An Honest look at the Sovereignty of God

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by BobRyan, Feb 10, 2007.

  1. BobRyan

    BobRyan
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2002
    Messages:
    30,837
    Likes Received:
    4
    In the C/A discussion we often get to the point where someone says "God CAN't be sovereign if He lets you choose something".

    And that statement clearly rests on a biased definition for "Sovereign".

    Is a parent STILL Sovereign over what their infant child - IF they do not hold the hands of the infant 24/7 so that every twitch of the finger is only the doing of the parent NOT the child?

    Many Calvinists on this board seem to argue "yes they would fail to be sovereign over their own infant if they do not control every muscle twitch - every motion, every inhale, every exhale manually".

    The Arminian argument is that Sovereignty shows the range and domain of the one with the power and authority - but does NOT dictate that the sovereign ruler must manipulate every action of those that are in the domain "so that he CAN still be sovereign".

    God has POWER over Satan without MAKING Satan do every sin, plan every act of evil etc.

    Thoughts?

    -------------------------------------

    (Public Service side note)

    A note to the C/A debate participants. There was an entire board section devoted to this topic that became 99% vitriol and 1% substance so the board monitors shut it down.

    Differences are welcome - but ad hominem name-calling is going to get our threads closed and I would really like to see the discussion progress.

    (Public Service note ended)
     
  2. Amy.G

    Amy.G
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2006
    Messages:
    13,103
    Likes Received:
    0
    I agree Bob. Why does having a choice mean that God is not sovereign? I don't understand that way of thinking. Even tho we have choices, God is still sovereign and has total authority to reward or punish based on our choices. Just as you pointed out that the parent is still in authority over his children even when they make their own choices. Did Adam have a choice in the garden? Did God make him sin? How ridiculous!
     
  3. drfuss

    drfuss
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2005
    Messages:
    1,692
    Likes Received:
    0
    BobRyan wirtes:
    "In the C/A discussion we often get to the point where someone says "God CAN't be sovereign if He lets you choose something".

    And that statement clearly rests on a biased definition for "Sovereign"."

    I don't think you will get The Calvinists to change. When the Calvinists use the words soveriegn and grace, what they really mean is "dictatorially sovereign" and "irresistible grace". The Calvinists enjoy implying that others do not believe in God's sovereignity and grace even though they know it is not true.
     
    #3 drfuss, Feb 10, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 10, 2007
  4. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
    Expand Collapse
    <b>Moderator</b>
    Moderator

    Joined:
    May 4, 2001
    Messages:
    21,763
    Likes Received:
    0
    How do you know it is not your definition of Sovereign that is biased? You have clearly defined it in a way that fits your theology. But the Bible teaches that God is in heaven doing whatever he pleases (Psalms), that no purpose of his can be thwarted (Isaiah), that life and breath comes from and is taken by him (Acts), that he works all things after the counsel of his will (Eph), and a host of other teachings that seem to contradict your definition of sovereign.

    Perhaps it would be better to drop the word sovereign and realize that Scripture teaches God controls all things. When we recognize that issue, then this debate changes immensely. THat is what changed it for me some 15 years ago. When I realized God was in control of all things, I had no choice but to change my beliefs about salvation. I was beholden to the word and conscience to believe what God had revealed.
     
  5. amity

    amity
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2006
    Messages:
    811
    Likes Received:
    0
    Frankly, I have never heard anyone say that! Here is a conceptualization I have heard:

