When you push the button to cast your vote for President, are you making your choice or is God making it for you? Does God give you free will while forcing others to choose His way? It’s a simple question, but the responses I’ve received were less than convincing.
Think about it. Some people believe that God chooses who will be President. And yet, some portion of them (perhaps even a majority) believe they simultaneously have free will. So they choose without God dictating who they choose, and yet God’s man (or woman) gets elected every time.
I’m not sure you can actually believe that.
The Fundamental Question of Our Time
If you’re not a Jesus follower, I’d expect this topic to be a bit offensive or unnerving. You might feel better if you just click away from this discussion and read some other story that confirms what you already believe to be true.
But if that’s not your choice, I welcome you to remain and consider the possibilities:
The Case for God Choosing Who Becomes President
I have a friend who inspired this article by his Facebook post. He began by empathizing with friends who are disappointed and even angry that Donald Trump was elected President. He admits that his preference was another man in the Republican Party. But over time he sought the Lord to inquire about His choice, and he heard that Trump was God’s choice for this hour.
His argument begins with Romans 13:1. No one is given authority unless it comes from God, so therefore God wanted this man to be our President for this particular moment in human history. And if authority comes from God, then Trump’s election came from God. And if God chose Trump, how could you bear to oppose God’s choice?
The question I want to ask those of you that despise Trump is this: what if you’re wrong? What if the things you say against this man are resisting God’s will for the country? We are called to pray for our leaders (as we did with Obama, Bush, Clinton, etc). I understand disagreeing on policy (I disagreed with a large portion of Obama’s policies), but that’s different than hating a God-appointed individual.
I have known this man for a good ten years. I know his character. I trust him. I respect him. I am grateful to know him. He was an example of humble and eager willingness to serve others. And yet I don’t agree with this worldview. I believe God made man in his image – to continue the sacred act of stewardship and creation. And our nation chose to be a democratic republic, and so we vote for our leaders based upon who we want (or based solely upon who we don’t want).
What if God Doesn’t Choose Who Becomes President?
I don’t consider election results to be an act of God because in his wisdom he gave us the power to elect. He has chosen to allow us to steward amazing gifts and free will. I don’t believe God can or would fix an election, because we have based our government on His very same principal of free will.
I see divine election tampering as similar to God being unable to lie. He doesn’t violate himself. So I neither give God the credit for our election results, nor do I give him the blame. It is an honor and a privilege to represent the King of Creation in every election I participate in. I am expressing my understanding of God’s sovereign will by choosing who I want to be president. And I believe God honors that.
Either I am free to vote my choice or I’m not. If every man and woman exercises their free will as they cast their ballots, then the election is decided by the people.
Many people in history have seemed to carry an unusual amount of favor with others, and that contributes to their success.
But to me, it’s the same as praying for the sick. I don’t pray for the sick very often. I seek the Lord and I declare them well. I call forth the result because I am an ambassador of the King. I represent him. He doesn’t do all the work because he put me in a position to represent him.
That is how delegated authority works. Our nation has delegated equal voice and rights to each voter.
My friend’s response:
First, I agree that we represent God (in every aspect of our lives) including how we vote. As a democratic republic there is a responsibility to vote according to those principles… I agree 100%. However, I do not view God-ordained elected officials as divine tampering, but as answered prayer. When we cry out for righteousness in America, those answers frequently come in the form of people. Leaders are manifestations of the spiritual state of the nation (particularly the nations that have covenant with God). The opposite is also true when the nation declares a rejection of God and their desire to pursue sin, He will give them an unrighteous leader, that will lead them into judgement.
I would also suggest two other notions: (1) God still has influence on the thoughts/opinions of people (even if they are lost) without violating their free will (2) God doesn’t have to abide by free will, although He usually chooses to. (1) Modern examples of the first assertion are: lost people repenting and coming to Christ (the desire to repent starts with God) and the Muslim man in Father of Lights granting favor to the crew to enter (and record) the Dome at the Rock. Scriptural examples: Nehemiah having favor from Xerxes, Joseph finding favor with the Pharoah, God prophesying through Caiaphas, etc.
(2) Delegating authority is not the same as relinquishing authority. If a sheriff deputizes an individual, that new officer has the authority to enforce the law… however the sheriff has not relinquished his authority. Likewise, while God has delegated authority to us in Christ… He has not forfeit His authority. God giving us free will does not mean He is relegated to only responding to our decisions, but is still fully capable of rendering His own judgment and decisions.