God Is Not In Control

Irrefutable Proof That God Is Not In Control Of Everything

I know, talk about a controversial title for a blog.

But it’s true.

God is not in control of everything.

And I have irrefutable proof of that.

What is it?

Well I’ll get to that in a second but first lets quickly discuss God’s will.

You see if God was in control of everything then His will would always be done.

This seems pretty obvious, the problem is that there are plenty of people out there who will argue that it is always done.

They’ll say, “well it’s clear to me it’s not God’s will for everyone to be healed because not everyone gets healed.”

Or maybe even more disturbing, they might say – “it’s clear to me that God creates some predestined to go to Hell and some to Heaven because not everyone gets saved.”

This view of “if it doesn’t happen then it’s not God’s will” or “if it does happen it is God’s will” is really scary though.

Why?

Because it creates a will of God that it tethered to our experiences and not the Bible and the words of Jesus!

God’s will is frequently laid out clear as day in the Bible but it simple doesn’t happen that way in our lives.

For example

Take salvation – 2 Peter 3:9 states that “God wills that none would perish but all would come to repentance.”

This always puts someone of a more Calvinistic persuasion on the back foot. Faced with that scripture you are left with two options:

God’s will doesn’t always come about.
or
You have to believe in universalism.

(What a fun choice to give to a good Evangelical Calvinist)

But that I’m sure can still be wangled out of. So why don’t we talk about something more irrefutable.

Does God want people to sin?

Is there anywhere in the Bible we see God wanting people to sin?

Of course not – God wants us to be holy.

Goodness, if we were to pick out core themes that run through the Bible one of them would surely have to be God’s desire to see people living free from sin and all the bondage that sin puts upon their lives.

That’s why Jesus came! To take away the sins of the world.

It would take a lot of exegetical gymnastics to preach that it is God’s will that people sin.

And yet what is the reality?

All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God! Not only that, but even now we have been set free from sin in Christ, we still mess up!

So is it God’s will that we go on sinning?

Or is it possible that God isn’t in “control”?

Now hear me correctly on this!

I am not in any way saying anything to diminish God’s supremacy or position as the ultimate power in this universe (and any other universes there may be).

I’m simply saying He doesn’t need to be in control.

God is sovereign, yes but that doesn’t mean He’s in control.

Firstly for those that use the NIV as your translation (and I want to state it’s a great translation) there is something you should know. Every time you read “Sovereign God” (288 times to be precise) it actually should read “Lord God”. The Hebrew does not mean sovereign and that was a translator’s decision.

Secondly, when in the Hebrew the word is sovereign it doesn’t mean “in control” it means “in charge”.

This is an important distinction!

Sovereign in the dictionary means to “possess supreme or ultimate power.” it doesn’t not necessarily mean that it’s being used in every situation in the world to control everything.

The queen of England is sovereign but she has yet to interfere in my day-to-day life by telling me what to eat for lunch.

Let me give you another example:

Take for example a CEO of a company. While he is in charge and responsible for a large amount of employees he ultimately isn’t in control of their actions.

In fact, recognising this is typically what makes or breaks a good employer. If they recognize this they will empower their employees, if they don’t they will try to control them by micromanaging every move they make.

Just like the employer, God is in charge. His sovereignty means He is over everything, answers to nobody and has responsibility for everything. From the beginning God chose us, His “employees”, those He would delegate responsibility to and put in control of the Earth.

It talks about this in Psalm 115:16 where it says the Heavens are God’s but the Earth He gave to men.

We then see man hand those keys of authority to Satan in the garden of Eden. This is why Satan could offer Jesus in the wilderness the whole Earth, because the whole Earth was no longer under man’s control but rather it belonged to Satan. (Matt 4:8-9)

The idea of a God having absolute control is a Greco-Roman way of thinking. You see, they would see a god who doesn’t have absolute control as a powerless god.

The Bible paints a different picture for us. A picture of a God who is so secure in His position and power that He comfortably gave us control knowing we’d screw up. He could do this because He is so good at working things out for good and seeing His overall purposes come to pass. This to me describes a God who is infinitely more powerful, not less-so.

Why do you think that Jesus told us to pray that God’s will would be done on Earth as it is in Heaven?

Because His will is done in Heaven but not always on Earth.

Insha’Allah!

While God is all powerful and will work all things to good in your life, don’t fall into the trap of believing that He is micromanaging everything in your life.

Don’t decide what God’s will is, based upon what happens to you!

I’ve had the privilege of spending time in the Middle East a few times now (it’s one of my favourite places in the world!)

