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.

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