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Equipped_4_Love
Oct 8th 2008, 04:23 AM
I want to open up a discussion on this, but I don't want to begin by inflating this post with a bunch of presuppositional rhetoric, so I will begin simple:

What is the best definition of God's sovereignty?

BrckBrln
Oct 8th 2008, 04:28 AM
I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, 'My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose'. Isaiah 46:9-10

That sounds good to me.

Equipped_4_Love
Oct 8th 2008, 05:08 AM
Okay....fair enough. That's a good verse, but I was hoping to get more of a definitive-type of answer. For example, I looked up the definition of sovereign online, and these were some of the definitions:

(1)having supreme rank, power, or authority.
(2)supreme; preeminent; indisputable: a sovereign right.
(3)greatest in degree; utmost or extreme.
(4)being above all others in character, importance, excellence, etc.
(5)efficacious; potent: a sovereign remedy.

Do you think that any of these definitions do justice to sovereignty as it applies to God? Moreover, do you feel that there are factors missing?

legoman
Oct 8th 2008, 05:13 AM
I think supreme power or supreme will sums it up.

Basically, whatever God says, goes.

Isaiah 55:11
so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

Cheers,
Legoman

BrckBrln
Oct 8th 2008, 05:15 AM
Okay....fair enough. That's a good verse, but I was hoping to get more of a definitive-type of answer. For example, I looked up the definition of sovereign online, and these were some of the definitions:

(1)having supreme rank, power, or authority.
(2)supreme; preeminent; indisputable: a sovereign right.
(3)greatest in degree; utmost or extreme.
(4)being above all others in character, importance, excellence, etc.
(5)efficacious; potent: a sovereign remedy.

Do you think that any of these definitions do justice to sovereignty as it applies to God? Moreover, do you feel that there are factors missing?

I think those are pretty accurate. I personally believe that God is sovereign over all of creation and nothing happens that He isn't aware of or even predestined beforehand.

crossnote
Oct 8th 2008, 05:15 AM
Okay....fair enough. That's a good verse, but I was hoping to get more of a definitive-type of answer. For example, I looked up the definition of sovereign online, and these were some of the definitions:

(1)having supreme rank, power, or authority.
(2)supreme; preeminent; indisputable: a sovereign right.
(3)greatest in degree; utmost or extreme.
(4)being above all others in character, importance, excellence, etc.
(5)efficacious; potent: a sovereign remedy.

Do you think that any of these definitions do justice to sovereignty as it applies to God? Moreover, do you feel that there are factors missing?

When it comes to God's attributes and nature you can't get more definitive than what God says of Himself in Scripture. Why draw from broken cisterns?

Equipped_4_Love
Oct 8th 2008, 05:25 AM
I completely agree with you guys, but let me run a little further with this concept......

In every definition that I've encountered, the word sovereign seems to apply to governmental or social spheres.....one ruling authority residing over the affairs of all other people. Would you agree that, in and of themselves, these people are free moral agents? Likewise, God is sovereign over all creation....a creation comprised of free moral agents.

Would you agree with this?

Ethnikos
Oct 8th 2008, 08:33 AM
In every definition that I've encountered, the word sovereign seems to apply to governmental or social spheres.....
There is a term that has been used a lot, lately in the news concerning all these financial dealings. Sovereign Wealth Funds. These are investment entities that buy into assets, basically for their country. So, in a way, the term sovereign could apply to an independent country, meaning not being ruled by another power, outside of it.

9Marksfan
Oct 8th 2008, 10:41 AM
There is a term that has been used a lot, lately in the news concerning all these financial dealings. Sovereign Wealth Funds. These are investment entities that buy into assets, basically for their country. So, in a way, the term sovereign could apply to an independent country, meaning not being ruled by another power, outside of it.

Yes - the concept od independence is very important - we hear of "sovereign states" meaning "independent".

I heard a definition of God's sovereignty from a source I didn't expect the other night when I was watching a very interesting programme on one of the satellite channels where the speaker was the late Derek Prince. He defined God's sovereignty as follows:-

God does what He wants, when He wants, in the way that he wants - without asking anyone's permission.

I think that helpfully sums up the meaning behind Eph 1:11:-

In Him also we obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will. NKJV

faroutinmt
Oct 8th 2008, 12:32 PM
God is in complete control of everything.

legoman
Oct 8th 2008, 12:36 PM
Yes God is truly independent. We are not truly independent.

I think there is an inherent contradiction with the concepts of God's sovereignty and us as free moral agents. If we are truly free moral agents, then God is no longer sovereign over us. We are sovereign over ourselves.

Now given that the bible says God is sovereign, I conclude that we are not free moral agents.

What is a free moral agent?

Free - free from cause, not restrained, not mixed with anything, not determined by anything

Moral - capable of right and wrong, pertaining to right and wrong, etc

Agent - one who acts with some power, a person, us


Now I have no problem calling us moral agents. But free moral agents? I don't think so. If we were truly free, we could make choices that are outside of God's sovereignty. We could make choices that are not constrained or caused by anything. In fact all of our choices are constrained and have root causes that cause us to make that choice. This is how God intended us to operate.

I view it as a father/child relationship. God is the Father. We are the children. Now does a father let his child do whatever he wants? No. But the father is there to let the child learn, provide love, give the child experience, wisdom, etc. Now that doesn't always happen in real life, because human fathers are not all-powerful, all-knowing and all-loving. But God is, and he will make sure everything goes according to his plan.

Cheers,
Legoman

Redeemed by Grace
Oct 8th 2008, 01:06 PM
God is in complete control of everything.

Even as far as your own personal life, in the things you do, the places you go, the life you live -- even to your selection of Himself as Lord and Savior...???










And just so you know as so not to miss lead you in any way... But I ask in the form of a question to affirm your comment as to this is what I believe the word instructs...

livingword26
Oct 8th 2008, 09:12 PM
I think there is an inherent contradiction with the concepts of God's sovereignty and us as free moral agents. If we are truly free moral agents, then God is no longer sovereign over us. We are sovereign over ourselves.




That is only true if our free will is out of Gods control. If our will is free, by Gods desire, then that is His sovereign desire, and so it must be, and so it is.

faroutinmt
Oct 8th 2008, 09:18 PM
Even as far as your own personal life, in the things you do, the places you go, the life you live -- even to your selection of Himself as Lord and Savior.

Yes. Absolutely. All the way. :)

livingword26
Oct 9th 2008, 12:00 AM
Now I have no problem calling us moral agents. But free moral agents? I don't think so. If we were truly free, we could make choices that are outside of God's sovereignty. We could make choices that are not constrained or caused by anything. In fact all of our choices are constrained and have root causes that cause us to make that choice. This is how God intended us to operate.



This theory gives God all the credit for each and every murder, rape, child molestation, war and disease on the face of the earth. That may be your God, but it is not mine.

legoman
Oct 9th 2008, 01:20 AM
This theory gives God all the credit for each and every murder, rape, child molestation, war and disease on the face of the earth. That may be your God, but it is not mine.

Yes many people come to that conclusion. But God does plan for these things to happen. To admit otherwise is to say God is not in control.

Read this thread for more discussion:

http://bibleforums.org/showthread.php?t=141686

I will repeat some of it here. I am interested in your response:

Here is the problem. If God does not intend for murder, rape, abortions, and other misc bad stuff to happen, then why do those things happen? God created humans, not realizing they would sin? Maybe he hoped they would choose of their own free will not to sin? Or he just resigned himself to the fact that his creation would sin and there was nothing he could do about it for now? This makes God out to be a very weak image of his true self. Did God screw up when he made his creation? He has to adjust his plans around our will?