One of the countless things that jumped out at me was the way many of the people drove.

They drove like maniacs… to the degree that they made my driving look good!

Many wouldn’t even wear seat belts (or even make their kids wear seat belts!) and when asked why they would respond “Insha’Allah” – which means “if God wills”.

They had a view that if they die they die – that is God’s will. And if God doesn’t will them to die then he will protect them.

This is an extreme example. But it’s how many of us are thinking in our lives. That God is micromanaging every step of our lives.

The truth is that I’m sure God would like to see the roadside death rate much lower in the Middle East. However there is only so much one can do when you let people take control of their own lives and they drive through a red light at 60 miles an hour with no seatbelt on!

Absolutely God works in our lives to bring about his will and purposes but do you know what I believe…

Far to often we find ourselves in the situations we are because we were metaphorically driving around recklessly saying Insha’Allah instead of just putting on our seat belts and stopping at red lights.

Let God be sovereign in your life… But don’t expect Him to micromanage your entire life!

Because while God could control everything, He has no desire to do so.

He wants a partner not a puppet!

Enjoy the post? Share it...

38 Comments

  1. Thank you for addressing this Phil. You properly defined sovereignty, and used excellent scriptural examples to highlight the truth that God is not an insecure puppet master! I know this truth will eventually settle into the hearts of those most offended by this article, lol.

  2. thank you for giving a good example. I have had an 18 wheeler truck hit me, ( thank God, My God was and is with me)
    We also need to understand the true meaning of words.
    My faith is great because He is the author and finisher of my faith and it is not finished yet. Thank you again.

  3. Great stuff, Phil! I used to be on the other side of this argument, you know, before I actually read the scriptures with a modicum of objectivity. ;)

  4. Hey Phil!! loved this article!! I do have one question, though :) You said something that rung differently for me this time and triggered a question. You said “His will is done in Heaven but not always on Earth,” so what does that say about Lucifer? I could totally be missing something and would love to hear your and everyone else’s thoughts, but I always thought Lucifer was proud and “sinned” and that’s why he fell…

    • Lauren I think that is a great question. It is related to one I have had for a long time & just brought it up to the Lord again yesterday. My question is: If everything God created is good (He created Lucifer, the most beautiful angel) & is the sole creator (which I believe) then how was iniquity found in Lucifer & how can he be the “father” (source/creator?) of lies?

      Phil can you speak to these?
      btw – I loved the swapping of the word “charge” instead of “control”.

      • That also brings up another question for me that I’ve thought about for a long time. Why does Paul say “if we or an angel from heaven preach any other gospel let him be accursed”? Notice he says angel but in my mind I would have never thought that would even be possible yet Paul seems to say it’s possible. If Gabriel for example did that then Paul is saying “let him be accursed”. And Gabriel is in effect not doing God’s will even though we know Gabriel didn’t follow Satan and is still on God’s side.

  5. A lot of the misunderstandings people have on this issue is assuming that there is one definition of “will”. Does God will sin? You could answer yes and no, and have both be true. Humans can have more than one aspect of their will. For example, do you will that your baby be stabbed? Obviously, you say no, but what if your baby were dying and the only thing that could save its life is in a syringe that needs to be stabbed into it? Your will for your baby’s life outweighs your will that your baby not be stabbed.

    God is He who “will accomplish all of His purpose” (Isaiah 46:10) and “does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth” (‭Daniel‬ ‭4‬:‭35‬). How can this be reconciled with His hatred for sin? We know that God is in control of human sin. A famous example is the sin of Joseph’s brothers, were we are told they “meant it for evil”, and “God MEANT it for good.” God had intention with their sin, and though their will in it was evil, His will was pure. A lesser known example is Isaiah 10, where God uses Assyria to punish Israel, even though Assyria does “not so intend”. Assyria’s will was to conquer and become great, God’s will was to use their evil to chastise His people.

    But the greatest and most important example is the Cross. In Acts 2:23 we are told that Jesus was delivered “according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God.” That word translated as “definite plan” is one of the Greek words for “will”. A couple chapters later, we are told the same thing; that the Crucifixion was what God’s “hand and plan had predestined to occur” (Acts 4:27).

    It is hard to swallow, but the testimony of Scripture is that God uses the evil He hates to accomplish His purposes. We don’t know how He does this, but thankfully, we know why. All is done for His glory (see Isaiah 48:9-11) Sin exists to show His glory in two ways:

    First, He desires to show His wrath and power (Romans 9:22). Because sin exists, His wrath will be glorified. That is why the great multitude in heaven can praise Him for punishing the wicked (Revelation 19:1-3).

