Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Having been in self-imposed excommunication from the church for seven years, my reintroduction was bound to introduce me to various new themes floating around in Christian culture. One of the most prominent themes that I hear thrown around is ‘prophecy’. I have heard a number of people being flippantly referred to as prophets, and even more people claiming to ‘speak words of prophecy’, or having had such prophetic ‘words’ spoken over them. The common use of term ‘prophecy’ in the today’s parlance seems to be conveniently pliant and hopelessly confused and vague.

But just what is prophecy, and what function did the prophet play in history? Like usual, Scripture gives quite clear answers.

The Bible describes the prophet as having a very precise purpose and function, prophets were not people who just predicted the future as is commonly thought. To use a modern analogy, they were basically God’s ‘prosecuting attorneys’, whose specific purpose was to bring God’s lawsuit against both God’s people and the nations that surrounded Israel. So just as a modern prosecuting attorney will represent the government in charging a criminal for an alleged crime, God also sent His prophets to charge His people with a particular crime.

At the start of Ezekiel’s prophetic mission, God enunciated a very clear definition of what prophecy exactly is:

When I say to a wicked person, “You will surely die,” and you do not warn them or speak out to dissuade them from their evil ways in order to save their life, that wicked person will die for their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. But if you do warn the wicked person and they do not turn from their wickedness or from their evil ways, they will die for their sin; but you will have saved yourself.Ezekiel 3:18-19.

Here we see four clear attributes of a prophecy: 1) identification of sin, 2) dissuasion from sin/call to repentance, 3) pronouncement of punishment for unrepented sin, 4) accountability of the prophet to his task.

So while a prophet would certainly pronounce a future punishment, this was only a small part of the prophet’s purpose. It is important to note that the prediction of the future was always contingent on repentance. If the offending people did repent of their sin, then God’s punishment would be revoked. We see this in Jonah’s prophecy of the destruction of Nineveh where the prediction of their destruction did not come to pass because the people did heed God’s warning and repented.

So the primary purpose of the prophet was not to warn the people of God’s impending wrath, but rather to persuade them to cease their sinful ways and turn back to God. It is God’s love that motivates the prophecy, not wrath.

1 Corinthians 14:3-4 gives another good general guide to what the effect of prophecy is; “everyone who prophesies speaks to men for their strengthening, encouragement and comfort”, and “he who prophesies edifies the church”. These verses should not be misconstrued to mean that the prophecy of the New Testament should be solely positive and feel-good. One only has to look at the prophecy in the book of Revelation where the seven churches are addressed to see that quite a lot of harsh words were said of them. Also, while the Old Testament prophecy contained a lot of harsh rebuke, it also contained much encouragement and comfort too (Hos 11:14, 14, Joel 3:17-21, Amos 9:11-15, Mic 7:8-20). And what would be a more effective way to edify the church than for it’s sins to be made known? Progress can not be made unless one’s stumbling blocks are known.

So we see that prophecy also contains encouragement and comfort in tandem with warnings of God’s wrath. Both are integral parts of prophecy. 

The Bible makes it clear that there are just as many false prophets as true prophets, so we need to be discerning when listening to anybody who claims to be speaking prophecy. The two most effective methods for identifying a true prophet from a false prophet are:   1) to see if the specific prophecy comes true. “If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the Lord does not take place or come true, that is a message the Lord has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously” Deuteronomy 18:22.               2) “By their fruit you will recognise them.” Matt 2:15,16. The fruit of the spirit is of course a reference to Gal 5:22-23, which is in contrast to the works of the flesh Gal 5:19-21, which would be manifest in the false prophet.

Also prophets are always described as spreading their message on the streets to all the people concerned with total conviction and a desperate vehemence. Prophets do not timidly whisper their message in a church corner.

So in summery we find a number of principles in the Bible for discerning between true and false prophets. These are the characteristics that the Bible describes of a true prophet:

1)      The prophet must be prophesying directly to the people concerned

2)      Specific sins will be identified

3)      The prophet will call the offending people to repent

4)      Specific punishment will be identified for unrepentant sin

5)      Specific blessings with be identified for repentance

6)      The prophecy must identify a path to edification

7)      The prophecy must come true

8)      The fruit of the prophet must be of spirit, not of the flesh

          It is obvious from all this that prophecy isn’t the mere prediction of calamity or blessing- this would be better defined as ‘revelation’- but instead true prophecy will include the above biblical principles. Also it is a quite poignant note that an extremely high responsibility is upon the shoulders of the prophet to do his job properly. This should serve as a dire warning to anybody who wishes to call their words prophecy; it is not a risk-free and glamorous job, and it is also your life that is on the line. So people should be extremely cautious that their compulsion to call their words prophecy is not in anyway a whimsical or self-aggrandizing compulsion. God takes prophecy extremely seriously:

“Woe to the foolish prophets who follow their own spirit and have seen nothing!”, “My hand will be against the prophets who see false visions and utter lying divinations” Ezekiel 13:3, 9.

