Saturday, January 25, 2014

God Predestinates All Things, Part 2

Isa 45:6 That people may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none besides me; I am the LORD, and there is no other. Isa 45:7 I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the LORD, who does all these things.

Isa 46:10  Declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, 'My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,' Isa 46:11  calling a bird of prey from the east, the man of my counsel from a far country. I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass; I have purposed, and I will do it.

In my last post I dealt with the subject of whether God predestines everything that happens or just some things.  I did this by examining Dr. Gaines’ message in which he denies that God predestines all things including sin.  We saw that denying the sovereignty of God in anything clearly contradicts biblical passages.  I also addressed the idea that for God to ordain sin means he must cause people to sin.  This reveals a fundamental lack of understanding of sin.  In this post I would like to deal with two more problems with denying the total sovereignty of God in all things.  I would begin by noticing the above passages, which are just a couple of many that are very clear about the fact that nothing is done apart from God’s eternal decrees.

The third problem I have with Dr. Gaines’ position is that it leaves him in the same position of the one he denies.  His trouble with the biblical position of God’s sovereignty is that he assumes it makes God morally responsible for sin.  It would appear that evil had to enter the universe completely apart from God’s will or in some way it is God’s fault that bad things happen.  But let’s think about this position for a moment.  Dr. Gaines also believes that God knows ahead of time everything that will happen.  Thus God knew when he created the world that Adam would sin and all the misery that the fall would bring upon mankind. 

At the same time we are to believe that God didn’t want any of this to happen but was unable to stop it.  My question is then, why didn’t God stop it from happening altogether?  If it was never God’s intention for man to sin then why did he create a world knowing that sin would enter it?  Either way God becomes responsible for sin being in the world and Dr. Gaines position doesn’t solve his dilemma because God could have stopped it but didn’t.  My contention is that there is no way around the fact that everything that happens in God’s created order happens because he has ordained it to come to pass and the above verses confirm this.

My last problem with a God who only has control of some things is related to the same subject.  If evil is something that God didn’t plan on and at least didn’t want to happen then we have what is properly termed “purposeless evil”.  The Bible clearly teaches that God has allowed evil into the created order so that he could glorify himself in ways that he could not in a sinless world.  The verses quoted in these two posts bear this out and I will add perhaps the most obvious one after Gen. 50:20 and Acts 4:25-28.  It is Rom 9:20  But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, "Why have you made me like this?" Rom 9:21  Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? Rom 9:22  What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, Rom 9:23  in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory—

In order for God to demonstrate mercy and grace there had to be creatures who were undeserving of such love.  You can’t show mercy and grace to people who aren’t guilty of something.  Beyond this we are also told in Rom. 8:28 that even the greatest calamities have good purposes for those in Christ.  Without this I don’t know how anyone can face difficulty unless they know that there is a good and perfect purpose for it being worked out by the Lord.

What we are left with if Dr. Gaines’ position is true is that God doesn’t want anything bad to happen and it was never his purpose for it to happen and so there is no good purpose behind it other than Satan and other sinners just trying to make us miserable.  The God of the Bible that I worship won’t allow purposeless evil and I for one am willing to admit that his ways are above my ways and I am okay if I don’t understand everything he is and does.  But where the Bible gives us light we must bow to those truths and not deny them if they don’t fit into our worldview.



3 comments:

  1. Nathan,

    I'm the guy that exchanged a couple of emails with you on the song "He Owns The Cattle On A Thousand Hills". Today, I wanted to see your most recent postings to see what's going on. I'm a Sunday School teacher down in Houston and the scheduled scriptures for next Sunday are Romans 9. Your post was most enlightening, and have given me the courage and the impetus to go ahead and bite the bullet and address predestination next Sunday. I'll be mentioning some of your fine points and will definitely mention you in class.

    Again, the last two posts were very enlightening. Thanks. Some of your sentences are so good I'll probably quote them word for word, mentioning you as the source.

    Kenny B

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  2. I appreciate that Kenny. If you are going to speak in a class in which this topic is unfamiliar or perhaps controversial I know it can be a challenge. Stress the Scripture and be gracious and pray a lot!

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  3. Got it.

    1) Stress the scripture
    2) Be gracious
    3) Pray a lot

    Pretty sure I was gonna be 1) and 2) -- was planning that way. Kinda forgot about #3--gotta do that better!

    Your 3 ideas will be my mantra.

    Kenny B

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