A Woman's Perspective On The Times We Live In


January 11, 2017

Do You Think God Is In Control of Everything?

    The answer is either "yes" or "no".  And depending on your answer, it will likely determine whether you believe you have Power and Authority in the Name of Jesus. And it will definitely shape how you respond to life's adversities and spiritual attacks.
     Those who respond "yes" will point to the characteristic of His Sovereignty, saying it means God has supreme power, authority, and control over His creation.  They will cite Scripture they believe points to God's sovereignty over nature and nations. They will quote Bible verses they say validate God's sovereignty over history and the affairs of men.  And, ultimately, they will say that even if something bad happens... It was God's WILL!  God can use everything and everyone for His purpose, and therefore that means that He controls things by His will.  So, I knew I had to determine what the concept of God's sovereignty had to say about whether or not He controls everything.
     But here is an astounding thing that I discovered ... I looked up "Sovereignty" in the Dictionary and got this definition:  jurisdiction, rule, supremacy, dominion, power, ascendancy, domination, authority, control, influence.  I thought, "Okay, that is how the secular world defines sovereignty.  How is it defined in Strong's Concordance?", which is an index to the Bible that lists words, and allows one to compare how that word is used in different passages, and to see different meanings, depending on the context.  Well, guess what?  I went to my well-worn Concordance... and the word sovereign wasn't listed! You know how you try to justify something that doesn't seem possible?
     When the Concordance went from the word, southward to sow, I found myself repeating the alphabet to make sure I wasn't looking in the wrong place.  Surely this couldn't be!  But there it was ... Neither sovereign nor sovereignty were listed in Strong's Concordance.  So, what does that say when a well-trusted reference book doesn't even acknowledge the concept of sovereignty?  This well-respected book provides an independent check against translations, and offers readers of the Bible an opportunity for greater, and more technically accurate understanding of the Scriptural text (from both the Hebrew and Greek perspective) -- yet how could I understand text that didn't exist?
     Now, I'm faced with an even bigger dilemma! One of the primary arguments that God is in control of everything has been the characteristic of His Sovereignty... yet, that word doesn't seem to be used in the Bible?!?!  How can that be?  This quandary demanded more research, and I was actually amazed to find the following information....  The words sovereign and sovereignty do not appear in the 1611 King James Bible at all!  (MY CAVEAT: I am not advocating a "King James only" interpretation. I merely reference it because it is the oldest among the Bible versions in use today).
      I discovered that sovereign and sovereignty appear sporadically in the ESV and Amplified versions (written in 1971 and 1965, respectively).  Sovereignty appears eight times in the New American Standard version (published in 1971), although it refers to the LORD God, only twice. But the word sovereign appears 297 times (I looked it up on biblegateway.com) in the NIV translation, written in 1973, and nearly all usages refer to the title, "Sovereign LORD".
      Now I'm curious as to what appears in the King James instead of this word sovereign.  And what I found was that "Sovereign Lord" in the NIV replaced the use of "LORD God" in the King James.  Apparently, the translators of the 20th Century NIV decided to translate the word LORD as Sovereign.  This word, LORD, was translated in the King James Bible from the Hebrew Adonai (meaning Lord, Master) and Jehovah (meaning Lord).  When I compared the Septuagint, which is the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible (and written and completed before Christ was born!), with every occurrence of the NIV's Sovereign LORD, I found the various terms "Master and Lord", "the Lord thy God", "O Lord, King of gods", or simply "Lord".
     So, let me make my position clear ... Every time you read “Sovereign God” in the NIV Bible, it actually should read “Lord God”. The original Hebrew did not mean "sovereign" and that was a translator’s decision.  And while I cannot explain the reasoning behind this recent mis-translation, I can definitely see how assigning the word "Sovereign" has resulted in a faulty doctrine. Let me elaborate...
     Once God was actually called sovereign, then His sovereignty became an established theological characteristic, and is actually listed in Theopedia (a conservative, evangelical, Christian encyclopedia) as an official characteristic of God.  So, man's ignorance of the Hebrew language, along with religious tradition have actually created a false doctrine of God's "Sovereignty", which now translates into His control of everything because of our 21st Century dictionary definition of what "sovereign" means.
