Providence and Predestination

We come now to a discussion of God’s control over everything. Obviously, this includes our salvation, but is not limited to that.

Now most Christians do not have a problem in acknowledging God’s control over the physical creation. Not a sparrow falls to the ground apart from the Father, and He know the numbers of atoms that make up the planet Jupiter. We will consequently spend our time this session with the two areas that give us the most problems. Does God control the free actions of human beings, and does God control sinful actions? The biblical answer to both questions is yes.

Free Actions

But Micaiah said, “If you ever return in peace, the LORD has not spoken by me.” And he said, “Take heed, all you people!” Now a certain man drew a bow at random, and struck the king of Israel between the joints of his armor. So he said to the driver of his chariot, “Turn around and take me out of the battle, for I am wounded”

(1 Kings 22:28,34).

In this situation, God had said that something would occur. He then used the random act of an unknown archer to accomplish His purpose for Ahab.

Since his days are determined, the number of his months is with You; You have appointed his limits, so that he cannot pass

(Job 14:5).

Until that time comes which God has established, every man is immortal. As far as God’s determination is concerned, we cannot lengthen and we cannot shorten our lives.

Humanly speaking, can we? Of course. But whatever we do will not alter God’s decree — what we do will be His instrument for accomplishing His decree. We have the same teaching in Ps. 139:16 in different words. Before we existed, our biography was written.

The preparations of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the LORD

(Prov. 16:1).

What is more indicative of a man’s freedom than that which he wills to speak? When you ask me a question, I answer you the way I wish. Is God somewhere else? No.

Sinful Actions

The reason we have a problem with God’s control of free actions is that we do not want to say that men are nothing more than puppets. The reason we have a problem with God’s control of sin is that we think that this would make God sinful, or the author of sin. First, the teaching of Scripture:

But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive

(Gen. 50:20; see also Is. 45:7 and Amos 3:6).

Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you that today, even this night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny Me three times”

(Mark 14:30).

“And truly the Son of Man goes as it has been determined, but woe to that man by whom He is betrayed!”

(Luke 22:22)

“For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done

(Acts 4:27-28).

Objections

We must always remember that the objections which crowd into our minds are not textual objections — they are philosophical.

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