I can see it now. God thinks to himself "Man what was I thinking giving humans free will. They just can't stop sinning! First I had to wipe most of them out with a flood. Now it looks like I'll have to burn up Sodom & Gomorrah. What will they do next... oh well hopefully a few of them will be on my side at the end, even though the devil (whom I created - man that was another BIG mistake) will probably end up with 90% of the souls out there. Too bad they all have free will and my hands are tied. I mean its not like I'm all-powerful or anything. Well, actually I am, but that free will thing has got me stumped."

Doesn't that seem silly? God is completely sovereign and everything is under his control. This includes Satan and all the bad things that happen.

Isaiah 45:7 God creates evil (hebrew: ra) - same word in tree of knowledge of good and evil (ra)

Isaiah 46:10-11 God declares the end from the beginning and brings it to pass. He says what will happen and MAKES IT HAPPEN!

Isaiah 55:11 Anything God speaks will accomplish what he desires and purposes. Just in case you weren't sure about Isaiah 46:11.

Proverbs 16, Psalm 139, Romans 8-9, Eccl 3, all talking about God knowing us completely, directing our steps, the timing of everything, according to his purpose. He sets us in unbelief so he can show his mercy. God set the creation subject to its own vanity. We can go through specific verses if you want.

etc. etc. etc.

If God did not intend for all this to happen, then I fear for the state of the universe. If God did not intend for it all to happen, then God is not in control. Man is in control. And God would not really be God.

But luckily the bible says otherwise. God is in complete control. He created all, is in all, and all things work through him (2 Cor 5:18, Heb 2:10, Col 1:16). All things even consist (are held together) by him (Col 1:17). All things work for his purpose (Eph 1:11). Remember what all means? EVERYTHING. Good and evil.

There is a bigger picture here. God created evil for a purpose. God intended people to sin. God does not force people to sin. We do that ourselves, just as God intended. And we happily do it because we are spiritually weak. God is giving an experience of evil to us, so that we will know what good is. He is creating us in the image of God. That is a process that takes time and experience.

Legoman

legoman
Oct 9th 2008, 01:37 AM
That is only true if our free will is out of Gods control. If our will is free, by Gods desire, then that is His sovereign desire, and so it must be, and so it is.

And do you have a verse that says God desired to give us free will? I haven't run across one yet. On the contrary there are many verses that indicate lack of free will. Here are a few:

Psalm 139:
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
16 your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.

Proverbs 16:
9 In his heart a man plans his course,
but the LORD determines his steps.

Proverbs 20:
24 A man's steps are directed by the LORD.
How then can anyone understand his own way?

This is just what I see in the scriptures. Its hard to deny the plain meaning.

By the way I will be away for the next week, so probably won't be able to respond too much.

Enjoy,
Legoman

livingword26
Oct 9th 2008, 01:47 AM
Originally Posted by livingword26 http://bibleforums.org/images/buttons/viewpost.gif (http://bibleforums.org/showthread.php?p=1817334#post1817334)
This theory gives God all the credit for each and every murder, rape, child molestation, war and disease on the face of the earth. That may be your God, but it is not mine.



Yes many people come to that conclusion. But God does plan for these things to happen. To admit otherwise is to say God is not in control.



I think that is a disturbing belief. I will not attempt to address your entire post, but I will list verses myself. I will add, that I do not believe that the Arminian doctrine is any more true than the Calvinist one, as both are backed up and refuted by scripture. The truth is neither and both.

Matt 25:41
41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
KJV


Heb 2:3
3 How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation ; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him;
KJV


Deut 30:19
19 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:
KJV


Matt 23:37
37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!
KJV


John 1:6-13
6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.
8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.
9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.
10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.
11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
KJV


John 1:29
29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.
KJV




John 3:18-21
18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
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.
20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.
KJV


John 6:51
51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.
KJV


John 12:32
32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.
KJV


Acts 7:51
51 Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.
KJV


Rom 10:11-13
11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.
13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved .
KJV


Mark 16:16
16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved ; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
KJV


Titus 2:11
11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men ,
KJV


1 Tim 2:5-6
5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.
KJV

Dani H
Oct 9th 2008, 01:51 AM
And do you have a verse that says God desired to give us free will? I haven't run across one yet.

Isaiah 1

18 “ Come now, and let us reason together,”
Says the LORD,

“ Though your sins are like scarlet,
They shall be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson,
They shall be as wool.
19 If you are willing and obedient,
You shall eat the good of the land;
20 But if you refuse and rebel,
You shall be devoured by the sword”;
For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.

This Scripture, and the giving of options by God, implies ability to make free decisions, and the consequences that come along with them. And there are many such others. Read the end of Deutoronomy, for example.

IF ... you obey the laws set forth ... then ... bunches of blessings.

IF ... you disobey ... then ... bunches of curses.

We have always had a choice.

Unless you interpret the presentation of options, along with consequences, and then letting it be unto people according to their choices, as something different than "free will"?

To address the "if God is sovereign, then how come we really have a choice?" conundrum, I would submit this for consideration:

God has full sovereignty in that nothing can ever happen outside of His set boundaries and principles. Nothing in the universe can supersede them in any way, ever. Even man's disobedience, and the consequences of it, will in every detail always be governed by God's principles, and nothing else.

If that makes you nervous, then perhaps you ought to be, because you might then understand how vital obedience really is, and how nobody ultimately really gets away with anything, ever.

But I would also provide you comfort with the fact that God is also very able to convict people and bring them to obedience to Him. And that love covers a multitude of sins. He needs very few, fully committed folks, to balance out and override and redeem the mistakes and sins of many, and bring His ultimate will for mankind to pass, and to save people despite themselves.

Fascinating to serve such a God, isn't it?

Praise His name!

legoman
Oct 9th 2008, 02:07 AM
I think that is a disturbing belief. I will not attempt to address your entire post, but I will list verses myself. I will add, that I do not believe that the Arminian doctrine is any more true than the Calvinist one, as both are backed up and refuted by scripture. The truth is neither and both.


Well livingword26, its not really fair for you to judge something, and then not even address the verses I presented. You do realize that all scripture is true and cannot contradict itself? So how can both doctrines be true? Open up your bible and read some of the scriptures I presented. It will give you a new perspective.

You presented a lot of scripture as well. You didn't really explain your point for posting them, but it appears most of them show where someone is making a choice - for salvation or not for example.

Yes I agree it is quite obvious that we all make choices. But are they free choices? For that is what free will is: making a free choice that is not constrained or caused by something else.

The truth is all of our choices are caused. Even our choice to come to Christ cannot happen unless God allows it. John 6:44 and John 6:65 say no one can come to Christ unless the Father has enabled him. That is, he must choose us before we can choose him.

If you look at no other verse, at least look at Isaiah 46:10-11.

Peace,
Legoman

threebigrocks
Oct 9th 2008, 04:03 PM
And do you have a verse that says God desired to give us free will? I haven't run across one yet. On the contrary there are many verses that indicate lack of free will. Here are a few:

Psalm 139:
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
16 your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.

Proverbs 16:
9 In his heart a man plans his course,
but the LORD determines his steps.

