Is God In Control? or Does Man Have Free Will?

A phrase you often hear repeated in churches from both laity and ministers is that, “God is in control.”  This is meant to be a comforting phrase to help God’s people facing trials remember that God is going to help them through it all. This life is difficult to say the least: loss of loved ones, our children getting sick, financial ruin, divorce, failed business, just to name a few. But I challenge anyone who uses this phrase to prove it by Scripture.

If God is in control, then everything that happens like sin and it consequences are really a result of His will. This negates man’s responsibility for his own sins and thus man should not be judged. But the Bible is clear we, mankind all the way back to Adam, is responsible for sin in the earth and its consequences. God is not the author of sin.

Jas 1:13-16 NASB  Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone.  (14)  But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust.  (15)  Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.  (16)  Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren.

Man has a free will. With that freedom he chose sin. The day that Adam ate of that fruit he died spiritually. Man is entirely responsible for the evil we see in the world today – never God. Why do bad things happen to good people?…what good people? There are no good people for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).  Therefore, we all died spiritually because of our sins. But God came with His amazing plan of Redemption through the Lord Jesus Christ to save us from our own sins. So now having faith in what He did combined with our repentance and making Jesus Lord of our lives, we are redeemed from sin!

I want to present to you that these two concepts are mutually exclusive: either God is in control or man has a free will. In other words, it is either one or the other; it is impossible for them both to be true at the same time. God gave Adam and Eve a choice in the Garden of Eden. God did not force them to eat of the Tree. Satan did not force them to eat of the Tree. They of their own free volition partook of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. But also God did not stop them from eating just like God did not stop you whenever you chose to sin. You did that of your own free will. You also face the consequences of that sin, whatever it was, unless you placed your faith in Jesus Christ for forgiveness and cleaning (1 John 1:9).

To be in control of a thing means your will and only your will will be done. If God is in control of this earth, He has got it in a mess. No, He gave man dominion over the earth just like He gave man dominion over his own life – meaning God gave man a free will. This world has been ravaged by sin and it is mankind’s fault, not God’s. It is mankind’s will being carried out in the earth when we see murder, child molestation, abortion, rape, homosexuality, sexual slavery and racism; these are never God’s will – for God is good.

God’s will will not come to pass unless we choose to say yes to His will. You see, God wants everyone to be saved (2 Peter 3:9) but that is not going to happen according to Scripture:

Mat 7:13-14 NASB  “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it.  (14)  “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.

So God is not going to have all saved even though it is His will. Why? Because mankind’s will has to come into agreement with God’s will for God’s will to happen.

Instead of telling people facing trials, “God is in control,” comfort them with the wonderful Truths of the Bible. Tell them God will never leave them nor forsake them (Hebrews 13:5). Tell them all things will work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). Tell them that the sufferings of this present life are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed in us (Romans 8:18).

You see, if you teach people God is in control, then you are unconsciously teaching that man does not have a free will. Man is not accountable for his sin – it was all God’s fault because, well, “God was in control.” Of course, you don’t mean that but that is what you are saying. Be careful not to just say churchy phrases without thinking and without scriptural support. To teach that everything that happens is because God made it happen is a blasphemous accusation against the Father God. Stick with Scripture not man’s religious phrases.

I want to be clear here, God is sovereign – He is the Supreme being, the greatest and highest authority ever. But God is not in control.

God’s prophetic Word will come to pass. The Bible says He watches over His Word to perform it (Jeremiah 1:12). Therefore, there is no force in Heaven, or Earth, or under the Earth that can stop His prophetic Word from coming to pass. But God is not in control.

God will help you in your trials. But God is not in control.

God determines the limits of all the happens in His creation, including what the devil can or cannot do. But God is not in control of everything that every created being does.

The amazing thing about our God is that He chose to give up control over us so that we could have a free will to chose Him. There is no love by robots. We can choose to love Him as a result of us having a free will. Yes, God is all-knowing, all-powerful, eternal and unchangeable. Yet He let us be free-agents as part of His amazing plan that will roll out before us in eternity future.

You want God in control? Start by giving Him control of your life every day. Then pray for God’s will to be done on earth as Jesus taught us.

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