty that the above article teaches against.
      Where I was coming from was that Jesus and the Father are one however my brain stopped there in the story and “forgot” that God had to seperate Himself from Christ once our sins were upon Him. Hence why Jesus changes speech forms and says “My God, My God” instead of calling Him father. So in part God was acting on Jesus, yet all parties were in full agreement and in submission to the action. So Jennie is in part correct without our sins there would have been no need for crushing.
      no can of worms just a tangled tongue and a sleepy brain :)

  49. Ps Joseph Prince has an excellent analogy to explain “10 Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him” and here it is:

    One day, while he and his wife and daughter were finishing up their shopping, the little one got sleepy, so daddy carried her in his right arm, while carrying goods in the other arm. About halfway, his arm began to get numb with fatigue. Now, it would be an easy thing to just put the kid down and ask her to walk, but upon looking at the sleeping child on his arm, (get this) it pleased him to “crush” his right arm, rather than put his daughter down and disturb her rest.

    Now, since we know that Christ is described as God’s Right Arm, we can conclude that it pleased God to crush Him, because He knew it would lead to our shalom.

    There is a saying, you will never know how much God loved you, until you know how much God loved His Son, because He gladly gave Him up for you.

    • jeremypenwarden says:

      Joshen, You’re taking the King James English which means one thing and reading it as if it were modern English thus totally changing its meaning. It does NOT mean to ‘take pleasure in’. Simply that it was his will to do it.

      ESV translates the verse Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him.

      You may be able to conclude that it pleased God to crush Jesus from other scripture, but not from this one.

      • Jeremy I think you are misunderstanding Joshen is saying. It wasn’t the “I’m really enjoying hurting Jesus” kind of pleased. It was “My love & pleasure for this event(what it is accomplishing- not the ouch itself) is overridding the temporary pain that is going on” kind of pleased.
        That’s my take on the explanation which sounds a lot like your view too, just worded differently.

      • the king james isn’t the only version that uses the word “pleased” (isaiah 53:10)
        i find that looking up a word’s meaning in its original language often helps (-i like to use bible suite by biblios)… because, like you have mentioned, a translation often reflects the word usage of its day. and that is why it is important that we follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit to lead us in our understanding… He teaches us all things (1 john 2:27)
        ;)

  50. Sefetse Kenneth says:

    Write a book,sound teaching

  51. In my opinion God does not hurt us intentionally but he watches us when we fall, just like a father who watches his child’s first steps. His feelings is hurt when we fall & hurt ourselves but he won’t spoil us but he aids us without us knowing & growing dependent on him. I’m sure in the next world we will understand it all just like a grown man looking back in his memories & laughing at all his childhood’s fears & misfortunes.

  52. The Scriptures make a distinction between Father’s sovereignty and His providence. Sovereignty means that He, as Creator, has the ultimate authority to do as He pleases in the earth and no one can say to Him, “What are You doing?” Providence, on the other hand, is much more personal and could be more perfectly defined as Father’s care for His own.
    There is a difference between relating to the Creator (sovereignty) or to a Father (providence). In both cases, God is able to accomplish what is in His heart, but He most often chooses to reveal providence to His family; I will be their Father and they shall be My own.
    Father’s care, then, takes on a filial or family dimension that is very considerate and tender.

    Bob Mumford

    Bob is a old friend,and Knowing him I believe he is saying,yes God is all powerful and can do what he wants,but he is a father and wants to be a father.

  53. God is sovereign. God is in control. How can you believe and be assured of your own salvation from a God that is not sovereign upon all things?

    the huge gaping miss on this article is that man is a sinner. deserves to die. deserves all the bad things that happens to him. it is only because of Christ that man can be reconciled with God. Everything that happens is for His glory. Left to our selves, all we can do is sin. That doesnt mean that we don’t have a will of our own. Yes we do and it’s just all willfull sinning. remember sin is anything you do apart from glorifying God. tell me, is it your self that you consistently glorifies or is it God? you can give all your riches to charity but that can still be sin if it seeks only self (to feel good, assuage some guilt etc).

    • Karen, I don’t normally post comments that have nothing to do with the post being discussed. In future, please limit your comments to the post above.

  54. There is no middle ground on this subject. Either God is sovereign, or He isn’t. Either He works all things after the counsel of His will (Eph. 1:11), or He doesn’t. Either no man can come to Christ unless the Father draws him (Jn. 6:44), or men instigate salvation on their own behalf. Either God hardens hearts as He wills (Rom. 9:18), or men have free wills that can override this. Both cannot be true. If God wills all mankind to be saved (1 Tim. 2:4), then it must happen, else God cannot accomplish His own will. If God cannot accomplish His will, then He is not God (Dan 4:34-45). If man’s will in matters of salvation can override God’s will (which will is here stated, that all mankind be saved), then man’s will is stronger than God’s. Isaiah 14:27 and Romans 9:19, among other passages, deny this possibility.