    Second, He desires to show His mercy and grace (Romans 9:23) on sinners who need to be forgiven. God gets far more glory by forgiving the undeserving than if we had always had favor in His sight. Our redemption was to the praise of the glory of His grace (Ephesians 1:3-6). Even His wrath on unbelievers is only a means to the end of glorifying His grace on believers:

    “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, in order to make known the riches of His glory for vessels of mercy, which He has prepared beforehand for glory?” (‭Romans‬ ‭9‬:‭22-23‬)

    It is only because God is in control that “we KNOW all things work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose.” There is no chance of Him failing, no chance of the employees upsetting the plan of the CEO (the analogy the article used), because even the rebellion of the employees is part of the script the CEO wrote.

    In the same way we would endure our child getting painful shots to save their life, God endures the sin He doesn’t “will” (lower-case) because it accomplishes His ultimate Will (upper-case), “the praise of the glory of His grace!” (Ephesians 1:6)

    • Alex, I know many people on both sides won’t budge from their view, I’m one of them and maybe you are too but let me just throw a few thoughts out anyway. I think your explanations are quite limiting to the brilliance (meaning understanding) and power of God.

      When Joseph said “God meant it for good” It could also mean that God thought, planned, and devised a way to bring good out of it. The scripture never teaches that this was God’s manipulated plan to get Joseph to the Palace. It’s absolutly possible if Joseph had not screwed up in his boastful pride to his brothers that God would have found another way to get Joseph to the palace, He is not limited in His ways.

      “…All things work together for good or God works for the good to those who love God and are called according to his purpose.” This verse no way indicates that He causes these things to happen. Again, it’s because of God’s brilliance and power that he can make the worst of situations work out to something so beautiful that to human understanding it appears as if he must have caused it to happen for that very reason, when he didn’t, He is just that brilliant and sovereign! He designed our bodies, this earth, this incredible universe with billions of galaxies, He’s pretty darn smart. Smart enough to work out the problems we face without causing the evil we encounter to happen as we fully trust and lean upon Him, and not blame Him.

      You said “It’s hard to swallow, but the testimony of Scripture is that God uses evil he hates to accomplish his purposes” Yes God uses evil He just doesn’t “cause” evil to happen for the greater good. Although that may be sometimes difficult to understand in the OT it was definitely and finally made crystal clear by Jesus. (Heb 1) God has elevated his Word and he will not contradict it or change His mind He’s not a man that He would lie. He never has to compromise or twist His word or His Holiness by causing death, loss, or destruction (kill, steal, destroy) to accomplish his will. Years ago I would hear a a pastor on the radio say this phrase which he taught to young people to help them if they came to a fork in the road sort of speak in their conscience;

      It’s always right to do what’s right
      It’s always wrong to do what’s wrong
      It’s never right to do what’s wrong
      It’s never wrong to do what’s right

      Jesus fully demonstrated this. He healed “ALL” who came to him over and over again. He never tried to qualify their sickness by explaining some orchestrated controlled plan of God. He never said no, wait, yeah but, he just healed them. He never referred to the sicknesses, and the demons, and the diseases etc. as part of Gods plan. Jesus was finally the full and complete revelation of God’s will in the earth and he told us to follow Him. But we allow and elevate our life experiences and history to define the will of God rather than the standard Jesus set.

      1 John 1:5 NKJV
      This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.

      Blessings to you!

  6. In quoting 2 Peter 3 & verse 9 Phil has taken the verse out of its context, a very dangerous thing to do when dealing with Scripture !!.

    Peter in looking at the context is answering the query as to why the Lord has not returned, ( verse 4). Judgement Peter tells his readers is coming, ( verse 7) and time means nothing to God, ( verse 8). God waits till the full number of His people will be gathered in, ( 9),

    To have a God who is not incontrol is a small God and not worthy of our worship.

    Isaiah 53 and verse 11 says, “He shall see of the travail of His soul and shall be satisfied”. How can God be satisfied if some of those whom Christ died for are not ultimately saved ?.

    There are many things that we find difficult to comprehend in this world and in Gods dealings with men and women. The fact is that God works through the sinful acts of men and women to bring good from them. (Acts 4 verse 10, Genesis 50 & verse 20).

    • Of course God is in control. He does what He pleases (Ps 115:3). He has the last word in all things and will not allow the devil or man to thwart His plans. However, it is true that He allows men to have free will and do whatever they please providing they don’t interfere with His overall plan.

