I have to admit something. I don’t understand music videos. Not like, I don’t understand why they exist or the place they have in the industry – but like, when I watch them, I don’t understand them. I consider myself artistic, although not an “artist.” I have played in bands, and perhaps even flirted with the idea of making a video or two, and yet, when I watch the music available online today, most of them are lost on me. This issue is not unique to modern day. There are MANY examples from yesteryear that now live in the annals of Youtube, that prove that the oddities of the content of music videos has existed since their inception.
Care to disagree with me? I think probably not, but for the contrarian soul out there who might feel the need, let me share with you what came up when I did what I normally do each time I am about to write/post something, just to make sure I am not “doubling up” on something that someone else has shared. I googled the phrase “God is in control,” and this little gem immediately arrived on my computer screen.
Now, Ms. Paris is most undoubtedly a wonderful human. A quick stop on Wikipedia tells us that her father is the founder of a Christian College, and she has been a performing artist since her youth. There is even a section entitled “legacy” which is something most of us will never have on Wikipedia. I’m not even saying it’s not a good song – the lyrics are concise, God-honoring and true. I am nearly positive that this song got some of you through a difficult time in life. All of that can be true, AND still not have an affect on what I am about to say. WHY?! Why is the first choice for the music video for a song on God being in control in our world, our lives, and our individual situations – to have Ms. Paris sing in front of dancing ballerinas, practicing in a thunderstorm at the mansion from the either the live action movie of “Beauty and the Beast” or the Marsha Norman classic musical “The Secret Garden?” An investigation into who made that choice and why, is now one of my utmost priorities.
But I am guessing most of you have a second why question right about now. Why have I used your time and this space to bring this all up? I thought you’d never ask. Let me explain. The idea that “God is in control” is, in my estimation, much more difficult to understand than any music video. For those of us who grew up in the faith, we have heard it said, most probably, since we were old enough to remember. For those of you who come from outside Christian tradition, this phrase might be one that scared you off or kept you from becoming a part of the church for sometime, as I am sure it currently doing for many others. What does it really mean? Does God LITERALLY control everything that happens on a daily basis in the lives of every single person who has ever existed? If so, doesn’t that mean that He is responsible for all the evil that has entered our world through the likes of Hitler, Stalin, Mao Tse-Tung, and Osama Bin Laden? IF that’s true, why would we worship and celebrate that God being in control? Can THAT God even be trusted to be in control in the first place? All of these are fair and logical questions, and ones that deserve answers.
There however, is where things get dicey. These questions deserve answers, and for MANY if not ALL of the years, men (and women) have been trying to answer them, And yet, even still, the actual answers remain a mystery to us. Let us extrapolate briefly however. There are two main views, with perhaps a third sprinkled in, and I am sure I will not describe satisfactorily for some holding each, so at least it will be equal.
The first is that God does in fact control EVERYTHING, and while it may seem as though He is not to be trusted or worshipped because of what He has orchestrated throughout history, the reality of the situation is that He has put it all in place to bring Himself the most possible glory, and bring the chosen people into a right relationship with Him. Some of you are saying “AMEN” and others of you are sick to your stomach right now. Such is the life of a theologian.
The second view, is one where God, although omnipotent and all powerful, has allowed for beings of free-will to create a reality in which there are seemingly endless “possibilities.” God knows that all of these possibilities exist, but does not know or control the future in the sense that it cannot be controlled or known until it has happened. In this scenario, He has the ABILITY to control everything, but has chosen not to – having handed it off to us in an act of love.
While there are admittedly countless more views somewhere in between, I think a third view might be worth describing (as it is the one I hold, and I am the author). In this view, God exists outside the current “constraints” of our linear understanding of time (as I am prone to assume He does in the first view), and is not bound by them. Thus, He is able to KNOW the future, without having to control it, and yet still completely capable of controlling it. However, like the second view, He has chosen, because of His nature of being love, to allow us to make our own decisions about choosing Him, His ways, plans, purposes, etc. and in so doing, allows for a world in which evil exists. In this view God can still be in control, and not the cause of evil, because He allows it to happen for a righteous reason.
Now, I can hear most of you screaming now. “The only one that makes sense is _____. The others are heresy!” Or perhaps your point is more with what I haven’t said or done yet, and you’re fumed because “he hasn’t even quoted any Bible verses yet! Surely the answers are in there!” And you know what, you’re all right. There is only one answer that makes sense, and if we read the Bible and understand it perfectly, the answers are indeed in there. But there is one thing I think we can all agree on. You and I (and everyone who has ever lived) are not perfect. We have limited and impure logic. We are incapable of understanding the things and ways of God, in their truest sense.
And so, it is plausible, if not probable, that we will never truly understand the reality of the way that God interacts with us, and our world. We will never comprehend all the truths about God’s divine foreknowledge, or whether He is indeed pulling the strings of our every move. Despite our best attempts, the realities of God will in fact remain, in many ways, unknowable. But fear not because that does not make God, unknowable. I think there is something about God, and His control over us, our world, and the eternal future of our souls, that He has made CRYSTAL clear.
John 3:16–17 (ESV)
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
God has demonstrated His control over the most important and influential things in our existence – death and where we will spend our eternities. This He proved by becoming one of us and conquering the grave. If He can be in control of THOSE things – and prove His love for us is SUPREME and SOVEREIGN, then He demonstrates control over what is most important. Isn’t it fair of us then, to trust that whatever else He controls and how is in our best interest? Or as Paul put it;
Romans 8:28 (ESV)
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
Music videos are confusing. So is the idea of God controlling everything. What’s not, is that God has control over what matters most, and I would say, that the rest, just might not matter.
DawnMarch 3, 2019