    "Predestination...is a formative from two Latin words, prae (before), and destinatio (a purpose, destination, determination, etc.), so to predestinate is formed of prae and destino, of like import. Hence to predestinate is to purpose, to determine beforehand. So the Greek word rendered to predestinate, signifies to define, to bound, to determine, etc., beforehand. Hence predestination is a counseling, purposing or determining beforehand. And these words, as is well known, relate to the conclusion a person arrives at relative to his own future management, rather than to a rule to be observed by others. Thus men predestinate, not absolutely, at least not with certainty, for whilst all is certainty with God, time and chance happeneth to all men. A man predestinates to build a house; he predestinates the size, the form, the kind of materials, the class of workmen he will employ, etc., and if he knew, as God knows, he would predestinate the exact time and expense it should take; and this predestination is to govern his own arrangements in contracting for, and ordering the building, etc. So God’s predestination is that according to which He governs the world; and conducts all things relative to salvation and glory. It extends with the utmost precision to every event that occurs under His dominion, even to the fall of a sparrow, and to the hairs of our head, and to the small dust of the balance; for nations are counted as the small dust of the balance by Him; and His infinitude extends as directly to the notice of the one as the other, Matthew 10:29-30; Isaiah 40:15. So the term predestination is evidently used in the New Testament; as in Romans 8:29, "He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son". This is not given as a rule to which the elect must conform themselves, but a declaration of what God, by His grace, will do with, and for them. And so in Ephesians 1:5. Thus, while God’s decree forbade Adam’s eating of the tree of knowledge, He predestinated his eating of it; that is, God foreknowing with certainty that Adam, if left to encounter the temptation in his own creaturely weakness, would sin, predestinated so to leave him to meet the temptation, and to permit the temptation to be presented to him. So every sin which God permits to take place in the world, from the greatest to the least, from the crucifying of Christ to the parting of His garments among the soldiers, God predestinated its taking place and its working for the greater good. Acts 2:23, and 4:27-28; and Psalm 22:18, compared with Matthew 27:35. This predestination is not a constraining the will of the individuals, but a leaving them to act it out under the attending circumstances. Thus God works all things after the counsel of His own will (Ephesians 1:11), permitting sin to transpire where He sees it for good, and restraining it in other cases; and constraining by His providence, or grace, to acts of goodness, etc." - Elder Samuel Trott, 1845.

    "The scriptures are very clear that God predestinated the crucifixion of His Son: Acts 4:24-28 "And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is: Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ. For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done." God's counsel determined before (prooizo, same word also translated predestinate) the crucifixion of Christ. Consider also: Acts 2:23 "Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:" and Luke 22:22 "And truly the Son of man goeth, as it was determined: but woe unto that man by whom he is betrayed!" If God determined before (predetermined or predestinated) the crucifixion of His Son, this shows the predestination is broader than just determining beforehand concerning those whom He would elect. Also Acts 17:26 indicates that at least some times and events are determined before: "And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;""- R. L. Vaughn


    From a friend's blog:
    http://baptistsearch.blogspot.com/2006/07/on-predestination.html
     
    #5 amity, Feb 10, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 10, 2007
  6. Brother Bob

    Brother Bob
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    May 13, 2005
    Messages:
    12,723
    Likes Received:
    0
    Who else but a Sovereign God could create a person, subject to vanity but not willingly, but by reason Him who subjected the same in Hope. In other words, able to choose "good or evil", and if he chose evil, God in His Sovereignity, gave man Hope in His Son.

    Quite a Sovereign God, don't you think. I mean He was so Sovereign, that He could create man, anyway He wanted, and not what some say He should of created Him. :)
     
  7. drfuss

    drfuss
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2005
    Messages:
    1,692
    Likes Received:
    0
    Larry writes:
    " But the Bible teaches that God is in heaven doing whatever he pleases (Psalms), that no purpose of his can be thwarted (Isaiah), that life and breath comes from and is taken by him (Acts), that he works all things after the counsel of his will (Eph)."

    I think Larry just demonstrated the point. We all agree with the above. But they keep implying we don't agree.
     
  8. DHK

    DHK
    Expand Collapse
    <b>Moderator</b>
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2000
    Messages:
    37,982
    Likes Received:
    134
    Acts 17:23-32 For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.
    --Paul begins his sermon by denouncing false religions, saying that they ignorantly or superstitiously worship them. They are wrong.

    24 God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;
    --He introduces to them the true God. He is the Creator of all things. He is Lord (Master). He does not dwell in any earthly temple. Paul is introducing the sovereignty of God, for he is introducing God who is Creator of all things and has all things in His control.

    25 Neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;
    --He emphasizes again that he is not worshiped with men's hands.
    He states that God does not need anything. If God needed anything (even your praise and/or worship) then God would not be God. He has no need of anything. He is the One who gives to all life and breath. He is the giver of life and the taker of life. This also emphasizes the sovereignty of God. He has everything under His control.

    26 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;
    --The Great Creator created all men alike. We all have one blood, the same blood--all stemming from Adam, the Adamic race. Having said that he introduces predestination. You live exactly where you live because God appointed you to live there. He set the bounds of your habitation. He knows where you live and why he put you there. Don't question him about his purposes. There is a reason for why you live where you live. He is a sovereign God. He is an infinite God, and we are but finite people. How can finite minds understand an infinite God.

