The Logic of God's Prevalence
By Fred O. Blakely
It has become increasingly remarkable to this writer that, given the essential facts pertaining to the Nature of God, the spiritual mind is able to discern the perfect logic of His ways and works, as they are categorically declared by Scripture, though they be exactly contrary to the course of the natural order. This enduement is, of course, nothing more than that to which the Lord Jesus referred when He spake to His disciples of the intimacy into which those who wholly followed Him would be received (Jn. 15:14-15).
The Prophets before Him, in their envisionment of the new covenant, of which it was to be a distinguishing aspect, likewise foretold such understanding of Jehovah by His people. "I will put My law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts," proclaimed Jeremiah for the Lord (Jer. 31:31-34). "He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths," sang Isaiah (Isa. 2: 2-5; cf. Mic. 4:1-3). "And all Thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of Thy children" (Isa. 54:13; cf. Jn. 6:44-45). "The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him," was David's assertion; "and He will show them His covenant" (Ps. 25:14; cf. Prov. 3:32). A Prominent Area of Manifestation. An area of the divine Nature and prerogatives in which this comprehensive ability is especially evident in the enlightened is that of God's absolute dominion over His creation. Here is a major stumblingblock for the carnal mind. It simply will not acknowledge the complete sovereignty of the Maker over that which He has made, for to do so obviously would demolish its own deification, which it tacitly seeks to establish. In other words, the flesh is at enmity with God--unreconciled to Him as God--and always will be. Hence, the subterfuge of man's claimed "free moral agency," by which the Creator is alleged to have delegated His mastery to the creature, is set up in opposition to the fact in the case. The fleshly mind's inability to perceive how God could possibly hold complete sway over men without reducing them to the status of mere robots, so violating their vaunted self-will, is then adduced in impeachment of the reality of such control. In marked contrast with this bedarkenment, stemming as it does from unbelieving perversion of God's truth, is the spiritual mind's perception of which we treat. To the heart of faith, the unfailing prevalence of God's will poses no difficulty at all, since it is freely recognized that He is God and His offspring are His subjects. The law of the Lord being emplaced in their minds and written in their hearts, so do His people justify Him before men by ready acknowledgment of the truth which He declares, and hearty acquiescence thereto. As John would say, this is another notable circumstance in which "the children of God are manifest," as well as those who are not of Him (I Jn. 3:9-10; cf. 4:4-6). May he that reads understand, and be duly admonished by these sober considerations. Scripture's Statement of the Case. In order to bring the situation clearly into focus, let us look at a few typical representations of the unqualified rule of God which holy Scripture makes. This will concretely set before us the inexplicable and unacceptable riddle which stymies the natural mind, but which, at the same time, the spiritual one finds perfectly consistent and agreeable. Paul seems to sound the keynote of the matter in Romans 11:33-36, as the inscrutable judgments and manueverings of God in the execution of His eternal purpose in Christ Jesus pass before His mind's eye. "Of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things," he exclaims: "to whom be glory for ever. Amen" (cf. I Cor. 8:6; II Cor. 5:17-18). The same portrayal occurs in Hebrews 3:4, where the Apostle declares, "Every house is builded by some man; but He that built all things is God." This simply means that whatever is, is of God, if traced to its ultimate source, whether it be evil or good, as those qualities are conceived and defined by men. In fact, this is the categorical assertion of Scripture: "Shall there be evil in a city, and the Lord hath not done it?" (Amos 3:6). "I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside me. . . . I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil (calamity disaster): I the Lord do all these things" (Isa. 45:5-7; cf. 54:16; Prov. 16:4; Mic. 1:12). Integral to this basic fact in the case is the subsidiary one that God's will is positively invincible. That is to say, His will always prevails--without fail--and to this circumstance there is no exception whatever. To postulate otherwise is to impugn the Godhood of the Almighty. He "worketh all things after the counsel of His own will," is the unequivocal declaration of the Apostle (Eph. 1:11). "As I have thought, so shall it come to pass," is God's own oath by Isaiah; "and as I have purposed, so shall it stand." "For the Lord of hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul it. And His hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back?" (Isa. 14:24-27). And, again, "I am God, and there is none else. I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure . . . I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it" (Isa. 