Is God a Control Freak?
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When Mary’s boss retired from his position in the company, his successor, Mr. Thomas, had a very different management style. Mr. Thomas now wanted to keep tabs on everyone in the office. He wanted reports of what everyone was doing each week, and he wanted to make the decisions on how each project was going to be handled. He also wanted to be copied on any email or correspondence that went to anyone. He was very critical of everyone. It seemed he was never pleased with anyone’s performance. He constantly told his staff how they could do their jobs better, and rarely praised them for anything.
The employees began to dread going to work because they felt stifled and watched over like a hawk. It appeared to them their new boss was trying to control their every move and it destroyed their initiative and creativity. They feared making any move because he would jump in and change whatever they did anyway.
Mr. Thomas had a management style known as “micromanagement,” but his staff just called him a “control freak” because he seemed to control every move anyone in the office made.
Many people also look at God as being a control freak. They look at His laws as being stifling and burdensome and as a means to control people and prevent them from having the freedom to do the things they would really like to do. They feel He watches over us and can’t wait to condemn us when we do something wrong.
But is this true? Is God a control freak? Does He not allow humans freedom? And does He use His laws to stifle, burden, and control us? Let’s look into the Bible and find out what we can about God’s management style.
Let’s first go to Genesis and look at the time of the creation of humans and how God interacted with them in the beginning of their existence. Genesis 2:15-17 says, “Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to tend and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, ‘Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.’” (NKJV throughout)
Then God goes on to create the woman and allows the serpent to tempt her to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. She and her husband chose to listen to the serpent and disobeyed God’s commands, and ate of that tree anyway.
Now, let’s stop right there and look at God’s actions. He allowed the man and woman to eat of every tree in the garden except for one because it was bad for them. He allowed the serpent to tempt the man and woman. And most importantly, He allowed them the right to choose which way they were going to go.
We don’t see God standing over them controlling and preventing them from eating of the knowledge of good and evil. He gave them the freedom to choose. And they did choose. They chose to disobey and sin. Through their actions, sin entered the world and the penalty of death then spread to all men, because all mankind would sin (Romans 5:12). There were enormous consequences for their actions, but God still allowed them the right to choose.
Free moral agency is a gift that God has given to every human being. He allows us to make our own decisions and choices. This is something God does not control. He did not make us robots where we are just programmed to do what He wants us to do. He created billions of human beings each with their own individuality, thinking, and reasoning and the ability to make choices, even choices against Him. And this is what Adam and Eve did; they chose to disobey God.
Now, because God allows us the freedom to make choices, it does not mean there are no consequences. All of our choices have consequences. God established spiritual laws that govern our existence, and when we violate them there are repercussions. God did not establish these laws to stifle humans and control them; He established them so there would be peace, order, righteousness, and good in the earth, because that is the result of obeying them. God says in Deuteronomy 5:29, “Oh, that they had such a heart in them that they would fear Me and always keep all My commandments, that it might be well with them and with their children forever!” God’s laws were established for the good of everyone. It is not a burden or oppressive to keep them. On the contrary, it produces peace and harmony.
So, when we look at God’s management style over the course of history, we can’t say He has micromanaged humans. On the contrary, He has allowed them to choose to disobey His laws and reap the unhappy results. He has allowed them to go their own way and establish their own governments and societies. And He has, for the most part, stepped back and stayed out of mankind’s affairs.
Because God has not controlled humanity, it does not mean He is not in control. He always has been and always will be in control. His plan is being carried out in spite of humanity’s choice to go the wrong way.
A big part of God’s plan was sending Jesus Christ to die for humanity’s sins (which incurred the death penalty) and pave the way to offer eternal life to humans. Actually, this was in God’s plan before He created humans. It says in Revelation 13:8 that Christ was slain from the foundation of the world. This tells us that God’s plan included allowing humans the right to choose, and how He planned to redeem us from making the wrong choice, even from the very beginning.
If we were to try to define God’s management style, we would have to say it is “love.” 1 John 4:8 tells us that God is love. Everything that God does is based on love and an outgoing concern for everyone involved.
· God has given every human being free moral agency—the ability to make their own choices.
· God established laws that if obeyed would result in peace and happiness and good for all. God has allowed humanity the individual freedom to choose to obey or not obey His laws and reap the consequences of their actions.
· God is and always has been in control. He does not want robots, but wants individuals of their own volition to choose to go the way of good, by understanding the devastating harm he suffers when ignoring God’s life-giving laws.
· God is not a micromanager or a control freak, but has a management style of “love.”
God has created billions of human beings with their own individuality and free moral agency. He wants to share eternity with us, an eternity free from suffering and unhappiness. God has a plan for how we may achieve eternal life. He has allowed humans the freedom to choose whether to obey Him or not; to choose life or death. Which choice will you make?
For more helpful reading request our free booklets Who Is God? and Why Does God Allow Suffering?