     But regardless of whether you are willing to follow the argument I've presented on the historical mis-translation or not, I still want you to understand why I feel it is important you recognize that God is NOT in control of everything. Let me start by asking you a simple question ... If you think God IS in control of everything... how has the world come to be in such bad shape?  And if you truly believe He is All-Powerful, and has the power to prevent the evil, why do we continue to see such evil being perpetrated by humans? Take, for instance, the recent viral video of that 18-year-old mentally handicapped man who was bound and gagged while four young people tortured him for hours.  They have now been charged with a hate crime, and their racial slurs and physical sadism show their evil hearts.  Do you think it was God's will that the young man suffered such torment and agony?  If He is in control of everything, then why didn't He stop that from happening?  And if there is a purpose for His good in that horrible situation, does that fit your impression of God -- that He would let such pain and humiliation be inflicted upon one of His creation to serve His own purpose?
     Now, let me present my thoughts ... Yes, God has infinite Power and can control anything He wants to.  But He used His free will to create us in His image.  Put in very simple terms, if God has free will, then so do we, because we are made in His image.  But it is quite evident that it is our free will that has caused the world to be in such bad shape.  It is the decisions we make to follow either our flesh or the temptations of the Enemy -- instead of following Him -- that result in the pain and misery on this earth.  Could He have made us to be creatures that automatically follow Him in every circumstance?  Absolutely!  But how would that have glorified Him? Ultimately, our free will results in a decision either to be loyal to Him, or to follow a path to rebellion. (And there's another facet to this question of free will -- Satan was created by God as Lucifer, and he used his free will to make a decision to rebel.  And he is trying to convince us to the same).
     What we see on earth is man using his free will to disobey God to serve his own selfish desires. So, think about this --- If everything was "sovereignly" controlled by God, then there would be no need to pray, no need to give financial offerings, no need to even live right — because whatever happened would be what God wanted regardless of our efforts.  In effect, if God controls everything, why even bother to pray?
     Now, you could say, "But God is all-powerful. He is able to intervene in human affairs, and my prayers can help convince Him". Yes, our prayers rising to Heaven can, and do, result in God intervening in our lives.  But God has given us His power, too, through the Holy Spirit, and the authority to use it!  Jesus makes that very clear in Luke 10:19 ... Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. 
     Yet we doubting and faithless Christians do not believe this word from our Savior!  Oh, we have no problem believing that God exists -- but all this other stuff about demons, and spiritual attacks, and supernatural forces of evil; well, that's outside the box that we've put God and ourselves in.  But the ancient Jews, to whom Jesus was talking to in Luke 10:19 knew exactly what He was referencing. "Serpent" referred to a deadly, subtle, malicious enemy; and "Scorpion" symbolized torment and wrath.  Yet, we choose to ignore Jesus's gift [to us] of authority over both, and over ALL the power of the enemy!  These terms and symbols are all dealing with the supernatural, spiritual realm.  Jesus has given us authority and power to resist them, and yet we limit ourselves to praying and asking God to handle it for us.
     Can you consider the possibility that He doesn't want to be the "medicine cabinet God" that handles everything for us?  Can you see that the next time we encounter an attack by the enemy, we have the choice to continue to just sit back and ask God to take care of it for us -- OR we can choose to use the power and authority Jesus has given us over ALL the power of the enemy, and handle it ourselves?  Which glorifies Him the most? -- evil forces on the earth continue to torment and attack us over and over because we never stop them; we just wait for God to answer our prayers ... OR, we declare to the spiritual realm that we are using our free will and our authority to call upon the mighty Name of Jesus [and are using His power that abides within us] to wage war as part of His Kingdom servants on this earth.
     My spirit gets a very clear picture --- God doesn't want to be in control of everything!  He wants a partner, not a puppet!  He made us in His image and He wants us to act like it!  He sent His Son into this evil world , and transferred His power to Jesus to establish God's Kingdom on earth.  Then Jesus transferred His power to us, and here we are 2,000 years later, with scarcely an idea that we possess that power, let alone know how to use it.  It is not God's will that the world be in the shape it is in, nor that we suffer in our lives from all the slings and arrows of the enemy.
     Will there be things outside our control, even if we use the power assigned to us?  The answer is yes. The Prince of this world still has his power, too.  But I don't think Jesus wanted us to believe that God would control everything.  Jesus, Himself, was God ... and He could have called down a legion of angels to stop his crucifixion and controlled the whole outcome.  But He came to our realm to show us the way to fight in the spiritual war that started in Heaven and continues to this day on earth.  He used the Power and Authority given to Him by God to heal the sick, bind and cast out demons, and spread the word that the Kingdom of God (God's heavenly government) was here to take back territory.  It's time we use our free will to work with God and take control of our lives!

