Saturday, December 22, 2012

God's Sovereignty and Man's Freewill

If asked, "Is God in control?" my answer, as I understand it from scripture, is absolutely, he most certainly is! In fact, God wouldn't be God if he wasn't in control over what he made. If his will can be frustrated, then ultimately, he's not omnipotent; if he can be surprised then he's not omniscient; if he's subject to time then he's not eternal. If any of these are true then he's not holy (separate from creation).

Is it possible for God, who is omnipotent, omniscient, and eternal, to not thereby bear ultimate responsibility for everything that occurs? If he's capable of speaking the worlds into being, then, minimally, he is capable of stopping anything he wants to, anytime he wants to, with a word! Since nothing happens that he was not aware would happen, then, maximally, he is the cause of all that does happen. God is sovereign, and therefore God is responsible. 

Why then do things occur that are specifically stated in his word as being outside of his desire and will? It would seem that it must be his will for things to occur that are not in his will. What kind of mechanism would make that kind of doublespeak possible without making God hopelessly divided against himself? Namely, independent will would, created by God, for God, and allowed under his governance to express itself as it, rather than he wills.

It makes sense even if it is counterintuitive, seemingly contradicting God's omni characteristics. If will wasn't independent it couldn't actually be will, it could only be instinct or some such like. When God created wills other than his own, independence or autonomy in their expression is what he willed for them in creating them. And evidently, having created them, he is not willing to contravene the exercise of them (at least not for a while). 

So, in his sovereignty, it is God's will that we express ours. That is real, God-given freedom. I take this to be the very core and substance of being created in his image. Because I see things this way I find that Arminianism, rather than Calvinism, more fully encompasses the truth concerning God's sovereignty. The truth is that God is sovereign, and that humans truly have free wills.