WAIT! Don’t leave yet. Hear me out. This is not me being a polemic (not that I have a problem with that).
Caution: What follows requires thinking! This is not easy stuff, but again, hear me out. You see, the heresy is hidden in the humble platitude. This is an effective tool of the Enemy. His “light”. Do not be deceived. As usual with neo-Reformed theology, the Devil is in the details. Literally.
God is in control.
That makes sense, right?
Or does it?
God is in control. Hmm. Something about this has just never sit well with me.
We hear this a lot, and usually it is qualified on the basis of what He “allows” or does not “allow”. And what does He allow or not allow? Well…we are not given the grace to perceive these things…of course. Like so much of what is taught in church these days, you must merely accept that the contradictions in such notions are merely that which God has somehow decided we don’t need to know. See, logical and existential contradictions aren’t really contradictions in the new reformation sweeping like a contagion throughout our churches. They are the pure “truth”. What we can actually see and know to be true as a function of humanity’s existential reality, based on a right and quantifiable understanding of our environment, based on our ability to reason, is merely a shadow of reality, if that. This of course is quite convenient. If the human beings which fill the pews and the burgundy chairs by definition cannot know anything, then they are easily manipulated by those who, somehow, do. And even if those who are specially dispensed to somehow rule concede that they don’t know either, what they can concede is that God put them in charge at any rate; and so if you don’t know and your ecclesiastical “authority” doesn’t know, well, its basically a zero sum game. You might as well sit down and submit, because YOU have not been divinely appointed to explain what to do with the knowledge that is…er, unknowable, because it is contradictory, because it is divine “truth”. And because you are totally depraved.
But God is in control…that just makes sense, right? I mean, this is not even a neo-Calvinist thing. Everyone says this; almost every Christian is wholly committed to the idea that God, as a direct function of his omnipotence, must of course actually BE in CONTROL of EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE. For that, after all is our definition of perfect power, no?
Well, I suppose I could accept that. Except for one small thing.
The idea that “God is in control” is completely irrational.
Wait. Don’t leave. Let me qualify. It is not irrational if by “God is in control” we mean that God is in control of Himself. It IS, however, irrational, and untenable if by “God is in control” we mean that He is in control of Himself AND everything else. For this cannot be reconciled to sense or reason. It is wholly unworkable in organized reality, and thus, should be dismissed as an appeal to rank fantasy and mysticism. Further, I submit that in almost all cases, this is exactly what is meant. God’s control is NOT limited merely to Himself, but to everything else as well. Again, this notion should be summarily dismissed as rationally untenable.
The very idea of God’s “control” over Creation is purely a theoretical, infinite absolute. Since the control is of God, and God Himself is an infinite absolute, the control of which we speak must be absolute as well. But, since the control itself is NOT God, and it is NOT Creation (or man), then control cannot be actual; that is, it cannot be viscerally, physically real. Therefore and again, control must be purely theoretical. It is not an actual thing. Yes, like God, it is infinite. Yes, like God it is absolute. But, unlike God, it doesn’t actually exist. It is merely a way that MAN is able to qualify some observable action which is a function of something real. Like God, for example.
So, God is real, but “control” is not, as such. And in such a case, “control” being absolute AND theoretical cannot be applied to man’s contextual physical reality, because man’s physical reality is not absolute and not theoretical, and does not actually exist in a way that can be consistent with the idea of infinite absolute “control”.
Have I lost you? I thought so. I know…this is tough stuff. Forgive me. You gotta think about this a while. Believe me, I have.
Take a breath. Hang on. Stay with me. This is going someplace.
“Control” cannot be applied to man’s contextual, physical reality without some form of quantifiable limitation. For example, a coordinate system such as mathematical spacetime; or linguistic concepts (e.g. run, sky, black, car, stop, etc.) which are buffeted by actual physical reality; that is, observable physical boundaries between separate objects within that reality.
But if God’s absolute control (for God’s control must, again, be absolute, as anything which IS a direct function of God MUST be absolute also, by extension) is limited by the observable limitations of Creation’s physical boundaries between objects within it and with God, then God’s control cannot be absolute control, it can only be limited control. And limited control as a function of God’s absolute power over his Creation absolutely is, obviously, a contradiction in terms. So what this means then is that God’s control cannot be absolute over Creation unless Creation is an extension of God himself…again, because ABSOLUTE control cannot by definition be exerted over what is ultimately LIMITED, without being a contradiction in terms.