46:9-11). Thus, the Patriarch Job exclaims, "Who can hinder Him?" (Job 9:11-12), and the Apostle, "Who hath resisted His will?" (Rom. 9:19). As saith the Psalmist, "Thy people shall be willing in the day of Thy power" (Ps. 110:3), and causes them to "approach unto" Him (Ps. 65:4). The Logic of the Situation. Now, what becomes of the irresolvable difficulty purportedly associated with the consistent prevalence of the divine will, in view of the Nature of Jehovah as it is revealed to us in Scripture? We should, rather, encounter a hopelessly baffling enigma, if He did not always do what He desired and purposed to accomplish. What kind of a god would that be who could not implement His will in every situation? Certainly, nothing like the attribute of omnipotence, or almightiness, could be affirmed of Him, as it is repeatedly done of the true God. Is it not apparent that those who, by their theology of the preeminence of man's self-will over God's will, have but fashioned for themselves an idol? Or, worse still, have they not exalted the creature above the Creator, "who is blessed for ever" (Rom. 1:25)? The god that prevails in a contest of wills, He is the real God (I Kgs. 18:24). That is the rule of Scripture. Hence, if man is ultimately the master, he has achieved the objective which prompted Satan's insurrection in Heaven, that of usurpation of the divine throne. In the spirit of reverential fear and trembling before the august Jehovah--at whose Word the universe sprang into existence, and all that in it is, and by whose sovereign decree it is sustained--we, in the desire to vindicate His honor before this evil generation, resort to a crude illustration. If we possessed the qualities which Scripture attributes to God--infinite wisdom, love, and power--we see no reason why we could not always execute our will--in every situation and under all conditions. God is represented as having full dominion over men's minds and hearts--He is "the God of the spirits of all flesh" (Num. 16:22; 27:16)--and over all the circumstances and situations of their existence. Why, then, should it seem incredible that can wholly achieve His desires? "Hath not the potter," as the Apostle asks, "power over the clay?" (Rom. 9:20-21; cf. Jer. 18:1-6). Is the creature at enmity with Him? It is a small thing with God to deal with this problem by granting repentance (Acts 11:18). He can either directly turn the mind and heart to Himself, or He can so manipulate the circumstances of the individual, or the group, so that out of sheer desperation, he or it, will be constrained to call upon Him. Such working of God is not at all a matter of violating man's will; it is, rather, one of God's changing it--of Him making man willing in the day of His power. As we have said, it does not appear that it would be difficult or unreasonable for us to do that ourselves, given the effulgence of the divine Nature. As we again look to the record which God has given of Himself, we, of course, see that this is just the thing that He is repeatedly represented as having done. Jonah did not want to go to Nineveh when first commissioned by the Lord to do so. But God had His way with him, notwithstanding. After the Almighty had used His persuasive powers on him, it is written that the Prophet "arose and went" (Jon. 3:1-3). His will in the matter was changed. It was the same with Saul of Tarsus. He "verily thought" within himself that he "ought to do many things contrary to the Name of Jesus of Nazareth," and he was doing it with great vehemence (Acts 26: 9-11). But God, who had sanctified him from his mother's womb for the apostleship (Gal. 1:15; cf. Acts 9:15-16), had other plans for Saul. And when the Almighty was ready to invoke those plans, the rabid persecutor fell readily into line with them. He, too, was made willing in the day of God's power. Among other biblical demonstrations of this prevalent power of the divine will is that of the turning of the Gentiles to Christ. They were altogether "aliens from the commonwealth of Israel" (Eph. 2:12), neither sought God (Isa. 65:1; Rom. 10:20). Yet He lifted up His hand unto them in divine summons (Isa. 49:22), and, anon with joy, they turned and ran unto Him (Isa. 55:5; cf. Lk. 16:16; Acts 13:46-48). Conclusion. The edict of King Jesus thus, stands fully justified, both in Scripture and at the bar of illuminated reason: "All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me; and him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out" (Jn. 6:37; cf. vv. 44-45, 65). It is perfectly logical for us, in view of the revelation of Himself which He has given, to expect that God will save and bring to eternal glory every person whom He wills to save. We can see nothing to prevent Him from doing this, since He is God, "and there is none else" with whom men have to do. If somewhere on earth, in the cycle of the centuries, some creature had actually escaped the divine dominion and mastery, then surely God could no longer retain His Godhood, and the crusade of Satan against Him would have, to that extent, succeeded. The real difficulty is thus in supposing that men can effectively oppose God, not in acknowledging that He ever and always has the mastery of them.