What is the definition and scope of God's Sovereignty?

Discussion in '2005 Archive' started by AresMan, Sep 20, 2005.

  1. AresMan

    AresMan
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    How do you define the "sovereignty of God"?
    How does it relate to salvation, sin, hell, and just plain everyday occurrences: is God the author and/or cause of sin, and if not, does that mean He is not "sovereign"?
    How much "free will" is allowed before God is no longer "sovereign"?
    Is there a difference between God controlling everything and God being in control of everything?
    Does God directly control (i.e. cause) absolutely everything that ever happens (good and evil), including forum debates, and does any attempt to deny such tell God that He is not "sovereign"?

    I think we might be able to avoid talking over each others' heads if we could agree on what certain terminology means. So, what is the "Sovereignty of God" and what does it entail?
     
  2. AresMan

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    BTW, this should be an interesting, insightful, and possibly fun topic. ;)
     
  3. Andy T.

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    This is too broad. Volumes upon volumes of books have been written addressing these questions. Many times you see these issues debated here within the context of more specific questions/issues.
     
  4. ascund

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    Hey Andy T

    Excellent observation. Consider the following quote. It is lengthy but penetrating!

    A Sermon Delivered on Sabbath Morning, January 7th, 1855, by the REV. C.H. SPURGEON At New Park Street Chapel, Southwark.

    It has been said by some one that "the proper study of mankind is man." I will not oppose the idea, but I believe it is equally true that the proper study of God's elect is God; the proper study of a Christian is the Godhead. The highest science, the loftiest speculation, the mightiest philosophy, which can ever engage the attention of a child of God, is the name, the nature, the person, the work, the doings, and the existence of the great God whom he calls his Father. There is something exceedingly improving to the mind in a contemplation of the Divinity. It is a subject so vast, that all our thoughts are lost in its immensity; so deep, that our pride is drowned in its infinity. Other subjects we can compass and grapple with; in them we feel a kind of self-content, and go our way with the thought, "Behold I am wise." But when we come to this master-science, finding that our plumb-line cannot sound its depth, and that our eagle eye cannot see its height, we turn away with the thought, that vain man would be wise, but he is like a wild ass's colt; and with the solemn exclamation, "I am but of yesterday, and know nothing." No subject of contemplation will tend more to humble the mind, than thoughts of God. We shall be obliged to feel—

    But while the subject humbles the mind it also expands it. He who often thinks of God, will have a larger mind than the man who simply plods around this narrow globe. He may be a naturalist, boasting of his ability to dissect a beetle, anatomize a fly, or arrange insects and animals in classes with well nigh unutterable names; he may be a geologist, able to discourse of the megatherium and the plesiosaurus, and all kinds of extinct animals; he may imagine that his science, whatever it is, ennobles and enlarges his mind. I dare say it does, but after all, the most excellent study for expanding the soul, is the science of Christ, and him crucified, and the knowledge of the Godhead in the glorious Trinity. Nothing will so enlarge the intellect, nothing so magnify the whole soul of man, as a devout, earnest, continued investigation of the great subject of the Deity. And, whilst humbling and expanding, this subject is eminently consolatary. Oh, there is, in contemplating Christ, a balm for every wound; in musing on the Father, there is a quietus for every grief; and in the influence of the Holy Ghost, there is a balsam for every sore. Would you lose your sorrows? Would you drown your cares? Then go, plunge yourself in the Godhead's deepest sea; be lost in his immensity; and you shall come forth as from a couch of rest, refreshed and invigorated. I know nothing which can so comfort the soul; so calm the swelling billows of grief and sorrow; so speak peace to the winds of trial, as a devout musing upon the subject of the Godhead.

    Source: http://blueletterbible.org/Comm/charles_spurgeon/sermons/0001.html

    Lloyd
     
  5. Andy T.

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    Lloyd,

    I'm not dismissing the OP as unimportant; it's just too much to handle in a single thread. Look at it - he asked 5 or 6 sweeping questions, all very important. How does one even begin to tackle it? I just think the nature of a forum like this is to deal with more specified issues/questions. Maybe I'm wrong. I guess we'll see if the thread gains any traction.
     
  6. johnp.

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    Hello AresMan.

    Absolute. Nothing happens but for God enforcing His will at all times according to His plan as He works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will.

    My brother Job knew this Sovereignty. JOB 2:10 He replied, "You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?" In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.

    Everything comes from Sovereignty. Nothing comes if He is not Absolute Sovereign. No choice is available for any other if He is truly Sovereign.


    How's that? :cool: That God predestined, from before the creation of the world, some to everlasting love and some to everlasting hate just because He wanted to. :cool: And I know what that sounds like but I think it is really cool man. :cool: Completely naked before Him totally vulnerable and at His mercy is a wonder. I am there. The Eye of the Hurricane. At His mercy is where I want to be I want nothing else but that His will be done. Your will be done is a thing isn't it?

    john.
     