Listen again: Absolute control cannot be LIMITED by the actual SELF of the thing over which it exerts its absolute control–in this case, Creation. If we concede that Creation is indeed limited, then absolute control cannot be exerted because absolute control cannot possibly be exerted over what is NOT absolute because this creates a contradiction whereby the infinite, limitless absolute control must be, by definition, limited in its application precisely because the context of where it is occurring (Creation), is limited. And absolute-ness cannot be a function of both infinity and limitation.
Okay. Maybe this has not gotten easier. Go take a smoke break. Maybe hit the bathroom. Perhaps a sandwich and a glass of your favorite adult beverage (if your are an adult, or over 21,which are not necessarily the same thing). Regroup, and come back.
Okay. Let’s go back a bit.
God is absolute, Creation is observably limited–qualified, for example, by the mathematical, theoretical constructs of space and time–between objects. ALL theoretical abstractions then, whether linguistic or mathematical, must be qualified by the context in which they are applied, either by “pictures” in our minds of the object or objects which the language is describing, or by set numerical values within the theoretical framework of the mathematical “system”. In other words, observable reality, apprehended by the senses, is what actually allows these theoretical concepts to be practically applied. Reality…that is, our physical universe, provides the observable limitations to man’s infinite (in and of themselves) cognitive theoretical abstractions he uses to organize it. Without physical reality as the anchor for ALL of man’s understanding, there can be NO measurable and thus knowable efficacious truth.
But, according to our neo-reformed Christian foundations, man’s physical reality cannot limit God’s absolute…well, anything. Including His control. So, again, God’s control cannot be absolute unless Creation is actually like God. And, since the only thing “like” God in its absolute-ness is God…you can easily see where this must mean that Creation IS God. This is the only context where God’s control can be absolute over Creation. Creation IS God, metaphysically and, moreover, physically. This makes Creation infinite, and so God’s control can be likewise infinite. Thus producing a situation where God’s absolute control is not a contradiction limited by the setting of His control. Namely, Creation.
Now, among other very serious and certainly blasphemous (and worse) problems with this notion is that it means that, really, control then cannot be exerted at all over Creation, much less absolutely, because it is contradictory to say that God controls Himself within the absolute One-ness which is Himself. This is an untenable, unworkable redundancy.
So what conclusion are we left at the end of this dicey and cumbersome excursion into logical metaphysics? It is namely this: that God’s control cannot be limited in Creation at ALL; what we are really speaking of when we speak of God’s control can only be God’s control over HIMSELF, within the context of an independent, self-abled Creation, which then must, by definition, include man.
God’s control then, cannot logically be a function of “allowing” or “not allowing”…for the idea of absolute control over Creation does not grant the possibility of this kind of distinction whatsoever. Because in the context of absolute control by God over Creation, “allowing” things in Creation to happen towards a given end is the very same thing as “NOT allowing” to a given end. They are both direct functions of God’s singular absolute divine control. Which I have already shown is impossible unless Creation is God.
Again, if God’s control is limited it is not absolute. And we have seen that IF God “controls”—employs “control” of some kind in His interactions with Creation, which I submit He does—then this control must be limited; and what defines this limitation of His control must be demarcated, and quantified so that the “control” can be declared a separate thing, in order to be workable within the context of God interacting with Creation. The demarcation must be a very stark, very real, quantifiable and thus physical boundary.
What is this boundary? Well, I submit that what it is, and what it can only be, is the inherent and wholly separate mutually exclusive (i.e. God cannot be Creation and Creation cannot be God) abilities of Creation and God to BE what they are and to DO what they do, wholly apart from one another. In short, and as I said before, if God is in control then He is only in control of Himself. Because He cannot be in control of Creation without making Creation Himself, which is metaphysically and rationally impossible. And, conversely then, Creation (and more importantly, man) is in control of itself, apart from God. Creation and man is the sole determiner of ITSELF/HIMSELF. God cannot determine man or Creation unless they are Himself. And I’m not sure anyone, not even a Calvinist, will accept this.