But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in My name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.’Deut 18:20

           The whole modern understanding of ‘prophecy’ seems to be based on a confusion between ‘prophecy’ and ‘revelation’. If someone is only stating what will happen in the future, then this is revelation, NOT prophecy. The two are categorically different things.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Recognising Providence

In coming to grips with the realisation that God controls the bad stuff in my life as well as the good, a friend made the comment that far too many people fall into the trap of placing God’s love one category and then placing the suffering and discontent in their lives into a separate category. This idea is disabused by the simple example of God willing the suffering and crucifixion of His beloved Son.

It is so often assumed that God is responsible for the good things, and that Satan is responsible for all the bad things. But this type of thinking seems to me to be deeply flawed because it relies on the persons own definition of what is good and what is bad. In this logic, it is assumed that humans are capable of correctly determining whether something is or isn't God’s will.

But this surely has to be a false assumption. How can we puny humans fully know what is good and what is bad, and surely it is a little arrogant to suggest that we have the ability to read God’s mind like that.

I can think of numerous examples from within my own life where what I thought was the right course of action ended up being wrong, and the ostensibly wrong direction that God took me was actually the right course.

For example, I might think that it is a good thing for me to get all the green traffic lights on the way to my destination, but actually getting all red lights may save me from being in the truck accident that occurred further down the road.

Getting sick might seem like a bad thing, until you hear the news that on the day that you had off work, the Fukushima nuclear power plant where you work has blown up in a nuclear meltdown.

How many stories like these have we either heard of, or have personally experienced?

While the good outcomes in these examples may seem obvious, it is only in hindsight that you notice that the outcomes are in fact good and not bad as it first seemed. But just think about the amount of bad things that occur in your life in which you simply fail to notice the good that actually comes in the end.

 God is looking out for us and He “works out everything for his own ends.” Prov 16:4

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Spiritual Living

Ever since my ‘Spiritual rebirth’, God has been showing me small snippets of another way of living, a relationship with God that transcends the material world. This is a type of spirituality which seems to remarkably accord with the type of spirituality that the Bible describes the first Christians living in.

My first ‘spiritual' experience of the Holy Spirit’s immediate presence occurred back in March. That first experience of the intimate love of God opened my eyes to what it is like to be totally detached from the material world, and I was introduced to a spiritual realm where the only focus is one’s relationship with God, very similar to my perception of Heaven really.

Unfortunately the whole experience occurred at work, which forced me to restrict the emotional extent of the experience, but it was still extremely intense. It’s so hard to put into words, but I distinctly remember thinking that the whole world could disintegrate around me and I wouldn’t care. In fact, in the emotion of the experience I really didn’t have a care for anything else, everything faded into total insignificance; all the troubles at work, depression in my personal life, financial stress etc; the only thing that seemed to be of any importance was holding onto that raw, deep and unfettered love from God. During the experience I turned wholly apathetic towards the work colleagues who were causing me grief, and I felt that neither my possessions nor any of my life goals held any value, in fact these things seemed to be a distinct hindrance to being able to hold onto this spiritual high.

It was a stunningly liberating experience, and also the most amazing high! Completely dream-like to be honest. The only way to actually live out this type of spirituality would be to sequester myself away from the world in some kind of remote monastery, in a manner similar to the ancient desert ascetic monks like Saint Antony.

And yesterday I experienced something similar again. Although it was far less intense, it’s application to my life was much broader. Also, after having spent a few months cogitating the revelations that God was imparting on me, I felt that the experience yesterday made far more sense to me, it seemed to be a far more practical ‘spirituality’ to adapt to my normal life.

There were two prominent revelations that were in my mind. Firstly all material things totally lost it’s allure, and mammon held no more temptation. I felt a neutral response to material stuff, whereas before material things took on a more negative attribute.

