How is Soverinty Defined?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Reformer, Aug 9, 2008.

  1. Reformer

    Reformer
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    Upon reading threads here on the BB and in personal conversations with many other people I have noticed that most all professing Christians say that God is sovereign. I have also found that a statement about God's sovereignty is often followed by BUT!! This has lead me to looking for a definition for sovereignty. The word itself is found in the Psalms and in 1 Timothy 6:15 (depending on the translation it may or may not be there) and nowhere else that I can find.

    I have looked through the dictionaries that I have and have found vague definitions that answered no questions. So I come here asking how you personally define sovereignty (in respect to God). I have always thought of Gods sovereignty as meaning He is the controller either directly, or indirectly, of ALL things. I don't know exactly where I got the definition so I am now wondering if I am correct in my definition. I am afraid that lots of Christians differ on the definition of sovereignty and that is where conflict begins. So please let me know what you think "God's Sovereignty" means.

    Thanks :)

    Reformer
     
    #1 Reformer, Aug 9, 2008
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  2. Amy.G

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    Here is my definition of sovereign.

    Self ruling

    Independent

    Accountable to no one
     
  3. rdwhite

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    "Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords"

    Nope, it ain't in my Bible.

    However, my God is so "sovereign" he does not have to micro-manage his creation, like some people's God. My God, who created man in his own image, has a free will, and gave that to his creation. My God is so powerful and sovereign, that he can bring his divine will to pass, even when allowing men to make their own decisions. Unlike some who worship a weak and insecure God who had to decide and determine everything in advance.

    God reigns alone and supreme over his creation, over all principalities and powers, both celestial and terrestrial, even while allowing both to maintain their own volition. The Most High God is worthy of all praise, glory, and honour.

    In the service of the King,
    Daniel
     
  4. Aaron

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    Your question is like asking, "How is Love defined?" If you want the short answer: God is love.

    Therefore, God is sovereign, and to be sovereign is to be God.

    In short: God's power and will cannot be thwarted, moved, resisted, or otherwise other than what God intended.

    In long: Read Pink's The Sovereignty of God
     
  5. JerryL

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    Deleted...
     
    #5 JerryL, Aug 9, 2008
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  6. EdSutton

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    Good 'one-word' post. :thumbsup:

    Ed
     
  7. Reformer

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    May I add a question to my question?

    Dose you view of Gods sovernty exclude total control (either directly or indirectly) and if so how do you avoid Open Theism?

    Aaron, thanks for the reference to Pinks book I have been meaning to read that one for a while, I guess the time has come to do it

    Reformer
     
  8. JerryL

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    Well, I was going to comment on rdwhites' cutting down on Calvinists in the same breath he was telling his definition of sovereign. Was merely going to ask him if he would just give his definition without trying to make it a C/A debate or to not belittle the Calvinists.
     
    #8 JerryL, Aug 10, 2008
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  9. MB

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    I Believe God is in control. It's just that while Calvinist also make this claim the difference is they believe God would be out of control if he let man make any decision towards His Salvation. This is not loosing His sovereignty. This is a misunderstanding of the term sovereignty. Sovereignty is not total domination of every single thing but is the ability to allow certain freedoms for a purpose and still remain sovereign.
    An example of Sovereignty is our countries. While Government is in control of it's self it does not give up it's sovereignty by allowing us to have our freedoms. Although freedom is over seen by higher powers. Man is limited to what he can do. If he goes out side of those parameters he will be corrected. Do we have freewill then? I believe we do but it is limited freewill where only one choice can be made, to escape the light.
    God is still in ultimate control but allows us to be responsible for our own actions. If God did not allow man certain freedoms then God could never hope to have any one Love Him because they wanted to. Regardless of the ultimate powers of God He did design the way we should come to Him.
    Christ did the impossible for us. He laid down His life which is impossible for an eternal being to die. Yet He did just that. Why is it that to a Calvinist it is impossible for God to be sovereign and allow man to choose darkness instead of the light and still remain sovereign?
    Why don't Calvinist realize that God is truly omnipotent? That God is sovereign and remains so regardless of what man does? He remains omnipotent even when man is allowed the responsibility of His own soul.

    MB
     
  10. donnA

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    I'll tell you why. Because when man chooses to cross the street, or anyother activinty in life it does not earn him salvation. Yet if man were able to make a choice for salvation then God would be bound by a mans choices. I do not see God making His choices based on man's choices, that leaves man in control, not God, God has to obey man. Dead men don't make choices, one who is an enemy of God does not chose God, they obey the one they are a slave too, sin. The dead dry bones(the spiritually dead) in Ezekiel had no choice, were not offered a choice, God did not bow to anyone's will.
    I don't see God bowing to man ever. And see it as shameful and evil to believe He does.
    Man always wants to be in control, to control his life and circumstances, in control of the world, thinking some how he has 'rights'. Man is a slave to sin, and serves sin, until God brings about his new birth.
    And I do believe Jesus took responsibiblty for our souls and salvation on the cross, if not we save ourselves or persih in hell for eternity, and Christ's death was in vain.
     
    #10 donnA, Aug 10, 2008
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  11. JerryL

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    :applause::thumbsup: You hit the nail and drove it home. Man always wants to be in control of his own life, it's born into him through sin. There is no one who will seek God. The bible says so. If God gives man a freewill to choose Him, He relinquishes control of His whole creation and leaves it to sinful man to destroy.
     
