Studying Theology for Effective Ministry

STEM - A twice a month forum for both study and discourse on the doctrines of faith, and those aspects of the Christian life that influence our world. Contact: 262.744.0331

Read Our Statement of Purpose

LAST MEETING: Monday, January 9th; Bay View Starbucks - KK & Oklahoma

Topics - 1.) The Trinity 2.) Universalism

My Photo
Location: Caledonia - aka "Cali", Wisconsin, United States

Born in 1980, I was raised in Wisconsin, but lived in Oregon for my most formative years, 17-24. I was homeschooled from K-12 and went on to college like any other "normal" kid. I'm passionate, a sponge for information, sporadic. I read insane amounts of news. USA Today, local paper, then when i get home from work I read everything you can imagine online


Challenge: Everything Happens by Chance!

Jesus was the Lamb that was slain before the foundations of the world. “He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you" (1 Peter 1:18-20). Also Revelation 13:8 and 17:8

Just to define the actual theological issue we’re dealing with here… The idea that everything happens by “chance” is by definition “deism”; a false doctrine infiltrating the church for hundreds of years.
It is the idea that God created the world, then essentially abandoning it.

In answer to “Deism” I say the following:
God is continually involved with all created things in such a way that he

  1. keeps them existing and maintaining the properties with which he created them;
  2. cooperates with created things in every action, directing their distinctive properties to cause them to act as they do; and...
  3. directs them to fulfill his purposes.

Hebrews 1:3 says that Christ is “upholding the universe by his word of power”. The Greek word for “upholding” is the active meaning “carry, bear”. It does not mean merely “sustaining”. It is an active role of literally carrying, moving, influencing the state of.

Psalms 104:29 says “if he should take back his spirit to himself and father to himself his breath, all flesh would perish together, and man would return to dust.”

Eph. 1:11 says that “God accomplishes all things according to the counsel of his will.” The Greek for “accomplishes” is “energeo”, meaning “works”, or to “bring about” all things according to his will. It is Concurrence with the creation he made.

Check out Job 37:6-13:
To the snow he says “fall on the earth;”
And to the shower and the rain, “be strong”….
But he breath of God ice is given,
And the broad waters are frozen fast.
He loads the thick cloud with moisture,
The clouds scatter his lightning.
They turn round and round by his guidance,
To accomplish all that he commands them
on the face of the habitable world.
Whether for correction, or for his land,
Or for love, he causes it to happen.

Jesus himself said in Matthew 5:45 that God “makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust”. From our perspective, the rolling of dice or “casting of lots” is the most random event that can occur, right? But the Bible affirms that such an event is from God: “the lot is cast into the lap, but the decision is wholly from the Lord.” Proverbs 16:33

Concurrence leads us to believe God works through and directs all properties.
For any of the events I mentioned above (weather) a scientist can explain natural reasons that these things occur… how can God cause these things, and yet nature decide on it’s own as well? I believe they are fully caused by God and by the nature he has created. “Concurrence” leads us to believe that God works through and directs the distinctive properties of each created thing, so that these things themselves bring about the results that we and scientists can observe.

Job 12:23 says that God “makes nations great, and he destroys them: he enlarges nations and leads them away.”

In Daniel, we are told that we are not to question God and attempt to “stay” him: “He does according to His will in the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay His hand or say to Him, ‘what are you doin?’” (Dan. 4:35, 35)

In Philippians 4:19, it says that “my God will supply every need.”

Job 14:5 says “man’s days are determined, and the number of his months is with You and You have appointed his bounds that he cannot pass.”

Proverbs 20:24: “a man’s steps are ordered of the Lord.”

Psalms 75:6, 7: “For not from the east or from the west and not form the wilderness comes lifting up; but it is God who executes judgment, putting down one and lifting up another.”

Mary said in Luke 1:52: “He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted those of low degree.”
God influences rulers in their decisions, for “the kings heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will.” Proverbs 21:1

God “fashions the hearts of the [inhabitants of the earth].” Psalm 33:14, 15

Understand that through this all, I am not wanting to misunderstand… here also as with the lower creation, God’s direction as an unseen, behind the scenes, “cause” should not lead us to deny the reality of out choices and actions. Scripture also affirms that we really DO cause events to happen. We are significant and responsible. We do have choices and these bring real results. Just as a plant is really alive, because God has made it with the property of life, so our choices are real choices with significant effects, because God has made us in such a way that he has endowed us with the property of willing choice. This doesn’t mean that just because our choices are real that they cannot be CAUSED by God. There are so many scriptures that talk about God’s CONTROL over the universe and everything in it. Exactly how God combines his providential control with our willing choices, scripture doesn’t bother to explain. But rather than deny one aspect or the other because it’s hard to explain, we should accept both in order to be faithful to ALL of scripture. We can deny truth about God but we cannot restrict the all-powerful God within the free will of man, making him “helpless” to carry out his “plan”.

So does God create evil? Is God responsible for sin?
Scripture shows God brining about deeds that have been evil but through the actions of moral creatures. It never blames God for evil or shows God as taking pleasure in evil, and always puts blame on humans for the evil they do. We all do evil in our lives, we’ve all committed sins in our past. Scriptures that discuss God bringing about evil things for purposes:

Gen. 37, the story of Joseph having all these things done to him by brothers so he would be “sent before you to preserve life, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.”

Gen. 50:20 God said he would “harden his heart” (pharaoh). “I have raised you up for the very purpose of showing my power in you, so that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth.” The people of Israel were delivered and God’s will was established through actions of human beings, caused in effect by God, for the greater good. We will never fully understand this relationship… if we did, he would not be God, and we would.

“God causes all things to work TOGETHER for good to whose who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” As Joseph said to his brothers in Egypt: “what you meant as evil against me, God meant it for good.”


Post a Comment

<< Home