How God controls things in Creation must then be similar to how man controls things in his environment. If I pick up a glass of water, I am in “control”, but only in a limited sense, of the glass of water. The glass of water moves where I take it…to the table, to my mouth, tilted over your head. But what is clear is that I do not become the glass of water. My control is limited by notion and reality of self; that is myself, and the self that is the glass of water. Any control I have cannot go beyond that boundary; it can only take advantage of the glass of water insofar as the glass of water is able to be moved and manipulated and still be declared a separate thing. My moving the glass of water does not mean I possess it…it is wholly a function of my free consciousness and volition taking advantage of the innate ABILITY of the glass of water to BE what it is, separate from me. My control cannot exceed its ability to be what it is…made of glass, full of water, able to be picked up, tilted, poured over your head…all of this is a direct function first and foremost of the glass of water’s innate ability to BE and DO, not a function of my control. The ability of the glass of water to BE and DO constrains my control of it. Therefore, my control is NOT absolute.
The same is true of God. His control is NOT absolute, but MUST first and foremost be constrained by the innate and self-generated ability of Creation and Man to BE and DO. Even if God is performing a miracle, such as turning water into wine, or parting the Red Sea (I have this water theme on my mind, apparently), all miracles occur within the confines of the SELF which is the water, which becomes wine, which is also its SELF. The root of which is always inexorably and categorically the external, separate thing.
Now, it may seem as though I am hyper-rationalizing the argument…God can do anything with anything at all, even changing its physical reality (water becomes wine; Lazarus who died becomes Lazarus who lives). And that is true, but the germane point is recognizing that there is always an inherent self in the Created thing which cannot be undone, or usurped, in order that there may be a constant boundary between God (who is absolute and cannot be anything other than what He is, by definition; He cannot be Creation) and the other object (whether wine, or water, or a glass, or MAN) so that God does not become existentially redundant. Where this argument becomes supremely important is in regards to other living consciousnesses…namely man. Man must always be himself, of himself, by himself, regardless of how God interacts with him. Any other construct is hypocrisy and a divine impossibility.
So, what this all means, once again, is that any sort of idea of divine determinism is rationally untenable. “God controls all things” put simply, cannot be true.
God Allows/Does Not Allow: Encore and expansion
In the context of the Divine, the Perfect, and the Absolute Sum and Fullness of Itself, who is named by the only rational name—I AM; yes, in this context the control of Creation, which is to say of anything NOT God, must also then be perfect and absolute.
This being the case, when directly applied to the notion of divine control over Creation there can be no logical difference between God allowing or not allowing certain and/or specific events, circumstances, etc. They are both functionally the exact same thing. Since God’s control is absolute, He is wholly and categorically responsible and culpable for the outcome of the event or circumstance, regardless of whether He “allows” it or not. The event is directly caused by God’s absolute control, and thus, there can be no real distinction between allowing and not allowing. In both cases, each are a function of God’s perfect control, and the outcomes thus are anchored and tethered, uninterrupted, to the exact same source.
For if A=B=C means that A=C; and also we accept that A=X=C means likewise that A=C, then the argument for this specific example, where we substitute A, B, C, and X with values from my argument, looks like this:
Divine Control = Allowing = Event Comes to Pass; and
Divine Control = NOT Allowing = Event Which Comes to Pass
Thus it follows that in both cases, the outcome is identical:
Divine Control = Event Which Comes to Pass, regardless of whether it is allowed or not.
The equation is undeniable. All events are directly a function of God’s control. If the car accident happens because God caused it or allowed it to happen, God is–because He is unable to appeal to ANY outside influence over the events by definition because He and His control are ABSOLUTE–completely culpable in both cases. Attempting to somehow make a distinction about what caused the accident—between what God DID do and DID NOT do; which are functions of the same absolute: God—is redundant, confusing, and contradictory; and even worse, I submit that this idea is specifically designed to camouflage the real message which is implicit in the theology. It is merely a further facet of a neo-Reformed/Calvinist construct designed to remove humanity from itself and to place it under the ownership and exploitation of tyrannical mystics masquerading as today’s Christian “leadership”.
My argument concerning what is the evil root of this theology then inexorably concludes with the logical (and my oft-stated) assumption that God is all that Creation and Man is and does. Which either makes God the direct author of evil or destroys the concept of evil entirely, replacing it with what amounts to moral relativism; there is no such thing, in this construct, as good or evil. For all that happens—both the event and its moral implications—is by and of God, absolutely.
Which is the greater apostasy of the two options I will leave you to decide. For me, they are both equal parts abuse, exploitation, oppression, violent suppression, and ultimately, utter destruction of humanity.