Monday, April 26, 2010

Has God Predetermined Everything? Even Sin?

Ooh, this is a great one by Piper. Below is his answer. Personally, I feel the answer to this is, "yes". I look at the lives of Joseph and Jesus especially when pondering this question. Joseph was going to be the governor. I feel God knew that. Joseph did not, however he did not lose his faith no matter what...even when sold into slavery by his brothers and then imprisoned for a crime he did not commit. (Genesis 50:20.)

Further, the people in bible times knew a savior was coming. God had it all orchestrated and the people were called to keep the faith even though they had nothing other than God's word on which to rely…and (to my understanding) only a very select few heard it straight from God. The rest was hearsay.

When bad things happen to (visibly) good people it is easy for doubt to creep into my mind. But those are the times when I have to preach to myself the most. I truly believe God is sovereign. That is how my mind wraps around things I cannot otherwise understand this side of Heaven. Some may find it foolish or naïve but I find it comforting…if that makes sense. I sleep better at night having complete trust that things are not just spiraling out of control and that at any moment I could become the victim of mass chaos. It is my opinion my life (and the lives of those I love and/or don't even know for that matter) lay in the loving (yet just) hands of an all knowing, all powerful God who can destroy and take away just as easily and freely as He gives. I could die tomorrow. There is nothing I (or anyone else for that matter) could do to change what God has decided.

I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. (Job 42:2. ESV.)

For more on this theme, see yesterday's post by David Mathis on Samson as well as Piper's book Spectacular Sins and Their Global Purpose in the Glory of Christ.

The following is an edited transcript of the audio.

Has God predetermined every tiny detail in the universe, such as dust particles in the air and all of our besetting sins?


There's a great quote from Spurgeon about dust motes. You may not even know what a dust mote is, but when I get up in the morning in my room, there's a window to the side of the bed, and a beam of light will be shining through it at certain times of the year when I get it.

Now when I look through the dark I see nothing. But when I look through the beam I see the dust in the room. It's flying around, and I say, "I'm breathing that stuff!?" Yes, you are. And Spurgeon says that every one of those particles is keeping its position and moving through the air by God's appointment.

Now the reason I believe that is because the Bible says, "The dice are thrown in the lap, and every decision is from the Lord" (Proverbs 16:33). Proverbs 16 has a bunch of these verses in it.

Why would he choose "the die is cast into the lap"? It's because he's trying to think of the most random thing he could think of. And he says that. So randomness is not random to God.

God is not the least taxed by keeping every sub-nuclear particle in its place. I used to say electrons, but now there's something smaller than electrons. Everything in the middle of the molecule moving, and the electrons—he's got them all in orbit, just like he has the planets in orbit.

So the macro-world and micro-world are all managed by God. Which means, Yes, every horrible thing and every sinful thing is ultimately governed by God.

That's a problem, but the center of the solution is a choice you have to make about the cross. This is what has centered me, anyway: When you go to Acts 4:27-28 and you read that Herod and Pontius Pilate and the Gentiles and the Jews were all gathered together to do what God's hand and God's plan had predestined to take place in the killing of Jesus, you have God's plan and hand predestining the most horrible sins ever committed.

Pilate's choices, the soldiers' cruel mockery, the piercing of his side, the cries, "Crucify him! Crucify him!"—these few hours in history were the climax of the worst wickedness that has ever been performed on the planet or ever will be. And God planned it so that we might be saved from those sins.

In other words, what the devil did in unleashing all of that was commit suicide. And I pray that when you contemplate believing in a sovereign God who governs the dust motes, the waves (including tsunamis)—when you contemplate believing in a totally sovereign God, I pray that you will center it right on the cross. Because you'll go crazy otherwise. You will!

These things have driven people mad. But it won't drive you mad if you say, "He loves me. And he governed the most wicked thing that ever happened in the world, the crucifixion of my Savior and my God." If you stay right there and then just work out from there as far as your mind can handle, then you'll be safe. Your mind will be safe and your heart will be safe, because you'll be kept humble.

People get very arrogant with these kinds of doctrines. They can use them to club people. But if you stay with the cross, you won't.

Just one more thing on this. This is right off my front burner, because a lot of us at Bethlehem are reading through Acts. We just read in chapter 2 where Peter said in the sermon to the people who had killed Jesus, "You acted in ignorance"—he didn't forgive them for that; he said they have to repent—"You acted in ignorance, but God fulfilled what he had promised by the prophets, that the Christ must suffer." What that said to me, again, was that these people didn't know what they were doing, but God knew what he was doing.

So the crucifixion of his Son was, quoting Isaiah 53:10, the bruising by the Father of the Son. Therefore the worst sin that was ever committed was ordained by God. And the answer is yes. He controls everything, and he does it for his glory and our good. (By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website:
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