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Does God Control Everything?

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Most people today believe that we live in a closed, mechanistic universe, that is, a universe that functions from day to day according to certain physical forces and causes. Classical Christianity has taken a very different view, teaching that God is the primary cause of the universe, but also that He is the primary cause of everything in the universe and of everything tha Most people today believe that we live in a closed, mechanistic universe, that is, a universe that functions from day to day according to certain physical forces and causes. Classical Christianity has taken a very different view, teaching that God is the primary cause of the universe, but also that He is the primary cause of everything in the universe and of everything that happens in the universe—in short, that God, not mechanistic forces, is the primary cause of what is and what happens. 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.


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Most people today believe that we live in a closed, mechanistic universe, that is, a universe that functions from day to day according to certain physical forces and causes. Classical Christianity has taken a very different view, teaching that God is the primary cause of the universe, but also that He is the primary cause of everything in the universe and of everything tha Most people today believe that we live in a closed, mechanistic universe, that is, a universe that functions from day to day according to certain physical forces and causes. Classical Christianity has taken a very different view, teaching that God is the primary cause of the universe, but also that He is the primary cause of everything in the universe and of everything that happens in the universe—in short, that God, not mechanistic forces, is the primary cause of what is and what happens. 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.

30 review for Does God Control Everything?

  1. 5 out of 5

    Husain Necklace

    The book deals with the topic eloquently. In my opinion it addresses all the important questions on the subject. In relation to the book's length, you'll probably be able to read it in an hour or so. Worth a read!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    A concise, biblically founded book. There were a number of things I didn't quite agree with, but that's not a reason for me to gripe necessarily. More of an issue for me was a lack of clarity on what he meant by "ordain." I often found myself confused until he mentioned (more than halfway through) that he meant BOTH that which God commissions (my usual understanding of the word) AND that which God allows.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Pavel Espinal

    This book is an excellent introduction to the topic of God's sovereignty and the problem of evil. The book is easy to read, amusing, informative and clear. Sometimes you would like the author to go deeper in some aspects, but you could get further details in other books. The introduction to basic (but very important) concepts is a plus. Also, Dr. Sproul mentions some orthodox Christian doctrines that we almost never read about in our days. In short, a very good book. Recommended.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Rene

    Great work about God's sovereignity and how He is in control of everything

  5. 5 out of 5

    Michael Boling

    The issue of God’s sovereignty is often both the most accepted and most contentious of theological concepts. It is the most accepted in part because the majority of believers would likely affirm that God is in control. However, when pressed to answer the difficult questions of the faith such as the existence of evil or free will, affirming God as sovereign often becomes a bit harder to apply. Now mind you, understanding the fullness of God and His sovereign control over all of His creation will The issue of God’s sovereignty is often both the most accepted and most contentious of theological concepts. It is the most accepted in part because the majority of believers would likely affirm that God is in control. However, when pressed to answer the difficult questions of the faith such as the existence of evil or free will, affirming God as sovereign often becomes a bit harder to apply. Now mind you, understanding the fullness of God and His sovereign control over all of His creation will always, at least this side of heaven if you will, be somewhat outside finite man’s ability to comprehend. With that said, if God is not sovereign, and I mean completely sovereign, the question remains is He God? 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.”

  6. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    An Excellent summary of the biblical doctrine of Providence, the substance and governance of God in all the affairs of His created universe. I need to read and study this doctrine much more than I do because I feel a special thrill every time I dive deep into the topic. What a comfort and confidence to tot reminded that there are "no maverick molecules" outside of the sovereign God's control. Spend an hour with this book(let) and know my joy!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Steve Hemmeke

    Sproul persuasively argues for the Reformed position that God ordains whatever comes to pass, as Westminster puts it. God is not the author of evil, though, and this is a mystery. But it is more comforting to believe this and allow the mystery, than to believe God could not keep some bad things from happening to us. Everything comes to us through His hand for a good reason.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Eileen Carter

    Does God control everything There are many good points in this book which will help you to understand that God has control of everything that has happened, is happening and will happen. do not be mistaken and think that we can go about our lives making our own choices, yes we make choices but God already knew what we would do so that in the end good will is done.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Patricia C Robbins