    • Daniel 4:35 says “God does as he pleases” and he does. But you go too far to infer that God gets his way every time. Was it God’s will for Adam to eat from the forbidden tree? No. How do I know? He told us! Either it was not God’s will or God was lying. Since God never lies, it was not his will.

      If God gets his way all the time then there is no such thing as free will and no such thing as love and he is responsible for all the evil that happens. Happily, the Bible is full of examples showing us this is not the case, that we are free to choose, that he invites us to respond to his love, and that he is never the author of evil. It also shows us that God is magnificently able to make all things work together for good, but only among those who love God and don’t resist his will (Rom 8:28).

      • well said Paul,we must be careful not to make God in our image.

      • No doctrine is more despised by the natural mind than the truth that God is absolutely sovereign. Human pride loathes the suggestion that God orders everything, controls everything, rules over everything. The carnal mind, burning with enmity against God, abhors the biblical teaching that nothing comes to pass except according to His eternal decrees…

      • By that logic the Boston bombing came to pass because God decreed it. So did the Holocaust, the Rwandan genocide, and the fall of Satan. What a stupid theology. You can keep it.

      • Colleen G. says:

        Karl you have made God slave to His own power. Just because He can does not mean He must. I have the ability and power to end the life of my family but my love, justice and mercy constrain me. Why would I want to cause great harm just because I have the ability to?
        God is not some demented puppet master controlling every minutia of life from stubbed toes to mass murder. If what you describe is “god” I have higher morals and better love than he does.

  55. It would be good if you included all my comments in ,I hope you have this site as a teaching tool ,not a ego boost.

    • Karl, the reason I deleted your posts – aside from the fact that they violated E2R’s comment policy by cutting and pasting scripture – is because I refuse to engage in games of scriptural snap with anyone who tries to interpret the character of God through scripture instead of the other way round. Don’t form your opinions of God based on half a dozen verses in the OT prophets. See Jesus. Only Jesus is the exact representation of his Father.

      Since Jesus went around healing the sick we know that sickness is not God’s will. And since we have sick people in the first place we know that not everything that happens is God’s will. In fact, the Bible plainly tells us where sickness comes from and it’s not God (Acts 10:38).

      Knowing that God is not the author of sickness, terrorism, and genocide is a wonderful boost to my ego and, indeed, my whole psyche. It is those unbelieving believers who sit idly by preaching “God is sovereign” while the world goes to hell in a handbasket who need their heads checked.

      • God created Satan a murderer from the begenning .John 8 44 ,Why? Why is it that the Antichrist is allowed by God to persecute the saints rev 13 7 .The book of Job is all about Gods sovernity.He allowed Satan to test Job Why?God has made some vessels for honor and dishonor Rms 9 21 Why would he do this?Don,t think for one minute that I am comfortable with the evil that’s going on in the world today NO WAY ! It envelopes my mind most of the time especially knowing I have small children coming into this evil eon.
        But I can rest that God has a purpose and is in control ,and that we cannot thwart his purpose which is for Good Rmns 8 28.

      • Karl, I love you but your theology is thoroughly messed up. The Book of Job is not about the sovereignty of God; Romans 8:28 does not say God is sovereign or in control or the cause of all that happens; and if God were responsible for turning Satan into a murderer, he would be suffering from bipolar disorder.

        I’ll leave you with this thought: If everything that happens is God’s will, then it’s his will for me to tell you that not everything that happens is his will.

      • jeremypenwarden says:

        Karl,
        It is possible to prove any position from the bible if you select vases that support you and ignore any that do not.

        It is easy to establish your case when you ignore the comments of others and just restate your own position.

        The above is what you do and Paul Ellis does not.

        Paul listens to your comment and gives a thought out response. The only response I have seen from you to Paul is to accuse him of having a carnal mind.

        If you wish to be taken seriously, answer what Paul said.

        As a fresh example, what do you make of the situation in Gethsaneme when Jesus tells that to watch and wait – stay awake – they sleep and he chastises them. Was it his will that they disobey him so that he could get cross with them? Demand they do something he knows they’ll fail in? If so he’s more a manipulator like the Devil than the son of God!

        Let me ask what Ps 115:16 and Gen 1:26,28 say to you.

        Final question – are you a universalist? Are all saved regardless of their life choices?

      • You really don’t understand Gods plan ,you have let human pride take over .This dominion means to maintain order, and it is to be exercised over other creatures not people. It was first given to Adam and his wife and was to be the for the whole human race (Psalms 8:6-8). Man was to have sovereignty over the animal creation and other creatures.  Because of our being made in God’s image we were given a higher moral and spiritual nature. Our capacity for right thinking, knowledge, holiness, and righteousness, would be expressed in our ruling over the other creatures.