      He is the Sovereign God and sits on the throne. God is in control, but He doesn’t control all things. As an example, He doesn’t control what time I get up in the morning or if I choose to go to work and call in sick. He does not control me, nor does He control men, but ultimately He is in control.

      Job 1-2 is a prime example how God allowed the devil to do so much but not more. Paul, was not allowed to speak the word in Asia and the Spirit did not allow him to go to Bithynia (Acts 16:6-7) because He had other plans.

      Jonah is another example of God’s Sovereignty and the one who holds ultimate control over the affairs of men. At the end Jonah the prophet did what God wanted him to do because God’s love for the people of Nineveh was far greater than Jonah’s stubbornness.

      The people of Nazareth wanted to throw the Lord off the cliff, but they couldn’t (Lk 4:29-30) because it was not God’s will for Messiah to die in the hands of some irate thugs at that particular time. Who controlled the outcome in this situation? God did…

      I could go on, but I think that’s enough. In my opinion, it is a dangerous trend to specifically say that creation is not under the control of His creator. If He is not, who is?

  7. Phil, Phil, Phil! Two thoughts:
    1. God has a moral will and a sovereign will. His moral will is things like thou shalt not steal, that shot not murder, etc.. Obviously that will is violated all the time. But his sovereign will is his plan of the ages and it always is accomplished (Right down to every spinning electron!). We are told in Ephesians that he “works ALL THINGS after the counsel of his own will” (In the Greek, that’s ALL THINGS…..) ! When Satan headed off to afflict Job, he only did it because God had set him up and made a bet with him, and God knew from all eternity past that Satan would take that bet and that God would then permit him to have specific leeway in his affliction of Job. He tells us in Isaiah that he makes the blind and the lame. HE does. He tells us in Romans 9 that he has the right to create some human beings solely to be “vessels of wrath, prepared for destruction.” (9:22) I am not making this up. God is sovereign, and one day when we see how vast he is, we will know more clearly why and how.

    • Scott, I believe you vastly misinterpret what happened between God and Satan regarding Job. And that what happened under the old covenant and in the Old Testament is not necessarily the revelation of the nature and character and truth about God. Heb. 1:1-3 NIV says;
      [1] IN THE PAST God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, [2] BUT IN THESE LAST DAYS HE HAS SPOKEN TO US BY HIS SON, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. [3] The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word….”

      There is no contradiction, Jesus is the complete full revelation of the will, nature, and character of God. The Old Testament is pointing to Jesus. And we must interpret the Old Testament through the finished work of Christ. Anything short of that will leave us double minded and lacking in the abundance of what God has already provided for us to live in and enjoy. It’s embracing the revelation of Jesus through the Holy Spirit, not the “trying to understand Job.” that sets us free, really free.

      • Thanks for responding, Dan. I believe that God never changes and every truth we see about him in the Old Testament is true about Jesus as well. If you want to see God’s wrath and judgment in Jesus, just read what happens when Jesus comes back to the earth one day!

        As I have looked at the book of Job, and especially the first two chapters, some amazing things stand out to me. First of all, we know that scripture says God knows the end from the beginning. He knew exactly what Satan was going to say and challenge him with before God ever brought up the subject of Job. God did not just decide on the spur of the moment to mention Job to Satan. I believe He did it because He knew Satan would challenge Job’s loyalty, and He knew that he would give Satan certain permissions which Satan actually requested in his challenge!

        God also knew that Satan would come back and say that Job was only faithful because nothing happened to him physically to cause suffering! And God knew exactly how He was going to respond. Later on God actually says to Satan, “… you incited me against him to destroy him without reason.” Do you see that, Dan? God says right there that HE is the one who went after Job to destroy him!

        I don’t know you, so I am going to go ahead and say this: Don’t let a desire to win this argument, perhaps an argument you have engaged in in the past, don’t let that desire keep you from seeing the amazing truth here!

        Joni Eareckson Tada, (a person whom Francis Chan called the most spirit filled person he has ever met) , said that if she had her life to live all over again, she would live it just like she has, with the diving accident and the quadriplegia. When we understand what the greatest treasures are, we begin to relax more with the sovereignty of God even in the tiny details of our suffering, because we know they actually come from the hand of God as gifts to take us into the richest diamond mines, to pull out things that will last all through eternity! I don’t talk about these things merely academically. I have experienced deep suffering in my life that included a profoundly retarded child, a wife who left the marriage and other things

        dan, I don’t say these things merely academically. I have experienced very, very deep suffering in my life, handed to me through things I could not control. They have provided joy and peace that I don’t believe I would ever have found otherwise. God knows this.

