June 9, 2024

God’s Providence

Passage: Psalm 73

We live in a world full of pain, sorrow, abuse, and evil. Critics of Christianity often appeal to that fact to disprove the existence of God. They claim that a good God would not do evil, and a powerful God would prevent evil. Since evil happens, God must not be good or powerful. Perhaps he does not even exist.

Others who believe in God try to explain the existence of evil by asserting that God is good but not powerful. For example, Rabbi Harold Kushner wrote a book in 1981 titled When Bad Things Happen to Good People. In that book, he claims that God is good and is doing his best, but he’s not powerful enough to stop evil from happening. Even God himself cannot stop the evil actions of wicked people or the terrible results of natural disasters.

Many who would claim to believe in God attribute evil or chaos to luck, chance, random actions, and fate. In their imagination, God sees these things happening, but he can’t do anything about it. He’s unable or unwilling to stop evil.

The question I want to consider today is, Is God in control? In the face of such evil and suffering in our world, can we still believe that God is in control of all things? Or would it be better to believe that God is good but not all-powerful? Maybe it would be easier to believe in God if we also believe that God is not really in control of all things. When evil or disasters happen, we can say that God has nothing to do with it or that God could not prevent it.

I remember hearing a pastor say that after the 9/11 attacks. That horrendous event was the work of Satan and of evil people, but God had nothing to do with it.

Does the Bible allow us to believe that? Do we believe that anything that happens is outside God’s control? Is God unable to intervene in human affairs? Do things happen in this universe without God’s participation? Are random chance and luck real forces in the world?

I want to assert very clearly that the Bible teaches God’s complete control over all created things, including human beings and their activities. There is nothing outside of the purview of God’s control. In answering the question, Is God in control? We respond with a resounding “Yes, he is.”

And we answer that way because we believe in God’s providence. Today I’d like to consider what the Bible teaches about providence.

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