*Determinism

I. God’s Hand Over Other People:

  • Even though humans have intelligence and their own will, God ultimately governs all they do, even their “accidental” actions:
    •  The preparations of the heart belong to man, But the answer of the tongue is from the LORD. Proverbs 16:1
    •  A man’s heart plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps. Proverbs 16:9
    •  The lot is cast into the lap, But its every decision is from the LORD. Proverbs 16:33
    •  There are many plans in a man’s heart, Nevertheless the LORD’S counsel–that will stand. Proverbs 19:21
    •  The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, Like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes. Proverbs 21:1
  • God’s hand in people’s good deeds, even of total pagans:
    •  Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and also put it in writing, saying,  Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: All the kingdoms of the earth the LORD God of heaven has given me. And He has commanded me to build Him a house at Jerusalem which is in Judah. Ezra 1:1-2
  • God oversees people’s wicked actions – – He steers the sin already in their hearts so that sinners unwittingly fulfill His plans and not merely their own. He accomplishes this by infinite wisdom beyond our grasp:
    •  But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive. Genesis 50:20
    •  Also, he took six hundred choice chariots, and all the chariots of Egypt with captains over every one of them. Exodus 14:7
    •  Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; Acts 2:23
  • God deludes evil people, confusing their thinking, thereby frustrating their rebellious plans:
    •  The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders,  and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.  And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie,  that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12

II. God’s Hand Over Satan and Demons:

 And the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, he is in your hand, but spare his life.” Job 2:6

 So the demons begged Him, saying, “If You cast us out, permit us to go away into the herd of swine.”  And He said to them, “Go.” So when they had come out, they went into the herd of swine. And suddenly the whole herd of swine ran violently down the steep place into the sea, and perished in the water. Matthew 8:31-32

III. God’s Hand Over Animals and Plants:

 Then the LORD opened the mouth of the donkey, and she said to Balaam, “What have I done to you, that you have struck me these three times?” Numbers 22:28

 And it will be that you shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there.” 1 Kings 17:4

 So the LORD spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land. Jonah 2:10

 And the LORD God prepared a plant and made it come up over Jonah, that it might be shade for his head to deliver him from his misery. So Jonah was very grateful for the plant.  But as morning dawned the next day God prepared a worm, and it so damaged the plant that it withered. Jonah 4:6-7

 Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. Matthew 10:29

IV. God’s Hand Over Nature’s Inanimate Forces:

 And behold, I Myself am bringing floodwaters on the earth, to destroy from under heaven all flesh in which is the breath of life; everything that is on the earth shall die. Genesis 6:17

 Then the LORD rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah, from the LORD out of the heavens. Genesis 19:24

 And Moses stretched out his rod toward heaven; and the LORD sent thunder and hail, and fire darted to the ground. And the LORD rained hail on the land of Egypt. Exodus 9:23

 Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea into dry land, and the waters were divided. Exodus 14:21

 And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and when the morning appeared, the sea returned to its full depth, while the Egyptians were fleeing into it. So the LORD overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea. Exodus 14:27

 But if the LORD creates a new thing, and the earth opens its mouth and swallows them up with all that belongs to them, and they go down alive into the pit, then you will understand that these men have rejected the LORD.” Numbers 16:30

 Fire and hail, snow and clouds; Stormy wind, fulfilling His word; Psalm 148:8

 I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create calamity; I, the LORD, do all these things.‘Isaiah 45:7

 “I also withheld rain from you, When there were still three months to the harvest. I made it rain on one city, I withheld rain from another city. One part was rained upon, And where it did not rain the part withered.  So two or three cities wandered to another city to drink water, But they were not satisfied; Yet you have not returned to Me,” Says the LORD.  “I blasted you with blight and mildew. When your gardens increased, Your vineyards, Your fig trees, And your olive trees, The locust devoured them; Yet you have not returned to Me,” Says the LORD.  “I sent among you a plague after the manner of Egypt; Your young men I killed with a sword, Along with your captive horses; I made the stench of your camps come up into your nostrils; Yet you have not returned to Me,” Says the LORD. Amos 4:7-10

 But the LORD sent out a great wind on the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship was about to be broken up. Jonah 1:4

V. God’s Hand Over Man-made Machinery, Tools, Technology:

 And He took off their chariot wheels, so that they drove them with difficulty; and the Egyptians said, “Let us flee from the face of Israel, for the LORD fights for them against the Egyptians.” Exodus 14:25

VI. God’s Hand Over Our Bodily Afflictions:

 The LORD will strike you with the boils of Egypt, with tumors, with the scab, and with the itch, from which you cannot be healed. Deuteronomy 28:27

 The LORD will strike you in the knees and on the legs with severe boils which cannot be healed, and from the sole of your foot to the top of your head. Deuteronomy 28:35

 then the LORD will bring upon you and your descendants extraordinary plagues–great and prolonged plagues–and serious and prolonged sicknesses. Deuteronomy 28:59

 Then the LORD struck the king, so that he was a leper until the day of his death; so he dwelt in an isolated house. And Jotham the king’s son was over the royal house, judging the people of the land. 2 Kings 15:5

VII. God’s Hand Over Our Psychological/Spiritual Afflictions:

 And among those nations you shall find no rest, nor shall the sole of your foot have a resting place; but there the LORD will give you a trembling heart, failing eyes, and anguish of soul.  Your life shall hang in doubt before you; you shall fear day and night, and have no assurance of life.  In the morning you shall say, ‘Oh, that it were evening!’ And at evening you shall say, ‘Oh, that it were morning!’ because of the fear which terrifies your heart, and because of the sight which your eyes see. Deuteronomy 28:65-67

 The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, Like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes. Proverbs 21:1

 Though He causes grief, Yet He will show compassion According to the multitude of His mercies. Lamentations 3:32

VIII. God is always in total and sovereign control over this entire universe:

 The counsel of the LORD stands forever, The plans of His heart to all generations. Psalm 33:11

 And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise And knowledge to those who have understanding. Daniel 2:21

 All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; He does according to His will in the army of heaven And among the inhabitants of the earth. No one can restrain His hand Or say to Him, “What have You done?” Daniel 4:35

 In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, Ephesians 1:11

DETERMINISM (Conclusions)

  • No trial reaches us apart from God’s explicit decree and specific permission:
    •  And you shall remember that the LORD your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.  So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the LORD. Deuteronomy 8:2-3
    •  “The LORD kills and makes alive; He brings down to the grave and brings up.  The LORD makes poor and makes rich; He brings low and lifts up. 1 Samuel 2:6-7
    • Is it not from the mouth of the Most High That woe and well-being proceed? Lamentations 3:38
  • God’s plan calls for all Christians to suffer:
    •  For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, Philippians 1:29————
  • All suffering is custom-made for the believer’s eternal good:
    •  And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28
  • God cares most, not about making us comfortable, but teaching us to hate our sins, grow spiritually and love Him.
  • He gives us salvation’s benefits only gradually and painfully so.
  • Every sorrow we taste will soon prove it was the best possible thing that could have happened to us.

*Taken and condensed from Tada and Estes, When God Weeps (pp. 219-231).

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