Proverbs 20:
24 A man's steps are directed by the LORD.
How then can anyone understand his own way?

This is just what I see in the scriptures. Its hard to deny the plain meaning.

By the way I will be away for the next week, so probably won't be able to respond too much.

Enjoy,
Legoman

In these very scriptures refute yourself, legoman. You've shot yourself in the foot here, my friend.

Psalm 139:15 clearly states (As can be supported by Romans1) that Christ is here before us even prior to His walking the earth as a man. He was around from the foundations of the earth. This not only supports all things through Christ from the beginning, but also that He is always before us. We have no reason to not choose Him and turn from ourselves. Livingword shared scripture along these exact lines.

Proverbs is not a doctrinal book, just putting that out there. Very wise stuff from Solomon, but not doctrinal.

Proverbs 16:9 states emphatically that man plans his own course. That right there clearly says that we do have free will. No matter if we choose God's way or not, He directs our steps. If we place our faith in Him, we will be guided according to His ways. If we don't place our faith in Him, He will either call us in hope that we will heed Him or give us over to our selves. Either way, we plan our steps. God can work in whatever our choices are.

It is not hard to see the plain meaning. It can be hard to accept it.



Well livingword26, its not really fair for you to judge something, and then not even address the verses I presented. You do realize that all scripture is true and cannot contradict itself? So how can both doctrines be true? Open up your bible and read some of the scriptures I presented. It will give you a new perspective.

You presented a lot of scripture as well. You didn't really explain your point for posting them, but it appears most of them show where someone is making a choice - for salvation or not for example.

Yes I agree it is quite obvious that we all make choices. But are they free choices? For that is what free will is: making a free choice that is not constrained or caused by something else.

The truth is all of our choices are caused. Even our choice to come to Christ cannot happen unless God allows it. John 6:44 and John 6:65 say no one can come to Christ unless the Father has enabled him. That is, he must choose us before we can choose him.

If you look at no other verse, at least look at Isaiah 46:10-11.

Peace,
Legoman

You do not paint a proper picture of the very essence of the nature of God - love. You cannot force love. If you do - it's not real. For God to force, or script out our very lives, we cannot either be free to love Him with the same Godly love He extends to us. That is the same love that caused the Father to send the Son. The same Son that freely died for the love of the Father which we are also called to live within, so that you can claim then that our lives lived as not free within that love? All Christ had to have done is call upon the Father and He would have been spared the death He died. He laid down His life freely for the love of the Father and for the sheep. Essence of the gospel stuff here.

What is it you fear, legoman? What is it that keeps you from the freedom of that love?

Biastai
Oct 10th 2008, 12:25 PM
The best part of this question is that any definition offered is doomed to fall short of the task. Due to the inherent limits of our perception and of language, any verbalized definition of the boundlessness of God will not do justice.

By no means do I call this a definition, but I would like to point this out.

In his 33:25 of his prophecies, Jeremiah mentions a "fixed order of heaven and earth." (New English) The most educated of athiests has a roadblock in front of him when he sets out to argue against the existence of God. It is this: the universe follows a single set of laws. What basic chemical elements do we find here on earth? Carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, etc. Travel lightyears in any direction and you will still find carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, etc. Of course you will find new elements here and there, but they follow the same proton/electron/neutron system.

The same applies to our "laws of physics." We've only named them the "laws of physics" because we need to categorize the phenomena around us in order to be able to study them. All of it makes up one law set that the whole cosmos finds itself under. Labels like "fate" or "nature" are only man-made names for what we perceive.

RogerW
Oct 10th 2008, 04:37 PM
In these very scriptures refute yourself, legoman. You've shot yourself in the foot here, my friend.

Psalm 139:15 clearly states (As can be supported by Romans1) that Christ is here before us even prior to His walking the earth as a man. He was around from the foundations of the earth. This not only supports all things through Christ from the beginning, but also that He is always before us.

Ps 139:15 shows us that we are always before Him, not that He is always before us. God knows us yet being unformed, even before being in the womb God sees His own, and fashions them.

Ps 139:16 Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.

Fashioned - yatsar to mould into a form; especially as a potter; figuratively, to determine (i.e. form a resolution):--X earthen, fashion, form, frame, make(-r), potter, purpose.



We have no reason to not choose Him and turn from ourselves. Livingword shared scripture along these exact lines.

Romans 1 tells us that if the only revelation of God that mankind ever receives is through creation/nature, history, and conscience, it is enough to render them without excuse. Without supernatural revelation not one man will choose Christ, and turn to Him for salvation.



Proverbs is not a doctrinal book, just putting that out there. Very wise stuff from Solomon, but not doctrinal.

Not doctrinal? Do you realize that "doctrine" simply means instruction? Certainly you would not argue that the words penned by Solomon in Holy Writ are without instruction? Is there nothing you might learn from the man whom God gave the greatest wisdom? The greatest thing to be learned from the words of Solomon is that God is Sovereign over everything. For apart from the Lord all is vanity.



Proverbs 16:9 states emphatically that man plans his own course. That right there clearly says that we do have free will. No matter if we choose God's way or not, He directs our steps.

The proverb teaches us that it is folly for a man to think his ways are in his own hand, when in truth, he can do nothing unless God gives force. Our plans do not accomplish what we intend, but rather what God sees best and according to His plans.



It is not hard to see the plain meaning. It can be hard to accept it.

I agree! One with eyes to see, and ears to hear can read Holy Scripture and clearly see that God is Sovereign over His creation. And it is true, it is hard for those who want to cling to an imagined free will of man to accept.



You do not paint a proper picture of the very essence of the nature of God - love. You cannot force love. If you do - it's not real. For God to force, or script out our very lives, we cannot either be free to love Him with the same Godly love He extends to us. That is the same love that caused the Father to send the Son. The same Son that freely died for the love of the Father which we are also called to live within, so that you can claim then that our lives lived as not free within that love? All Christ had to have done is call upon the Father and He would have been spared the death He died. He laid down His life freely for the love of the Father and for the sheep. Essence of the gospel stuff here.

What is it you fear, legoman? What is it that keeps you from the freedom of that love?

TBR, legoman understands very well what it means to be loved by God. He understands what those of free will cannot grasp...that is that unless God is Sovereign over His creation; unless God is Sovereign in salvation, then no man would be saved. You see God's Sovereignty as dictatorial over His creation, so you cannot see the freedom His people have when He truly sets them free. You fail to grasp the true condition of fallen, natural man. Natural fallen man's will is not free to choose Christ...how can he be? He is a servant/slave of Satan, and he is in bondage to sin and death. Unless God Sovereignly intervenes, showing His love and mercy on His people, than no people would be saved. God is Sovereign or mankind is without hope.

Blessings,
RW

holyrokker
Oct 11th 2008, 12:20 AM
Sovereignty refers to the right of the sovereign to make rule free from outside governance.

In God's case, it means that He, by His very nature, has the right to rule as He sees fit.

Included in that concept is that God rules according to His nature. He will not violate His very own principles.

John146
Oct 11th 2008, 06:23 AM
This theory gives God all the credit for each and every murder, rape, child molestation, war and disease on the face of the earth. That may be your God, but it is not mine.I agree. If God predetermined all those things to happen then why is there scripture that says He finds those things to be abominable? That would mean He finds things that He predetermined to happen to be abominable? Which would then mean He partially finds Himself to be abominable for having made those things happen? This just makes no sense at all.

