God the Great Manipulator

John H. Stoll, Ph.D.
Executive Director, ASK, Inc.

ASK Newsletter - First Quarter 1999

When one thinks of the word, manipulation, usually a negative connotation is implied. But, when the word is ascribed to God, it emphasizes the sovereignty of His being, and control over the world, for His honor and glory, and for mankind's good. God originally created everything perfect, including mankind, and He saw that it was good. It was the turning of mankind from being God centered to being self centered, that caused all the problems in the world. Mankind has selfishly tried to manipulate things for his own selfish desires. This is why the word manipulation has taken on a negative meaning.

God's active control in the world, has been for the benefit of mankind, and to stem the tide of wickedness in the world. At the same time, because God gave to every person a will of their own, people having willingly used their desires for selfish purposes, and thus the situations we see today. God, to a certain degree, has allowed mankind to exercise his selfishness, and bring destruction upon himself by his behaviors.

At the same time, God has had a program for all mankind, that will ultimately lead to an eternity with Him, and fulfillment for every person who follows His program. The Bible tells us that mankind has separated himself from God by his self–centeredness, which has produced his sinfulness. God's holiness cannot tolerate man's sin, therefore, Jesus Christ came into the world to provide salvation from mankind's self destruction.

The Bible tells us that God never created anyone to be eternally separated from Him (i.e. Hell), but that all should come to repentance, and acknowledge Jesus Christ as Savior from their sins (II Peter 3:9; II Tim. 2:4). God's current program is that this message of Jesus Christ's work of salvation from sins for all, is carried into all the world (Acts 15:14-18). Since mankind by his selfishness is fully set against God's program for him (Eccl. 8:11), God manipulates events in the world so that individuals have an opportunity to come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Along with God's will for individuals, is His working against Satan's deceptive control of people, kingdoms, events, etc. To this extent God is manipulating the affairs of the world, in controlling events that go on in the kingdom of mankind, the utilization of natural forces, and bringing situations to pass, so that His work is carried out.

The real battle in the world today, is not in the time/space world in which we live, but in the supernatural or spiritual world. That battle is between God and righteousness, and Satan and unrighteousness. It is as if mankind was like a football, and each side is vying for control of the ball. Mankind is being pulled in two opposite directions, and each person has to individually make up his mind as to who will control him.

The tremendous declension we see on every hand in the world today, is the work of Satan in trying to control and destroy mankind, whom God loves, for whom Christ died, and who God desires that all should love Him. God is allowing people to "make up their minds", as to whom they will follow. Today, God's grace is manifest in giving people an opportunity to acknowledge Jesus Christ as their Savior from sin. And, that is why God is longsuffering to mankind, in spite of his wickedness (Romans 2:4). Someday, God's grace will conclude and God's judgment will commence (Romans 3:19; II Cor.5:10)

The sovereignty of God, in ruling over the affairs of mankind and the kingdoms of this world, will eventually bring in a kingdom of righteousness and peace to this world (II Thess. 1:7-12). God's manipulation in the affairs of this world, is to ultimately bring salvation to all who will follow Him, to destroy the wickedness in the world, and to set up His kingdom that will rule over all, forever.

Today, we see events rapidly moving toward these conclusions, and God has provided a "roadmap" of understanding as to His soon return as witnessed in the Bible (Matt. 24:3-14; John 14:1-6), but as to the time, He has not told us that (Mark 13:32). The Christian's responsibility is to grow in spiritual maturity, to let our spiritual light shine for Him, and to await His coming again (I Thess. 4:13-18).

In spite of the increasing wickedness that is controlling the world today, remember, God is sovereign, and His will is being carried out. We can trust that He not only is in control, but that He knows what He is doing, and that ultimately all will work out for our good, and the honor and glory of Him.