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God Does it – We Do it

The Dilemma

A question that has plagued man and the church for all of history is if God controls all things, why is what I do of any significance? (a) Scripture tells us that God controls all things—as of course He must if He is able to answer our prayers. (b) Scripture also tells us that we are responsible for our actions and sinners go to hell. How can both these things be true? Some say that this is impossible and deny one or the other statement. Others accept it as an unfathomable mystery, something we are not able to understand and just need to believe. But neither of these answers is very satisfactory.

The Resolution
A better answer to the dilemma lies in recognizing that God is much greater than we may have thought. He is the infinite God that created the entire universe and is quite capable of controlling every outcome while still leaving man free to make his own choices. God knows His creatures so well that He knows what we will do before we do it, in any and every situation. Man’s decisions can then truly be his own decisions while his actions are still predetermined by God.

Man makes his decisions based on his ideas of right and wrong, his desires and what he wants to accomplish. God judges man’s actions in terms of the law He gave man. The man condemned by that law cannot say he was coerced and didn’t have a choice. It was truly his decision to violate it and he stands guilty before it.

Our actions, though secondary, are still significant. Every action we take, whether godly or sinful, are all factored into God’s predestination of all things. He is the ultimate and we are the secondary causes of events. As such, our actions have significance. We can say that such and such happened because we did so and so, and we can be correct in saying so. We are also correct when we say that it happened because God predestined it. God’s predestination is primary; our actions are secondary but both are significant. There is no conflict between the two. God’s predestination doesn’t interfere with our choices; they are already factored into God’s plan.

The Created and the Uncreated
We see then that there are two levels of action, God’s and man’s. God as Creator is like the potter that shapes the clay into whatever form he wishes (Rom. 9:20,21). Man is a kind of clay that has a will of its own and far more ability than the clay a potter works with; but compared to God, he is still just clay. There are two levels of action because there are two diverse levels of being; the Creator and the creature are distinctly set apart from each other. Man was created in God’s image but he is only an image of God and can never be a god. Man the sinner, deluded by Satan, desires to be equal with God. He knows he cannot rise up to God’s level but tries desperately to bring God down to man’s level. This also is impossible; he is frustrated and at odds with his very nature until God regenerates him and brings him back into contact with reality.