This theory makes God look foolish for commanding people not to do things that He predetermined for them to do. Did He mean to say "Thou shalt not murder...unless I predetermined for you to do so"? Did He mean to say "Thou shalt not commit adultery...until the time comes when I predetermined for you to do so"? This theory makes it senseless to have any laws or accountability for sin. How can one be guilty for doing what God predetermined them to do?

In case anyone who holds to that theory is offended by my post, just remember that your theory would say that God made me post this.

John146
Oct 11th 2008, 06:36 AM
Isaiah 1

18 “ Come now, and let us reason together,”
Says the LORD,

“ Though your sins are like scarlet,
They shall be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson,
They shall be as wool.
19 If you are willing and obedient,
You shall eat the good of the land;
20 But if you refuse and rebel,
You shall be devoured by the sword”;
For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.

This Scripture, and the giving of options by God, implies ability to make free decisions, and the consequences that come along with them. And there are many such others. Read the end of Deutoronomy, for example.

IF ... you obey the laws set forth ... then ... bunches of blessings.

IF ... you disobey ... then ... bunches of curses.

We have always had a choice.

Unless you interpret the presentation of options, along with consequences, and then letting it be unto people according to their choices, as something different than "free will"?

To address the "if God is sovereign, then how come we really have a choice?" conundrum, I would submit this for consideration:

God has full sovereignty in that nothing can ever happen outside of His set boundaries and principles. Nothing in the universe can supersede them in any way, ever. Even man's disobedience, and the consequences of it, will in every detail always be governed by God's principles, and nothing else.

If that makes you nervous, then perhaps you ought to be, because you might then understand how vital obedience really is, and how nobody ultimately really gets away with anything, ever.

But I would also provide you comfort with the fact that God is also very able to convict people and bring them to obedience to Him. And that love covers a multitude of sins. He needs very few, fully committed folks, to balance out and override and redeem the mistakes and sins of many, and bring His ultimate will for mankind to pass, and to save people despite themselves.

Fascinating to serve such a God, isn't it?

Praise His name!Good scripture reference. Jesus offers eternal life to whoever will freely choose to accept it.

Rev 22:17
And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

Equipped_4_Love
Oct 11th 2008, 09:47 PM
Wow....looks like this thread really took off in the few days that I've been gone. I've read over everybody's responses, and have enjoyed them, but if it's okay with you, I'd like to reply to some of them, and deviate this thread into a slightly different direction, because the idea that I've been considering hasn't really been addressed:


God is completely sovereign and everything is under his control.

Yes, I agree...everything is completely under God's control, but does God directly control the lives of every man, woman, and child, whether saved or unsaved? Just because something is in the scope of God's control does not infer that He directly controls each and every aspect of that thing.
This being said, do you believe that God can be in direct control in the lives of His children, while indirectly controlling those who are outside of His will.....or do you believe that God is in direct control, and that He directly intervenes in, each and every person's life, whether saved or unsaved?

Moreover, how does this tie in with the idea of sovereignty, and of free will and the ability to choose?


God is in complete control. He created all, is in all, and all things work through him (2 Cor 5:18, Heb 2:10, Col 1:16). All things even consist (are held together) by him (Col 1:17). All things work for his purpose (Eph 1:11). Remember what all means? EVERYTHING. Good and evil.

The fact that both good and evil exist, and that we can choose between them, simply comfirm the fact that we are free moral agents. In Joshua 24:15, God tells Israel:

Choose this day whom ye will serve

Even so, we must remember that God was the one who gave them the choice, the options, and the ability to choose. If God hadn't created them with free will, they wouldn;t have the ability to choose, which seems to indicate that God is sovereign even over their free will. He gives them choices, and the ability to choose, but He doesn't dictate their choices.

To create human beings with the ability to choose, then to dictate and control the process of choosing, would be a contradiction, and God does not contradict Himself.

Simply put, God is sovereign in our free will because He was the one who created us with it in the first place. If God didn't create us with the ability to choose, then we wouldn't have a choice.



To address the "if God is sovereign, then how come we really have a choice?" conundrum, I would submit this for consideration:

God has full sovereignty in that nothing can ever happen outside of His set boundaries and principles. Nothing in the universe can supersede them in any way, ever. Even man's disobedience, and the consequences of it, will in every detail always be governed by God's principles, and nothing else.


For God to force, or script out our very lives, we cannot either be free to love Him with the same Godly love He extends to us.

You see God's Sovereignty as dictatorial over His creation, so you cannot see the freedom His people have when He truly sets them free. You fail to grasp the true condition of fallen, natural man.

Simply put, in His sovereignty, God created us with the ability to choose, which I guess is the original direction I was intending to take this thread.

Here's the bottom line....I hear a lot of discussion on how to correlate God's sovereignty with our own free will, and how the 2 must co-exist harmoniously. Everyone seems to say that one must take precedence over the other, but I really wonder.....is it possible that our own free will is a huge part of God's sovereignty? Let me explain:

God's sovereignty is His ruling authority....His independent governing over all of creation. When I think of government, I think of a person's rule over a group of free moral agents. If there were not free moral agents involved...people with the ability to choose....then government wouldn't be necessary, because the only other option would be that those people would be programmed a certain way. They would not be free to choose, so they would not need a governing agent, because their actions, destiny, and everything about them would be pre-programmed.

For example, say a certain individual is given control over a large network of automatons. That person is responsible for programming the robots, thus causing them to do certain tasks. You cannot say that person really has authority over the robots, because the robots do not have a choice. That person has control, in that he can program the robots to do certain things, but for you to say that the programmer has sovereignty over the robots would be a misstatement. Moreover, if one of the robots were to act contrary to the other robots, it would be silly to punish that robot, because the programmer would be the one responsible for the glitch.....not the robot. The robot did not act according to free will, but simply reacted to the glitch in the program.

To say that a person has sovereignty over something is to indicate that person has an overarching realm of authority, and it really seems, at least to me, that the people over whom he implements the authority have some sort of free will, or ability to choose to defy this authority.

So, then, we all know that God did not create a race of robots. He created a race of free moral agents over which he exercises complete sovereignty. If he had created a race of robots, programmed to think and act a specific way, could His power really be considered sovereignty, or would it just be mindless control?

So, then, would it be completely off-key for me to say that the fact that God created our free will, and exercises control, is what makes Him sovereign? Of course, God would still be in control even if we did not have free will....but could He be called sovereign?

RogerW
Oct 11th 2008, 11:54 PM
Yes, I agree...everything is completely under God's control, but does God directly control the lives of every man, woman, and child, whether saved or unsaved? Just because something is in the scope of God's control does not infer that He directly controls each and every aspect of that thing.

Greetings Welder,

Welcome back to the discussion. I believe that God's providential care is apparent over His creation. God is the One Who changes the times and seasons, sets up kings and removes them, and He gives wisdom and knowledge, and reveals secret things.

Da 2:21 And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding:
Da 2:22 He revealeth the deep and secret things: he knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him.

God makes peace, and creates evil.

Isa 45:7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.

He causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on both the just and unjust

Mt 5:45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

His armies in heaven are unlimited legions of angels. These are also ministering spirits sent to minister to the heirs of salvation.

Job 25:3 Is there any number of his armies? and upon whom doth not his light arise?

Mt 26:53 Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?

Heb 1:14 Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?

