creation

Does God Intervene?

Given the vast influence of angelic and human free will, what influence does God have in determining what comes to pass? While God has an important role to play in anticipating and creatively responding to decisions agents make, is God only a responder? Does he have anything to do with what’s going on in creation?

The question is extremely important because Christianity is founded on the assumption that God can and does unilaterally intervene in the affairs of humans. The biblical portrait of God is one who responds to events. He is a God who at times supernaturally intervenes to alter the course of history and of individual lives.

If we start with Jesus as the revelation of God, 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 human! If that doesn’t constitute supernatural intervention, nothing does!

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 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

Photo credit: A.day.in.the.life.of.C via Visual hunt / CC BY-NC-ND

Related Reading

What is Open Theism?

Open Theism is the view that God chose to create a world that included free agents, and thus a world where possibilities are real. The future is pre-settled, to whatever degree God wants to pre-settle it and to whatever degree the inevitable consequences of the choices of created agents have pre-settled it. But the future…

Dealing With Objections to Open Theism, Part I

There are four major objections to Open Theism. Today we will deal with the first two and then tomorrow the third and fourth. For a basic introduction to Open Theism, click here. Objection #1: The open view denies omniscience. It is often argued that the open view denies the omniscience of God, even saying things…

Topics:

If God Can’t Control, How Can I Trust Him?

Question: If God can’t always answer our prayers for healing, for example (and I completely understand why—free will etc), then HOW can he promise to bring good out of the bad things that happen? Surely he is powerless to do that too? And if he can bring good why can’t he therefore heal in the…

What is the significance of 2 Samuel 24:12–16?

The Lord gives David three options of how Israel will be judged. “Three things I offer you; choose one of them, and I will do it to you.” This verse reveals how the Lord gives people genuine alternatives and responds to their choices. If God foreknew what David would choose, however, the purpose of the…

Topics:

Smack Talk on the Idolatry of the Family

Ben Ponder doesn’t pull any punches in his article Idolatry of the Family. He argues that, contrary to some evangelical claims, “Jesus didn’t die on a God-forsaken cross to preserve your horn-rimmed vision of 1950s Americana.” Can a marriage or a family become an idol? Ben thinks so. What do you think? From the article:…

Podcast: If the Future is Open How Can We Know God Wins in the End?

Greg discusses the open future and speculates on how God can still be assured victory in the end. http://traffic.libsyn.com/askgregboyd/Episode_0069.mp3