Secondly, a deep and humble love for those around me manifested, even for those who held animosity towards me. Whereas before I felt apathy, this time I felt positive ‘love’. This love was so powerful and real that I even desired for people to show me hostility or acrimony just so that I could show them the Christ-like love that was welling inside me. The cessation of feeling animosity towards those who hurt me was utterly liberating.

These spiritual experiences presented a type of living that was categorically different to the way that I once lived. It feels like a different ‘level’ of living, where you can only be in one, either the spiritual or the material. The two seem mutually exclusive. But having said that, I feel that my current grasp on this spiritual level is only partial, and I find myself slipping back to the material level from time to time. But whenever I do slip, God always rescues me and hits me with another wave of His love which immediately elevates me back to the spiritual.

The second experience that I described above is a practical type of spirituality that I could implement into my life, and in hindsight He has been preparing me for it in the last few months. In fact it seems remarkably similar to the spirituality that David and Solomon sung about, and that which Christ taught and which the first Christians embraced.

It seemed so foreign to me before, but makes so much sense now. It’s like what they say about love songs, that love songs only really hit you and make total sense once you yourself are in love. It’s seems to be the same with spirituality, the following verses now make so much more sense to me, they really speak to my soul.

“O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is” Psalm 63:1

“there is none upon the earth that I desire beside thee” Psalm 73:25

Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her.” Proverbs 3:13-15

My fruit is better than fine gold; what I yield surpasses choice silver” Proverbs 8:19

“Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” Matthew 4:4

Those verses describe a yearning for God in which all other material pursuits dim into the background. Nothing else matters. That is what I have been experiencing, material stuff seems to be little more than an annoyance and even hindrance. It’s not a hatred of material stuff, but more so an apathy toward it. Below are just a few verses which teach a detachment from the material world.

go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me” Matthew 19:21

Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 1 Timothy 6:9

No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money” Matthew 6:24

All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts.” Acts 2:44-46

For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. 1 John 2:16 NIV

While I certainly had always seen the truth of the verses above and paid lip service to them, the fact is that I was not living in the manner that they describe. My attachment and desire for material possessions and pursuing financial stability were the focus of my life. This was evidenced by frustration at things braking, and stress over financial matters. I was simply not trusting that God was in control.

I found that it was one thing to say that I served God and not money, but it was another thing to actually live that way. The simple fact was that I was blindly pursuing mammon, and I was only letting God fill the gaps.

I can be sure that I have now mostly detached from the material level because I rarely stress and fret about things, no matter what happens. It feels so good now that all my actions are dictated by my faith that God has things in control, the following verses perfectly echoes how I now trust God:

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?

Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:25-34

I have heard many Christians describe the stage that I am now going through as an ‘intimacy stage’ of Christianity, and that mature Christians grow out of this intense passion, love and zeal. To be brutally honest, this sounds to me like nothing more than a copout from ‘mature’ Christians who have simply chosen to let go of the intimacy. This may or may not be true, but as far as I am concerned, I will not let go of this intimacy with God, and forever I will praise Him, lifting up my hands to Him in prayer! He truly satisfies me more than the richest feast! I will always praise Him with songs of joy! It is a little emasculating to admit this; but I couldn’t help but read Psalm 63 with without tears rolling down my eyes. My own heart’s desires are so perfectly echoed by the Psalms. It's such an amazing change from my old self.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Defining Evil

In writing the last post in regards to God actually causing evil rather than just being impartial to it, I noticed how careful I was in using the word ‘evil’. While the Scriptures clearly teach that God has no qualms about visiting evil on people (Exodus 32:12,14 Isaiah 45:7, Amos 3:6, KJV), I wanted to make sure that I didn’t impugn His name because of a careless use of the word ‘evil’.

So how is evil defined in the modern world? Wikipedia describes it in a way that I think most people would agree with; “Evil is the violation of, or intent to violate, some moral code. Evil is usually seen as the dualistic opposite of good [….] evil is commonly associated with conscious and deliberate wrongdoing, [….], and acts of unnecessary or indiscriminate violence.

This description is certainly in accord with the common understanding of evil, but no Christian would dare to use such words to describe God! After some probing from a friend, it became obvious that the revulsion of modern Christians to the idea that God causes evil is because the modern definition of the word seems to be quite different to how it is used in Scripture.

