I am stunned and amazed. Recently, a Christian man said to me that God’s will is always done—ALWAYS. Further he stated that without exception, everything that occurs on earth is the will of God. Hmmmm? Really?
We know from Scripture that it is God’s will to abstain from fornication (1 Thes. 4:3). Does fornication ever take place on earth, and even in churches? We know that it is God’s will for believers to give thanks (1 Thes. 5:18). Do all believers always give thanks? It is God’s will that every one of His children present their bodies as living sacrifices, while continually being renewed and transformed (Romans 12:1-2). So, is the “perfect will of God” in this sense always accomplished? It should be obvious that God’s declared will is NOT always done. In fact, the will of God is rarely done.
Many verses in Scripture are prefaced by the word “If.” These verses indicate that men make choices that either comply with God’s known will, or contradict it. “IF we confess our sins…” (1John 1:9). Hebrews chapter three states, “To day IF ye will hear his voice, Harden not your hearts…” (verses 7-8). “IF we walk in the light…”(1 John 1:7). “IF ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you” (John 15:7). In each of these verses “IF” implies a deliberate choice on man’s part that determines the outcome. Note these verses do NOT say “Since…”, they say “IF…” This small word has huge implications.
“Theological Determinism” is the term for the belief that God’s will always happens, and “whatever” takes place on earth is the will of God. The repercussions of this fatalistic doctrine are far reaching, and its implications are deadly.
- Fatalism neutralizes prayer. One consistent covenant theologian acknowledged that the only reason he prayed was because the Bible told him to pray. His theology did not allow room for faith-based prayer to influence outcomes. And these fatalists claim to hold a “high view of God”?! When one believes the will of God is always done regardless of man’s actions, it reduces prayer to an exercise in futility. But Scripture conversely teaches that our Heavenly Father responds to faith. If prayer will not affect the outcome, why bother praying? Jesus said, “Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done. And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive” (Matt. 21:21-22). The Bible clearly teaches that some things will never occur apart from prayer—“Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting” (Matt. 17:21). Perhaps this is the reason for the resurgence of liturgy that replaces the need for fervent prayer. Form is deemed more important than faith.
- Fatalism eliminates the reward of obedience. God said to Israel, “If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land” (Isaiah 1:19). So why obey if it makes no difference? Either obedience brings blessing, or it doesn’t. Paul urged the derelict Corinthian church to discipline the man who was living in open sin. If the will of God is always done, then God programmed this man’s immorality. He should be celebrated for “doing God’s will”, not excommunicated! Further, why discipline any sinning church member if they are “doing God’s will”? After all, if God ordains everything, then sinning men are simply fulfilling their destiny. Romans 2:8 says we either obey the truth, or we obey unrighteousness. Read through the verses on obedience in the New Testament and you will discover that obedience is a choice that men make. Acts 5:32 states that the Holy Spirit is God’s gift to those who obey. Obedience is consequential. But fatalism eliminates the reward for obedience.
- Fatalism destroys the law of sowing and reaping. Cause and effect is all over the Scripture. Sowing to the flesh always brings judgment. If man does not have “free will” to make right choices then the incentive to sow for future blessing is removed. Further, why should society punish child molesters if they are fulfilling God’s plan? Why incarcerate a murderer, if he is fulfilling his pre-determined assignment? INSANITY! No sin-justifying doctrine is God-honoring.
- Fatalism slanders the character of God by making Him the author of sin. This is by far the most outrageous deduction of fatalism. Since God never tempts men to sin (James 1:13), how could He as a good and just Being CAUSE men to sin? Under this scheme, God hardwires men to commit the most grievous sins. Think about the blasphemy in believing Jehovah genetically engineered the Islamic terrorists (over 28,000 attacks to date since 9/11). If the will of God is always done, then God hardwires sinners to commit the most savage crimes. Fatalists believe God is directly responsible for beheadings, rapes, and over 60 million abortions in the U. S.. A man looked me in the eye and emphatically stated that since God did not stop the murder of unborn infants, it was His will! I know this sounds so outrageous that you think I must be making this up. But this is what some really believe. Just because some things are ALLOWED does not mean that God CAUSED all these wicked things.
Wrong thinking about God is serious. Fatalism takes the doctrine of Sovereignty to an extreme and refuses to consider other balancing Truths. How preposterous to hold God responsible for the sinful actions of mankind! How irrational to ascribe the wicked behavior of men to God. What could be worse than ascribing the works of the Devil to God?
The flood of fatalism coming into churches must be exposed and repudiated. This massive system of unbelief, and utter nonsense, must be rejected.
Jesus instructed us to pray, “Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10). It would be pointless to pray such a request if everything was pre-determined. We are invited to pray for the implementation of God’s will as well as participate in it by obeying His commandments. The will of God is not always done. Neither is it automatic. It is something you must CHOOSE to do daily.