Is God Sovereign?

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by Heavenly Pilgrim, Jan 14, 2009.

  1. Heavenly Pilgrim

    Heavenly Pilgrim
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    Jim 1999 brought up a distinction on another thread that needs a thread of it’s own. I have heard for some time some objecting to this form or that form of God’s choosing, and never really addressed it directly. Here was Jim’s remark.

    Jim, to my knowledge, was not depicting any ideas of his own necessarily, but rather simply trying to clear up how those holding to a particular end time view might feel. So this thread is not about Jim’s personal views or those of any other on this list, but rather concerns the issues of foreknowledge and election and the manner in which a Sovereign God can or does choose to act.

    My question to the list is, can God be sovereign in any sense if in fact we try and limit the way He chooses? Can we say that God does not or cannot choose directly as a result of his foreknowledge without limiting His sovereignty? If one tries to say that they do not believe that God chooses via His foreknowledge, and rather states that God chooses by absolute sovereignty instead, is their reasoning sound and their objection valid? Again, do we limit the sovereignty of God by declaring that He cannot choose according to His foreknowledge? If not, why not?
     
  2. InChrist

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    I believe God is sovereign in Himself regardless of our views or understandings of what the Scriptures teach.

    I can't say that I believe any which way on this subject although I tend to have leanings I guess. One of the things that I do ponder is how predestination (God choosing some for hell some for life) fits with the character of God as in His Word. It is one thing to say it is His sovereign right to choose, and yes I believe that it is, but does this view fit with the God of love, mercy, long-suffering, kindness, gentleness, meekness, patience, joy, peace which the Bible so plainly states that He is? His wrath and anger against sin, is against ALL sin, not just the sin of some. So why He would willingly choose not to bestow His mercy, grace and love on some but rather send them to an eternal separation from Himself is beyond my comprehension of who He is. In fact it seems to contradict who He is.

    Perhaps someone else can explain this so I can understand!
     
  3. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    HP: You are thinking right on track, led by the truth of the Holy Spirit. Not only that, why would a Loving, Just, God CREATE them that He obviously had to chose to create by design simply to torment them for all eternity for a fate impossible to escape, i.e. sin, death, and eternal hell?
     
  4. OldRegular

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    If God is not sovereign then he is not God.
     
  5. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    HP: Could God Sovereignly choose to create a man that was indeed the first cause of his moral intents, or will you limit His Sovereignty to things of necessity?

    Sovereignty would indicate to me the ability to do anything He so desires. How is it not limiting God's Sovereignty to say that He must be in direct control of everything? Why could He not choose to allow some things a true measure of freedom to be the first cause of their intents and subsequent actions? Why would one limit God's Sovereignty in this manner?

    Define for us the limits you place on what a Sovereign God can do and what Sovereignty actually means to you.
     
  6. OldRegular

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    God cannot do anything that is contrary to His nature.
     
  7. ray Marshall

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    And also he made the world out of nothing. Can anyone else do that?
     
  8. Jim1999

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    At the outset, I will clarify that the quote under my name is not my view on God's absolute sovereignty and the decree of election and predestination.

    Foreknowledge or previous knowledge is a natural attribute of an eternal all knowing God and not a factor in decreeing anything..Naturally he foreknows everything.

    Secondly, God does not predestine some to salvation, and some to hell's damnation. He predestines His elect, His chosen people. He Passes by the remainder to their own damnation. In other words, no action is required. They are already condemned in Adam's fall. All the elect will be saved. The remainder will suffer their own condemnation.

    There is no way puny humankind can give directions to God. If it were so, He would not be sovereign at all.

    We cannot equate the sovereignty of God to an earthly kingdom, where the king or queen must use their own military force to administer their rules. They are subject to defeat and denial. It is not so with God. He not only has the first word, but He also owns the last word, and we will do His bidding.

    I always cite Jonah as a prime example of God's sovereignty in action. We also see how man functions under God's permissive will,,that one area where God allows a little space on your leash..thus far and no further... This is still under God's absolute sovereignty, but, with permission, man is allowed to use his own brain and wits and go his own way..thus far and no further...never forget that aspect of this freedom..God still holds the lead, and He will jerk the choke-chain at His will and fancy.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  9. OldRegular

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    Great point Jim! If it were not for God's sovereign purpose in election no one would be saved.
     
  10. Jim1999

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    Indeed, it is not amazing that God saves many, but the amazing thing is that God saves any.

    This should not cause pride in the elect, but absolute humility.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  11. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    HP: We agree that God foreknows everything, but can He bring something to pass without decreeing it? Can He offer something or withhold something apart from decreeing it to be come to pass, or decreeing that it will not come to pass by the very act of withholding the only possible means for it to come to pass? If God passes over some, is that not a decree to do so, and as such their damnation the direct result of God's decree?