        Dominion does not mean we as the church or government are to rule over humans or nations. This wanting to rule over other people (dominion) is from man’s fallen nature. God made man to serve just as Jesus gave us the example as a perfect man.
         
        God took man’s dominion away when they disobeyed him and became sinful- and we still are sinful UNTIL the resurrection, which means we are unable to have this dominion.  To hold to the position that man is to take up the dominion he had in the garden is a denial of the curse that is still affecting mankind. God told Adam thorns and thistles would come from his work, he had lost dominion and was subject to the fallen world.

      • I may be wrong but from what I can see man was deceived and gave it to Satan?

      • We are not still sinful if we are “In Christ” but have been given all authority…. problem is a number of Christians don’t realise their authority in Christ, and its that thinking that makes them ineffective against ‘subduing’ Satan and wickedness. We use our authority to cast out demons, heal the sick, raise the dead, fight injustice etc etc… so sorry Karl cant agree with you there.

      • Yes Tracey you are right ,what I should have put was up to the cross and if Israel did not obey law,which was almost impossible to do except for Jesus.

  56. jeremypenwarden says:

    On a final point to Karl, if God is sovereign and his will is always done, he could use that sovereignty to give am control of the earth and allows man’s choices and decisions to be decisive during our lives on this earth. In other words he could suspend his sovereignty and delegate it to man. Which is precisely what the bible says he did.

    • I expect Paul to have minions like yourself out there it is his site.Pauls says some great things but on this subject he is wrong.Gods sovernity is all through the bible ,he has a plan to work All Mankind back to himself ,Jesus came as part of this plan ,died and rose for our sins 100% of them ,what you and others miss is dominion was taken away from humans at the fall and now it’s God and the son who are in the drivers seat.Rest assure that the father has a plan whether he is using evil or good to make this come about its happening.Like the words of the Lords pray read ,Our Father, which art in heaven,
      Hallowed be thy Name.
      Thy Kingdom come.
      Thy WILL be done in earth,
      As it is in heaven.

      • jeremypenwarden says:

        So, God in his sovereignty chose you to be a rather rude individual who chooses insult as a way to engage in dialogue. He also chose you to be narrow minded and to refuse to answer a simple point that disagrees with your dogma. I guess your ignorant attitude shows your belief to be unassailablly true as not dissent is allowable.

    • Sorry Jeremy If I offended you in any way,but you did make some remarks about my conduct with Paul. that I don`t think were true.Answering your questions on Ps 115:16 and Gen 1:26,28 means to me is that this dominion means to maintain order, and it is to be exercised over other creatures not people. It was first given to Adam and his wife and was to be the for the whole human race (Psalms 8:6-8). Man was to have sovereignty over the animal creation and other creatures. Because of our being made in God’s image we were given a higher moral and spiritual nature. Our capacity for right thinking, knowledge, holiness, and righteousness, would be expressed in our ruling over the other creatures.

      Dominion does not mean we as the church or government are to rule over humans or nations. This wanting to rule over other people (dominion) is from man’s fallen nature. God made man to serve just as Jesus gave us the example as a perfect man- He came to serve.
      God took man’s dominion away when they disobeyed him and became sinful- and we still are sinful UNTIL the resurrection, which means we are unable to have this dominion. To hold to the position that man is to take up the dominion he had in the garden is a denial of the curse that is still affecting mankind. God told Adam thorns and thistles would come from his work, he had lost dominion and was subject to the fallen world.I hope paul lets this thru Thanks

      • jeremypenwarden says:

        So you do agree that god has given man sovereignty over some things which by definition means that if we use that dominion to do something that is not God’s will then god is not always sovereign. QED.

    • Yes he is sovereign in some abstract way, in that he retains the right to govern all events actively according to his will, but does he sometimes choose not to do so;I`m not sure (this is the conundrum we face) but I think he actually and actively ordains and brings to pass everything that takes place on the earth, from the smallest matters of “chance,” to the greatest events of the earth’s mighty kingdoms , God is bringing all things to pass according to his will. He governs and superintends “coincidental” happenings , the wicked actions of men , the good deeds of men the actions of both evil spirits and good angels the habits of animals and the operations of all creation.This also pertains to salvation as in
      Romans 12 3
      3 For I say, through the grace that was given to me, to every one who is among you, not to think above what it behoveth to think; but to think so as to think wisely, as to each God did deal a measure of faith,
      As you see in this passage grace and faith is given ,we do not have a choice in it.
      He is operating all things to the counsel of his will ,good and evil( isaiah 45 7)

      • Colleen G. says:

        If God is actually the equal director/wielder of evil then the entire scriptures are a ridiculous farce. Holding people accountable for the sins they commit by God’s direction is in itself a great evil. A supreme being who says “You are guilty of sin but I made you do it but I have to punish you for committing said sin.” chills my soul.
        How can you personally live with such an grossly evil view of God? Light is light it cannot contain any darkness. I have met God-Abba-Father. He is not evil but purity of light and justice and He doesn’t force feed His gifts down anyone’s throat.

