God's Sovereignty and Man's Evil Acts
There have been some great questions raised regarding God’s sovereignty and man's evil acts in the post entitled Tozer’s Famous Quote. I thought I would try to give some of my thoughts in a new post. The questions centered on hurts that we experience in this life such as assaults, broken relationships, and pretty much any evil act of man that causes pain in our lives. Does God bring these about in our lives to discipline us? Can/Should we attribute these hurts to God? And does this make God a utilitarian?
My belief is that God does bring these into our lives to discipline us and love us. And we can and should attribute these events to the sovereignty of God. To explore this I want to give a few scriptures in support.
Scripture is full of passages where God’s sovereignty is seen even in the evil events of mankind. First we see in Genesis where Joseph is sold into slavery by his brothers. What the brothers did was an evil act yet God takes credit for intending the entire thing. Speaking of the brother’s sinful act, scripture says,
Gen 50:20 But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.
Another passage that always intrigues me about God’s sovereignty has to do with David’s sin of numbering the people. First we can see a scripture where David realizes that the numbering of the people was a sin and he takes responsibility for it.
2Sa 24:10 And David's heart smote him after that he had numbered the people. And David said unto the LORD, I have sinned greatly in that I have done: and now, I beseech thee, O LORD, take away the iniquity of thy servant; for I have done very foolishly.
Next we see a scripture that Satan was involved and provoked David to number Israel.
1Ch 21:1 And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel.
Then last but not least we see that the Lord caused the entire event.
2Sa 24:1 And again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah.
When we put it all together we see that God, in order to chastise Israel, used Satan which caused David to sin.
Does this make God the author of sin? Not according to scripture, nor does it make him a utilitarian because God never actually sinned, it was David and Joseph’s brothers who sinned. Nowhere does scripture show God as directly doing anything evil, but rather bringing about evil deeds through willing actions of moral creatures. Scripture never blames God nor does it excuse human actions because of His sovereignty.
For the believer this is an encouragement. To know that nothing can come into our lives outside of God’s plan for us. Even if evil and pain come into our lives, scripture tells us…
Rom 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
There is my feeble attempt to shed some light on an extremely deep topic. Any other thoughts you have are welcomed.