        The most senseless and horrific scandal in the history of the universe was when the only loving and righteous and godly Man who has ever lived was brutally beaten and nailed to a cross to die. Who did that? Did men do it? Did God do it? The answer is Yes. He is sovereign over everything. As RC Sproul once said, if there is one molecule in the universe that is out from under God’s control, then He is not sovereign at all!

        • Thanks Scott for taking the time to respond back. I also believe that God never changes. That the OT was only a shadow of the truth about God until Jesus the perfect and final word and will of God showed up to unravel the mystery and declare what the Father really looks like, and this by the way trumps every other perception of God if it does not align with Jesus. If one wants to see God’s wrath and judgment in Jesus then that’s what they’ll see and that’s how they’ll live. Our perspective of God determines every day how we will live and love in this life. I choose everyday to see God’s truth and mercy through what he fully demonstrated by hanging on that cross and the gracious words of love & forgiveness to those who put him there.

          Job & Revelation are no doubt the most Controversial books in the Bible. I’m no expert on Job but I’ll just say this and then move on. My take on it is that Satan already had taken the keys of authority from Adam as proven by Jesus when he took them back. And perhaps God in his mercy had been protecting Job from the authority Satan already had to destroy. So Satan was doing what his sphere of authority allowed him to do, that is, to kill, steal, and destroy. I know you believe that God went after Job, but I believe he allowed Satan to move in the authority he already had, it just never really says that God actually stretched His own hand against Job as in the verse below.

          Job 2:4 So Satan answered the Lord and said….But stretch out Your hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will surely curse You to Your face!” 6 And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, he is in your hand, but spare his life.”

          Regarding the rest of your response I have no desire to “win an argument” or to even be right. My desire is help as many people as I can discover this intense love and crazy beautiful freedom of explosive joy that my wonderful Father has brought me into every day of my life. Which is all about transformation through the power of his grace & truth.

          So this amazing truth, as you said that you want me to see, is that all suffering to humanity, down to every detail comes from the loving hands of my loving Father. It’s interesting to me though our perspectives are 180° from each other they have some similarities.

          I too believe that suffering and trials in this life will be used to fashion and mold me into the beautiful bride he has destined me and all his children to become, And that God indeed will work all things (not cause all things) together for my good because I love him & have been called according to his purpose. And what is his purpose? That I would be conformed to the image of his Son. Jesus the most ridiculously joy filled person on the planet lived a totally selfLESS life loving his Father and his neighbor as himself. So through the power of his grace we have the opportunity to do the same if we have the right perspective. Unless it’s about me and my rights (opposite of selfless love ) then I’m an open target for the enemy and for getting offended at others, discouragement, depression, fear, unbelief. etc., until it robs my freedom and joy that comes from true selfless love in the Holy Spirit.

          Ok, back on track. This whole sovereignty of God understanding has become so twisted. Do you really think God orchestrated your child’s situation or was that a result of Adams sin that is passed on to all of humanity? Or that God “caused” your wife to leave you? This thinking becomes self-centered, it becomes all about you and how God is “causing” all these things to happen for “your” sake. Sorry to be so blunt but I thought this way for 30 years until I was born again..again and set free from me as I explained. By the way I too have suffered.

          And did you know that the Koran also teaches the sovereignty of Allah? That “Nothing occurs, either in the earth or in yourselves, without it being in a Book before we make it happen. That is something easy for Allah.”

          Here’s a few thoughts I’ll end with. God says “my people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” Notice he doesn’t say for my intent of the greater good, or my administrative choice. This verse implies that if we get the knowledge then the destruction can stop.

          Paul talks about putting on the whole armor and then he lists what they represent which is of course the finished work of Christ. Why does he tell us to do this if God is controlling every detail? Why would we fight against the wiles and evil schemes of the devil if God is controlling everything? Why would Jesus tell us that it’s the thief who comes to kill, steal, and destroy? Why would John tell us that Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil? Why is the power of life and death in your tongue if everything that happens is the will of God? Why did he put that kind of power in our tongue? People also reap what they sow. People die and Christians say God took them, really? Then why did Jesus tell us to raise the dead? I believe God receives them, I just don’t believe he’s killing people, he is the giver of life, Jesus is the one who came to give abundant life not take it, not destroy it, and not diminish it, mentally or any other aspect, do you see that? He’s the one in whom is no darkness at all! Jesus the perfect will and demonstration of God, trumps every other understanding in the Bible that does not align with his truth.

