God’s Sovereignty Over History

Dr. Schreiner, a New Testament scholar at the seminary gave a fantastic message this morning on the sovereignty of God and its interaction with prayer and history. This reminded me of a lecture in Church History in which Dr. Haykin brought up the added task of many Christian historians to trace God’s work throughout human history. While at many times it seems impossible for a historian to decipher how God is sovereignly working history to accomplish his good purposes, theories are made to account for different events. I immediately thought of the difficulty that Jewish theologians had when faced with the Holocaust – how could a good God let this happen to his chosen people? For many theologians and historians alike, God’s work in these horrific events proved impossible for them to decipher.

Sitting in chapel, however, I found myself rethinking the analogy of how God works through history. Many make the metaphor of tracing God’s hand through time – finding a timeline on a sheet of paper and tracing the events that link together and deciphering how they are ultimately good. Recently I’ve been finding this metaphor to be far too flat; rather I see God’s sovereign work in history as more akin to weaving the world’s most complicated clothing. Rather than working in two dimensional – flat history, God uses every single action, every movement, even every thought of every human being to shape and move history. It’s not as if God only focuses on the big stuff, he uses every single human being and each one of their personal motivations to accomplish His ultimate will. Each of our personality traits, thoughts, writings, and relationships is acting as a thread, being woven together to craft each and every aspect of the current historical moment in time, ultimately working towards the completed perfect thread which will be accomplished in Jesus’ second coming.

That’s why each and every human being is of magnificent monumental importance – we are contributing to the awe-inspiringly intricate and complex plan of God. By way of contrast, where does an atheistic worldview leave us? First, history is ultimately unimportant because it is a sequence of meaningless events given meaning only by the fact that humans arbitrarily decide to care about it. Second, there are degrees of human importance within an atheistic worldview. Someone who makes noteworthy events happen is more important than someone’s life that effects only a few people. In an atheistic worldview, because no one ultimate authority is in control of history, each individual’s contribution to it is minute and meaningless unless they reach the status of president, CEO, leader, etc. It’s no wonder so many atheists put their human value in their career, financial status, or number of Facebook friends – it’s the only way to meaningfully impact the world and its history. Contrast this with the Christian view in which God sovereignly uses each person’s life, and every single individual facet of it to accomplish the ultimate means of history, and it’s easy to see which one is preferable in terms of human dignity and worth.

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