  7. AresMan

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    I see posts on these forum often say something to the effect "If _______, then God is not sovereign."

    Someone might say that God is sovereign in His plan of salvation in giving man's "free will" a choice. It is after all His sovereign choice to make the plan. Anything less than this means that God is not sovereign.

    Some say that God cannot be truly sovereign unless He forces those to be saved according to His will, and lets others die in their sins "on their own." However, God is not the author of sin. Anything less than that means that God is not sovereign.

    Some say that God cannot be truly sovereign unless He double predestinates--actively elects some to heaven and actively elects the others to hell. However, God is still not the author of sin. Anything less than that means that God is not sovereign.

    Some say that God cannot be truly sovereign unless He is ascribed the active and direct control of absolutely every occurrence in space and time. God is essentially the author and cause of all good and sin. Anything less than that means that God is not sovereign.

    There are many different opinions as to how "sovereign" is "sovereign". Can a belief in any of these accurately be described as a belief in the sovereignty of God? Which is correct and why? Can one believe one "flavor" of sovereignty and disagree with another's "flavor" without declaring that the other's view doesn't make God sovereign?
     
  8. johnp.

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    AresMan.

    Some say that God cannot be truly sovereign unless He is ascribed the active and direct control of absolutely every occurrence in space and time. God is essentially the author and cause of all good and sin. Anything less than that means that God is not sovereign.

    You must see that this has Sovereignty in the sense of Sovereignty. :cool: Complete.

    john.
     
  9. webdog

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    And heresy .
     
  10. johnp.

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    Hello webdog.

    Calvinism as it became known has never been condemned as an heresy by any Church counsel whereas the Armininian semi-Pelagianism has been.
    But to not believe the word in front of the eye is a trade mark of Arminianism. Sovereign means not Sovereign and hate means love and elect means to elect oneself. Your track record should make you less hasty of casting doubt on God is Sovereign.

    john.
     
  11. webdog

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    Hi johnp,

    Your quote:
    This is heresy, regardless which church recognizes it as such.
    I do. The Bible tells us that God abhors sin. The Bible tells us the wages of sin is death. If God is the author of sin, He becomes a sinner. It is the calvinist who believes this heresy and stoops to new lows in telling God what sovereign is...including accusing Him or being the author, creator and cause of sin and evil.
     
  12. johnp.

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    Hello man. :cool:

    No you can't declare such a thing you have no authority. :cool: It needs to be done in counsel. But heresy as to numbers I'll give you. Arminianism is the victor in numbers and I must be an heretic as I am proud to say I dissent from the dominant theory or opinion and side with those who burnt for me. They passed on the good doctrine I have good company.

    The Bible tells us that God abhors sin. Scripture would be usful why do you not use chapter and verse?

    And whose law did He break? And who is going to bring Him to justice? Why do you think He is under law? He does as He pleases doesn't He?

    Evil has to do with man and is not applicable to God. As for the rest then you would have it that God cannot do a thing He has made no promise about? I mean if He says He raised a man up just to destroy him in public you o mighty one says He cannot? If He says He elected Jacob to love and elected to hate Esau you say He cannot? :cool:

    God asks webdog, "Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?" webdog replies no way man you can't do that. :cool: Keep it up man you will go far. Romans 9:21.

    God is the Author and perfecter of sin as befits the only Sovereign Lord. He allows nothing but He Himself initiates it and drives it through and all for His glory. Without sin there would be no cross. God is Sovereign.

    What you think AresMan?

    john.
     
  13. AresMan

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    We would agree that these seven things actually do happen, right? If the LORD hates these seven things, why does He cause them to happen? To me, the logical (and Scriptural) conclusion would be that God does not cause to happen something that He hates.
    I Cor. 14:33 says "God is not the author of confusion." I'm sure we would say that there is "confusion" in the world somewhere, or else there would exist no such word to describe it. You could not know of such a concept of "confusion" unless it actually existed. The Word of God clearly states that God is not the author of confusion, even though it exists. That is not to say that God is not the Creator of what brought confusion into the world. Even so, I would not ascribe God the cause of confusion because His own Word clearly says that He is not.
    The idea that God directly causes absolutely everything is actually an overly simplistic viewpoint that would make "confusion" out of many passages of Scripture that hint at the Personality of God and would send basic common sense logic digressing into loops.
    I hope you can think about that kind of viewpoint a little bit and match it up with Scripture and still make sense of it. I for one certainly don't arrive at your kind of reasoning with any of the passages that you quote.
     
  14. AresMan

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    Here are a few that much reflect this:
    I'm sure there are more.
     
  15. johnp.