Romans 14:12   "So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.

10 comments:

  1. I like it and Its making me rethink my view of how God works.

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  2. Ohhhhh, good food for thought. It falls in line with his commands to go and make disciples, go heal the sick, go multiply and subdue the earth. He's like a parent raising His children from immature kids to capable spiritual adults that he doesn't have to "handle things for." If He were in complete control, He wouldn't "need" us to do anything.

    One of the most difficult things for a Christian to master is to take our own free will and submit it to the will of God (our Master and LORD). This is a mark of a mature believer: that there has been a death to self, a true end to the battle of wills, and an acceptance of Jesus as Lord. His way rules supreme, and the relationship developed in this process of maturing creates an understanding and trust so deep that His voice and instruction prompts a release of His power through us into the spiritual realm against the dark forces of this world.

    Very well written, Belle. :)

    (And to think sovereignty isn't even in the Bible... Gotta love our translators. Be Bereans, people.)

    Kim A.

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    1. I love your comment, Kim! This question of God's "sovereignty" or control or predestination -- or whatever you want to call it -- always hits a roadblock when free will is introduced into the conversation, and you are so right ... So many Christians try to make it "either/or" and get caught up in trying to wrap it up and make it fit in their theology box. But God is bigger than that! Our free will can work together with God's will to see His purpose in our lives done, and to glorify Him. But the very nature of free will means we have a choice... to accept or reject Him; to be obedient or rebellious; to be loyal or apostate. And when we choose Him, we have access to His power, and we can overcome every tactic of the Enemy and his spiritual forces! We are made to live in freedom and victory!

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    2. I believe that when scripture uses the word predestined, it is referring to bring predetermined that an individual as the elect, would be called. It does not mean that we do not have a choice whether we hear the call or reject it. Our life is a battle to remain in the Kingdom. We are to overcome, or be victorious as we resist the evil and his army.
      Steve

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    3. Yes --- the calling on our lives is predetermined. Whether you accept or reject that call is up to you and your free will. And we are in a lifelong battle, as you say, to resist the temptation of the Enemy and his minions, who want nothing more than to convince us to be disloyal and disobedient.

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  3. That comment by Kim was dead on! I would like to add a pearl of wisdom to it but I believe she covered it!

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    1. Don't hesitate to give us your comment ... PLEASE! We can never hear too much validation of the Word!

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  4. This was an awesome concept to ponder. I never knew sovereignty was not really its own stand alone. God has ultimate power but distributes some measure to us and therefore limits some of his control? I am going to do a bit more research on it and I appreciate you shining the light of truth here!

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    1. Yes,God has set up the cosmic rule of Free will and applied it to us, as we are made in His image. (In fact, He gave free will to Lucifer, too, who used his to rebel against God). And He will not go against His own rule and interfere with our free will. Could He use His ability to control and make us do the right thing all the time? Absolutely! But He wants a relationship .. a partnership .. with us, and He wants us to consult with Him in prayer, and fight the spiritual war with Him, and to make the choices on our own. Because when we choose Him and not the temptations of the Enemy that feed our fleshly desires, then His creation and children honor Him. He is a God of compassion and relationship, and does not want robotic children.

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    2. BR, Boy you are poking that sacred religious cow. This should move people to think but I generally notice topics like this one have the opposite effect. To idly reflect and ponder the notion that God isn't in control of everything should be an iron truly sharpening iron topic among the brethren but we both know where topics like this generally end up. Excellent job making all of us think about what we really believe and more importantly ...why! PLW

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