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Does God Control Everything? (Crucial Questions Series Book 14) Kindle Edition
In this Crucial Questions booklet, Dr. R.C. Sproul explores and explains the Christian doctrine of providence, the teaching that God is the sovereign ruler of the universe. He then deals with some of the philosophical and theological questions and objections the doctrine raises. His teaching challenges popular assumptions about the universe and exalts God as the sovereign ruler and sustainer of all things.
About the Author
George W. Sarris holds a BS in speech from Northwestern University and a master of divinity from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. His experience with local, regional, and national radio and television commercials includes clients like Burger King, Pizza Hut, Sprint, UPS, Honda, AT&T, and American Express, among many others.--This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
- ASIN : B00AU0HVXO
- Publisher : Reformation Trust Publishing; 1st edition (November 1, 2012)
- Publication date : November 1, 2012
- Language : English
- File size : 3517 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Sticky notes : On Kindle Scribe
- Print length : 82 pages
- Page numbers source ISBN : 1567692974
- Best Sellers Rank: #11,095 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
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Dr. R. C. Sproul, in his excellent booklet Does God Control Everything?, provides a concise yet theologically replete discussion of God's sovereignty and how that plays out in regards to the aforementioned issues of free will and the so-called problem of evil while also addressing the basic Scriptural definitions of what providence and the idea of concurrence is in an effort to frame the discussion on what God reveals about Himself in His word.
At the outset of this booklet, Sproul laments somewhat the lack of attention to God's providence in our day and age compared to the rather consistent understanding of the providence of God in past centuries. The influence of evolution and atheism with their closed mechanistic approach to the universe, has no room for a sovereign God thus rejecting the need for any outside causality or Divine providence in the universe. Furthermore, Christianity and religion as a whole has been blamed for evils such as the terrorist attacks of 9/11. Despite the attempts to place God on the backburner, Sproul notes "there is still a tolerance for religion."
Sproul properly defines the providence of God as "His seeing something beforehand with respect to time." Thus , "He sees everything that takes place in the universe. It is in full view before His eyes." This has great ramifications for how we understand God's sovereignty and providence. The reality of it is, as Sproul does a wonderful job of elaborating, God is fully in control of everything that takes place in the universe. In contradistinction to the evolutionary view of things where God is rejected in favor of random chance, God's providence is intimately "bound up with His role as the Creator of the universe." The blind watchmaker approach taken by some incorrectly understands what the term create means in Genesis. As Sproul aptly notes, the Hebrew word bara, meaning to make, "carries with it the idea of sustaining." This means God both creates and sustains all there is presenting the reality that everything is dependent on God's providential hand. So any degree of chance being part of the equation of the universe must be jettisoned.
If God is in control of everything and as Creator of all, does that mean God created wickedness or evil? Such a question is often posed by atheist in an attempt to discredit a perfect and holy God as either non-existent or a malevolent entity who garners great joy in afflicting His creation at His every whim. Such an approach is thoroughly rejected by Sproul and rightly so. As noted by Sproul, "critics of Christianity have responded that if there cannot be more in the effect than is inherent in the cause, God must be evil, because if we have an effect here that is evil, and if there cannot be more in the effect than is inherent in the cause, evil must exist in the cause." Now most readers would stop there and scratch their heads thinking to themselves that is just a bunch of philosophical statements that really are beyond my capability to understand. The ability of Sproul as a teacher and writer shines through in his response to this very incorrect approach by the atheist to causality. Sproul avers "The simple answer is that there is something in the creature that does not reside in the Creator - sin. That does not mean that the creature has something greater than the Creator, the creature has something far less than the Creator." This excellent discussion and approach really frames our need for a Creator and more importantly, our need for a Redeemer.
Sproul also does a wonderful job of defining what evil is using the Westminter Shorter Catechism as a resource. When one properly understands what evil is, that of "conformity unto, or transgression of, the law of God" they will hopefully begin to realize that sin and evil is exactly that which Scripture says it is, falling short of God's perfect standard. The question often remains is God capable of doing evil? In response, Sproul adroitly comments "God is absolutely incapable of performing evil." The issue resides in our understanding of what ordaining means. This is another area where Sproul's teaching ability is on display. Walking through a number of Scriptural examples, Sproul demonstrates how God uses all things, both evil and good, to fulfill His perfect will. By also outlining the doctrine of concurrence, that of "the actions of two parties taking place at the same time", he shows how human actions take place within the complete providence and control of God, not in the idea of God treating His creation as robots to bring about what He desires, but rather the reality that even with the element of human freedom to act, there is nothing that takes place that is not within the purview or desire of God or beyond His ability to use according to His perfect plan.