      • Explain ish 45 7 and Romans 9 21 and do believe in eternal torment?

      • chrisvanrooyen says:

        Good reply
        If we have free will now, will we have free will in Heaven, and if we do what will the mechanism be that maintains the order in Heaven as described in scripture.
        Will it be our fear of the consequence of sin now a undeniable reality, will it be grace between God and man and man and man,will it be the Love of God now completely manifest,or will we not have free will.
        Your thoughts.

      • You seem to be searching for knowledge ,which is a great sign of Gods spirit ,it becomes a obsession as it has for me ,I wish you all the best in your journey for the truth God bless

      • Colleen G. says:

        Karl- Isaiah 45:7 could very well be a translation hiccup. The verses is about contrasts the opposite of peace is not evil but turmoil or loudness. If the writer had wanted something to contrast with evil wouldn’t he have used good instead of peace? One should never create a doctrine based on one solo verse.
        Romans 9:21 going by the King James word dishonor doesn’t mean evil. It just means the opposite of honorable. A potter makes a beautiful flower vase and the other vessel is a chamber pot for well you know. Not exactly proof of being supreme director of evil sorry.
        Honestly I have not studied out the eternal torment vs. the extinguished soul versions of hell but what does that have to do with the topic at hand? Yes I believe that God will give final consequences to those who reject Him but again relevance please?
        You have not answered my question. How do you live with such a puppet master view of God where He is both God & Devil in one being?
        Chris V- Scripture says that once we shed our bodies of flesh we are changed and our redemption will become full and perfect. We become perfectly like Christ without flaw. I would think that sin would not win over us just as it could not subvert Christ while He was on Earth. I thinking of 1 Corinthians 15:51-58

      • Hi Colleen I have been trying to post a audio that you would be interested in on God s sovernity ,but it,s not going thru.Click on my image and send me your email ,then I will send the audio back to you thru email,knowing that your keen on the subject.This is a subject that can,t be put into a few words.

  57. If you predict that your will will not be done have you in reality got your will ?

    • We will be like Christ as in the full measure of Gods spirit ,so I believe we will be in his full measure of love,so when it comes to free will God may only still have that ,for we have wills at the moment but it’s not free or we could choose to fly .But if you read revelation you see the wicked experience the second death ,but what happens after that for them ,go to corthinians 15 20-28 and Christ puts all enemies under his feet including death, so then he hands back the kingdom to God the father so then the father is all in all ,so if the second death is still existing ,then death has not been abolished.For God to be all in all ,the second death has to also be abolished ,which means the wicked and people who did not know Christ also will get the full measure of Gods spirit so God can be all in all ,what does the word all leave out .All words in the English bibles that use the words eternal or everlasting have been translated from the Greek word Eionian which means period of time ,so Gods uses periods of times or ages to have his plan come together ,food for thought.

      • chrisvanrooyen says:

        When God can take time out of the way his plan comes together.It can start with us.

      • chrisvanrooyen says:

        Yes the second death is for the wicked, the relevant question is when was the first death,

  58. Agape is the clear, definable and measurable Kingdom principle that is the governing force of the universe. When Paul says Agape controls him (see 2 Cor. 5:13-15), he gives us the universal picture that includes every tribe, tongue, people and nation.
    Agape alone takes us to the answer that is as big as the need. Agape contains the inherent power to shake the thrones of kings. Agape is reformational and transformational because God is Agape. God’s eternal purpose is immutable and inexorable.
    Paul said that “in Him we are also made [God’s] heritage (portion) and we obtained an inheritance; for we had been foreordained (chosen and appointed beforehand) in accordance with His purpose, Who works out everything in agreement with the counsel and design of His [own] will (Ephesians 1:11 AMP).
    Apart from the restoration of Agape as the absolute of God, we will not arrive at the goal predetermined in the Bible as the redemptive purpose of God as Father. Agape is the quintessence of the Kingdom of God. It is the glory revealed.
    It is the absolute by which everything and everyone shall be measured. All Kingdom reality must be birthed from Christ, centered in Christ and returned to Christ. Christ is Agape incarnate as Immanuel, God with us. I AM has come and Agape never disappears.
    Bob Mumford
    Lifechangers
    this was just posted today on fb,I think it says it,he is the beginning and the end,we are in him,he started it, he will finish it,we belong to him he will sustain us.

    ps : Chris,stop throwing curves. it is a good question though.