    God IS in Control If even one rouge atom is loose to do whatever it pleases, then God is not ultimately in control of the universe. We are free, but that freedom does not supersede God's sovereignty. There is no other God like Him. All honor,power, and glory being to Him alone. How fortunate indeed are we His beloved creatures.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Wesley Rea

    Started off a bit slow, but really picked up in the mid-portion all the way to the end. I especially appreciated the part where he went through the story of Joseph, showing how God's hand was everywhere in those events. This has never been a question I've really struggled with, but it was good to get a refresher nonetheless.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Matthew Buster

    I enjoyed Sproul's discussion of causality throughout. I don't feel like his argument concerning the function/presence of evil was all that inspired but that is a difficult argument to create. However, Sproul makes several excellent points regarding the original primary cause of creation in the spirit of Aquinas.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Ivan Gonzalez

    Awesome book!!! Couldn't stop reading it, once you start, you can't stop. R.C help me understand that God is always in control. Don't matter what happen in our life, good or bad God ordain it and everything is going to work for good.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Steven Drake

    Excellent and very insightful read. This is hands down the best book I have had the privilege to read on the sovereignty of God. Especially the chapter on does GOD control human wickedness? R.C. Sproul paints a beautiful picture of why? There truly is no GOD like Jehovah.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Justin

    Solid and concise. I've grown to really appreciate R.C. Sproul's thoughts and insights. This short read helped clarify a few things for me. I definitely recommend it if you're wanting more biblical insight into God's sovereignty.

  15. 5 out of 5

    larry brashear

    One More Great Book by R. C. Very profound concepts easily understood by the eloquence of Dr. Sproul. I have never read such enlightening theological dissertation as the one on these subjects.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ronald L Brown

    This is an outstanding book. This little book should be required reading for every serious Christian. It gives you the uncomfortable choice of believing that God is Sovereign in all things and controls everything or you are in reality a reluctant atheist.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Luis A Quijano

    It is a wonderful explanation of the subject This is an incredible book. It made me understand how God controls all the creation without limiting our free will. I liked so much that this is the 2nd time that I read it

  18. 4 out of 5

    Brandon Wilkins

    Good treatment of the Doctrine of Providence. In touch with the history of ideas, Scripture, and important Christian doctrines. Answers objections, too. At 82 pages its not too long either. Good for laity and pastors.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Steve Campbell

    This booklet gives a lucid and concise lesson on the relationship between God's sovereignty and human freedom. Sproul tackles the subject with his usual down-to-earth style. Of course, we've been debating this for ages, so a booklet is not going to put an end to the controversy.

  20. 4 out of 5

    John Yelverton

    This book is so amazing and so important. I think every Christian should read this. R.C. Sproul breaks it down so succinctly when he points out that if God is not sovereign, God is not God. This is a really great little book. I heartily recommend it.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Ryan

    This was an excellent, clear, concise treatment of the doctrine of the providence of God. Highly recommended!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ruth

    This is a very basic treatment of God's sovereignty. Recommended for new Christians or for those who are beginning the question of how sovereignty and freewill intersect.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Adam Gray

    The problem of evil is an issue that many believers are unprepared to answer. With an eye on the doctrines of grace, in only a few pages this book answers this issue.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Nedra L Bohan

    He is Soverin! He masterfully covers all the bases. He uses clear and concise examples to make things he's discussing, easier to understand.

  25. 5 out of 5

    John Williams

    10 What Is The Trinity? 11 What Is Baptism? 12 Can I Have Joy In My Life? 13 Who Is The Holy Spirit? 14 Does God Control Everything? 15 How Can I Develop A Christian Conscience?

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kris Lundgaard

    Very brief and clear statement of the issues and what the Bible teaches.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Wilma Coate

    Philosophical apologetics This was not what I expected. A little too philosophical for my liking. The subject was explained in a round-about way.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Eli

    I liked it. Not a bad introduction to the sovereignty of God. But it could have been better.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Deborah Weber

    Attempts to answer - Does God Allow Evil

  30. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Richardson

    Written concisely, with great clarity! A quick reliable resource for understanding the providence of God!

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