What these verses show us, is that God is providential over His creation. I think I would agree that does not necessarily mean that God directly controls the lives of every human. But what it does mean is that God intervenes in our lives to accomplish His purpose. I would argue that although I don't believe God causes man to sin, He certainly uses sin and evil to accomplish His divine will. As shown, He does this through various means.



Moreover, how does this tie in with the idea of sovereignty, and of free will and the ability to choose?

There are two types of men in this world. Those under the bondage of Satan, sin and death, and those in Christ, who are His servants. If Satan is our master, then we do not have the ability to make righteous choices. We will only choose according to our natural will. If Christ is our Master, we have the ability to choose righteousness and truth, but we must also struggle against the old nature, or natural man while living in our bodies of death. We will not be free from this struggle until we are given our glorified incorruptible, immortal spiritual bodies.

Since we are in the service of either Satan or Christ, is our will really free? How can one be in bondage to another and still be free?



The fact that both good and evil exist, and that we can choose between them, simply comfirm the fact that we are free moral agents. In Joshua 24:15, God tells Israel:

Choose this day whom ye will serve

Even so, we must remember that God was the one who gave them the choice, the options, and the ability to choose. If God hadn't created them with free will, they wouldn;t have the ability to choose, which seems to indicate that God is sovereign even over their free will. He gives them choices, and the ability to choose, but He doesn't dictate their choices.

Would you agree that Joshua is encouraging the nation to be obedient to the law?

De 10:12 And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul,
De 10:13 To keep the commandments of the LORD, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good?

Joshua was not giving the nation a choice, he was giving them an ultimatum. If they desired to live long in the land of promise, and to receive blessing and good from the LORD, they will serve Him...but if they desire to serve the gods of their fathers before them, and turn away from the one true God, then God will take the good land from them and they will perish, receiving the curses and wrath the LORD had promised.

Joshua cannot be speaking of making a free choice for eternal life, because if he was, then he is teaching them that obedience to the law will bring eternal life. But Scripture is abundantly clear that the law was never given for salvation. The purpose of the law was to show us our sin, and point us to Christ.



To create human beings with the ability to choose, then to dictate and control the process of choosing, would be a contradiction, and God does not contradict Himself.

Which is why we can be certain that Joshua is not telling us we have the ability through our free will to choose Christ for eternal life.



Simply put, God is sovereign in our free will because He was the one who created us with it in the first place. If God didn't create us with the ability to choose, then we wouldn't have a choice.

Again I would argue that our will is only free to choose in accordance to who we are bound to, or according to who our master/Master is. It will take someone stronger than Satan to free us from him, and the Lord will never let go of those who belong to Him.



Simply put, in His sovereignty, God created us with the ability to choose, which I guess is the original direction I was intending to take this thread.

I don't find this free will in Scripture.



Here's the bottom line....I hear a lot of discussion on how to correlate God's sovereignty with our own free will, and how the 2 must co-exist harmoniously. Everyone seems to say that one must take precedence over the other, but I really wonder.....is it possible that our own free will is a huge part of God's sovereignty? Let me explain:

God's sovereignty is His ruling authority....His independent governing over all of creation. When I think of government, I think of a person's rule over a group of free moral agents. If there were not free moral agents involved...people with the ability to choose....then government wouldn't be necessary, because the only other option would be that those people would be programmed a certain way. They would not be free to choose, so they would not need a governing agent, because their actions, destiny, and everything about them would be pre-programmed.

Would you call people who have been imprisoned free? I don't think you would. Prisoners are not free to choose their freedom, but these prisoners are not pre-programmed in a certain way. They, like all mankind are all made from the same lump of clay. Defining our lives as being imprisoned is a pretty good way to describe mankind. Before salvation we are imprisoned by Satan, and can freely choose whatsoever will not deliver us from his authority over us. After salvation we are servants of Christ, we are no longer imprisoned and without authority over Satan, for Christ sets us free to serve Him, and this we do willingly because He has changed our wills.



For example, say a certain individual is given control over a large network of automatons. That person is responsible for programming the robots, thus causing them to do certain tasks. You cannot say that person really has authority over the robots, because the robots do not have a choice. That person has control, in that he can program the robots to do certain things, but for you to say that the programmer has sovereignty over the robots would be a misstatement. Moreover, if one of the robots were to act contrary to the other robots, it would be silly to punish that robot, because the programmer would be the one responsible for the glitch.....not the robot. The robot did not act according to free will, but simply reacted to the glitch in the program.

Christ does not have to make us robots to serve Him. He changes our hearts and minds, and puts His Spirit within us. Now we freely choose to serve our Lord because Christ has enabled us.



To say that a person has sovereignty over something is to indicate that person has an overarching realm of authority, and it really seems, at least to me, that the people over whom he implements the authority have some sort of free will, or ability to choose to defy this authority.

If we could defy His sovereign authority, He would not be sovereign, we would. The Lord reigns as King, exercising dominion, His dominion is total and everlasting.

Ps 47:7 For God is the King of all the earth: sing ye praises with understanding.
Ps 47:8 God reigneth over the heathen: God sitteth upon the throne of his holiness.
Ps 47:9 The princes of the people are gathered together, even the people of the God of Abraham: for the shields of the earth belong unto God: he is greatly exalted.

Ps 146:5 Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the LORD his God:
Ps 146:6 Which made heaven, and earth, the sea, and all that therein is: which keepeth truth for ever:
Ps 146:7 Which executeth judgment for the oppressed: which giveth food to the hungry. The LORD looseth the prisoners:
Ps 146:8 The LORD openeth the eyes of the blind: the LORD raiseth them that are bowed down: the LORD loveth the righteous:
Ps 146:9 The LORD preserveth the strangers; he relieveth the fatherless and widow: but the way of the wicked he turneth upside down.
Ps 146:10 The LORD shall reign for ever, even thy God, O Zion, unto all generations. Praise ye the LORD.



So, then, we all know that God did not create a race of robots. He created a race of free moral agents over which he exercises complete sovereignty.

What happened to man after the fall? Is he free, or did he die spiritually, and subject all of his progeny to bondage to Satan, sin and death?



So, then, would it be completely off-key for me to say that the fact that God created our free will, and exercises control, is what makes Him sovereign? Of course, God would still be in control even if we did not have free will....but could He be called sovereign?

You'll have to show me this free will you speak of. For I cannot find this free moral agency in His Word. Either God is Sovereign, and the only being truly free, or man is sovereign, having the ability to usurp the will of God to save a people for Himself through his sovereign free will.

Many Blessings,
RW

Equipped_4_Love
Oct 12th 2008, 02:19 AM
Greetings Welder,

Welcome back to the discussion. I believe that God's providential care is apparent over His creation. God is the One Who changes the times and seasons, sets up kings and removes them, and He gives wisdom and knowledge, and reveals secret things.

God makes peace, and creates evil.

He causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on both the just and unjust

His armies in heaven are unlimited legions of angels. These are also ministering spirits sent to minister to the heirs of salvation.

Job 25:3 Is there any number of his armies? and upon whom doth not his light arise?

Mt 26:53 Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?

Heb 1:14 Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?

What these verses show us, is that God is providential over His creation. I think I would agree that does not necessarily mean that God directly controls the lives of every human. But what it does mean is that God intervenes in our lives to accomplish His purpose. I would argue that although I don't believe God causes man to sin, He certainly uses sin and evil to accomplish His divine will. As shown, He does this through various means.

