In my studies in recent years I’ve focused a great deal of energy and attention on trying to understand the nature of God. This is not a purely intellectual pursuit, as the way we see God has huge implications in terms of how we view different religions, and their doctrines. Our view of God affects the way we understand salvation, predestination, sin, judgment, and many other important issues.
In my writing (both on this blog and in my books) I have presented arguments that point to God’s sovereignty over all events, owing to the attribute of ‘omnipresence’ that I believe God has. If God is everywhere, then it follows that He is making all events and activity happen.
But the point I want to make in this brief post is that there is a certain flexibility in the will of God. God is a living God. He did not set the universe in motion, and then recline back on His throne in heaven and watch while everything unfolds in a mechanical fashion, as deists or determinists might argue. There is not separation between God and creation in this way, but instead God’s presence pervades every part of the universe, and there is nowhere in existence where God is not.
In the book of Psalms, we read: “Whatever the Lord pleases He does, in heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all deep places.” (Psalm 135:6) This scripture depicts an active God who is present everywhere. Also, in the Book of Acts, Paul says, speaking of God, “For in Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). This scripture depicts the kind of panentheistic God I believe in; a God who is greater than His creation but all of His creation exists within Him.
In Unlocking the Bible by David Pawson, which I’m currently reading, there is a quote which stood out and prompted me to write this post. Here’s what Pawson says:
“There’s a flexibility in God’s sovereignty that we really must hold very precious, lest we slip in to the idea that God has predetermined everything, and we do not matter.” (p647)
I love Pawson’s use of the word ‘flexibility’. If God is living, and omnipresent, then in every moment He has the power to choose how He unfolds the story of creation.
Now it may be the case, as Christians would argue, that God has a plan for His creation, which He has revealed in Scripture. I am not denying that God can make plans. What I am arguing is that there is nothing to stop God from choosing to unfold His creation in any way He chooses. God may make plans for the future, but they are not determined until He brings them about. This is the flexibility of God, and if you think about it, it’s a wonderful thing.
For a deep-dive into the divine sovereignty vs human free problem, especially as it relates to Christianity, I invite you to check out my book God’s Grand Game, which is currently available for free. For further information and to get your copy, visit the Books page.