    • chrisvanrooyen says:

      Hi Earl
      Without the curve balls how else would I learn from your batting skills. I am a bit annoyed that you have given me nothing to disagree with. Cheers

  59. Karl – do you believe all are going to live on the New Earth – regardless of whether they want to or not? Calvinism and Universalism both have in common the foundation of lack of free will. You will go to heaven regardless of choice, behaviour, faith even. Interesting what someone said about free will on the new Earth. I believe that Christ – the hope of Glory and in whom everything is held together, is the key. Somehow we will have free will, but unlike Adam, we are part of the Triune circle now infused in Christ – and as such, would not choose evil. And Evil will not be there to tempt us anyway. It was different for Adam and Eve, I believe, as they were not ‘In Christ’ as a son, and new creation like we are. IMHO :) i am with Colleen, in that God cannot be both good and evil at the same time. I hold to a warfare worldview in which evil, I believe, is explained the only way it can be. We are caught up in war between good and evil, that is being played out on the planet in which we live. Just look around to see the casualties. God is not the author of evil, and the angelic have free will as well so cause mayhem thru us and around us on Earth. Christ died not only for us, but for the COSMOS – in that everything will be restored on day. He came to destroy the works of the Devil. Primary purpose. Everything we are discussing here is tied up in that i believe.

    • chrisvanrooyen says:

      Just one question for all is God the beginning, Before him was there anything. was everything created by him and for him, is everything that was and is created, created by him.
      If the future is in my power and I predict that I will kick your ass, when I do was it really a fight.
      If I wrote your name in the book of life before creation were you ever really dead.

      If this is all true then nothing can be his equal,
      If this is true, can we then say that anything that contradicts this in any way is part of the lie.

      Maybe nothing is unfair the dead die, the living live and never die. Adam and Eve committed suicide and this will never happen again. Jesus is the only source of life.

      .

  60. 2 Peter 3 says that God is not God’s will that any should perish, but that they come to repentance. But saying that God is control of everything would mean that those people who don’t accept Jesus and go to hell do so because it was God’s will for them to go to hell. That would have made God a liar and that he is willing that he send them to hell. But that is not what his word says. It’s not his will for anyone to die and go to hell, but sadly, it still happens. And that alone proves that God is not in control of everything that happens. Andrew Wommack once used the analogy that the US Government(the US is a soverign nation) creates all our laws and policies, but does that mean they can keep the people from breaking the laws? No. We all have the freedom of choice. God gave that gift to us out of love, knowing that He would have to make the sacrifice of his son. That is some great love! He wants us to make the choice to accept him. He doesn’t want us to be robots bowing down at the snap of a finger. He wants a one on one, face to face relationship with each and every one of us. He chose to suffer and die the death of the cross to bring down the wall between us and Him so we could finally see how much he loves us and let us choose to enter in to his open arms of Love.

    • right on Dave,to quote a couple of our founding fathers,[this goverment will only work,with a self governing people] i think, john Adams said that and [ i care not that my neighbor believes in one god or twenty,he has not picked my purse nor broke my leg] Thomas Jefferson, even though I was a little puzzled with that, him, it seems being so fascinated with Jesus, saying something like that,but he saw the advantages of a free society, no ROBOTS,and i believe that is a great environment for the good news

    • chrisvanrooyen says:

      If man was created in God,s image maybe he was able to create, I can assure you that nothing God has created is going to hell.

      • jeremypenwarden says:

        Nothing God created is going to he’ll??? The devil and all his devils were created by God. They we not created as they are now, but none the less they were created. They are clearly going to he’ll, thus your claim is false.

        Unless you say that devils also are not destined to hell?

    • Ephesians 1:11 puts it like this: “[God] works all things according to the counsel of his will.” Romans 9:16 puts it like this: “So then it depends not on human will or exertion,but on God, who has mercy.” Proverbs 16:33 puts it like this, “The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.”All things are from him and through him” means that there is no explanation for what is or what happens that is deeper or more decisive than God. This is what we mean when we say that God is absolutely sovereign.

      The devil is not co-eternal with God, and he is not ultimately independent of God. His existence and all that comes from it—so much of the evil in the world—depends on God’s willing him to exist and allowing him moment by moment to do what he does. God sees it coming and he permits it to happen. And since he does nothing aimlessly or capriciously, there is always a purpose for what he causes to happen directly and what he permits to happen indirectly. So in that sense we can say that even the evil and the calamity of the world (e.g. Romans 11:7-10) are included in verse 36, “All things are from him and through him.”

      • This is like saying healing is God’s direct will but sickness is his indirect will. Why go there? Why not just speak plainly as Jesus did and call a spade a spade (eg: John 10:10)?

    • chrisvanrooyen says:

      I will put it more clearly God did not create devils he created Angels , Angels fell and became devils. Why do you think you have to be reborn not of man but the spirit of God, what was wrong with your original birth were you not a son a creation of God.
      I will say that we have more creative ability than we think ,just look at how creative the Egyptians were with their god,s. When I read about Angels I can only imagine what they were capable of . look at what the fallen Angels were up to in Genesis.
      We may be amazed one day to find out what we are capable of we were after all created in the image of the creator.
      The Devil as far as I am concerned is already in hell if God said it will happen you can bank this and live as it has already happened.I can assure you the Devil knows he has nothing to lose.

