Thursday, August 27, 2009

God's Divine Governance

Speaking of his trials, Job says, "But he is in one mind, and who can turn him? and what his soul desireth, even that he doeth. For he performeth the thing that is appointed for me: and many such things are with him." (Job 23:13-14)

Psalm 105:25 He turned their heart to hate his people, to deal subtilly with his servants.

All things are encompassed within God's governance of His universe. Otherwise, some things would be occuring outside of His Divine governance. There is always some element that certain things that are wrong for us according to His precepts, are not wrong for God. For example, God (as sovereign and creator) may take life/kill where we may not. Examples of this abound in the Scriptures. And there are a few times God is portrayed as "causing" something that might "seem" sinful (but is not). As Gordon Clark writes, "The Jews ought not to have demanded Christ's crucifixion. It was contrary to the moral law. But God decreed Christ's death from the foundation of the world." Or, attributing David's numbering of Israel to both God and the Devil. Or, for example, the lying of the lying prophets in I Kings 22 is attributed to the will and definitive affirmation of God. To simply believe this story exactly as Micaiah tells it might land one in hot water!


Adrian Neal said...

Pretty deep, Bro. Robert. Reminds of the story of the blind man and Jesus being asked was it this man's sin or his parents sin that caused him to be born blind...

Jesus of course answered (in summary) "Neither, but that the works of God might be made manifest."

I don't think we will ever know in this life anyway, what God CAUSES to happen and what He ALLOWS to happen.

R. L. Vaughn said...

I wonder if speaking of God causing and God allowing doesn't have more to do with letting man try to wrap his mind around what he can't wrap his mind around than in actually pinpointing the reality of God's divine governance.

Adrian Neal said...

I recognize God's divine governance, but doesn't man's free will reside somewhere therein?
(God allows man to make decisions, with resulting consequences of course, yet in all those decisions, God will accomplish His divine purposes.
Does that make any sense??

R. L. Vaughn said...

Brother Adrian, I have thought on this alive and am not sure how to frame the correct answer. This is an area where I can become easily confused according to what I am focusing on at the time. I think "free will" is something of a misnomer. Can man make choices? I believe so. Is his will free? I think not. It is a slave to his sin nature, and affected some other factors as well.

Ultimately, I think if we understand that man's will resides somewhere INSIDE the circle of God's governance maybe we won't get too far off track one way or the other. To me it seems a lot of people think that man's free will is outside the circle of God's governance, that man is running around doing what he will and God is working overtime trying to keep things going according to His will.

Jim1927 said...

Many in the theological realm see man's will under what we call the Permissive Will of God, a subcategory under absolute sovereignty.

Man can and must make decisions, but God determines the limit of man's will. The best example if Jonah. Jona decided to disobey God's command to minister to a specific people. Jonah said. "NO!". He went his own way until God pulled the cord on his free will.

Man was created a free person. As is true in all life, there are consequences to our choices. The government attaches a speed limit on the motorway, but we have certain freedom to decide to exceed that limit. Then a red light flashes and we are stopped and fined. We still had the freedom, but it was controlled. We have the freedom to disobey God's word, but there are consequences.



R. L. Vaughn said...

That should have said, "I have thought on this AWHILE and am not sure how to frame the correct answer."

I am working on typing some more thoughts that I will probably post in a new thread. But the wheels turn slowly.

R. L. Vaughn said...

We are "free", but only in a limited sense. We are free to graze in the pasture where God had placed us. His fences, unlike most of mine, are secure and assuredly mean "hitherto shalt thou come and no further." Jonah's flight was within his pasture in which God placed him. It accomplished God's will on the sea, with the sailors, and for the type of the resurrection (none of which occurred without Jonah's flight). Our nature and circumstances allow us to exceed the speed limit on the ground, or to build machines that will jet us around in the air, but flapping our arms -- be it ever so fast and furious -- will produce only perspiration, not aerial navigation. That's nature.

The question we have before us in where man's free will resides within God's divine governance. I reassert that I believe man can make choices. I deny that man can do as he pleases. Only God can do that.

Does God do what He pleases? Yes. (Cf. Psalm 115:3; 135:6; Jonah 1:14; Isaiah 46:10; et al.)
Can anyone stop Him from doing so? No. (Cf. Dan. 4:35; Isa. 14:14-27; 43:13; et al.)
Can God move, turn and/or change the will of man? Yes. (Cf. the rest in God's pleasure; man's free will, which I have just posted. It was put together hastily, so I may have to go back and edit it some.)

Anonymous said...

I recall a preacher saying "The only way for a saint to miss the will of God for their life is to rebel against God."

And yet, here we have Jonah in the midst of rebellion accomplishing the will of God!

Go Figure

R. L. Vaughn said...

We are just beginning to study the book of Jonah. It is a deep subject. The fact that Jonah in the midst of his rebellion accomplished the will of God is an amazing fact -- certainly no tribute to Jonah, but an amazing tribute to the marvelous works and wonders of God.