    27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:
    --The reason that He put you where you are (no matter who you are) is that you would seek after the Lord. Don't question His purposes. This again shows the sovereignty of God. His ways are higher than our ways. His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. He has put us where we are that we might seek after Him. He promises that He willl not be very far from us.

    28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.
    --He quotes one of their own poets, saying we are his offspring. That is not to say that these pagans were the children of God in the sense of John 1:12, but rather that they also were part of God's creation. And as part of God's creation, they had experienced God's love, grace, mercy. They had experienced all of that. It is only by the grace of God that they were still breathing that day.

    29 Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device.
    --Paul becomes more definitivie in his theology introducing the trinity, using the word Godhead. He again emphasizes that God is Spirit. He cannot be worshiped with men's hands as they had been so used to doing. This was a violation of one of the Ten Commandments--to make graven images of God, and bow down in front of them. God was Spirit. They that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

    30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:
    --Now they have heard enough of the revelation of God that they can no longer live in ignorance. God (through the message of Paul) commands them to repent. Notice that the repentance here is not "repent of all your sins." God never demands that. Repentance is repentance toward God.

    31 Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.
    --God's sovereignty is brought back into the sermon. God is in control. He has appointed a day of judgement. The message of Christ is introduced. It is based on His resurrection. They must accept the sacrifice of Christ based on the resurrection of Christ. There is no other way. There religion would not do. It is false.

    32 And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked: and others said, We will hear thee again of this matter.
    --But they rejected the resurrection. Herein is free will. They did have a choice and the choice was theirs. They could accept this message or reject it. At this time they rejected it. Thus we see both the sovereignty of God and the free will of man working hand in hand.
    I am not a Calvinist; neither am I Arminian, but I do believe the Bible.
     
  9. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
    Expand Collapse
    <b>Moderator</b>
    Moderator

    Joined:
    May 4, 2001
    Messages:
    21,763
    Likes Received:
    0
    But see, I don't think you do agree. You say you agree that no purpose of God can be thwarted, that he will accomplish all his good pleasure; you also state that it is God's will for all to be saved. But you aren't a universalist.

    So we must conclude that 1) Some of God's will can be thwarted, since some aren't saved or 2) that it is not God's will for all to be saved, since his will cannot be thwarted and not all are saved.

    Either way, you lose. Or at least your side does. I have yet for someone from your side to tell me all how God's will can be accomplished, and for God's will to be that all men come to salvation, and yet not everyone get saved.
     
  10. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
    Expand Collapse
    <b>Moderator</b>
    Moderator

    Joined:
    May 4, 2001
    Messages:
    21,763
    Likes Received:
    0
    What, in that little presentation, do you think Calvinists disagree with?
     
  11. DHK

    DHK
    Expand Collapse
    <b>Moderator</b>
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2000
    Messages:
    37,982
    Likes Received:
    134
    Not much, if anything. It is hardline Arminians such as Arminius himself that would have problems with it.
     
  12. Arminius

    Arminius
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2007
    Messages:
    39
    Likes Received:
    0
    Its simple Larry--it is God's will to let men choose(gasp!) Yes that is exactly right. You paint a wrong picture. God "Sovereignly" decided to work things according to the good pleasure of His will, and he revealed exactly how He does this by saying "Choose ye this day whom ye shall serve". That is the "Sovereign" arrangement. You say, then God is not Sovereign because men get to choose. Wrong again, He is not a fatalistic control freak is the more accurate way to put it. The Lord does not fear, nor is He threatened by man's freedom. He likes the Free-will system He made, Calvinists don't. They suffer from feelings of insecurity, and this doctrine gives them all the false seciruty they can desire--the idea that God is controlling everything! Believe that if you wish, but that sure is not wha the Bible teaches. The Lord is not threatened by us little specks if we choose one way or another, and for you to exalt man's choices above God Himself is foolishness. Our choices are free indeed, but very small compared to our Almighty God. Stop making mountains out of anthills already. Get delivered!
     
  13. drfuss

    drfuss
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2005
    Messages:
    1,692
    Likes Received:
    0
    Larry writes:
    "But see, I don't think you do agree. You say you agree that no purpose of God can be thwarted, that he will accomplish all his good pleasure; you also state that it is God's will for all to be saved. But you aren't a universalist.