Certainly this subject is one of the more difficult theological topics to understand as after all, we are trying to wrap our finite minds around an eternal, infinitely power God. However, is that not what this is all about, the fact that we worship an eternal God who, as Creator, upholds all things by the power of His hand? If one really things about it hard enough, that has to be one of the most comforting concepts, that of knowing God is in control.
In this short, yet theologically rich booklet, Dr. R. C. Sproul provides the reader on of the better interactions out there on the subject of God's sovereignty and providence. There are obviously much longer tomes on the market that might engage the subject at greater length, but Sproul's effort is right on the mark, providing one with a brief, accessible and relevant approach that will do nothing but further their understanding and appreciation for the doctrine of God's providence.
I received this book for free for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
One essential element in understanding the doctrine of God's providence is the realization that only God is self existent and that He sustains the existence of His creation or it could not and would not continue to have being.We do not have being apart from God('In Him we live and move and have our being'). Mr.Sproul writes p.18 "If God ceased to exist,the universe would perish with Him,because God not only has created everything,He sustains everything."
In chapter two the author contrasts the temporary reign that men have(their rule can be overthrown)but eventually their government,one way or another,will come to an end. Whereas God's providential rule,though it may be resisted, can never be overthrown and will never cease to exist.
In the chapter 'God Or Chance' he asserts(quoting from the Westminster Confession of Faith 'God,from all eternity...did...freely and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass')that if one doesn't believe that statement ,from the Westminster Confession,they are an atheist(whether they openly confess to be or not) p.36 "If God is not Sovereign,God is not God...we cannot have the slightest confidence that any promise God has ever made about the future will come to pass." The God of the Scriptures has revealed such things about His nature and character,so that Sproul's assertion is inescapable.
On the question Does God ordain evil?The answer must be that He has(because God ordains everything that comes to pass).This in no way makes God the doer of that evil or the author of sin.
The author is Biblical and exceedingly clear on these points p.49-50 "He ordained that His creatures should have the capacity for evil.He did not force them to exercise that capacity,but He knew that they would exercise it." Could the Lord have prevented evil from ever existing?The answer must be yes, but in His wisdom He ordained it to accomplish His will and reveal His nature,character and glory.
This book helpfully looks at one aspect of God's Sovereignty that being 'His Providence".The standard treatment on the overall doctrine of God's Sovereignty is A.W.Pink's 'The Sovereignty Of God'.For any who may think this is just theological or philosophical meandering,and has no practical bearing on our daily lives(for practical application for believers)I would refer you to the chapters 'Our Attitude Towards God's Sovereignty' and 'The Value Of This Doctrine' in Pink's comprehensive work on this teaching.
This is the first time I have ever read anything by Sproul, but I have downloaded 50+ free books by him to continue studying. I like seeing what others glean from scripture: sometimes I disagree with them, but sometimes I can find ideas to treasure.
I enjoy studies that have numerous scriptural references. This did, but I would have preferred even more. What I could have done without were the numerous references to the Westminster Confession and the Westminster Short Catechism. Don't really know what these are, but neither have any bearing on my life or faith. The Bible is clear: we are not to add to or subtract from the holy scriptures. No doctrine, creed, confession, catechism, etc. should be considered when studying the Bible simply because they aren't Biblical. I would have let it slide once or twice, but there were more than that in this booklet. Other than that I thought there were some good ideas here.
Top reviews from other countries
In this book RC Sproul leads us through some of the philosophical reasonings about the juxtaposition of Gods providential purposes in the creation of His world and of Man as a volitional creature. The question of how we are to understand the concept of evil in a world made by God who is good is given serious consideration.
In this examination the musings of Descartes (for example) and the unfolding biblical accounts of Job and Joseph, drive us to a better understanding of Gods sovereignty in bringing about his will and that He remains sovereign even though He permits evil consequences.
An important subject addressed by a keen mind and with a direct and genuine examination for truth.