So, then, it appears that we are in absolute agreement.


There are two types of men in this world. Those under the bondage of Satan, sin and death, and those in Christ, who are His servants. If Satan is our master, then we do not have the ability to make righteous choices. We will only choose according to our natural will. If Christ is our Master, we have the ability to choose righteousness and truth, but we must also struggle against the old nature, or natural man while living in our bodies of death. We will not be free from this struggle until we are given our glorified incorruptible, immortal spiritual bodies.

INDEED. Anything done apart from the spirit (even good works) is of the flesh, or the carnal man. That is why it is imperative that we continually walk in the spirit:

Rom. 8:8 So, then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God

Rom. 12:2 And do not be conformed to this worls, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God

Rom. 8:6,7 For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God, for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be

I guess the only thing I would have trouble with is the term natural man. The natural man is what we are before coming to Christ....one who purposely walks in the flesh, and sets his mind on such things:

1 Cor 2:14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him

Do you think it's possible to be a natural man and an authentic Christian? I know that there are carnal Christians, because the apostle Paul addresses that in 1 Cor., and I also know that we struggle with the flesh, but is struggling with the flesh a sign that we are still natural men, as opposed to spiritual men?

I always thought that the natural man was one who was completely without Christ, and devoid of all spirituality. Either way, we can set our minds on the things of the flesh, or on the things of the spirit....what we set our minds on will determine what we are slaves to.


Since we are in the service of either Satan or Christ, is our will really free? How can one be in bondage to another and still be free?

It is free only insofar as we choose whom we will serve....to whom we are slaves, how we make our choices, and where we set our minds are determined by that initial choice, which we freely make. We can choose to be in bondage to sin, or to righteousness.

Also note that we do not need Satan's direction to walk in the flesh....we can do this very well on our own, as that is our nature, but we sure need God's direction to walk in the Spirit.


Would you agree that Joshua is encouraging the nation to be obedient to the law?

De 10:12 And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul,
De 10:13 To keep the commandments of the LORD, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good?

Joshua was not giving the nation a choice, he was giving them an ultimatum. If they desired to live long in the land of promise, and to receive blessing and good from the LORD, they will serve Him...but if they desire to serve the gods of their fathers before them, and turn away from the one true God, then God will take the good land from them and they will perish, receiving the curses and wrath the LORD had promised.

Yes.....and an ultimatum involves some sort of choice, does it not? One can choose to be foolish, or to be sensible.


Joshua cannot be speaking of making a free choice for eternal life, because if he was, then he is teaching them that obedience to the law will bring eternal life. But Scripture is abundantly clear that the law was never given for salvation. The purpose of the law was to show us our sin, and point us to Christ.

So, you don't think that this Scripture applies to us today?



Which is why we can be certain that Joshua is not telling us we have the ability through our free will to choose Christ for eternal life.

Well, of course not, because Christ was not in the picture yet. But let's run with this concept....Israel was God's chosen people. Israel did not choose God, but God chose Israel, based on the promise He made to Abraham. God was completely sovereign over Israel, but even so, their fate as a nation relied heavily on the choices that they made concerning their obedience to God.
God had chosen the nation of Israel, but even so, there was also a choice on their part....They could serve God, and remain His people, or they could reject God, and God would reject them. Israel chose to reject God, but that didn't diminish His sovereignty one bit.


Again I would argue that our will is only free to choose in accordance to who we are bound to, or according to who our master/Master is. It will take someone stronger than Satan to free us from him, and the Lord will never let go of those who belong to Him.

INDEED!!!!!!!


Would you call people who have been imprisoned free? I don't think you would. Prisoners are not free to choose their freedom, but these prisoners are not pre-programmed in a certain way. They, like all mankind are all made from the same lump of clay. Defining our lives as being imprisoned is a pretty good way to describe mankind. Before salvation we are imprisoned by Satan, and can freely choose whatsoever will not deliver us from his authority over us. After salvation we are servants of Christ, we are no longer imprisoned and without authority over Satan, for Christ sets us free to serve Him, and this we do willingly because He has changed our wills.

Well-said!!


Christ does not have to make us robots to serve Him. He changes our hearts and minds, and puts His Spirit within us. Now we freely choose to serve our Lord because Christ has enabled us.

I guess that's where you and I differ. Scripture seems to indicate that the Lord enables us by filling us with His Spirit, and this occurs after we make the free will decision to follow Him. It is the Spirit of Christ inside of us that enables us to serve Him in victory, and God only gives His Spirit to those who believe. The enabling comes after the decision to follow Christ, not vice-versa.
Once we freely choose to serve the Lord, we become slaves of righteousness, bondservants of Christ, we are given a new nature, and are empowered to serve Him.


If we could defy His sovereign authority, He would not be sovereign, we would. The Lord reigns as King, exercising dominion, His dominion is total and everlasting.

I guess the point I was getting at was this.......if we couldn't choose to defy God's omnipotent authority, could God still be called sovereign? In other words, if God had created man without a capacity to choose, but had pre-programmed us to serve only Him, could God still be called sovereign? Is sovereignty the same as control?
Sovereignty seems to imply an authoritative governing of free moral agents....people who have choices, and the ability to choose. If Adam and Eve were created with an incapacity for rebellion against God, and had no choice in the matter, could God still be called sovereign?


Ps 47:7 For God is the King of all the earth: sing ye praises with understanding.
Ps 47:8 God reigneth over the heathen: God sitteth upon the throne of his holiness.
Ps 47:9 The princes of the people are gathered together, even the people of the God of Abraham: for the shields of the earth belong unto God: he is greatly exalted.

Ps 146:5 Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the LORD his God:
Ps 146:6 Which made heaven, and earth, the sea, and all that therein is: which keepeth truth for ever:
Ps 146:7 Which executeth judgment for the oppressed: which giveth food to the hungry. The LORD looseth the prisoners:
Ps 146:8 The LORD openeth the eyes of the blind: the LORD raiseth them that are bowed down: the LORD loveth the righteous:
Ps 146:9 The LORD preserveth the strangers; he relieveth the fatherless and widow: but the way of the wicked he turneth upside down.
Ps 146:10 The LORD shall reign for ever, even thy God, O Zion, unto all generations. Praise ye the LORD.

YES....God is all-powerful, and all things, even evil, work together according to His will, but wouldn't you attest to the fact that this truth testifies to His sovereignty even more so than if He had created the earth to be pre-programmed for good only?


What happened to man after the fall? Is he free, or did he die spiritually, and subject all of his progeny to bondage to Satan, sin and death?

Of course, we are now in bondage to sin, but let me ask you this......Was man truly free before the Fall? He chose to rebel against God, and as a result of that choice, He fell into bondage, but the thing is, at this point, he was neither a slave to righteousness, nor a slave to sin, but he was free to choose.
People without Christ sin because they are in bondage to sin.....that is their nature. That is what causes us to sin, so let me ask you....if Adam didn't have this nature, then what was it that caused HIM to sin?



You'll have to show me this free will you speak of. For I cannot find this free moral agency in His Word. Either God is Sovereign, and the only being truly free, or man is sovereign, having the ability to usurp the will of God to save a people for Himself through his sovereign free will.

Many Blessings,
RW

I'm thinking that free will is a bad choice of words on my part. You're right....the Bible doesn't specifically mention free will.
I guess choice would be a better word to use. As far as man usurping the will of God to save a people for Himself, we see throughout Scripture that this never happened. God, through His sovereignty, did save a people for Himself, and collectively redeemed those who would come to Him through faith.