          Scott we were born into a war. Now think with me for a minute. What better more supreme strategy could the devil ever scheme up then to convince Christians that all the harm befalling them is some how the will of God, so God could accomplish a greater purpose in their life. The end justifies the means. That perspective will disarm the Christian from fighting the good fight as he lays his sword down convinced that God is in control. You can’t do both. An absolutely brilliant strategy! When I say that God is not in control, all I am meaning by this is that everything that happens is not the will of God because he has given us his authority to work through us as we grow in our revelation of Jesus until He crushes Satan under “our” feet.

          The Pharisees attributed the works of God that Jesus did to the devil. But today many Christians attribute the works of the devil to God. Again, all part of Satan’s scheme.

          I am absolutely convinced the reason for this perspective is because we have based truth as we understand it, upon our life experiences or lack thereof. In other words our immense suffering and loss, our view of history rather then “His-story,” the standard that Jesus set through the truth he declared. And he said to follow him. That doesn’t mean we follow our own experience which is “the way that seems right to a man.” Fallen human reasoning in Christianity has greatly influenced & twisted this view of God’s sovereignty. This was not so in the early church!

          This is why many Christians and Christian leaders that I hear over and over again mention that they at times struggle with trusting God. Why? Because of the pain and suffering they have experienced and they believe that God will bring more upon them in the future as they pursue him. I’m not saying that 100% of those that have this perspective cannot fully trust God I just believe the vast majority can’t and it makes complete sense to me.

          When my perspective shifted my trust for God went off the charts. When I discovered he’s not out to hurt me or to break me in order to grow me up in Him, I fell deeply outrageously, radically in love with God my Father, it’s been like an unbelievable dream “every single day” for about the last five years, regardless of the circumstances. His beautiful kindness and goodness has overtaken me because of how I now see and encounter his goodness, it’s everywhere I look.

          You see, God is never desiring to hurt me for some purpose nor is he ever angry or disappointed with me, ever. He loves me! He’s not going to unload upon me a stone or a serpent when I ask for bread or fish. That’s what an evil person does. No he’s going to give me himself, more and more clarity and deeper fellowship in the Holy Spirit as I pursue him. (Lk 11:11-13)

          The vast majority of suffering mentioned in the New Testament is the result of Christians loving not their lives unto death. (Rev.12) This is the selfless love that Paul and others continually lived in and suffered for by risking their lives for the gospel, for the sake of the love of others. It’s what we’re called to do.

          It’s love, God’s love in us….oops a little bit long on my response.

    • Btw Scott, I didn’t mean for my comments to seem like I was attacking what you were saying just disagreeing with some of it. We are both growing in our understanding of the sovereignty of God, blessings on you!!

    • Just a thought, the moral will is the will of Jesus (Yeshua) which is always submissive to the sovereign will of the Father. Just as humans have a desire of the flesh and a desire of the spirit and we must submit the one to the other to be in the right relationship with God. God will work everything into subjection to the will of Jesus (Yeshua) (Herb 2:8). This is what the Kingdom of God is all about, bringing the moral will to pass every where.

      • So, in making this division of will within the Trinity, because the moral part is in Jesus and the Sovereign part is in the Father, is God’s Sovereign will not moral?
        Sounds like a bad idea to me. The will of God is exclusively and perfectly revealed in Jesus. They are of one heart, will, and purpose.

  8. Phil, further to this…
    ‘We then see man hand those keys of authority to Satan in the garden of Eden. This is why Satan could offer Jesus in the wilderness the whole Earth, because the whole Earth was no longer under man’s control but rather it belonged to Satan. (Matt 4:8-9)’
    … we can go on to the ‘great commission’ verses at the end of Matthew: ‘All authority has been given to me, in heaven and on earth…’
    Also Jude 25 – ‘to the only God our Saviour, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority…’
    We can’t leave authority with Satan, can we!
    I get your point that God does not necessarily intervene, as he has given us free choice to run our lives and to care for creation, both of which we do very poorly. But Jesus was given ALL authority after (and because of) the completion of His work on earth. And Satan only has power that we humans give him in our dark choices.

  9. Excellent article Phil!! Such simple yet profound wisdom Gods given you. Pans the ability to explain the misinformation so many are just “buying” because their pastor or some pastor preached it one day. Keep it up!! Gods blessed you and you’re being used to bless many others!!!

