Dialogs and Commentary

Has God Fallen Off His Throne?

An email response from Dean VanDruff to a brother who wrote that "the doctrine of predestination presents a God who is inherently unjust and cruel" and had a big problem with the idea that "God knows in advance that I will sin today".

I would not bring such an accusation against the God of Revelation, who has over and again from first to last said, "I will have mercy on whom I will...", and "I tell you there were many lepers in Israel," and "It is not of man who wills, but of God who chooses." It is God Himself who claims to be sovereign, who tells us with divine authority: "You did not choose me, I chose you."

In this, you disagree directly with God Himself (Rom 11:32). Perhaps you can lecture Him on how He should have made the universe someday in His very presence? You can advise Him on what is "just" and unjust. Or perhaps you can pontificate to Him that HE must be ignorant of possible sins that humans might commit? I am sure this encounter will be most illuminating to one of the two parties.

Try to imagine God's response NOW as He listens to humans advising Him how He should have, might have, could have--designed the universe. The great I AM, the ever existent and ever present God, listening to the likes of us second-guessing how things "ought to be" in direct defiance to the way God has done it.

It is not like He has been shy in telling us the truth of the matter, it is only that we do not like it... and prefer our own philosophies.

John 6:70 (NAS) Jesus answered them, "Did I Myself not choose you, the twelve, and yet one of you is a devil?"

You might want to enter into the scandal of God's revelation on this. I believed as you do for 15 years, and then the Lord taught me otherwise. And the Lord will also reveal it to all those who are His--in due time. His election with the dead bones of Israel will be most dramatic, and only the most intransigent will be able to not to leap with joy at the beauty and wisdom of God's prerogative.

As to scriptural support for this, the sovereignty of God is screamed at us all through the Bible. Prophet after prophet, teaching after direct teaching, example after example, illustration after illustration. If only our ears were open and our mouths shut long enough to hear it.

Have we missed what even pagan kings have apprehended?

Dan 4:34-37 (NIV) At the end of that time, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes towards heaven, and my sanity was restored. Then I praised the Most High; I honored and glorified him who lives for ever. His dominion is an eternal dominion; his kingdom endures from generation to generation. All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand or say to him: "What have you done?" At the same time that my sanity was restored, my honor and splendor were returned to me for the glory of my kingdom. My advisers and nobles sought me out, and I was restored to my throne and became even greater than before. Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything he does is right and all his ways are just. And those who walk in pride he is able to humble.
Have we missed the meaning of our own humiliation that Nebuchadnezzar grasped? Are we still in spiritual kindergarten? Need we be so rock-headed that we be given the extreme treatment of Nebuchadnezzar? Might we learn from the things written before?

Try to imagine being so immersed in the reality of God's sovereignty that you could respond like Jesus did.

John 19:10-11 (NIV) ... Pilate said. "Don't you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?" Jesus answered, "You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above..."
This, my friend, is part of the "mind of Christ". Do you have this same confidence? I would like more of it, but unfortunately it comes with an associated dose (a double portion, in fact (Isa 11:2-3)) of the fear of the Lord.

Phil 2:12-13 (NAS) ... work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.

"Hey, now wait just a minute, Lord! Did WE not leave our nets and follow YOU? You may remember the scene, when we decided to follow You... Give us a little credit here!"

John 15:16 (NAS) "You did not choose Me, but I chose you..."

And how many remained? How many would have liked to follow but found no power to do so? How many thought the whole thing nonsense?

John 15:5 (NAS) "... for apart from Me you can do nothing."
God has not fallen off His throne, despite human accusations to the contrary. We will soon enough see this in history, and it might do us well to repent and believe now so that we will respond rightly to His activities in the near future.

Because for grace to be grace, election must be election (Rom 11:5-6).

Rom 9:11 (NKJ) ... that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls...

The truth of this, in any case, only God can reveal. So it is not so much a matter of striving or arguing, but of choosing to stand in the council of the Lord or in the folly of our own wisdom.

I hope the above is a help, and not a prod into self-justification and heel-digging. I can honestly say that I could NEVER have been convinced to give up the doctrine of free will (original sin, even before the garden?) until God completely humiliated me in a glorious and fearful episode of revelation of His nature. For God has put me in my place, and I find it a good place for a man. Neither animal nor God. At least for me, it is a fit place.

As to the classic debate, I have little interest. I was always a free-willer by nature, so did not even give the other side a fair chance. But like the problem we both agree on of the tragedy of people being convinced by "mere words" that they are "saved" when by their actions they will "in NO WAY enter the kingdom of Heaven", we do not want to fall into the same trap here. If we are really saved, then we do not need someone to "psych" us into it. We have the witness, fruit, and gifts of the Spirit. Who cares what men think, even ourselves? And if God is really sovereign, then He should be able to clearly state this and then teach this to us, if we really seek His wisdom on the subject, no?

Let us rejoice in the knowledge of the salvation of our God, and the sure hope offered us that even what is "meant for evil" will end up being instead "to our good".

1 Cor 1:19-20 (NIV) For it is written: "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate." Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?
May God continue to teach us the wisdom that transcends, even mortifies, human intellect. May we indeed have the "mind of Christ", even if it gives our carnal brains a massive headache.
Phil 1:29 (NIV) For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him.

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