    If God chooses to pass over some by withholding the only possible means of escape, their fate is necessitated by the withholding of the means to escape their fate, is it not?
     
    #11 Heavenly Pilgrim, Feb 3, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 3, 2009
  12. Jim1999

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    It is not a decree, it is their chosen destiny. God takes no action. His action was in declaring humankind sinners. His decree is to elect some.

    Don't try to confuse systematic theology. It is the Bible sorted out in systematic fashion. It is not a separate system apart from scripture.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  13. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    HP: What do you mean God takes no action?? Declaring men as sinners is an action. Declaring to withhold the needed grace from some would be an action. Why is choosing to do something an action when choosing not to do something is not an action to you? Maybe God simply did not know about those that would be lost. Now if that was the case I might agree with you, but of course that denies His omniscience.

    I need food. I may choose not to go to the store or go to the store. Either one involves the formation of intent. Man needs a Savior. God either chooses to grant the means by which that is possible or withhold them. Both involve a formed intent that necessitate the outcome.

    You cannot have God as the deciding sole player in salvation without double predestination as Calvin believed and taught. By the way, did you look up the reference I gave you about Calvin’s own admission to double predestination as a necessitated end of his own theology?
     
  14. billwald

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    Will you all be unhappy if it turns out that God only elected Catholics and Mormons?
     
  15. OldRegular

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    Wonderful point! All too often those who believe in election are accused of arrogance. My opinion is that election magnifies the grace of God and does promote absolute humility.

    I also believe many reject election because they want to believe that God could not have saved them without their help.
     
  16. Jim1999

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    well Billwald..it is too late. My election is established by the fact He saved me. Oh, help, I was Church of England when He saved me! That is catholic you know.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  17. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    HP: I noticed you have not responded to my last post but I thought I might add this for your further consideration. You draw a distinction between a decree and ones chosen destiny. Who chose that destiny? It cannot be you or I according to Calvinism, for we are born spiritually depraved due to original sin. We were born estranged from God and rebellion was our only possible intent, at least according to those holding to original sin. Are we to believe that Adam chose our destiny? Not according to Scripture.

    Eze 18:19 Yet say ye, Why? doth not the son bear the iniquity of the father? When the son hath done that which is lawful and right, and hath kept all my statutes, and hath done them, he shall surely live.
    20 The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.

    If not Adam, who chose the destiny of those God withholds the means of salvation? You are left starring God in the face. Will you charge God with the fate of the wicked that you call their ‘chosen fate?’ If you say someone other than God, I ask you, is God Sovereign, or is mans will (even if limited to Adam) able to do despite man’s ‘chosen destiny’ as you say?

    Did Adam choose his destiny to be lost or saved? Could have Adam chosen to be lost if God chose him to be saved? Could have his destiny ever been anything other than to be saved if in fact he was saved in the end? If God foreknew his destiny was to be lost, could have anything he ever have done changed that destiny? Was Adam ever in control of his destiny, knowing that God foreknows and was in control, being an Absolute Sovereign (according to the Calvinist), of it?

    You do believe that God did foreknow his destiny do you not? Did God decree it or was God waiting around to see what Adam would do? If God was waiting around on Adam to make a choice, was God not Sovereign during that time? Does man's will determine the foreknowledge of God of his intents or is God an Absolute Sovereign and all things that come to pass are the direct result of His Sovereign will? (Does anyone see the notion that God is the author of all evil as well as good coming into focus?)

    Double predestination is the necessitated consequence of the Calvinistic ‘iron clad logic.’ Once in agreement to its premise of God as an absolute Sovereign with all things in His direct control, you will find yourself unmistakably in the clutches of its end, predestination of the damned as well as predestination of the saved. Is that what you desire to believe? Is it the truth?
     
  18. OldRegular

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    Jim

    In another thread that asks about the necessity of Baptism for salvation it seems that some are requiring preconditions before salvation. [I believe that you have posted on that thread.] It is my contention that prior to our salvation we all, as the Apostle Paul states in Ephesians 2:2,3 walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

    Ephesians 2:4-6
    4. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
    5. Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
    6. And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:


    Whether I was Church of Christ, Baptist, Roman Catholic, Anglican or simply pagan if I was unsaved I was in the same position as those described in verses 2 and 3 above. But God in his mercy chose me before the foundation of the world and while I was dead in sin, unable to do anything regarding my state, He saved me [verses 4-6]. For that I am deeply humbled and eternally thankful.
     

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