Thursday, May 05, 2005

God's not in control

you think God takes control of our lives? I've met a number of people who have a problem with God taking control. They like being in charge of their own lives, make their own decisions.

It seems as though God has already planned our destiny so what's the point? We have no real control of our destiny. Is this true? I understand the there's much to be discussed on the subject of "free will" and divine omniscience. The bible shows us that we do have free will and that somehow within God's plan we are given a choice. So does God control our lives? Does He even want to?

I believe that some of us have missed the point. We've missed out on the real beauty of free will; God has given the control to us. We have control to choose the good and beautiful things in life or the destructive things in life but the reason God is pleased is because he doesn't choose for us.

My parents are a good example of this. My parents love me. I am confident that my parents would support me in whatever path I may choose. There are paths that they know will be wrong for me and paths that are right but neither direction is limited to a single choice. If I chose to be a pastor instead of a youth pastor they'd still be pleased. I think sometimes we have a conception that God has a single path for us and if we choose to be lawyers instead of doctors He'll bow His head in sorrow. No way! God will be pleased with any choice you make in the direction of good.

We apply the "narrow path" illustration to this. There is a narrow path. It’s not that the there's one narrow path or even one wide path. Along the narrow path there are many options. The good, narrow path, may be harder to choose than the destructive, wide path, for few will choose the good. You make the decision.

God's nature is not to give us choice so that we can choose to give it back. I am in control of my life, even though it's been submitted to God. He created in us a beautiful power. So you make the choice. Good or evil, beauty or destruction, love or hate. The kingdom of God or the kingdom of darkness. God will provide for you, love you, and watch out for you. God will show you what choices are good or bad. He will never leave you but it's your choice.

12 comments:

Ashley said...

Wes,
I must say that when I first read the title of this post, I was a bit skeptical about what you were going to say. I must say to say that I am impressed by what you said is by far an understatement. Great post. You couldn't have tackled this question in a better way!!!

spiritual ingenue said...

I think that God's good and perfect will for us is to glorify Him in all we say and do. Then, no matter what it is you're doing, it's all good.

I'm just now beginning to learn this.

-jan

Daniel said...

On the other hand, we must realize that there's alot of stuff that we have no control over that affects our lives.

I have some good friends that lost their 1-year old baby a couple of months ago. Did that happen 'cause of their free will? Things get tricky and it's important that we don't give answers that are just too simple.

During times like these, I have to believe that God is in control or I will have no hope of a better future.

WES ELLIS said...

To daniel,
I want you to know I do not believe that the death of your friends baby was due to their chice or nay one's choice. I am only adressing the idea that choice is ours. where there is a choice to be made we are the ones called to do it. choosing is not to be done without wise council but wise council will never tell someone what to do.

Life gets messy and God is to be the center of our decisions when it does. I'm sorry about your friends child. My heart goes out to them.

Flip said...

Interesting perspective - and interesting to read after writing my recent post on "I like having control".

I think the next layer to this - would be once someone makes the choice to follow Jesus, and really makes a commitment...they have to give up making the "bad" choices. And honestly, those bad choices are...well fun. Its hard to make that commitment to leading a Christian life, the way Jesus would want us to live (and yes, I saw that verse I John 2:6). I don't know that I could make that commitment after living my own life for so long. But you never know. Your post was really well written and brings up some good points. I enjoy your posts.

Ashley said...

Wow, popular post!

I do agree with Daniel, but I also agree with Wes. This is one of thoes touchy, yet very intreguing topics. May we all continue to learn!!!

Maryellen said...

I am so glad that I found your site! I have been very concerned that I am labled a heritic because I believe in Free Will over Divine Election. You explained it, expressed it beautifully. I'm putting you on my links so I can check in more often, for a breath of fresh air.
Blessings from New Mexico...

Kate said...

Hey, cool post. It's really nice to hear that.

(Excuse my impulsive quoting) "A God who allows no pain, no grief, also allows no choice. ...human beings have been given the terrible gift of free will, and this ability to make choices, to help write our own story, is what makes us human, even when we make the wrong choices, abusing our freedom and the freedom of others. ...It is the ability to choose which makes us human." -madeleine l'engle

Pastor Art said...

Wes,

This idea of our dilemma, living on earth with forces (gods) using us as pawns in some type of game is debated throughout history and within every culture one way or another. The exchange between Eve and Lucifer in the Garden is just that, “Did God really say that?” has hidden with in it the question are you truly free can you choose to partake or is the Creator a slave master of which you have no choice but to act accordingly? I know that there other dimensions to this exchange however the outcome speaks to a choice to be made with consequences. The consequences were predestined results energized after the choice became reality or actuated.

