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What Does the Bible Say About..God Being In Control?

Where in the Bible does it say that God has a specific plan for each of us and has planned out what will happen to us on a daily basis? Or does it?


You will not find that in the Bible. Some of the followers of the doctrines of John Calvin have taken the doctrine of predestination to that extreme, but there is nothing in the Bible that directly supports that theory. The closest you could come would be Romans 8:28. "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose."

That passage goes on to talk about God predestinating and foreknowing and calling those who love him. I believe, however, that this is talking about a group or class of people and not individuals. That is, he planned before the foundation of the world that Jesus would come for the salvation of man. (1 Peter 1:20) He designated the conditions for that salvation. All are called, but few are willing to comply with the conditions. These are, then, predestined. God did not pick out individuals and say they would be saved whether they wanted it or not, and that others would be condemned even if they wanted to be saved. Peter (in the passage mentioned above) points out that Jesus was the individual that was predestined. The rest of us may choose to meet his requirements or not.

All we can say for sure is that God planned in broad strokes rather than tiny dots. In reading the prophets, for instance, you find that God planned the rise and fall of certain nations primarily because of their relationship with the people of Israel. He built up the nations of Assyria and Babylon specifically so they would punish Israel for their wrongs. He destroyed Tyre and Egypt, among others, because they had rejoiced over the downfall of Israel. (See Ezekiel 25-32, for instance.) This was all in preparation for the coming of the Messiah. There is no indication that he planned out every move of Moses, for instance, or any other individual.

So why do we pray to God if he isn't in control of our lives?


Just because God doesn't plan out every detail of everyone's lives doesn't mean he won't step in to take action when he is asked. That is why we pray. God is like a parent. Human parents don't plan every minute of their children's lives. But if my child asks for my help, I will do what I can to help him. God doesn't make us into robots, but he can intervene on our behalf when we ask him.

Prayer makes less sense if God has planned out what happens to us on a daily basis. If God exercises such precise control over our lives, then praying to God would be the same as accusing him of making mistakes in his plans. Each prayer would be like saying, "God, I know you have planned my life for what is best for me, but I am smarter than you, and I think it should be this way instead." In the same way, I often wonder why Presbyterians and some Baptists preach, if God has predestined some people for salvation. It's like saying that God doesn't have the power to save whomever he has chosen if we don't help him. If they are going to be saved anyway, why give others false hope by preaching?