The following question is one of the most asked and debated in Christianity, but John Piper does a great job of shedding some biblical light on it. This was found at the Desiring God blog and is an edited transcript of the audio. Check out John Piper’s answer and leave your thoughts on the question?
Has God predetermined every tiny detail in the universe, such as dust particles in the air and all of our besetting sins?
There’s a great quote from Spurgeon about dust motes. You may not even know what a dust mote is, but when I get up in the morning in my room, there’s a window to the side of the bed, and a beam of light will be shining through it at certain times of the year when I get it.
Now when I look through the dark I see nothing. But when I look through the beam I see the dust in the room. It’s flying around, and I say, “I’m breathing that stuff!?” Yes, you are. And Spurgeon says that every one of those particles is keeping its position and moving through the air by God’s appointment.
Now the reason I believe that is because the Bible says, “The dice are thrown in the lap, and every decision is from the Lord” (Proverbs 16:33). Proverbs 16 has a bunch of these verses in it.
Why would he choose “the die is cast into the lap”? It’s because he’s trying to think of the most random thing he could think of. And he says that. So randomness is not random to God.
God is not the least taxed by keeping every sub-nuclear particle in its place. I used to say electrons, but now there’s something smaller than electrons. Everything in the middle of the molecule moving, and the electrons—he’s got them all in orbit, just like he has the planets in orbit.
So the macro-world and micro-world are all managed by God. Which means, Yes, every horrible thing and every sinful thing is ultimately governed by God.
That’s a problem, but the center of the solution is a choice you have to make about the cross. This is what has centered me, anyway: When you go to Acts 4:27-28 and you read that Herod and Pontius Pilate and the Gentiles and the Jews were all gathered together to do what God’s hand and God’s plan had predestined to take place in the killing of Jesus, you have God’s plan and hand predestining the most horrible sins ever committed.
Pilate’s choices, the soldiers’ cruel mockery, the piercing of his side, the cries, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”—these few hours in history were the climax of the worst wickedness that has ever been performed on the planet or ever will be. And God planned it so that we might be saved from those sins.
In other words, what the devil did in unleashing all of that was commit suicide. And I pray that when you contemplate believing in a sovereign God who governs the dust motes, the waves (including tsunamis)—when you contemplate believing in a totally sovereign God, I pray that you will center it right on the cross. Because you’ll go crazy otherwise. You will!
These things have driven people mad. But it won’t drive you mad if you say, “He loves me. And he governed the most wicked thing that ever happened in the world, the crucifixion of my Savior and my God.” If you stay right there and then just work out from there as far as your mind can handle, then you’ll be safe. Your mind will be safe and your heart will be safe, because you’ll be kept humble.
People get very arrogant with these kinds of doctrines. They can use them to club people. But if you stay with the cross, you won’t.
Just one more thing on this. This is right off my front burner, because a lot of us at Bethlehem are reading through Acts. We just read in chapter 2 where Peter said in the sermon to the people who had killed Jesus, “You acted in ignorance”—he didn’t forgive them for that; he said they have to repent—”You acted in ignorance, but God fulfilled what he had promised by the prophets, that the Christ must suffer.” What that said to me, again, was that these people didn’t know what they were doing, but God knew what he was doing.
So the crucifixion of his Son was, quoting Isaiah 53:10, the bruising by the Father of the Son. Therefore the worst sin that was ever committed was ordained by God. And the answer is yes. He controls everything, and he does it for his glory and our good.