  61. I still marvel at the pride of some who only post to make themselves heard and are not prepared to hear. You ruin a perfectly useful and glorious post with your braying.
    One of my favourite quotes from the comments illustrates this beautifully: “You really don’t understand Gods plan ,you have let human pride take over”.
    Wow.

  62. I believe that God is souverein, but we have misunderstood his souvereinity by thea calvinistic or arminian influences in church. God is souverein in a sence that He allows everything that happen on the earth. He is in control of everything even in the things He alows himself not to be in control for a greater purpose.

  63. Great piece, Paul. One idea though.

    “contrary to what some misguided souls in the Old Testament might claim, God is not the author of evil. In him there is no shadow at all.”

    I know what you mean & totally agree, but think maybe you should have unpacked this a little more. It could be a real hang up for some like from (Is 45:7) KJV:

    “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things.”

    We know OT saints didn’t understand the pure nature of Abba because Jesus said nobody had “seen” the Father till He revealed Him, but I think verses like this also have “lost in translation” issues we haven’t properly addressed yet.

    First, he word translated “evil” there doesn’t necessarily imply the general, abstract concept. Other versions use “woe, calamity”, etc now.

    But I think the best insight comes from the word “bara” itself, a primitive root translated as “to create”. I have friends Yossi & Elana Polinger of Jewish background who say one use of “bara” in other verses is to “cut out”, “carve out” or “make space for”.

    And Jeff Benner in “The Living Words: Vol 1″ says the original concrete meaning from early Hebrew pictographs of “bara” is “fat, fatness”, or as a verb “to fatten”, or “to fill up”. And “bara” is used that way explicitly in (1 Sam 2:29) KJV. Then since “evil” is a negative or lack concept to begin with arising from man’s fall, saying God “fills up” evil could mean He overcomes it by filling it in with His Goodness like it were a pothole.

    • Thanks Dean. Some interesting ideas there.

    • jeremypenwarden says:

      There is an alternative explanation, regarding how any subject is taught, which applies to how God taught the subject of the nature of God.

      You start simplified and focus on main issues, and as the teaching develops from primary through university, it changes and develops.

      When I arrived an University, the first thing my tutor to us was to forget how integration had been taught at A level, as it was over simplified and wrong.

      I suggest that back in Isaiah’s day there were many gods, thought all to be broadly equal. God was communicating that He is not just another God, but He is the ultimate source of everything. Evil is not equal to him. It is subservient to him. It is a fact that until God began creating, there was no evil – there was only Hmself. So in a sense God is indeed the source of evil, since it comes from within the creation and He created everything.

      Once His uniqueness as creator was established, in Jesus he goes on to explain fully. Progressive revelation.

      Think about how you explain to a five year old how babies are made, and then consider the full biology lesson. The latter makes the former look substantially false. But a five year old does not need to be given all the facts. It just needs the answer it was given.

      • Like my mother used to say Jeremy, explain it to them until there happy and then leave it at that. don’t over do it.

      • chrisvanrooyen says:

        So we could say that in the garden God gave us two mirrors one to see the true image and one to see the false image of ourselves.

    • ohh i like this dean… “since “evil” is a negative or lack concept to begin with arising from man’s fall, saying God “fills up” evil could mean He overcomes it by filling it in with His Goodness like it were a pothole”
      this perfectly describes the void that we have in our spirits before we are filled with Christ!
      :)

      • i believe ezek 36:26 supports this…
        a heart of stone (aka evil heart) is one that is “built”… the root word for stone means ” to build.” this is a picture of man’s self-efforts (as “stone” also represents the law) to fill the space God created for Himself to live within us…
        and i had to smile when i read that the hebrew word for flesh -basar- also means to bring good news…
        and this is the gospel of Grace: “i will remove your heart of self-effort and give you a heart of good news – the good news that Jesus did it all”
        :)

      • Ooh, that’s really good. Thanks Jennie.

      • kind of like cold being the absence of heat?

    • chrisvanrooyen says:

      Interesting how the first verses in the bible support this that the darkness was as a result of or created by a lack of light and only the light was good. Also the interpretation that the earth was not created but became without form and void.

  64. Chantall says:

    When witnessing non believers they often struggle with this issue! Thanks for a clear and concise article! Also the follow up comments are great as they cover many of the questions asked! I recon this issue is one if the prime ways satan maligns the character of the Father to the world. Thanks again

    • chrisvanrooyen says:

      When witnessing we should always be aware that satan without us would be ineffective and have no power, we are as man his power without our support he is impotent. Forgive the pun please.