    So we must conclude that 1) Some of God's will can be thwarted, since some aren't saved or 2) that it is not God's will for all to be saved, since his will cannot be thwarted and not all are saved."

    You are still missing it or refusing to accept it.

    It was God's will to create man with a choice to serve Him or not. God convicts, encourages, and leads man to choose Him. But in order for it to be a choice, man must also have the ability to reject Him. It is God's will that all men choose Him, but most do not. In keeping with the basis of His creation, God does not force Himself on anyone.
     
    #13 drfuss, Feb 10, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 10, 2007
  14. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
    Expand Collapse
    <b>Moderator</b>
    Moderator

    Joined:
    May 4, 2001
    Messages:
    21,763
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yes, Indeed. Calvinists agree. And man, left to himself will always freely choose to reject God.

    Okay

    Men do get to choose. Calvinists don't really deny that. Sinners freely choose to sin and reject God.

    You are now sounding like a Calvinist.

    How do they differ? I am not aware that they do.

    He is controlling everything.

    Except those pesky verses that keep popping up.

    I haven't exalted man's choices above God. In fact just the opposite. Man's choices are under God's sovereign control; and man is completely free to choose according to his nature.

    I am not.

    I did ... About 15 years ago. It has been glorious.
     
  15. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
    Expand Collapse
    <b>Moderator</b>
    Moderator

    Joined:
    May 4, 2001
    Messages:
    21,763
    Likes Received:
    0
    Read yourself. I am not the one missing it. You are, and you proved it.

    So you admit that some of God's will is thwarted. As such, you disagree with Isaiah, with Job, with Paul, and with Christ.

    No fair stealing Calvinists beliefs.
     
  16. drfuss

    drfuss
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2005
    Messages:
    1,692
    Likes Received:
    0
    Larry writes:
    "Quote:
    It is God's will that all men choose Him, but most do not.
    So you admit that some of God's will is thwarted. As such, you disagree with Isaiah, with Job, with Paul, and with Christ."

    I made no such admission. You seem to like to take things out of context, so I will repeat the context.

    "It was God's will to create man with a choice to serve Him or not. God convicts, encourages, and leads man to choose Him. But in order for it to be a choice, man must also have the ability to reject Him. It is God's will that all men choose Him, but most do not. In keeping with the basis of His creation, God does not force Himself on anyone."

    You seem to be hung up on the words "God's will". Perhaps I should have said God wants (NIV-I Tim. 2:4) all men to choose Him, but most do not because it is God's will for man to have a choice.
     
  17. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
    Expand Collapse
    <b>Moderator</b>
    Moderator

    Joined:
    May 4, 2001
    Messages:
    21,763
    Likes Received:
    0
    So now you are saying God has two wills? Or is a "want" different than a "will" and on what basis?

    You keep saying "It is God's will for man to have a choice" as if that is the lynchpin in the deal. It isn't. Most Calvinists believe that man has a choice. Because of his sin nature, he chooses to reject God. He doesn't want to do anything else. The inability is a moral one, not a physical one.
     
  18. El_Guero

    El_Guero
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2004
    Messages:
    7,714
    Likes Received:
    0
    Can God make a rock so big that He cannot move it?

    Depends . . .

    If He does not want to - no.

    If He wants to - yes.



     
  19. johnp.

    johnp.
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2004
    Messages:
    3,231
    Likes Received:
    0
    Clearly biased as I believe sovereignty means just that. I don't see sovereignty alongside sovereignty. I see dualism.

    Parent is not the definition of sovereign nor are any sovereign. Parents are restrained by laws protecting the young. What law restrains God? :)

    Would they?

    It is not 'so He can still be Sovereign' but He is Sovereign.

    But He is Sovereign. I have no problem with that and neither does God. What don't you like about it? We know for a certainty that He has bound all men over to disobedience Bob, why baulk at the angels?

    drfuss. Why does God create those who will refuse Him? He knows all things doesn't He? Why does He create people for Hell if He doesn't want anyone to go there?

    john.
     
  20. Amy.G

    Amy.G
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2006
    Messages:
    13,103
    Likes Received:
    0
    So, He creates people for hell because He WANTS them to go there? Does this bring God pleasure? :eek: :rolleyes:
     

Share This Page

Loading...