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    Hello AresMan.

    But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? "Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, `Why did you make me like this?' Romans 9:20.
    Is the only answer that I think He gives. :cool:

    One of you will say to me: "Then why does God still blame us? For who resists his will?"[/b] Romans 9:19.
    Logic is fine but it should be used to agree with God not to disagree with Him.

    1 Cor 14:33 is talking about the behaviour of the Church. Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other." Gen 11:7 is one of the places where God causes confusion. You are wrong. The Word of God clearly states that God is not the author of confusion...
    ...the LORD looked down from the pillar of fire and cloud at the Egyptian army and threw it into confusion. Ex 14:24.
    The LORD threw them into confusion before Israel... Jos 10:10.

    After you old chap. 'Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other' is opposite to your understanding?

    That's what God is He is simple. My way He remains Sovereign.

    john.
     
  16. BobRyan

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    I am numbering these out of habbit. Whenver I disucss with Calvinist they try to gloss over anything inconvenient to Calvinism so I have to bold, highlight, underlins and number the inconvenient points to remind them of what they are ignoring (repeatedly).

    Not that I think they will run away from all the questions asked here as they have in some cases before -- I am just now in the habbit of numbering ...

    "God is Sovereign" in that HE has the choice - the first choice to either CREATE free will nor not. And having chosen to CREATE free will He still knows ALL The outcomes and has all power.

    THe CHOICE to CREATE free will accomplishes the GOOD of created beings who TRULY love God and SERVE Him out of the utmost freedom -- it is the FARTHEST scenario from the universe of Calvinism.

    The GOOD of Creating FREE WILL is that one can not say "the environement MADE me choose wrong" or "something MADE me choose right".

    The RISK of Creating FREE WILL is that "Wrong CAN be chosen" though it does not say wrong WILL be chosen.

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

    #1. If God's sovereign decision FOR FREEE will is the MEANS for avoiding the problem of "something MADE me sin" then God is NOT the one MAKING people Sin -- and God sovereignly DETERMINES that fact by CREATING Free will!

    This also means that God is NOT responsible for the errors of Calvinism being promoted on this board.

    #3. The fact that God CREATES/ENABLES free will does not stop him from setting boundaries. For example if you freely choose to rebel against God - then God eventually sends you to hell INSTEAD of letting you sin and blaspheme God for all eternity. You HAVE the free will to CHOOSE blasphemy - for your earthly life time. God then ENDS that time by "Destroying both body and soul in hell fire" Matt 10.

    So obviously setting a LIMIT to how much damage you CAN do with bad choices is not really abolishing Free Will.


    What scenario abolishes free will? Makes it pointless?

    By CONTRAST If God arbitrarily ZAPS YOUR BRAIN after the life time and turns you into a saint -- THEN even though the sinning ENDS at the time -- the free will prinicple is abolished.

    In that case God simply arbitrarily chooses SOME TO ZAP, or arbitrarily chooses SOME TIME to allow the blasphemer to take God's name in vain -- and then HAVING NO OTHER SOLUTION in mind anyway - He ZAPS them after He has had His fill.

    That Cavlinist system -- would in fact be the perfect way to declare the whole thing arbutrary and pointless.

    And I think that is what has been happening n the debates.

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  17. BobRyan

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    In fact as James says "LET NO ONE Say when he is tempted to sin that GOD is the cause of this".

    God DOES NOT tempt NEITHER CAN He be tempted James 1.

    Good point. God does not CREATE sin in Gen 1-2

    It takes FREE WILL to do that but only AFTER free will makes the WRONG choice.

    It is Calvinism (some Calvinists not all) that seek to blame GOD for aLL sin -- and then innexplicably deny they are doing what they SEE THEMSELVES doing -- claiming that logic fails them to explain why they are doing that.

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  18. johnp.

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    Hello Bob.

    [underline]
    1. There is no such principle.
    2. There is no such principle.
    3. There is no such principle.
    [/underline]


    Cool. :cool:

    john.
     
  19. HanSola2000

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    God is not "Sovereign" enough to create a race of free-will beings! Oh no, He doesn't have the Sovereign, Potter right to do that. The only way God can be "sovereign", is to be "sovereign" according to what a small minority of His creatures decree He must be. You see, calvinists set the terms for Sovereignty, not God. He must be the way THEY SAY. God must sovereignly bow to Calvinists, or they'll accuse Him of not being "sovereign", or worse yet, they'll claim that He is weaker than His creatures! Gasp!
     
  20. johnp.

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    Hello HanSola.

    That is about the level I have come to expect from Arminians. To be so Sovereign as to be not Sovereign is what?
    But anyway you are just as vocal so most of what you said applies to you. :cool:

    There is no such principle. Free will is invention and alien to scripture. :cool:

    john.
     

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