As far as God's sovereignty......could God be truly sovereign if man did not have the ability to choose? To eradicate man's ability to choose would be to eradicate evil within human history, and thus limit God's sovereignty by not allowing Him to use evil for His glory.

threebigrocks
Oct 13th 2008, 05:23 AM
Romans 1 tells us that if the only revelation of God that mankind ever receives is through creation/nature, history, and conscience, it is enough to render them without excuse. Without supernatural revelation not one man will choose Christ, and turn to Him for salvation.






Not doctrinal?

Nope. And I didn't say they weren't good for anything, just said that they weren't books we can make doctrine from.




The proverb teaches us that it is folly for a man to think his ways are in his own hand, when in truth, he can do nothing unless God gives force. Our plans do not accomplish what we intend, but rather what God sees best and according to His plans.


It says we can pave our own way. So are you agreeing that if a man continually rejects God and dies unrepentant that what God sees as best for them being just is eternal damnation? Because that is His plan. He is sovereign, above all and all knowing. He will know that man's heart, and judge him accordingly.



I agree! One with eyes to see, and ears to hear can read Holy Scripture and clearly see that God is Sovereign over His creation. And it is true, it is hard for those who want to cling to an imagined free will of man to accept.

I believe that man has free will. It's not imagined. I can look back in my own time personally and see that He called and I didn't heed it. I freely rejected Him. Some never accept Him.




TBR, legoman understands very well what it means to be loved by God. He understands what those of free will cannot grasp...that is that unless God is Sovereign over His creation; unless God is Sovereign in salvation, then no man would be saved. You see God's Sovereignty as dictatorial over His creation, so you cannot see the freedom His people have when He truly sets them free. You fail to grasp the true condition of fallen, natural man. Natural fallen man's will is not free to choose Christ...how can he be? He is a servant/slave of Satan, and he is in bondage to sin and death. Unless God Sovereignly intervenes, showing His love and mercy on His people, than no people would be saved. God is Sovereign or mankind is without hope.

Blessings,
RW

We don't have a sudden love poured over us when we are saved. I was tormented by conviction for a number of days UNTIL I chose to wake up and realize I was doomed unless I accepted the only One who could save me. I had to choose to repent and make Him my Lord and Savior, voluntarily give up my own ability to fix and figure life out.

I have addressed the scripture here, and haven't attacked anyone's faith personally. Why do you do so?

There is incredible freedom and liberty in Christ. I understand the fallen nature of man just fine.

RogerW
Oct 14th 2008, 07:56 PM
So, then, it appears that we are in absolute agreement.

Greetings Welder,

I apologize for my tardy response. Other responsibilites have pulled me away from the these discussions I love. I am encouraged that we find areas of agreement.



INDEED. Anything done apart from the spirit (even good works) is of the flesh, or the carnal man. That is why it is imperative that we continually walk in the spirit:

Rom. 8:8 So, then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God

Rom. 12:2 And do not be conformed to this worls, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God

Rom. 8:6,7 For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God, for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be

I guess the only thing I would have trouble with is the term natural man. The natural man is what we are before coming to Christ....one who purposely walks in the flesh, and sets his mind on such things:

1 Cor 2:14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him

Do you think it's possible to be a natural man and an authentic Christian? I know that there are carnal Christians, because the apostle Paul addresses that in 1 Cor., and I also know that we struggle with the flesh, but is struggling with the flesh a sign that we are still natural men, as opposed to spiritual men?

I always thought that the natural man was one who was completely without Christ, and devoid of all spirituality. Either way, we can set our minds on the things of the flesh, or on the things of the spirit....what we set our minds on will determine what we are slaves to.

I agree to be spiritually minded it is imperative that we are constantly being transformed by the Word of God through the power of His Spirit. I also agree that Christians must struggle daily against the flesh that so easily entices us to sin as we once did without the Spirit. It is indeed a spiritual war going on within.

I too believe that the natural man is one completely without Christ. I don't believe it is possible for the natural man to set his/her mind on the things of the Spirit of God, for he/she is without the Spirit. 1Co 2:14 not only tells us that the things of the Spirit of God are foolishness to the natural man, but also that he cannot know the things of the Spirit, for these things are spiritually discerned. So how can the natural man set his mind on things of the Spirit without the Holy Spirit guiding him?

1Co 2:14... neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

Natural man cannot know the things of God without the Spirit of God teaching him.

1Co 2:11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.
1Co 2:12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.
1Co 2:13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

Once we have been born again by the Spirit of God, we struggle against the flesh, which desires to follow the natural things, or the spirit of this world, but that struggle is what tells us that we are no longer natural man. For natural man has no struggle against the Spirit. How could he have since he does not have the Spirit of God?



It is free only insofar as we choose whom we will serve....to whom we are slaves, how we make our choices, and where we set our minds are determined by that initial choice, which we freely make. We can choose to be in bondage to sin, or to righteousness.

When we are in bondage to Satan, sin and death who will we freely choose to serve? Can we freely choose to make ourselves free from the bondage Satan holds us in?



Also note that we do not need Satan's direction to walk in the flesh....we can do this very well on our own, as that is our nature, but we sure need God's direction to walk in the Spirit.

It's not so much that we need Satan's direction to walk in the flesh, it's that we will always choose Satan's direction because we are in the flesh, and not of the Spirit. Who was the influence in the garden that caused our first parents to disobey God? How can we walk in the Spirit when we are in bondage to the flesh (Satan, sin and death)?



Yes.....and an ultimatum involves some sort of choice, does it not? One can choose to be foolish, or to be sensible.

Yes it does. When we are without the Spirit we will always choose to be foolish, always choose the way of the flesh. When we are in bondage to Satan, will he, who is stronger than we, allow us to freely choose to serve the Lord? He will not unless someone stronger than he first binds him, and pulls of free from his hold on us.



So, you don't think that this Scripture applies to us today?

When we are in bondage to Satan, we freely choose to remain his slaves and bound to sin and death, because we can do no other while spiritually dead. When we are made free in Christ we freely choose to serve Him, because our hearts have been made new, and we can do none other. Either way we freely choose, but we are only free to choose that which we are in subjection to...either to Satan, sin and death in unbelief, or Christ, freedom and eternal life in faith.



Well, of course not, because Christ was not in the picture yet.

Christ is the only means of salvation. Old Testament saints were saved by grace through faith in the same way we are today. They looking for Messiah to come to fulfill His promise, we looking back at His finished work at the cross. Christ is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.



But let's run with this concept....Israel was God's chosen people. Israel did not choose God, but God chose Israel, based on the promise He made to Abraham. God was completely sovereign over Israel, but even so, their fate as a nation relied heavily on the choices that they made concerning their obedience to God.

When looking at the seed of Abraham, it's important to make a distinction between his natural seed of the flesh, and his Spiritual Seed; Christ. God chose the nation to bring about His eternal promise, but from the very beginning there was never more than a remnant chosen by grace, from the nation, who would receive eternal life in Christ.

The choice to obey and receive promises came with stipulations...do this and live, disobey and die. The nation as a whole (except the remnant) remain in unbelief, even after telling Joshua they too chose to serve the LORD. Was it ever God's promise to the whole nation that they would receive eternal life for obedience to His law? Every promise God made to national Israel has been fulfilled. His promise to save a remnant for eternal life was fulfilled in Christ.



