Sovereignty of God Examined

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by Heavenly Pilgrim, Sep 7, 2007.

  1. Heavenly Pilgrim

    Heavenly Pilgrim
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    HP: At every turn in these debates we hear the words that “God is sovereign.” How would you define these words and how does it affect your views of man and the abilities he possesses? What Scriptures do you use to support your ideas?
     
  2. TCGreek

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    1. The sovereignty of God is His free exercise of His power over what He has created and this brings Him glory (Ps 115:3; Eph 1:11; Rom 11:36; Dan. 4:35).

    2. Yet man is fully responsible for how he acts though every act of man falls within the purview of the sovereignty of God (Gen. 50:20; Rom 8:28; Acts 2:22, 23; 4:27, 28).
     
  3. standingfirminChrist

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    Webster's 1828 Dictionary
    Even though God is the supreme authority over all, not all bow to His authority. It does not make Him any less God or any less sovereign.
     
  4. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    HP: Then would it be safe to assume that you do not believe that God being sovereign forces man to simply act out that which is chose for man, and that man is in fact the cause of his own intents, and that by the sovereign choosing of God in allowing it to be so?

    If we take the position that I am getting from some on the list, our intents and actions are nothing more than the necessitated product of God’s will. This necessitates yet another notion, in that God is the necessitated author of all evil as well as all good.

    Either man is a first cause of his moral intents or God is. To blame or praise man for intents that are nothing more than the product of God necessitating them into existence, makes God out to be both good and evil. As far as man is involved, and as some on the list say we remain, i.e., evil and that continually never ceasing to be liars etc., it makes God out as the author of perpetual evil and that continually does it not?

    If God’s sovereignty determines the outcome of our choices, and some do not bow to His authority, does this not make God the responsible party for all such rebellion? ( I am NOT saying that you hold to this, but rather am only trying to shed light on the opinions of some on the list) :)
     
    #4 Heavenly Pilgrim, Sep 7, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2007
  5. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    HP: These two are at direct antipodes. Man responsible for the actions of a sovereign God?? Unless God has allowed man the power to be the first cause of his own intents, man cannot be seen in way shape or form as the responsible party of his choices. Whoever is the first cause of ones intents is the sole responsible party for their intents and subsequent actions. Which is it? Is it God or man that is the first cause of mans chosen intents?
     
  6. standingfirminChrist

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    God is not a puppetmaster, contrary to what some doctrnes seem to infer. Although He is Sovereign, He allows man free will.
     
  7. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    HP: Stand firm on that truth and let nothing deter you from it. I would only add that the free will is not simply 'freedom to do as one wills,' but rather freedom to be the first cause of ones intents. :thumbs:
     
  8. webdog

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    God always maintains His sovereignty even though He doesn't always show it at the time through the means of what is happening. The story of King Hezekiah is a perfect example. God determined Hezekiah was going to die...but after listening to his prayers, granted another 15 years of life.

    So is Jacob wrestling with The Angel of the Lord (Deity). For whatever reason, Scripture doesn't state...The Angel couldn't win the stuggle...but God remained sovereign throughout.
     
  9. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    HP: Define the word sovereign as you are using it. It appears as if you are saying two different things. You say that men made choices, yet God 'remained sovereign.' Who was the first cause of the actions of the men involved? Were they the mere puppets of God carring out His foreordained plan, or were they honestly responsible for their intents and as such first causes of their actions?

    PS Is that boy you are holding a bass fisherman?
     
  10. TCGreek

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    I see that all the Calvinism debates you've been in are rubbing off. :laugh: Great post, BTW.
     
  11. webdog

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    I'll give you an analogy I used on another thread what I mean...

    I allow my son to see a movie. I drive him to the movie, I pay for his ticket, I even give him money for a snack. He can decide what snack and which movie to see. Him going to the movies only happened due to my sovereignty, while he was free to make choices within the entire process. Nobody would ever say that my son was sovereign over me in any phase of the afternoon! That would be silly. The entire activity was due to my sovereignty from start to finish, and at no point did I lose my sovereignty over my son even though I gave him some freedom.
    You are probably more confused now :laugh:

    My son is not a fisherman. It looks like he's holding a fish in the picture...but he's actually sitting on a metal elephant at the zoo :laugh:
     
    #11 webdog, Sep 7, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2007
  12. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    HP: No, that gives me further insight into your position. The problem with your analogy is that it is not moral in nature. What some are saying is that your analogy would be analogous to our moral state, and you would be just in condemning your son to an eternal hell for going to a movie and eating your necessitated provision of snacks, all due to your coercion and force and or sovereignty over your son.

