Did God Do It?

I've always thought the slogan "God doesn't tamper with free will" was odd.  Here's my reason.

I have a friend who was on her way to India with a mission agency when she was diverted to Thailand because of an air-traffic controller's strike. Upon her arrival, she discovered that the mission team in Thailand there had been praying for more helpers. They hailed her rerouting as a wonderful answer to their prayers.

Consider this, though. Labor strikes happen when individuals with grievances agree together not to go to work. If a strike is the result of human choices, in what sense did God answer the missionaries' prayers? It seems that without the direct agency of God on the wills of men, apparent answers to prayer are mere accidents.

This illustration points to an even larger issue: Does God have a plan? Is His plan something He merely desires, or is it something He decides will happen? Does God guarantee the outcome of His desires, at least in some cases?

If God cannot determine people's actions in some way, how is it possible for Him to have a plan? Clearly, God does have a plan. Therefore, it follows that our understanding of human freedom is not accurately expressed by the slogan, "God won't tamper with free will."

However we resolve this issue, we must give fair consideration to the fact that God does seem to tamper with the wills of men. Sometimes He does so aggressively, even in ways (like causing air-traffic controller strikes) that seriously inconvenience a lot of other people. If He didn't, history would simply be the chaotic record of human impulse instead of the grand unfolding of God's design.

quick thought |
Greg Koukl