    #11 JerryL, Aug 10, 2008
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  12. MB

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    Shameful to believe what His word says instead of believing in what men claim is true? If men have no choice and every thought is in God's control then God would be an accomplice to all of man's sins. This would make God a sinner.
    You couldn't be more mistaken.
    Christ said;
    Joh 3:19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
    Joh 3:20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
    The light is understanding so man must understand the light or he wouldn't or couldn't know enough about it to hate it.
    Man is making a decision here not to come to the light. He has chosen darkness over the light. Many still chose darkness over the light. When the truth is told to them they become self righteous and even proud of there sin. They refuse the truth not wanting to hear it. When the light is shown on man he has only one choice and that is to avoid it. To hide in the darkness.
    It's true men do not of them selves come to the light, or Christ but, Christ was lifted up and because he was draws all men unto Him Jn 12:32. The doctrines of Calvinism would have us believe we are all forced to be saved or that we have no choice. If we have no choice then God has no true Love from man and I for one know this isn't so.
    If all men are drawn yet not all are saved then men must have a choice to choose evil. Why draw those who Calvinist claim haven't the ability to understand? This false claim of a disability to hear or understand isn't in scripture. They take a few verses where men won't listen and claim they can't.
    MB
     
  13. MB

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    What proof do you have of your claims?
    MB
     
  14. JerryL

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    We know man is sinful right? He has no good in him apart from God. If God allows him freewill he allows him to do what he will, which is always evil, apart from God. As Paul requoted in Romans, "There is none righteous, no not one."

    Gen 6:5 Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
    Rom 3:10 as it is written, "THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE;
    Rom 3:11 THERE IS NONE WHO UNDERSTANDS, THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS FOR GOD;


    And then it happens,

    Psa 65:4 How blessed is the one whom You choose and bring near to You To dwell in Your courts. We will be satisfied with the goodness of Your house, Your holy temple.

    Php 1:29 For to you it has been granted for Christ's sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake,

    To me, that's Sovereign. The ninth chapter of Romans, that's Sovereign. How can God's will be done if He leaves it up to sinful man to accomplish with his freewill? If man has freewill, God's will won't be done.
     
    #14 JerryL, Aug 10, 2008
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  15. Revmitchell

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    Why would it send you to it?
     
  16. Revmitchell

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    #1 does not lead to #2. Mans ability to choose God as given by God is part of God's soveriegnty not diabolically opposed.
     
  17. Deacon

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    Good definition but two points off for using the word in your definition. :smilewinkgrin:

    Sovereignty means freedom from external control or controlling influences.

    God can’t be changed in any way by what his creation does.

    This has an influence on the aspect of God’s foreknowledge: God knows us before we were born, knows what will happen, knows our thoughts, knows our decisions.

    But there is an facet of God that is difficult for us to understand;
    God is sovereign but he holds man responsible for his own actions.

    The beautiful puzzle that drives these C/A debates.

    I heard something interesting recently concerning this topic while studying through the book of Acts, specifically the account of Ananias and Sapphira in chapter 5.

    Peter didn’t confront Ananias and Sapphira saying that God directed them to give away the property, Peter said selling it and giving it away was their choice.
    The sin was in their deception.

    There is a willingness in God that allows man to make decisions.
    Yet it still fits into his foreknowledge and plan.

    Rob
     
    #17 Deacon, Aug 10, 2008
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  18. ReformedBaptist

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    God the good Creator of all things, in his infinite power and wisdom doth uphold, direct, dispose, and govern all creatures and things, from the greatest even to the least, by his most wise and holy providence, to the end for the which they were created, according unto his infallible foreknowledge, and the free and immutable counsel of his own will; to the praise of the glory of his wisdom, power, justice, infinite goodness, and mercy.
    ( Hebrews 1:3; Job 38:11; Isaiah 46:10, 11; Psalms 135:6; Matthew 10:29-31; Ephesians 1:11 ) LBCF, Chapter 5: Of Divine Providence, Article 1

    I would also recommend obtaining a copy of "The Sovereignty of God" by A.W. Pink.
     
  19. MB

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    I agree man is a sinful creature, no doubt!, and I agree man does not come to Christ by the power of his will. However this does not mean the man is disabled from doing so.
    You offer a few passages in rom 3 but you must have stopped reading before you got to these verses which is what Paul was demonstrating.
    Rom 3:19 Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.
    Rom 3:20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
    Rom 3:21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;
    Rom 3:22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:
    Rom 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

    There is no disability here in this passage in fact it is a Psalm that Paul quoted. The Psalm is what a fool says in his heart. Paul was telling us that the law or it works will not save anyone. As far as being chosen by God all Gentiles have been chosen.
    Act 28:28 Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it.

    MB
     
  20. MB

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    It means to be supreme in power. Just because He is all powerful doesn't mean He forces every thing to happen. When Moses asked God if He would spare any from Sodom He was in fact pleading with God not to destroy Lot and his family. Originally God would have destroyed them all.
    By that you are saying prayer doesn't change anything. I disagree with you here.
    Knowing doesn't cause it to happen because with God all things are possible. If His knowing did cause it to happen then God would be ruled by what He knows. Even God couldn't change it. This would then destroy His supreme power and God head. The theory of God's foreknowledge causing things to be the way they are just isn't so.
    He holds us responsible because we are. By claiming that God holds us responsible even though nothing ever happens unless it is ordained of God is blaming God for our sins and blaming Him for holding us responsible for what we could not prevent. This would make God a very unjust God.
    Ananias and Sapphira were not true believers because if they were they would have feared God. They thought there lie wouldn't be discovered by Peter. They fell dead because they attempted to enter in with a make believe faith.
    MB
     

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