A simple question will illustrate this; would you call Satan evil? I certainly would have. But seeing the verses where God Himself is described as causing evil made me second guess this assumption. So I looked up every verse that refers to Satan, and guess what? Not once is the word ‘evil’ mentioned in conjunction with Satan! Satan is never called evil, and more importantly he isn’t credited as causing evil either. It is clear from these facts that our understanding of how the word ‘evil’ is used in Scripture is quite errant.

So what then is the Scriptural definition of evil? The Hebrew word evil is רָע, or ‘ra’, which predominately means adversity, affliction, calamity, distress, sorrow or trouble. These things are the typical tools that God uses to deal with wayward humans, and I don’t think many Christians would have a problem with God causing these things. But the most import thing to note is that these definitions are categorically different to what the modern definition of evil is, as exemplified in the Wiki definition above.

But it seems that the most important thing in figuring out what Scripture means by the word ‘evil’ is the context that the verse in found in.

In Exodus 32, God is described as being angered that the Israelites built an idol to worship after only having just been miraculously rescued from Egypt; “Now leave me [God] alone so that my anger may burn against them [the Israelites] and that I may destroy them.Now Moses was distressed at this idea, so he beseeched God, and actually demanded that God “repent of this evil against thy people [….] And the LORD repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people.”

The context makes it clear that the “evil” that God wished to visit on the Israelites was not some kind of arbitrary and woeful injustice, but rather it was a just punishment for a blatant sin. So the evil that God wishes to cause is; adversity, affliction, calamity, distress, sorrow and trouble.

The context of Amos 3:6 is similar. The chapter starts out with a statement of Judgement “therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities”. So again, the evil that God wishes to cause as punishment is; adversity, affliction, calamity, distress, sorrow and trouble.

The context of Isaiah 45:7 does not mention any kind of punishment for sin. Instead the context of the chapter is to demonstrate God’s supreme control over every part of His creation. Not only does God “form the light, and create darkness”, but His infinite control means that the evil is his creation is under His control as well; “I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things”. But as the Scriptural definition shows, this “evil” is not some kind of violation of a moral code, or wrongdoing or act of unnecessary or indiscriminate violence as the common definition of evil is, because we know that God is just (Deut 32:4; Job 37:23; Psa 99:4; Luke 18:7-8) and righteousness (Isa 51:6; Psa 89:14; Jer 23:5-6; 1 Cor 1:30).

So while God certainly causes evil, it is clear from all this that God certainly does not cause evil in the modern sense of the word.

“He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.” Deut 32:4 NIV

Sunday, June 10, 2012

God and the Existence of Evil

As soon as I started pondering the idea that God has complete control over absolutely everything, then immediately the first question to pop into my mind was how the existence of evil fits into His control.
The corollary of God having complete control over everything is that He is in control of evil as well as good. In fact, I have been coming to the conclusion that He may actually will evil just as much as He wills good. This idea seems to be an anathema to some modern Christians, but also seems to be an idea directly born out of the Scriptures itself (Isa 45:7, Amos 3:6, Job 2:3).

In fact the seminal event in God’s plan for us was predicated on evil; Christ’s death. There was no other way for our salvation to be fulfilled than for the Son to be crucified. Thinking hypothetically, salvation wouldn’t have been achieved if Jesus was recognised by Israel as the Messiah and crowned as King, or even if Christ started reigning the whole earth from Rome itself. No, God willed His Son to be crucified, and evil was necessary for salvation.

I remember in the past when I would experience my own personal evils of trials and suffering, and how I used to constantly question God as to why it is all happening; I just didn’t believe that it could be God’s will. That doubt produced all sorts of angst, sorrow, frustration and negativity. It just wasn’t a very pleasant way of dealing with things.

But I have been reading through the New Testament and seeing a totally different way of dealing with the trials of life. Scripture teaches that we are taught to rejoice in, and praise God, when going through suffering and even torture (Mat 5:11-12 Acts 5:40-41 2 Cor 8:2 Phil 4:4 Col 1:11 Jam 1:2 1 Pet 4:12-13). We aren’t instructed in Scripture to ‘beat your chest and mournfully implore God for answers’, nor ‘join together and wail for the sorrows of your trials’. What we do see in Scripture takes a far more positive and joyful tone:

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds” James 1:2

In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.” 2 Cor 8:2

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” Phil 4:4

They called the apostles in and had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing” Acts 5:40-41

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18 

The only way I can see that it is possible for the apostles to praise God in their torture and for us to rejoice in our trials as the Scriptures teach, is if the suffering/evil itself is God’s will, and God’s will is always worthy of praise, even if we don’t understand it. Of course God doesn’t will evil flippantly, nor for His own amusement, but rather for a good purpose and our benefit.

