We run our website the way we wished the whole internet worked: we provide high quality original content with no ads. We are funded solely by your direct support. Please consider supporting this project.

Does God Intervene?

Image by Timmy2wheels via Flickr

Image by Timmy2wheels via Flickr

The Open View of the future recognizes the vast influence of all the angelic and human wills God created, which, in turn, influences the various outcomes and circumstances in life. Therefore life is arbitrary because of the way the decisions made by an unfathomably vast multitude of free agents intersect with each other. How life plays out is not simply a function of God’s will or character. (Click here for a post on this topic.)

This leads, though, to an extremely important and practical question: What role does God play in all of this? What influence does God have in determining what comes to pass? Yes, he has an important role to play in anticipating and creatively responding to decisions agents make. But is God only a responder? If the blueprint model errs in ascribing the ultimate reason for everything to God, it might seem that the open view or warfare model errs in not ascribing the ultimate reason for anything to God.

The question is extremely important on a number of accounts, not least of which is that Christianity is founded on the assumption that God can and does unilaterally intervene in the affairs of humans. The biblical portrait of God is of one who responds to events. He is a God who at times supernaturally intervenes to alter the course of history and of individual lives.

Take Jesus Christ as our starting point, we can’t avoid concluding that God intervenes in the world. Indeed, Jesus is the supreme instance of God intervening in human affairs. In Christ God became a human! If that doesn’t constitute supernatural intervention, nothing does! As God in human form, Christ himself is the decisive refutation of any theology that brackets off the influence of God from the cosmos.

Christ’s ministry was centered on demonstrating God’s supernatural power in counteracting the tragic effects of the kingdom of darkness. He announced the kingdom of God was at hand and proved it by supernaturally healing and delivering people from demonic oppression. And he taught us to pray that his Father’s will be done “on earth as it is in heaven.” The rest of the biblical narrative concurs with this perspective, for it is woven around miracles that God performed on behalf of his people, often in response to prayer. From the parting of the Red Sea to the miracles of the early church, the Bible witnesses to a miracle-working God.

From a Christ-centered, biblical perspective, God’s ability to break into history is the foundation of our confidence in him. If God can part the Red Sea, become a human being, die on a cross and rise from the dead, then we can trust him to intervene and redeem today’s tragic circumstances. Even more fundamentally, we can trust that he will someday vanquish all his foes once and for all, bring this present age to a close, and set up a kingdom of love that will never end. We are confident that things will not always go on as they are precisely because God is not bound to the natural processes.

—Adapted from Is God to Blame? pages 108-109.

Related Reading

When Prayers Go Unanswered

Recently Frank Viola published a free e-book where 21 Christian leaders responded to the following question: Why is it that God doesn’t often answer the desperate prayers of His people for deliverance, protection, healing, etc.? You can download the free ebook by clicking here. The following excerpt is Greg’s contribution to this book: _____________________ Two very ill children are…

Lighten Up: Open Theism T-Shirt

T-shirt on Zazzle designed by Jin_roh.

Divine Wisdom

Why doesn’t God end it all and stop the slaughter? Why does God allow suffering and evil to go on so long? Here, Greg offers two possible answers to these questions. Option A is that all evil somehow is designed by God and somehow brings glory to him. But Greg thinks Option B is a better explanation, and it involves…

Why Do Some Prayers Go Unanswered?

All of us have prayed for things and have been left wondering why God did not answer. Clearly, our prayers don’t all bring about what we ask for. It has been popular to say that God always answers prayer with one of three responses, “Yes,” “No,” or “Not Yet”. But isn’t the reality a little…

What If Open Theism is Not True? What Would Be the Practical Implications?

In this episode Greg talks about what the practical implication would be if Open Theism is not true. Our favorite quote from this episode: “There is no way to live as if we are predestined.” http://traffic.libsyn.com/askgregboyd/Episode_0010.mp3

How do you respond to Jeremiah 25:8–12?

The Lord says to the nations: “Because you have not obeyed my words” (vs. 8), “this whole land shall become a ruin and a waste, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. Then after seventy years are completed, I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation, the land of…