The Judaic-Christian world-view that we share allows this tango, matter of fact without this Heaven inspired tango our intimate relationship with Yahweh (the LORD) could not exists. Rabbi Richman of the Temple Institute (he is not Messianic - follower of Jesus) speaking on this subject from the historic teachings of Judaism explains that the Rabbis have taught that Yahweh since creation gave to Man the life/energy to live. An aspect of this is the information needed to choose how to live. With each choice came out comes. These out comes are determined by the ’Laws’ of the creation. He, Yahweh (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit I added this so that your readers will know I am an Orthodox believer) at creation took the ’void and chaotic gave it order. This order is predetermined - or predestined affects based on actions. We have explained this (I cannot remember at this time who is credited) ’every action has an equal and opposite reaction’. Throughout the Scriptures natural illustrations speak to us about Spiritual reality. I do not think that this discovery of natural ’Law’ is any different.

In case any of you reading this would think that I am insensitive to the lose of the baby mentioned remember that the affects of the Garden choice has resulted in the state of this current life, unfortunately and with great sorrow, especially for those closest. We have inherited from 1st Adam the grave, however the 2nd Adam who took upon Himself our inheritance through His Hesed - loveingkindness, grace, gives us His inheritance of life based on our choice. The baby, a blessing short lived and eternal. By Faith in the same way as David this baby cannot be brought back, however, ’I shall go to him, but he will not return to me’, 2nd Sam.23.

We are give life and the energy each day to live it by Yahweh. These aspects of His Grace are neither evil or good as the tree in the Garden was neither evil or good, but the choice of how act towards what we know determines the outcomes that affect our lives. Therefore listen to the music, dance the tango, hear the whispers of our partner as He leads.
Pastor Art

WES ELLIS said...

good thoughts. I believe it was Isaac Newton who said "every action has an equal and opposite reaction."

side note: the "curses" in Genesis 3 (right after the fall) were regarded by the rabbis as "consequenses," natural reprocutions of their choices.

Maryellen said...

I love the expression Kate used...
"the terrible gift of free will"
I also like what Spiritual Ingenue said, about God's perfect will, theologians might think it's too simplistic, and too relative...but knowing, loving, serving, and glorifing God is so much deeper than it sounds.

Chris P. said...

Isaiah 42
8"I am the LORD; that is my name;
my glory I give to no other,
nor my praise to carved idols.
9Behold, the former things have come to pass,
and new things I now declare;
before they spring forth
I tell you of them."

Isaiah 46
8"Remember this and stand firm,
recall it to mind, you transgressors,
9remember the former things of old;
for I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like me,
10declaring 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,'
11calling 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."

I am in agreement with Art in that the consequences of our actions are predetermined from the time of the fall of man,i.e. the sad event of a child's sudden death.
The need for the grace and mercy of God are evident in such times.
The comfort is in knowing that the child is in the hands of the One who has all things under His control. If God is not sovereign, then he is not God. Since He has complete foreknowledge, that is "knowing the end from the beginning",then he has already pre-planned His "response" to our actions, and to all "random" events Genesis 3:14-19
One of the facets of God's glory is
His function as Creator. Since He does not share His glory with anyone else, then we do not co-create our destinies, with Him. We do "co-work" with Him, after we come to belief in the Lord Jesus. However, even the works we do are predestined, as they are His works.
Eph 2:8-10
We make choices. God has complete "free will"; the only being in existence who actually does. He can do whatever He desires to do. Romans 9
Our choices fall under the sovereign will of the Father. He has a predestined plan that will not be thwarted. The apostles knew this. Acts 4:23-31. David knew it. Psalm 2, (which the apostles quote in their prayer btw)
They could boldly pray for more boldness, as they knew that they could not lose, even if they died in the trying. Rev 12:11
We make choices freely, but the end is already assured, and known completely by Him.
Romans 8 tells us that since He has already foreknown us, pre-destined us, called us, and sanctified us, then we have nothing to worry about, as everything that happens, good or bad, works for our good, and His glory. We are created to glorify God, not to live a life that we choose, and then go on to our reward. The earth, and everyone and everything on it, as well as all the events of history, are created for an express purpose, and God will have His way. We are bought with a price(the blood of the Son);we are not our own.
I am not saying we are robots, or pre-programmed. I am saying that He is the Creator, and we are the creation. Romans 9:14-24
I would have no confidence in a God whose will can be overridden by ours. Thanks be to Him that this is not the case.
Romans 8:38-39
Maryellen, I have not seen anywhere, whether on your blog or elsewhere, that you have been accused of being a heretic.