The Sovereignty of God and Freewill of Man

Topics: Free will, God, Theology Pages: 12 (4226 words) Published: August 11, 2011
CONTENTS
Introduction………………………………………………………………………………..1 The Anchors of Stability..………..………..…………………………………………...2 Foreknowledge As Hinge……………………………………………………………...3 What Shall We Say To These Things?………………………………………………...7 Do Sovereignty And Foreknowledge Diminish Freedom To Counter Choices?……...8 Conclusion………………………………...………………………………………….10 Bibliography…..…………………………………………………………………………14

Introduction

While the pendulum of opinion among evangelicals concerning the degree to which created man is free under the sovereign God revealed in the bible continues to swing between views that virtually eliminate either man’s freewill or God’s sovereignty, the Scripture teaches that both exist in such a way that neither is diminished. In man’s grappling with this seeming paradox in an attempt to understand, some untether their definitions of God and His attributes from traditional understandings and biblical teaching. Others, remaining tethered to the bible, create explanations that emphasize one aspect (man’s free will or God’s sovereignty) in a way that is extra-biblical. That God is sovereign is biblical. That man is held accountable and commanded to exercise his will is also biblical. The meaning of these concepts is important. While their meaning has been bantered about through the years, consistent understandings of certain attributes of God’s have served as a stability stake of position. Among these attributes are knowledge, simplicity, wisdom, immutability, infinity and timelessness, though this is not an exhaustive list. Whatever conclusion is reached must adhere to a conservative view of these attributes’ definitions. Otherwise, the base source, the Bible, becomes inadequate, untrustworthy and anyone’s opinion is equally valid. Instead, the Bible’s authority is unquestioned, and the conclusion will have to hold to both God’s sovereignty and man’s freewill. The conclusion will not redefine these terms in such a way that it strips genuine meaning in order to suit a personally preferred view. With the previous attributes and their conservatively understood definitions acting as a position of stability, God’s foreknowledge will be examined, as it is the hinge on which most arguments sway in this debate. The degree to which man has free will in the midst of God’s sovereignty is a question framed around the issue, moment and cause of salvation. The Anchors Of Stability

Many theologians, including theological text books, express that an understanding of God is important to the rest of theology. Dr. Norman Geisler says that every other doctrine is based on understanding God.[1] Similarly, Millard J. Erickson declares, “The doctrine of God is the central point for much of the rest of theology. One’s view of God might even be thought of as supplying the whole framework within which one’s theology is constructed, life is lived, and ministry is conducted.”[2] This section will briefly scan the attributes of God mentioned earlier. This is not an exhaustive list of attributes, nor is it intended to be a full and technical review of them. But, these attributes and their definitions will serve as the anchor from which this review’s conclusion can not drift. Knowledge is the first attribute. Simply put, God knows everything. He is omniscient. This doctrine long been understood by the description given in this paper.[3] What God knows, which is everything, he’s always known. There has never been a moment inside or outside time and space he learned anything. And what God knows, he knows at once. Flowing from his knowledge is wisdom. Everything God does is according to what he knows.[4] He is never wrong and never miscalculates. He can not be separated from his holy character in action, what he knows, or how he acts according to what he knows. God is simply or indivisible.[5] There will be no division within him....

Bibliography: Feinberg, John. Geisler, Norman. Reichenbach, Bruce. Pinnock, Clark. Predestination And Free Will: Four Views Of Divine Sovereignty And Human Freedom. Edited by Basinger, David. Basinger, Randall. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1986
Cottrell, Jack W
Lutzer, Erwin W. Where Was God?: Answers To Tough Questions About God And Natural Disasters. Carol Stream: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 2006
DeYoung, Kevin
Basinger, David. The Case For Freewill Theism: A Philosophical Assessment. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1996
Schaeffer, Francis A
Walls, Jerry L. Dongell, Joseph R. Why I Am Not A Calvinist. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2004
Olson, Roger E
Sproul, R. C. Chosen By God: Know God’s Perfect Plan For His Glory And His Children. Carol Stream: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1986
Geisler, Norman
Packer, J. I. Knowing God. 20th Anniversary Ed., Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1973
Boyd, Gregory A
Erickson, Millard J. What Does God Know And When Does He Know It?: The Current Controversy Over Divine Foreknowledge. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2003
Reymond, Robert L
Ryrie, Charles. So Great Salvation: What It Means To Believe In Jesus Christ. Chicago: Moody Press, 1989
Owen, John
Ryrie, Charles. Basic Theology: A Popular Systematic Guide To Understanding Biblical Truth. Wheaton: SP Publications, Inc., 1986
Wright, R
Erickson, Millard. Christian Theology. 2nd ed., Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2009
Geisler, Dr
[2] Erickson, Millard. Christian Theology, 2nd ed., Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2009, 290
[3] Geisler, Dr
[12] Wright, R. K. McGregor. No Place For Sovereignty: What’s Wrong With Freewill Theism. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1996, 139
[13] Erickson, Millard J
[18] Sproul, R.C. Chosen By God: Know God’s Perfect Plan For His Glory And His Children. Carol Stream: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1986, 137
[19] Ibid, 129
[20] Walls, Jerry L. Dongell, Joseph R. Why I Am Not A Calvinist. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2004, 60-61
[21] Olson, Roger E
[22] Packer, J. I. Knowing God. 20th Anniversary Edition. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1973, 260
[23] Ibid, 260
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