Perhaps the most poignant example of praise for God over the trials in ones life would be found in the words of Job:

At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.  Job1:20-22

Friday, June 8, 2012

Trusting God II

Now that I have been reading the Scriptures with fresh eyes, it is becoming more and more obvious to me how distant my spirituality is from what God teaches in both the Old and New Testaments.

The problem that we have in the Western world is that we have lost the dependence on God that the Israelites and early Christians so obviously had. We now put trust in things like technology to make us comfortable, trust the media to teach and inform us, trust the government to keep us safe, and trust ourselves to manage our lives. I had become dependant on almost everything other than God to help and sustain me. It’s no surprise that I had so much trouble trusting God! I actually trusted more in all those other things than in the God who has them all in His control! It’s equally no surprise why I was constantly left disappointed and frustrated when all those things failed to deliver. It is only God that has complete control, and is completely dedicated to my best interests. It is only God who is worthy of complete trust. This may all sound rather trite to most Christians, but the faith and trust of those first Christians seems to be a whole other world away:

“And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved. Acts 2:44-47

"and when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.
And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name"  Acts 5:40-41

God desperately wants us to be dependant on Him, and Him alone (Psalm 6:27-9, 18; 44:5-7; 55:22; 118; 118:8-9; 146:3, Proverbs 3:5, Isaiah 31:1, 1 Tim 6:17). The more that I have been reading the Scriptures the more that this has becomes obvious to me. In order to fully trust in God it seems that I have to eradicate the errant Western worldview from my mind, and instead apply the principles for proper spirituality that that Scriptures teach.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Trusting God

After spending years wondering why I couldn’t fully trust God in my mind, I realised it was because I wasn’t trusting God in my actions. As much as I desperately wanted to surrender all resistance towards God in regards to wholeheartedly embracing miracles or accepting the events that happen in life, there was a small part of me resisting Him which just wouldn’t go away.

As I explained in my previous post, the key was to realise that God actually does have total control over every single event in my life. But this wasn’t enough, I had to totally surrender my control of life to God. To do this I had to stop questioning why things happen and stop trying to fight against the events that happen in my life. Not just the big stuff, but the small as well, God has purpose in it all. Whether it is a storm that stops my outdoors plans, or if I drop my phone and break it, or even simply putting too much pepper in my dinner, it all has been sanctioned by God and therefore has a purpose. So I needed to stop questioning why things would happen if I knew that it is all willed by God.

The whole reason why someone questions why something has happened is based on the assumption that God either doesn’t have control of ones life, or that God hasn’t got ones best interests in mind. But we know from what God tells us in the Scriptures that these are false, and neither do Christians actually believe that they are true either, so the obvious solution was to just stop questioning why things happen! Does fret, don’t stress, things happen because God is looking out for us!
It's easy to say, and even easy to believe, but much much harder to actually do!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Randomness and God

     One of the many revolutions that are occurring in my life at the moment is my increasing attraction to the idea of predestination. Despite the ostensible mutual exclusivity of the two ideas of free-will and predestination, I tend to think that both being true is just one other example of a number of characteristics of God’s nature that is simply beyond the capacity for humans to grasp, the idea of the Trinity is an obvious one that comes to mind.

While it could be claimed that believing both are true is just pusillanimous fence-sitting, it seems to me that Scripture makes a convincing case that both are a reality.

The content of this post doesn’t deal with predestination specifically, but the theme of the post fits perfectly into it.

     A  recent revelation had exposed an interloper in my worldview. I realised that I had unwittingly adopted aspects of methodological naturalism, which is an atheistic concept that dominates every aspect of the Western world. I had fallen prey to naturalism despite the fact that I had spent the better part of the last decade furiously warring against this anti-theistic behemoth. I thought I knew it well enough to prevent it from invading my personal worldview, but it proved to be a far more insidious foe than I gave it credit for!