    Your son still looks to me like a good candidate for a bass fisherman. It might take a bit of coercion (sovereign direction) on your part to get him hooked. :)
     
  13. webdog

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    I don't agree with determinism. God is sovereign while allowing man the free moral agency.
     
  14. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    HP: Amen! I agree. :)
     
  15. ReformedBaptist

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    I posted this in another thread, but I think its applicable here because it speaks to the OP:

    1. God created all things. This none deny. And it should be allowed to all that God first formed the purpose to create and then put that purpose into action in creating.

    2. God governs the world. No christian I know believe God created all things and then stepped away and left the world unmanaged. That is deistic. We all believe God governs the world, had a purpose for which He created it and all things, and He governs the world according to His purpose.

    3. God most assuredly accomplishes His purposes. Isa 46:9-10 "Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:"


    And again,

    "The LORD bringeth the counsel of the heathen to nought: he maketh the devices of the people of none effect. The counsel of the LORD standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations." Psalm 33:10-11

    And,

    Prov 19:21
    "There are many devices in a man's heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand."

    4. What is the purpose of God in creation? "The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil." Prov 16:4

    Rev 4:11
    "Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created."

    5. Does God's government over the world include both matter and mind? Yes. Of God's governing of material things, I think no one denies. It is upon the mind of men that the dispute ensues. What saith the Scripture?

    "Man's goings are of the LORD; how can a man then understand his own way?" Prov 20:24

    "The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way."
    Psalm 37:23

    5. How God impresses upon the human mind in such a way that does not interfere with free agency and accountability I cannot explain. That is so, I cannot deny for it is too clear from Scripture.

    6. God purposed from eternity to display His manifold glory and wisdom in a blood-bought Church. Ephesians 3:8-11

    "Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord"

    This must mean, since this purpose is eternal, that God foresaw the fall of man. A design that God created man to continue in holiness cannot be allowed since His eternal purpose was to display His manifold wisdom by the Church. Indeed, Christ was "foreordained before the foundation of the world to be the Saviour of sinners.

    7. God governs wicked men.

    "And God said unto him in a dream, Yea, I know that thou didst this in the integrity of thy heart; for I also withheld thee from sinning against me: therefore suffered I thee not to touch her." Gen 20:6

    Here we see God's government restraining wicked men.

    "For I will cast out the nations before thee, and enlarge thy borders: neither shall any man desire thy land, when thou shalt go up to appear before the LORD thy God thrice in the year." Ex 34:24

    Again, God restrains wicked men from desiring the land of Israel so that His purpose may be fulfilled in them.

    The Lord also exerts influence upon wicked man (as inclining them) that His Word might be fulfilled:

    "Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying," Ezra 1:1

    God also exerts influence on wicked men to direct them in such ways that what they purpose for evil, God means for good.

    "But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive." Gen 50:20

    God accomplished His purposes and counsel, though man be completely ignorant of it.

    "O Assyrian, the rod of mine anger, and the staff in their hand is mine indignation. I will send him against an hypocritical nation, and against the people of my wrath will I give him a charge, to take the spoil, and to take the prey, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets. Howbeit he meaneth not so, neither doth his heart think so; but it is in his heart to destroy and cut off nations not a few." Isa 10:5-7

    "O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps." Jer 10:23

    God hardens the heart of wicked men and blinds their minds.

    "And the LORD said unto Moses, When thou goest to return into Egypt, see that thou do all those wonders before Pharaoh, which I have put in thine hand: but I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go." Ex 4:21

    "And I, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall follow them: and I will get me honour upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen." Ex 14:17

    "He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them." John 12:40

    "Now therefore, behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil concerning thee." 1 Kings 22:23

    Writing on these things the late N.L. Rice wrote,

    "...God exerts an influence upon the hearts of men, disposing them to feel and act wickedly." (God Sovereign and Man Free, p.45 Sprinkle Publications, 1985)

    In the context of this Rice uses terms like "given up by God" as we find in Romans of the reprobate whom "...God also gave them up to uncleaness..." In the midst of all this the eternal purpose of God is being worked out to perfection.

    "Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee: the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain." Psalm 76:10

    A closing statement on the question that often comes up, which is: "If God has foreordained whatever happens in the world, how is He not the author of sin?"

    It should be automatically granted that God is not the author of sin. It should also to be plain by all from the above Scriptures that God's purpose and counsel is unshakable, unless one has some prior committment to a particular viewpoint. It is from trying to reconcile the absolute soverignty of God over all things with the presense of evil in the world that such a question arises.