  10. Well said scott. Were bringing God down to our level of understanding instead of asking Him to lift us up to His level.
    As high as the heavens above are His ways above ours…..THATS HIGH FOLKS.
    It’s like prayer. Why pray the Lord of the harvest to send laborers??? etc etc etc
    There are things we’ll never understand & we must be careful not to force an explanation to the difficult things & paradoxes.
    God is in me, I strongly believe He is involved in everything in my life down to the smallest issue, & the degree to which I respond to His working (grace) in my life is the degree to which I am walking in the Spirit ie walking by His grace (empowerment)

  11. wow! this article blows out the philosophy that God is in control of everything. If God is in control, He could have prevented you from writing and sharing a such article.

  12. Yes, excellent article Phil! God opened my heart and mind to the reality of his great kindness about 6 yrs ago. And I have been so thankful and crazy in love with him ever since! I stopped being self-centered, meaning that a lot of stuff that happened to me I thought was all part of Gods “fashioning the clay.” In reality it was just my wrong beliefs and an enemy who got a great kick from my reaction when poking me. I was my biggest enemy, I was a puppet to circumstances which yanked and pushed me in different directions. But a correct understanding of his goodness which very importantly includes God not being the one controlling or causing bad things to happen. This has so launched me into the freedom of God’s pleasure, never again blaming or wondering what is God doing? Circumstances come and go and he will work through them all for my good because his love never fails! Never!

    Thanks Phil for your continuous proclaiming this good news of great joy!

    • Not sure if I posted this correctly, so here it is again:

      Thanks for responding, Dan. I believe that God never changes and every truth we see about him in the Old Testament is true about Jesus as well. If you want to see God’s wrath and judgment in Jesus, just read what happens when Jesus comes back to the earth one day!

      As I have looked at the book of Job, and especially the first two chapters, some amazing things stand out to me. First of all, we know that scripture says God knows the end from the beginning. He knew exactly what Satan was going to say and challenge him with before God ever brought up the subject of Job. God did not just decide on the spur of the moment to mention Job to Satan. I believe He did it because He knew Satan would challenge Job’s loyalty, and He knew that he would give Satan certain permissions which Satan actually requested in his challenge!

      God also knew that Satan would come back and say that Job was only faithful because nothing happened to him physically to cause suffering! And God knew exactly how He was going to respond. Later on God actually says to Satan, “… you incited me against him to destroy him without reason.” Do you see that, Dan? God says right there that HE is the one who went after Job to destroy him!

      Dan, I don’t know you, so I am going to go ahead and say this: Don’t let a desire to win this argument, perhaps an argument you have engaged in in the past, don’t let that desire keep you from seeing the amazing truth here!

      Joni Eareckson Tada, (a person whom Francis Chan called the most spirit filled person he has ever met) , said that if she had her life to live all over again, she would live it just like she has, with the diving accident and the quadriplegia. When we understand what the greatest treasures are, we begin to relax more with the sovereignty of God even in the tiny details of our suffering, because we know they actually come from the hand of God as gifts to take us into the richest diamond mines, to pull out things that will last all through eternity! I don’t say these things merely academically. I have experienced very, very deep suffering in my life, handed to me through things I could not control. They have provided joy and peace that I don’t believe I would ever have found otherwise. God knows this.

      The most senseless and horrific scandal in the history of the universe was when the only loving and righteous and godly Man who has ever lived was brutally beaten and nailed to a cross to die. Who did that? Did men do it? Did God do it? The answer is Yes. He is sovereign over everything. As RC Sproul once said, if there is one molecule in the universe that is out from under God’s control, then He is not sovereign at all!

  13. ‘The Author’ Is Joking! God Is Supreme. When Controlling Within A Given Proximity, Know There’s A Boundary. In; Job 2:4-6, God Set A Limit Which Even Satan Feared To Exceed. Always GOD IS IN CONTROL of EVERYTHING.

    • Really? I personally think that it is God’s will that we live sinless lives, but that when I sin, His grace abounds still, and He works through my mistake to reveal Himself to me and draw me closer. But I do get what you’re saying when I think of, He is made strong in our weakness (we come to a revaluation of His strength), perfect in our imperfections etc. But I think that is going off on the inevitability that we sin and fail but that won’t stop God’s will from coming to pass, that we develop our relationship with Him.
      Because I know that when I don’t sin, in fact, when I do something that would please The Lord, my relationship with Him develops and I am more and more remade into His image as is His devine will. And He works through my sin and downfall though it offends (sin that is) Him and purely by His will He takes me from that bad place to a better. To me, saying that God wills sin us like saying He wills something to offend Him. I don’t think anybody would will to be slapped in the face, God certainly doesn’t, it is in His grace that He works through it for good, for His will. And I, having, once again witnessed His strength in my weakness, am brought to a better place.
      Sin is not His will for there is no evil, no darkness within Him, how could He will it? However God is supreme, and though sin is alive and well, God has already overcome it and His will will be done despite it.