      • i always look at it Chris,as ,they feed off us like a parasite,we are there food,Jesus said when a spirit goes out of a person it wanders in a dry place,so we obviously supply them with something.that also brings to mind how i sometimes i know Im being subject to them but have been [charmed]for lack of a better word] and then wake up to the deception, does that make any sense?

  65. Most Christians on this subject thinks God is reactionary not pro active.If Gods original plan is changed based on our decisions , and God is on plan B then God is a sinner. Sin means to miss the mark Original Word: ἁμαρτάνω.If God is reacting on our decisions and his original plan has failed then he has missed the mark and God is a sinner .God is Soverign or he has missed the mark and is a sinner.

    • chrisvanrooyen says:

      I sure Hope God reacted on your decision to follow his Son.

      • It wasn’t my decision to choose Jesus or yours It was Gods decision to choose us.john15 16,Jhn 6 44 ,Rmns12 3,Philipians 1 29,It was his Soverign choice thru grace to choose us ,aren’t you glad he did.

      • jeremypenwarden says:

        Well, that is half of the truth Karl. But if it were only up to God all would be chosen AND saved, which is clearly not the case.

        For salvation, we need first God’s choice of is, then his gift of faith to us (Eph2) and then our choice to believe.

        Unless we choose him as we’ll as he choosing us, then we remain lost.

      • When did you choose Christ?In Acts, chapter nine, an extremely stubborn and helpless (to save himself) person named Saul of Tarsus is en route to Damascus to arrest and kill Christians. Here is a perfect field for a demonstration of amazing grace;

        Before he could even say, “Praise the Lord,” Saul was on the ground beholding Christ’s glory. This was not a “general invitation” to fall off a horse. Saul (Paul) wrote later: “The grace of our Lord overwhelms” (1 Tim. 1:14).Did Paul say ,wait on let me Think about it?

        Paul became the rule for salvation, not the exception. He told Timothy he was “a pattern of those who are about to be believing on Him” (1 Tim. 1:16)

      • God will reconcile all people back to himself in due time Tim 1 2 6
        The word “reconcile” means to bring back a former state of harmony, or to bring back to it’s original state. For example, a women is reconciled to her divorced husband when she returns to Him (1 Corinthians 7:11). Paul wrote about Jesus saying: “having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself, by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.” (Colossians 1:20). Paul also wrote ssaying: “And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.” (1 Corinthians 15:28) The writer of Acts talks about: “the times of restitution of all things” (Acts 3:21). The word “restitution” means to restore to a former state.

    • chrisvanrooyen says:

      Thanks Karl
      sometimes i speak before i think.

    • chrisvanrooyen says:

      Hi Karl
      just to correct again what i said usually when i think i make mistakes. So without thinking there are definite instances where God has said he has repented or changed his mind because of the actions of a man. this may not effect the conclusion but changes the story line..

  66. I believe God made a constant plan beforehand, that people may choose either to receive Christ to have life or to remain in the state of Adamic nature. God showed His sovereignty by making plan that no one can thwart and at the same time without altering the given freewill of God to mankind.

  67. Michael Jenkins says:

    Thank you so much for this! This not only helped me but it really opened my understanding. Grace and peace be multiplied to you!

  68. Hey Paul,

    I stumbled on Escape to Reality a few days ago and have been very much enjoying your posts. Maybe someone touched on this in the comments, but I have not been able to read through them all. I’ve been struggling with this idea and would like to some clarification if you could.

    One of your arguments against God’s sovereignty is, ‘Why do you think Jesus taught us to pray “Let your will be done on earth as it is in heaven”?’ But what are we taught by Jesus to pray directly before this? “Let your Kingdom come.” I believe these are taught to us on the basis of trusting God. He teaches us to ask for God’s Kingdom to come, and I think you would agree, that no matter what I do, you do, or anyone else does; His Kingdom IS coming.

    Confused and would love to hear your thoughts.

    Josh

    • I would say his kingdom has come and is experienced among those of us who trust in his love and grace. I would also say his kingdom is yet coming to those who have yet to make a positive response to the gospel.

  69. The kingdom of God is NOT synonymous with heaven as it is often used. The KOG is a spiritual reality. It’s within us. Once a person is born again , the KOG comes Within. The Holy Spirit is part of the KOG. God has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in our Spirit (KOG). We need to work out our salvation by means of confession and faith and bring that spiritual reality to manifestation. That is why we need to renew our minds to spirit reality. On the other hand “heaven” is a tangible place where there are mansions, the streets are gold. Gods throne and the ark of covenant etc are there. We will see those things in heaven. PTL!

    • I completely agree that the Kingdom of God has come and reigns inside of believers, but I’m not convinced that Jesus didn’t also mean something broader in saying, “on earth as it is in heaven.”