As keenly aware as I was of the atheistic worldview, I had no idea how deeply engrained it is into the thinking of the Western world, and also my own. My personal worldview was the result of having spent a great deal of time delving into the natural sciences. I noticed how everything in the universe ticked along like clockwork quite nicely (albeit clockwork that’s running down and malfunctioning) without the immediate presence of God; planets revolve, cells replicate, clouds precipitate, all without any supernatural action. All this logically led to the idea that natural events were random and devoid of any meaning or purpose, events like rain, earthquakes, celestial activity, bushfires, although God would most certainly use nature to bless or curse humans at will. Also, if natural events were random, what about stuff like kicking a toe on a rock, or winning two dollars on an Instant Scratchit, or a car pulling out of a park just in time for you? Are these types of things random as well? It’s a slippery slope. Once the principle of randomness is adopted, the simple fact is that there are no bounds to it’s ambit.

Randomness and purposelessness are simply NOT Scriptural concepts, but rather concepts that are wholly imported from the atheistic worldview of methodological naturalism which demands that everything must be purposeless and random if God does not exist. Many have unwittingly adopted this atheistic thinking into their Christian worldview to some degree.

While most Christians have no trouble believing that God is omnipotent, few are aware of what this logically leads to. God’s omnipotence, omniscience and omnipresence means that His dominion over His creation is total, He knows & sees all (1Jn3:20; Ps139; Pr5:21;15:3; Heb4:13; Isa46:10), and nothing is too hard for Him (Gen18:14; Job42:2; Jer32:17; Mt19:26). Even Satan and his minions are fully bound by the will of God, as the account of Job testifies. So if nothing happens without His knowledge, then absolutely nothing can happen without God’s approval; not a supernova explosion, not an earthquake, not a car crash, not a broken finger nail, nor even the flux of an atom in the atmosphere. God’s dominion is supreme.

God is described throughout Scripture, implicitly and explicitly, as conforming all things to His will. Everything does His bidding, and nothing can resist (Is 43:13; Rm8:28; Eph 1:11; Ps155:3,135:6; Dan4:35).

The picture of God that is painted in Scripture is a God of purpose and design. I can find absolutely no Scriptural reference, either explicit or even implicit, to randomness or purposelessness, it is totally alien. It is an interloper into the Christian mind, originating from an atheistic worldview.

So this puts things into a better perspective: If God has perfect control over the movement of even all the atoms, then it makes perfect sense that God would direct the motion of all things in the universe to accord to His will; the movement of the atoms, and molecules, and biological cells, and clouds, and the winds: Everything is in His control and is used to achieve his will. Thus not only does it seem nonsensical to me for a God who has total control over everything to allow random movements of things, I actually question if it would even be possible for there to be randomness if God has total control! It seems to me that this would be a logical contradiction, just like a ‘married bachelor’ or a ‘straight curve’. Since God is omnipotent, then He has control, so therefore in my mind there just can not be randomness in the world. Of course if nothing is random then nothing can be purposeless either.

And this brings us back to the how it all ties into Predestination. If absolutely everything is God’s will; the good of winning a car to the bad of being in a car crash; or something ostensibly insignificant like the flux of traffic on the road, or the arrangement of the pencils in my pencil-holder, then it makes perfect sense that it all had to have been planned. Can this be honestly denied if God even knew us from before we were even born?! “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born” Jer 1:5. Christ’s defeat of Satan was foretold way back at the dawn of time (Gen 3:15), so just think about all the infinite arranging of peoples lives and the circumstances and events surrounding their lives that were necessary to bring this into reality! It seems to me that the universe has to be predestined for this to be achieved.

To everything there is a season, and a time for every matter or purpose under heavenEcc 3:1
The Lord has made everything [to accommodate itself and contribute] to its own end and His own purpose—even the wicked [are fitted for their role] for the day of calamity and evil.” Prov 16:4

     For me believing in randomness in the universe became a spiritual ‘wall’ in my heart which was preventing the Holy Spirit from fully working in me. How could I fully embrace and believe in the reality of things like miracles and providential events -even though I wanted to- while at the same time holding the contrary belief that the functioning of the world is random? There simply can not be providence in random events, the two are mutually exclusive, in psychology this is called cognitive dissonance; holding two contradictory beliefs at once.

The spiritual effect of me now believing that God’s will is in everything has resulted in a total revolution of my attitude in life. Stress, anxiety and the burden of expectation has vanished. Believing that absolutely everything is God’s will means that there is nothing worth fretting over. This is no longer an abstract and ethereal fantasy for me, it is now a tangible reality, and the peace in my heart and the joy in my stride that this reality brings is beyond what I thought was possible.