C F Martin D28 acoustic guitar
- Jun 13, 2014
Sovereignty would be like an earthly King.
It means that God rules over everything...He has the power to do as He wishes.
But I do NOT believe this removes our free will.
As far as I can understand,,,the very fact that God has given us Free Will is indicative of the fact that He is so sovereign that He does not FEAR giving us free will.
I believe that those that think God loses Sovereignty by giving us free will understand Him to be a weak God that cannot even handle that.
To me God is More Sovereign (if that could be possible) precisely because of our Free Will.
When we see the wickedness in our world, we could be tempted to say that God, the Almighty One, is not in absolute, sovereign control of our world. I’m thinking of:
- The ebola outbreak in Western Africa. See, ‘Every Second Counts: New Ebola Report Predicts Huge Spike Without Action’ (NBC News, October 9, 2014).
- ‘Confrontation with the diabolical’ (Emperor Nero, first century).
- Residents forced to flee from Syria into Turkey because of IS insurgents. See, ‘Syria crisis: 66,000 flee Islamic State into Turkey’ (BBC News, 20 September 2014).
- ‘Anabaptists who suffered for truth’s sake’ (The Baptist Pillar 1992).
- A Brisbane murder suicide involving the dismembering of a body and boiling in chemicals. See, ‘Chef behind grisly Brisbane murder-suicide: police’ (Brisbane Times, October 6, 2014).
- ‘The Holocaust: Adolph Hitler’ (Holocaust denial on trial).
- ‘Christians flee Mosul [Iraq] amid threats to convert or die’ (USA Today, July 29, 2014).
- ‘Diabolical despots: Idi Amin Dada’ (Vince Lewis).
- Atheist Communists slaughtered more than 100 Million people in the last century (Free Republic, 17 May 2012).
- Now we have the world-wide calamity of COVID-19 virus.
1. God is not absolutely sovereign
He can change his mind. This is the view of open theism. The late Clark Pinnock (d. 2010) was regarded as the father of open theism. Here is an online lecture by Pinnock, ‘Clark Pinnock on Open Theology (Pt. 1 of 7)’.
Greg Boyd, a promoter of open theism, has stated that God ‘does not know every detail about what will come to pass…The future is, to some degree at least, open ended and God knows it as such’ (Boyd 2000:8).
Open theism questions these fundamentals of orthodox theology:
- God’s omniscience (all knowledge);
- God’s immutability (unchanging);
- God’s eternity;
- God’s omnipresence;
- God’s unity;
- God’s omnipotence (all-powerful).
Also see, “The doctrine of open theism“.
2. God’s sovereignty and free will
I consider that the biblical teaching is that God is absolutely sovereign and that sovereignty includes the free will decisions of human beings. This is a brief overview of God’s sovereign attributes:
God is before all things (Ps 90:2; Col 1:17);
All things were created by God (Jn 1:3);
God sustains all things (Heb 1:3);
God is above and over all things ( Eph 4:6);
God is all knowing (Ps 139:4-6; Heb 4:13);
God is all-powerful (Gen 18:4);
God’s sovereignty implies that He does what He wills (Isa 14:24, 27).
This sovereignty means that
God is the ruler over all things (1 Chron 29:11-12);
God does whatever He pleases (i.e. is in control of everything) (Ps 115:3);
Earthly kings are controlled by God (Prov 21:1);
God’s control extends to human events (Isa 55:11);
Good and evil angels are under God’s control (Col 1:15-16; Eph 1:21; 1 Ki 22:19-22);
God controls Satan (Job 1:6; 2:1; Rev 20:10).
3. The most difficult concept to grasp
This is the one we find most perplexing to understand:
God sovereignly controls our free choices, including our salvation (Eph 1:4, 11; 1 Pt 2:8). Yes, he is sovereign, but that does not eliminate human free will decisions.
God’s sovereignty does not make free choice and human responsibility to be fakes. God is not a sovereign Puppet Master who pulls the strings of life for all people and nations. One of the great mysteries of God’s sovereignty is that He is absolutely sovereign but human responsibility is genuine in the midst of this mystery.
The apostle Paul affirms the depth of the riches in God’s wisdom and knowledge in Romans 11:33. Long before Paul, Moses stated it profoundly,
God's sovereignty can never be dissociated from his attribute of omniscience (all-knowing). They go together like a hand in glove.
That should be a starter.