Tuesday, November 18, 2014

John S. Piper, Predestination and Las Vegas

The material below comes from http://www.christianpost.com/news/john-piper-on-mans-sin-and-gods-sovereignty-80617/

I do not agree with Piper, but thought it would be interesting to see his articulation of predestination. I did not write the following:


The 66-year-old preacher underlined that God has total control over everything, quoting verses from the Bible.

Ephesians 1: 11 says, "...Having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will." Daniel 4:35 states, "No one can hold back his hand or say to him: 'What have you done?'" Amos 3:6-7 says, "If a trumpet is blown in a city will not the people tremble? If a calamity occurs in a city has not the Lord done it?"

He went on to quote Proverbs 16:9: "The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps." Proverbs 19:21: "Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails. Proverbs 16:33: "The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD."

"So every spin of the roulette wheel ... you know Las Vegas ... every roll of the dice in your family board game, every reaching of the hand for the scramble of the letter, is determined by God," Piper said.

He quoted Joseph as saying to his brothers after they had sold him into slavery, as recorded in Genesis 50:20: "As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive."

Piper said he had often heard this text misquoted. Some Christians think Joseph's brothers meant evil as they sold him into slavery to get rid of him, which was evil, a sin, but God used that incident for good. "That's not what it says, and there's a big difference," he said.

"God didn't watch it happen, and say, 'What am I going to do with this. Oh, I will make him vice president of Egypt; we'll turn it all around.' God never watches anything merely; He is always sustaining, acting. So He meant it," Piper said, quoting from Psalms 105, which says that God sent Joseph to Egypt to keep alive a people. "God had a plan to keep alive a people, and that is the way sin works."

Piper added that Acts 4:27-28 is perhaps the most crucial crux-like statement of God's sovereignty in the Bible "because what is being spoken about is the death of Christ." The two verses state: "Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen."

Herod's mockery, Pilate's expediency, the Gentiles driving the nails, and the people of Israel shouting, "Crucify Him, crucify Him," is all sin, Piper said, adding it was all "predestined, designed by God, scripted in the Old Testament, including Judas [Iscariot]."

Piper also talked about the Fall in the Garden of Eden. He said God meant that to happen. Redemption, he explained, was planned by the death of the lamb before there was any sin to redeem from. "All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain." (Revelation 13:8)

This is the kind of paradox that we must come to terms with to make sense of the Bible, he said. God's sovereignty ordains things to pass that from the human standpoint are willed as evil, and from God's standpoint willed as absolutely good for His final purposes, he added.

1 comment:

Edgar Foster said...

The view that says God foreordains sin and all other events still does not make a lot of sense to me. Let's imagine that Hurly Burly, one of the worst characters who ever lived, is gambling at Las Vegas and wins enough money to help him retire for life. He takes his earnings home, spends them lavishly on wanton pleasures, never repents or becomes a Christian, does not use the money for a good purpose at all, curses God, and then dies. Why would God have willed that Hurly Burly walk off with such a big payload? What sense does it make? How would it fit within the parameters of some great cosmic plan?

Time and chance befalleth them all (Ecclesiastes 9:11).