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Q Does God have a plan for each of us? Does God control our destiny? Or . . . has God given each of us our own free will to make choices.

When a child dies why do people say it was God's will?

Who is in control and who is responsible?

What about accidents? Is this God's will  

 
 
A These are questions which have puzzled thinking people probably since the beginning of time. There is much dispute over this even among Bible-believing Christians. Obviously, I can give you only my perspective based on my studies. Even so I will probably need to cover this in summary form. Feel free to email me back for details. 

One thing to be sure of, God has a plan for the universe which will be fulfilled. One of the main proofs for this is prophecy in the Bible. There are scores of specific prophecies concerning future events which have yet to be fulfilled. That they will be fulfilled literally can be proven by the many prophecies which have already been fulfilled: for instance, those concerning the first coming of Jesus Christ. There are also statements in Scripture concerning Godís sovereignty over His creation. (Psalms 135:6; Isaiah 40:10-31; Job 38). 

In the exercise of His sovereignty God sometimes controls individuals (Exodus 9:12; 2 Thessalonians 2:11) and nations (Job 12:23). He does this presumably by influencing circumstances and emotions so as to obtain the results He wants, while not taking away individual freedom. For instance, in Exodus 9:12 God hardened Pharaohís heart, but earlier Pharaoh had hardened his own heart. God plainly states in Exodus 9:16 that He raised Pharaoh up for His glory. God used Pharaohís natural inclination and furthered it so that His own purposes could be achieved. 

Scripture, however, makes it clear that individuals are responsible for their decisions (John 3:36). That, of course, strongly implies freedom to decide. Perhaps it is best to look at it like a boat heading toward a destination. The passengers have freedom to move around within the boat, but it will carry them to the destination regardless. The exact relationship between Godís plan and our decisions is incomprehensible to us, as is much of Godís mind (Romans 11:33). 

Sin, evil and suffering are a result of Adamís disobedience (Romans 5:12) and, therefore, exist by Godís permission but not His authorship. If God prevented all sickness, accidents and premature death He would lose opportunities to glorify himself through the strengthening process (John 11:4; 2 Corinthians 12:7-10). God allows some accidents or premature deaths and undoubtedly prevents many. Some of these are probably just the natural results of the our imperfections, some are Godís direct punishment of unbelievers (as when He killed the firstborn of Egypt), and some are opportunities for tragedies to strengthen our dependence on God. Trials are Godís method for bringing us to the point where we seek our all in Him.

In the end, we cannot completely comprehend the relation between Godís decrees and manís freedom to decide. Remember that Christ suffered on our behalf (1 Peter 3:18). So although God has allowed suffering for man, He has suffered as well. The important thing is that Christís suffering was a product of Godís love for us so that He could bring us to salvation. Romans 5:8-10 (NKJV): ďBut God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

 

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