      I think we often confuse what God “wants” with God’s “will.” It’s true that God wants every human to repent and turn to Jesus, but it’s also His will to punish those who don’t. We can’t put God at fault for being just in judgement, in the same way, we can’t put God at fault for the consequences of sin and a fallen state. This doesn’t mean that it’s contrary to His will for suffering to occur, but these are consequences of our decisions that He allows to be carried out.

  70. Paul, thanks for this wonderful article. I haven’t found many Christians who believe this way. At one time I believed that God controlled everything but that left me confused and afraid of God. I now know Him as a very loving Father. Keep up the good fight of faith! You are making a difference in people’s lives.

  71. This article just made me angry! I am angry at Satan’s lies which sadly are still being propagated by a number of Christian churches. I am angry that for a while and from time to time I still catch myself believing these lies. Jesus wants us to have life and that’s the absolute truth!

    • I was angry when I wrote it Gigi, and I was angry when I heard the awful stuff coming from my friend’s mouth. I wasn’t angry at him. I was angry at the devil who dares to keeps God’s children bound with such awful lies.

  72. Great article, and VERY needed.
    I think Bill Johnson would also agree with you;

    “We have to redefine the sovereignty of God…There’s a difference between being in charge and being in control. God is in charge, but to think He’s in charge of everything is sad because that means He sponsored Hitler…God is not willing that any should perish, yet people are perishing. That means not everything is His will.”

    “Automatically thinking ‘everything that happens is God’s will’ is a lazy way to live. We live in a war. Jesus wasn’t fighting the Father’s will when He raised the dead.”

    “If God didn’t cause Katrina, who did? My response is, ‘Well, who did He leave in charge? To whom did He give all authority?’ I refuse to blame God. How many life-threatening storms did Jesus bless? I will not stand as an accuser before God holding up the sins of a city against them. I want no likeness to the accuser of the brethren.”

  73. Well Paul, I must say, this was fantastic, finally we agree on something….. I suppose I may have had you a bit wrong….. I spend too much time dealing with Calvinists…. lol true

  74. Can someone please offer their opinion on how this reconciles with Hebrews 13:8, where God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. I so want to believe that this is not some fatalist world where there is complete control and God permits evil to occur, and know that we can look to Jesus, but how do you get around all of the scripture about God creating calamity, deciding how dice fall, involved in the smallest creatures dying (sparrow), etc. Thanks.

    • God is good all the time. The Old Testament was God’s people doing their best, but it was a fuzzy view through a telescope, as Paul Ellis explains. In the New Covenant we see the fullness of God as expressed in Jesus. He came down to God’s people and made God’s goodness very clear, and urges us to believe it. For example, repentance and forgiveness became gifts to receive, rather than verbs to do. No carrots or sticks, but you’ll have to soak in E2R for awhile to get the full mind-blowing proportions of God’s love.

      Calamity falls under the same category, you have to see what the Old Testament prophets did (prophesy calamity) as a mistake that Jesus came to make clear under grace. He allowed this arrangement because of the hardness of their hearts – yes I’m talking about the good guys. Jesus came at just the right time and he came through the front door. There’s a more nuanced argument if you type in “earthquake” into the search field at the top right of E2R. Prepare to have your jaw drop in wonder.

  75. “And in all this, Job did not foolishly charge (accuse) God”….. Calvinism teaches one to do the exact opposite in spite of what the WORD says. Many many do not take the time to think about WHO is saying what. If a man says it, or is God Himself saying it, because when God says it, it is FACT. There are cases in scripture where men have said things, but indeed, they are not at all factual-that’s right, not even in scripture. One in particular as an example is this, which has been grossly misrepresented as fact for centuries: “God cannot look upon sin”……. Case in point, when a prophet is seeking the mercy of God for the wayward people, this statement was made- and for good reason at that time. But here’s what the truth concerning that REALLY is: Proverbs 15:3…. “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good”. Proverbs 5:21. Jer. 7:30. Jer. 13:27. And this-the most telling, the words of God in Jer. 16:17- “For mine eyes are upon all their ways: they are not hid from my face, neither is their iniquity hid from mine eyes”…… I relate this to this discussion board because I have seen through the years how that mindset has caused many to believe in error, as Paul Ellis so clearly indicates. The “Sovereignty” of God is so grossly misrepresented by overzealous (and sometimes well-meaning) people, God’s “Permissive” will is unfortunately discounted, or bundled into the theory. God is “Sovereign” no matter what happens! But the fact is, Love DICTATES free will, otherwise love is simply a figment of our imagination. It is the very essence of God’s heart and character, which cannot be compromised. The Lord made it as simple as imaginable to get to Heaven, hence, the reason there is a Hell. NO ONE will trash the blood of His Son and get away with it, if it’s this easy to gain entrance into eternal paradise. God didn’t “need” to decide for anyone, for that reason alone. Paul E. is right on, however I’m not totally sold on “God is not in control”…. lol well, maybe not the best choice of words, but I understand what you mean. Peace

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