Is God in control of what happens in the universe?

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Answered by: Jarred, An Expert in the Christianity - General Category
To answer the question conditionally, I would say "yes and no": there is certainly a better paradigm for understanding how God interacts with Creation than "God in control". Jesus, who is one with God and is God, establishes faith from the site of the creature, us, and draws us into the life of the Father, through the Spirit, helping us to turn from death to life.

Within the context of God's control, a primary function of the Incarnation was God entering into our creatureliness in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. Here, Jesus exposes the troubles present at this site. At the instance of His birth, Jesus exposes death and its agents, and violence as well. The Gospels tell us that once the then-ruler of Israel heard rumors about a King to be born among the Jews, this ruler decreed that every male child under a certain age should be slaughtered. Once born, this forced Mary, Jesus's mother, and Joseph to flee to Egypt. This train of events exposed the weapons of violence and death at the hands of those in power: just His birth exposed the forces of death that are active in working against many people alive today.

Through experiences such as these, Jesus's faith, knowledge, and wisdom grew, at the site of such violence and demonic forces. With the aid of the testimony and memory of the community, Jesus grows in "wisdom and stature". This is important because here God is not only suffering with us, fearing with us, but knowing with us and growing with us.

From this site, filled with violence, but also memory and testimony, Jesus loves. This love produces deliverance at this site that was filled with death and despair. We see that Jesus carries the full burden of knowledge of the powers of evil at the site where evil resides and operates.

So this is Providence, God in control of the universe: God in the person of Jesus of Nazareth, through the Spirit, is working in the world overcoming evil and taking on the full burden of knowledge of death and demonic forces, producing love at the site of violence. Thus, Jesus, through the Spirit, is in control of such forces, but from the site of their execution and operation which enables us to be delivered and redeemed from their oppression.

Furthermore, there are three primary ways in which God interacts with creation. First, God sustains creation. Here, God acts on a different plane than we are acting, but has an effect that manifests itself in our lives, as God is acting as the Ground of reality and the Universe itself. Second, God acts with us, through prayer, praise, and the work of the Spirit as God works alongside us in action. Third, God acts directly in the world unilaterally, through miracles and other works unimpeded. This paradigm is exemplified in the life of Jesus of Nazareth. God entering into our life and vulnerability, through the person of Jesus, is God's arrival is action on a different plane that we cannot affect, but manifests itself through the Incarnation. Jesus's actions while here were alongside others: His mother and father, the Disciples, and those He encountered. Finally, the Resurrection itself was a unilateral move against the powers of death and violence, something that was not going to be hindered by us or Creation.

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