We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one. We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true by being in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.1 John 5:19-20
Passages in the Bible like this one are why I tend to say, “God is in charge” and not “God is in control.” I do believe in the sovereignty of God and that, ultimately, He is in charge. But saying that God is in “control” of everything starts to attribute all the evil in the world to God. John makes clear here in 1 John 5 that “the whole world is under the control of the evil one.” The enemy has his evil tentacles in everything.
This truth is why I don’t understand when people equate “born this way” with “it must be God’s will.” If sin has infected all of creation (Romans 8:20-21) and if the enemy has his evil tentacles in everything, why would we assume that things can’t go wrong in the womb?
Lots of things go wrong in the womb, and we shouldn’t attribute them to God. Miscarriages happen, still births happen, kids are born with cancer and other life-threatening diseases. None of this is God. This is result of the fallenness of creation and the work of the evil one who loves to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10).
We have to separate, “I was born this way,” from, “God intended this for my life.” We were born into a war against an enemy that doesn’t fight fair (Ephesians 6:10-18). And the womb is not some kind of safe “home base” that is precluded from warfare. Am I saying that things happen in this world that God doesn’t want to happen? Absolutely!
How can I say that?
1 Timothy 2:4 says that God our Savior, “wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” This is what God wants. This is His will. And yet, many people don’t come to a knowledge of the truth. Many people aren’t saved. What God wants to happen doesn’t happen. Our sin and the schemes of the enemy resist God’s will. God’s word is sent out but the enemy and the condition of our hearts affect whether that word gets planted and bears fruit. Jesus taught us this through the Parable of the Sower (Matthew 13:1-23).
Because of the freedom that God has given humanity, He allowed us not to be robots. We have the ability, because of that freedom, to enter into an authentic love relationship with God. But that also means it is possible to resist what God wants. We have misused this good gift of freedom, and it has led to all manner of evil.
All of creation was given this kind of freedom. The natural world has a similar freedom that we were created to have. And because we who were supposed to rule over creation (Genesis 1:28) gave away our authority to the enemy (Genesis 3), the freedom that was given to the natural world has also run amuck (Genesis 3:17-18).
Christians have become way too passive because of a poor understanding of God’s sovereignty in the world. We’ve accepted far too much as “God’s will,” and as a result have both blamed God for evil and embraced that which was not God’s intention as “God’s design.”
This sort of passive spiritual shrug-of-the-shoulders combined with statements full of resignation (like “It is what it is”) reveal how subdued and domesticated the Church has become. This milieu of resignation has left the Church even more vulnerable to attack from our enemy. The more we embrace the enemy’s work as if it is the Lord’s work, the more weak we become.