A case for Free Will through self-imposed limitations of the Sovereignty of God

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Joseph_Botwinick, Jan 1, 2006.

  1. Joseph_Botwinick

    Joseph_Botwinick
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    The pastor preached about the doctrine of election tonight and basically gave the arminian version of the doctrine. His strongest argument tonight, in my mind, for free-will, was the idea that God is sovereign, but that he limits his sovereignty to the point that he does not impose his will for salvation upon us. The idea that God limits his sovereignty certainly seems to me to have some basis in the Bible as the Bible states that Jesus did not know the day nor the hour of his return: Matthew 24:36 , and that he emptied himself: Phillipians 2:5-7 .

    What are your thoughts about this concept limiting his own sovereignty?

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  2. Me4Him

    Me4Him
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    Two men are arrested for "Speeding", brought before the "JUDGE".

    One man ask for "Forgiveness", the other "doesn't", the Judge then informs both the "FINE" is a "Zillion dollars",

    The Judge grants "Forgiveness" to the one who ask, then informs him the "FINE" must still be "PAID", every "jot/title" required by the "LAW" must be "Fulfilled", "WHO" will pay the "FINE", for him??

    A very "WEALTHY" man steps forward and offer to pay the fine for "BOTH",.."IF".. they will accept his "PAYMENT".

    The "JUDGE" now has "two options",

    1. He can "INFORM BOTH" men of the offer, and let them chose, OR

    2. He can only inform the one who "ask forgiveness", and withhold the information about the "OFFER" of payment from the other, condemning him to prison.

    The "First Judge" is an Arminian. (offer Free will choice)

    The "Second Judge" would be a "Calvinist". (no "effectual call", not informing)

    Which "JUDGE" would be "Administering the law", without "PREJUDICE"???
     
  3. bjonson

    bjonson
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    Hello...

    The idea that God "limits" His sovereignty seems to negate the whole idea of sovereignty.

    Question for your pastor: Did God force salvation on Paul when he knocked him off his horse?
     
  4. Watchman

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    Deut. 30:15 "See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil."

    Such passages that speak of man having a choice is dispersed throughout Scripture.
    I do not believe Joe that God made puppets. He made man with a free will and looks to see if we will honor Him as God or no, Love Him or no, serve Him or no.
    On the other hand I do not see how God's sovereignty is affected here. He made salvation possible, He sacrificed His Son, He offers the gift to us. I do not feel that God's sovereignty is affected in the least because man has this choice.
     
  5. Helen

    Helen
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    God is certainly big enough and sovereign enough to do as He chooses to do! If He has chosen to limit His own sovereignty in some way, that does not diminish His sovereignty in the whole, for He can certainly choose to do otherwise anytime He likes.

    As a parent, which is the only (however imperfect) parallel I can draw here, it seems to me that the parent who forces decisions on his children not only prevents them from maturing, but is very unsure of himself and is constantly needing to reaffirm his control.

    But a parent who is sure of his control and wants his children to mature is going to allow them to make their own decisions at various times in order to help them learn and mature.

    Now this is very imperfect because children do not choose to come into this world, as one of my daughters very angrily informed me when I had to punish her many years ago! But the point of the parallel I was trying to draw is not that, but rather that the parent who allows his children circumscribed freedoms and choices is a much more in control or 'sovereign' parent than the one who forces his will and decisions on his children.

    So I see God's sovereignty as bigger and more magnificent BECAUSE He has allowed us free choice. He's big enough for that.
     
  6. rlvaughn

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    Why would God have to limit His sovereignty in order to save everybody, or make a general provision? Isn't His sovereignty as Helen describes it -- "God is certainly big enough and sovereign enough to do as He chooses to do!"

    He works His will in the armies of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth. Who can say, "What doest thou?" I would disagree that God would have to "limit His sovereignty" in order to save whosoever He would.

    The question is not that, but rather, whom did God in His sovereignty choose to save? If the Bible teaches universalism, general provision, or unconditional election, that is what He in His sovereignty chose to do. So to me it not a matter of making some kind of philosophical concessions on the subject of sovereignty, but just finding out what the Bible teaches.
     
  7. Joseph_Botwinick

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    My pastor did not argue that God had to limit his sovereignty to save us, simply that he did.

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  8. Me4Him

    Me4Him
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    2Pe 3:9 not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

    We know that some do perish, God condemns them to hell, so,

    We know that God's "JUDGEMENTS" are not according to his "personal wishes" than "all should come to repentance", but according to what the law requires.

    "JUSTICE" derived from "predilection" (predestination) rather than the "LAW", is a "VIOLATION" of the law it's self,

    Will God, "transgress his law", if he does, he "SINS".

    Calvin failed to understand how the system of "law/justice" functioned, as do most people today.
     
  9. rlvaughn

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    ? to Joseph:
    In other words, to give us the ability of choice then? Or in some other context?
     
  10. StefanM

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    As a non-Calvinist, I've generally believed along these lines. IMO, it would be presumptuous to claim that God MUST grant free-will or that humanity inherently possesses free-will. However, I prefer to think of free-will as something that God has sovereignly chosen. This solves, IMO, the sovereignty of God objection. Why does God have to predestine everything without any free-will? He doesn't. He could choose that, and he would be just, but I don't think he has chosen that path.

    John 1:9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.

    I see this as being analogous to a general granting of free-will in contrast to the sinful nature in humanity.
     
  11. Joseph_Botwinick

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    What Stefan said.

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  12. canadyjd

    canadyjd
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    Joseph

    This is a rather new doctrine; it may be called the "openness of God" theology.

    It is a way some have chosen to justify the notion of "free-will" for people to accept or reject Christ when scripture clearly teaches God has sovereignty over the salvation of men.

    That Christ was "humanly limited" during His earthly ministry has always been debated in the Church. I certainly do not think such "limitations" would apply to the GodHead.

    I am certain scripture does not teach God has limited His sovereignty in the salvation of men. It clearly says otherwise.

    peace to you [​IMG]
     
  13. StefanM

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    This is definitely NOT open theism.
     
  14. canadyjd

    canadyjd
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    StefanM

    What is the difference?

    peace to you [​IMG]
     
  15. StefanM

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    If I were the pastor, I would have chosen different terminology. I would define it as a sovereign choice to allow free-will instead of a limitation of sovereignty.
     
  16. StefanM

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    Open theism says that God is not omniscient (I know it redefines the term, but I think most of us can agree that open theists essentially deny the doctrine). This theology does not deny God's omniscience.
     
  17. Joseph_Botwinick

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    Stefan,

    He said it was a self-imposed limitation of his sovereignty. I believe he quoted some guy named E.Y. Mullins near the end of his sermon.

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  18. Joseph_Botwinick

    Joseph_Botwinick
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    Open theism says that God is not omniscient (I know it redefines the term, but I think most of us can agree that open theists essentially deny the doctrine). This theology does not deny God's omniscience. </font>[/QUOTE]You are correct here. It denies God's omnipotence.

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  19. canadyjd

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    Here is a source which indicates they are very similar:

    http://www.carm.org/open/intro.htm

    "In open theism, the future is either knowable or not knowable. For the open theists who hold that the future is knowable by God, they maintain that God voluntarily limits His knowledge of free will choices so that they can remain truly free.2"

    peace to you [​IMG]
     
  20. StefanM

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    Then I disagree with his phrasing. I don't consider it even a self-imposed limitation of his sovereignty because I consider it to be an exercise of his sovereignty to choose one method over another.
     

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