How Do You Reconcile God’s Sovereignty with Man’s Freedom?
Question in Response:
Have you ever considered the significance of both Yahweh God and Jesus Christ calling themselves “I am?”
One Minute Response
1. Any attempt to resolve this puzzle must be aware of the possibility that we simply may not have the language, let alone the mental structure, to communicate and understand this issue. God’s sovereignty, intricately connected as it is to His eternal and infinite attributes, may be beyond the limits of finite minds to comprehend. Even Jesus himself indicated the limits of communicating and understanding God at this level when He says in John concerning His age, “Before Abraham was born, I am.” It seems, here, that Jesus had to actually violate the laws of language to come near communicating His infinite attributes. Human language does not seem to have the verb structure (especially in reference to tense) to speak about a timeless being. For, indeed, our language is in time (past, present, future) not outside of time. I do not mean by this that we should not earnestly and aggressively try to understand this. I am simply suggesting that our pursuit should be cloaked in humility of the awesomeness of the Divine Being.
2. Attempts to rationally resolve these two seemingly mutually exclusive truth claims of Christianity fall basically into three camps. (Taken from audio tape series by Paul Cox, call 1-800-723-8442)
- God Ordains (Romans 9)–This view (commonly held by Calvinists) asserts that God ordains everything that happens. They preserve human freedom by suggesting that human freedom is violated only when a person is forced to choose against his desires. God, in His sovereignty, is able to create sufficient causes for man to desire His will and thus freely choose (choose in agreement with one’s desires) what God ordains for him to choose. Mans’ choice of God is determined by God and brought about by sufficient causes.
- God Responds (Romans 8:29)–This view (commonly held by Armenians) asserts that God’s sovereignty is in light of His omniscience. In His omniscience God knows what man will freely choose. His election of men is based upon His knowledge of who will choose Him.
- God Knows (1 Peter 1:1,2)–This view asserts that God’s knowledge and choice are simultaneous. God is a simple being and therefore He cannot be divided. Thus, God knowingly determines and determines knowingly. There is no logical or temporal priority because God is indivisible and outside of time.
C. S. Lewis Miracles (see Appendix: “On Special Providences”)