    Rice writes concerning this, "Two things only did God purpose to do concerning the fall of man, viz: to permit it, and to overule it for good." p.47 and,

    "God chose to permit some angels and all the human race to fall into sin, and so to overule their dispositions, softening, restraining, directing, hardening, as to bring good out of evil, to accomplish his all-wise purposes." p.46
     
  16. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    HP: The post is far too long to comment effectively without boring the listener so I will just deal with one particular area, the notion that evil somehow allows good to come out.

    If this is true, and that evil is somehow chose by God as the means to show good, it would follow that the more evil that He would initiate the more good that would follow. Why then is God going to put a stop to evil for all eternity? Why not just allow it to continue so as to facilitate more good?

    Because God can indeed bring good out of evil, in no wise can it be concluded that He creates evil. He created the beings in such a way as to allow for evil, but that is a far cry from God being the Author of it. Certainly He is the Author of all human beings and angels, and as such IN A SENSE has created evil, but that in NO WAY makes God the Creator of evil. It is an absurd blasphemous notion to state in any way shape or form that the heinousness of sin and evil is in some way the handiwork of God. If the moderators of this list are looking to eliminate notions that are absolutely contrary to Scripture and reason, notions that mar the character of a Holy and Just God, such a notion should top the list of ideas so harmful, so inherently wicked and false, as to be rendered heresy.

    The reader should be well aware of my refusal up until this point to call any notion posted on this board as heresy. Pinning the title upon a Holy and Just God as the ‘Author of evil’ might be just the notion that would facilitate pushing me over that edge. Possibly it is simply a matter of misunderstanding RB’s post. Possibly he or she will be so kind as to clarify just what they are insinuating concerning the character of our God.
     
  17. webdog

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    Good post, HP. While on the surface it may look like God is authoring sin and evil from certain Scriptures, Scripture as a whole debunk that notion. Since I'm big on illustrations, here is another: Since my son was 'created' from me and my wife...and he murders someone...my wife and I would not be charged with the murder, even though we 'created' my son, and essentially 'created' the one who committed the crime..the first cause of it.
     
  18. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    HP: That is an excellent illustration.:thumbsup:

    Just as your son was the ‘first cause of his intents,’ so we are the first cause of our moral intents. God creates no one evil. Sin and evil are the results of ones sinful intents of selfishness as opposed to benevolence.
     
  19. ReformedBaptist

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    I don't think I introduced this idea, so I don't think I have to respond to it. Perhaps you can help me understand where this idea came from?


    Only two comments here. 1. When we read the Scriptures we must say they are true. When we go from there with the truth in mind, but may have a difficulty is reasoning it out, we must not say "if this is true." The doctrine of predestination is true, although it may cause questions in our minds trying to understand it.

    2. Your second point reminded me of Romans 3:3-8
    For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged. But if our unrighteousness commend the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unrighteous who taketh vengeance? (I speak as a man) God forbid: for then how shall God judge the world? For if the truth of God hath more abounded through my lie unto his glory; why yet am I also judged as a sinner? And not rather, (as we be slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say,) Let us do evil, that good may come? whose damnation is just.

    I don't think the Scripture needs much commentary in its application to your reasoning here.



    What in the post gave you the contrary impression?

    I agree. So what in what was posted made you to think otherwise?

    If such a one would teach that God is the inventor of sin and wickedness then I agree that it is a heretical attack upon the character of God. Whether the moderators would ban such a thing is up to their good wisdom.


    I am a he (just for your info). I am not insinuating anything concerning the character of our God that would in any shape, fashion or form deserve the title "Author of Evil" but this has been slanderously been reported against those called Calvinists for hundreds of years.

    My post was to more expound the doctrine of God's Sovereignty, foreknowledge, predestination (in a small degree) than to polemically defend it from false charges. You have been gracious in presenting your impressions of the teaching (your reactions, et.) without laying an accusation against me personally. I appreciate that. And you have graciously asked for clarification. Reformed Baptists (which I are one, lol) have a very detailed statement of faith to which they substantially agree with (its not required to agree with every part for conscience sake) which is the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith.

    In it you will find detailed explainations on your questions you have posed here and answered sufficiently to clear the charge that we are saying or subtley insinuating that God is the author of sin/evil. That this may be the impression of some when we expound the Sovereignty of God should not disuade us from teaching the truth of God.

    I will post only one part of my confession as it relates specifically to your question:

    I hope this clears up your concern that you had.

    Your brother,
    RB
     
    #19 ReformedBaptist, Sep 8, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 8, 2007
  20. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    Quote:
    HP: All I can say is, oh those blessed little inconsistencies sandwiched between the error. :thumbsup:


    The blessed inconsistency: “God neither the author of sin nor hath fellowship with any therein"
     

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