      • When God hardened Pharaoh’s heart the result was greater suffering for the Hebrews. This was not God’s will but at the same time it was.

        • Sorry Brian, I couldn’t disagree more. That’s the kind of perspective that has permeated the church and caused much of it to become fearful & powerless behind the mask of ‘God is in control.’ The promises of God are ALWAYS yes in Christ…period. If we are not absolutely convinced that this is true, then it is like the marriage of yes and no together. They birth children called Maybe so & Maybe not. It’s called being double minded. God did not increase further suffering for the Hebrews, Pharaoh did that. We have an enemy who does not want us to get free and so did they. Their suffering had nothing to do with God s will but everything to do with Satan’s will to prevent and discourage them from entering into the promise.

          • (God) does not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men. Lam 3.33. God does stuff that is not his will but because he does it, it is his will.

  14. Hey Phil!
    I am new to your site (IT’S AWESOME AMAZING I CANT GET OFF IT, IN JUST A HALF HOUR YOU HAVE AIDED ME IN MY WALK WITH CHRIST, I WOULDNT HAVE GOTTEN HERE IN MY OWN STRENGTH WHICH IS WHAT IVE BEEN TRYING TO DO GOD BLESS) and was wondering if I could get notifications of when you post, like a subscription? Also, if you have a fb page I could like?
    Oh well, thanks so much.

    • Hi Elizabeth – sorry for not replying sooner – I’ve been on a hiatus from replying to comments on the website and I’m only just about to get back into doing so.

      You sign up for my weekly newsletters here – phildrysdale.wpengine.com/sinfulnature – I send out weekly encouragements through that on Tuesdays.

      You can follow me on Facebook here – http://www.fb.com/phildrysdaleministries

      Hope that helps – SO blessed to hear that you have been enjoying some of the stuff on the site and super encouraged by your kind words! Looking forward to getting to know you :)

  15. I am sad that you would remove the totality of God and place man in a position to define what God will succeed in. Pride stands in your way of the truth. Look to the ‘net for a simple search on the SCRIPTURES re: the sovereignty of God and in light of those your arguments do not fail, they do not even address the question, so failure cannot be attained. Before you address issues as these and have the possibility to lead people from the truth look at ALL scriptures on BOTH sides before you address your remarks. May Christ keep you in all His ways

    Stephen

  16. This has become a very popular teaching and I used to say all of the same things, but now after I’ve been through the fire, I no longer agree!

    I think we have to be cautious with how much control we think we truly have because most of us tend to not want to let go of control. We want to think we have control to feel safe and secure. We do not want God to have control because that’s more scary and requires really, truly trusting God with our lives.

    For me it was a relief to understand that God did not carry out every bad thing that happened to me in my life. But once I went into a long term wilderness season where I could not help myself in any way, I really needed God to be in control! I really needed God to be bigger than myself. I really needed to know that He wasn’t shocked with the place that I was in. I needed to know that He was doing things behind the scenes and pulling strings that I could not yet see.

    Whether God let it happen, made it happen or it was simply part of living on this cursed earth, people need to be told that God is not surprised by their circumstances. This is why it’s hard to accept that God’s will is not always done because God knows everything.

    The one thing that is always left off of articles like these is that God is omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent. He knew me even before I knew Him and He had a plan for my life. He sees me writing this message right now!

    The reason why the analogies and comparisons you used don’t work is because the Queen of England and the CEO isn’t omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent on a universal scale. The CEO does not know what’s going to happen to his company tomorrow. God does. The CEO doesn’t know one of his employees is going to steal money. God does. It’s these qualities of God which you left off that you cannot account for with this teaching.

    It’s like we try to make God personal, but then right when it means really letting go and trusting Him, we want to gain back our control.

    God bless you!

  17. Phil,

    Thanks for your good blog!

    Have you come across my new book, The Uncontrolling Love of God (IVP Academic)? I argue that God is not in control, because God’s nature is uncontrolling love. Much of what you’ve written above coincides with my book.

    Curious,

    Tom

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *