Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Sovereignty: True and False

Which of the following is most consistent with a biblical view of God’s sovereignty?

1) God is sovereign; therefore everything that happens within His creation has been predetermined and controlled by God. If anything happened that was contrary to God’s specific will (including anything that man does), then God’s sovereignty would be compromised. To maintain the integrity of His sovereignty, God and God alone chooses which individuals will be saved and will ensure that they are saved no matter what their individual attitudes towards God may have been. Man has no part to play (and no responsibility at all) regarding his own salvation or damnation because that would undermine God’s sovereignty.


2) God is sovereign; therefore He alone has the sovereign right to determine the purpose for which His creation exists and He alone has the right to determine the laws and conditions by which His creation exists and continues to exist. By His sovereign choice He has given a degree of free will to mankind. God does not control man’s choices and actions but He has made mankind responsible for the choices he makes within that freedom given to him by God. God and God alone has determined the consequences for man’s obedience or disobedience. Man is able to make choices that are contrary to God’s will but as a result of that disobedience will suffer the penalty that God has ordained and that God will enforce. God expresses His sovereignty in a way of His own choosing to obtain an outcome of His own choosing. That outcome includes the adoption of men and women who willingly respond to the gift He has given to all – His Son Jesus

I wrote the two alternatives above because of the following (deleted) comment left earlier on this blog, submitted by the multi-pseudonymed Calvinist who may be familiar from other threads.
the evangelical has left a new comment on your post "Frustration and Cranial Bruising":

"These people respect God’s revelation more than man’s theology"--excepting of course the revelation of His absolute sovereignty.
Really, Tim, which is it--monergism or synergism? The truth is humbling. All pagan systems are synergistic. ALL. What does that say about your synergistic system? Oh, but of course you alone hold all knowledge, and wisdom will die with you. Academics; head knowledge--or new birth...

In addition to the above alternative types of “sovereignty” I would ask which is the TRULY sovereign God:

1) One who can not maintain sovereignty unless he personally controls everything and everyone; who has to personally control every thought and action otherwise he can not be sure that his sovereign will can come to fruition. A god who needs to control man’s thought and action to ensure he has followers (even though they are followers against their will).
2) One who is secure enough in His sovereignty that He can allow man a degree of free will to enable man to become willing followers.

The issue of the definition of sovereignty depends upon what kind of God and gospel we believe; and how secure He and His sovereignty really are.

I’ve used the illustration before – what kind of God do you worship?
1) One who creates a Stepford wife for His son? A wife who “loves” because she is programmed to do so and has no real feeling for her husband?

2) One who seeks a willing bride, a bride who can willingly respond with genuine love and affection for the bridegroom?

And note the common accusation at the end of “the evangelical’s” comment. It is an accusation many make in an attempt to discredit a person and his point of view without actually addressing the issue. They accuse a person of thinking they know it all because that person dares to oppose their own beliefs.
No I do not know it all – but I know enough to approach the whole of scripture with integrity so I can understand what God is revealing, and not merely use parts of scripture to support what I have already determined to believe.

Also, the claim about all pagan systems being ‘synergistic” is very ironic, considering that Calvinism shares the fatalistic viewpoint of both paganism and Islam.

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