God had chosen the nation of Israel, but even so, there was also a choice on their part....They could serve God, and remain His people, or they could reject God, and God would reject them. Israel chose to reject God, but that didn't diminish His sovereignty one bit.

Israel made the only choice fallen man can make. It's no different with fallen man today. Man can only choose in accordance to whom they are bound to.



I guess that's where you and I differ. Scripture seems to indicate that the Lord enables us by filling us with His Spirit, and this occurs after we make the free will decision to follow Him.

How can that be? Christ tells us that a man cannot see (understand) or enter the kingdom of God except a man be born again of the Spirit.

Joh 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

Joh 3:5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

How can we know to make a free will decision to follow Him without the indwelling Spirit?



It is the Spirit of Christ inside of us that enables us to serve Him in victory, and God only gives His Spirit to those who believe. The enabling comes after the decision to follow Christ, not vice-versa.

Yes, this is the point I was making above. We cannot serve Him without the indwelling Spirit enabling us.

Ro 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

We are spiritually dead in trespasses and sins until we "hear" the Word of God. After "hearing" we receive faith to believe, having faith to believe, we freely choose to turn to Christ that we might have life, repenting of our sins. Without faith it is impossible to please God.

Heb 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.






I guess the point I was getting at was this.......if we couldn't choose to defy God's omnipotent authority, could God still be called sovereign? In other words, if God had created man without a capacity to choose, but had pre-programmed us to serve only Him, could God still be called sovereign? Is sovereignty the same as control?

How can any created being choose to defy omnipotent God? Omnipotent means all-ruling; universal sovereign absolute power. I don't find God's elect as being pre-programmed. I find them as being rescued from everlasting condemnation. Every man is born in Adam, therefore fallen, and left in this state will be condemned. But God...in His great love for His creation chose to save some men from this fate that would otherwise befall all men.

Men don't understand this, and find great offense in God choosing to save only some men. They cry "unfair"... I see that as looking at God from a very negative perspective. Because I see a God of great love, mercy, grace and compassion for those whom He has elected to save. No man deserves this great love and mercy God bestows upon His people, but praise God that He saves any man.



Sovereignty seems to imply an authoritative governing of free moral agents....people who have choices, and the ability to choose. If Adam and Eve were created with an incapacity for rebellion against God, and had no choice in the matter, could God still be called sovereign?

Adam and Eve willfully disobeyed God. Remember they did this through deception by the serpent, and they did this without having any knowledge of good or evil. Not the same with us. We choose to turn the truth of God into a lie, and worship the creature rather than the Creator while knowing that God is Who He says He is. I wonder if you fully understand what it means to be sovereign, or omnipotent? There can only be one sovereign over the universe...if man has free will as you depict, then man is sovereign over God, and God is subjected to the fallen will of man to accomplish His redemptive plan.



Of course, we are now in bondage to sin, but let me ask you this......Was man truly free before the Fall? He chose to rebel against God, and as a result of that choice, He fell into bondage, but the thing is, at this point, he was neither a slave to righteousness, nor a slave to sin, but he was free to choose.

Man had no knowledge of either good or evil before the fall. Do you think that might affect the choice he made, or how about the choice we make? It really matters little whether man was in bondage before the fall, because his choice plunged all of his offspring into bondage after the fall. Even if we could argue for free will then, that would have all changed very dramatically after the fall. Now we are free to choose according to our nature...fallen or spiritual. We cannot choose that which would go against our nature.




People without Christ sin because they are in bondage to sin.....that is their nature. That is what causes us to sin, so let me ask you....if Adam didn't have this nature, then what was it that caused HIM to sin?

I believe that sin and evil have always been part of God's redemptive plan. This is why God created the serpent more subtil than they, and through their ignorance of good or evil was able to deceive, causing them to disobey God through deception. Had Adam and Eve never sinned, how could they ever know the "good" (love) that God has for them?



I'm thinking that free will is a bad choice of words on my part. You're right....the Bible doesn't specifically mention free will.
I guess choice would be a better word to use.

Have I overlooked Scripture that tells us we can make a free choice, while dead in trespasses and sins to come to Christ for life before we have faith?



As far as God's sovereignty......could God be truly sovereign if man did not have the ability to choose? To eradicate man's ability to choose would be to eradicate evil within human history, and thus limit God's sovereignty by not allowing Him to use evil for His glory.

If man could choose, then God would not be sovereign. God does not eradicate man's ability to choose! Again, we freely choose to fulfill the flesh, being in bondage to Satan, sin and death before we are born again. And we freely choose to please God, turning from sin to Christ when we have been born again.

Many Blessings,
RW

legoman
Oct 17th 2008, 07:40 PM
In these very scriptures refute yourself, legoman. You've shot yourself in the foot here, my friend.


Hi TBR, sorry for my late response to this, I've been away for the week.

But I don't think there has been any shooting of the feet here :)

These very scriptures do not refute anything TBR, they support what I said. I will explain further.



Psalm 139:15 clearly states (As can be supported by Romans1) that Christ is here before us even prior to His walking the earth as a man. He was around from the foundations of the earth. This not only supports all things through Christ from the beginning, but also that He is always before us. We have no reason to not choose Him and turn from ourselves. Livingword shared scripture along these exact lines.
I agree with your first thought here. Christ has been around from the foundations of the earth. All things are through Christ. But it is quite obvious from many other scriptures that we are blind to Christ until God enables us and he reveals himself to us. This is getting off the topic of my response, but how would someone choose Christ who has never heard of the Son of God?



Proverbs is not a doctrinal book, just putting that out there. Very wise stuff from Solomon, but not doctrinal.
Sorry I can't let this pass. What are you talking about? Why is Proverbs not doctrinal? What does "doctrinal" mean anyway? What are you saying? Its some nice stuff to read, very wise stuff, but we can't gain understanding of God based on Proverbs? We can't trust it? Its not the truth about God? Then why is it in the Bible?



Proverbs 16:9 states emphatically that man plans his own course. That right there clearly says that we do have free will. No matter if we choose God's way or not, He directs our steps. If we place our faith in Him, we will be guided according to His ways. If we don't place our faith in Him, He will either call us in hope that we will heed Him or give us over to our selves. Either way, we plan our steps. God can work in whatever our choices are.

It is not hard to see the plain meaning. It can be hard to accept it.
Man is planning his course, but it is God directing the man. It is not clearly saying we have free will, as you suggest. It is saying the opposite.

Proverbs 16:9 In his heart a man plans his course,
but the LORD determines his steps.

Proverbs 19:21 Many are the plans in a man's heart,
but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails.

Here is a non-proverbs reference:
Jeremiah 10:23 I know, O LORD, that a man's life is not his own; it is not for man to direct his steps.

TBR, you say "Either way, we plan our steps." That is not what these scriptures say. You have turned the meaning to its exact opposite. The scriptures quite clearly says man does not determine his steps. The lord does. Now, man may plan a course, but it is God directing him. That is what these verses say. The Jeremiah verse is even more emphatic. "A man's life is not his own". That pretty much says it all I think. Jeremiah knew that God was directing everything.



You do not paint a proper picture of the very essence of the nature of God - love. You cannot force love. If you do - it's not real.
I have said repeatedly that God does not need to force anyone to do anything. We choose to do things because we want to do those things. We are acting in response to our desires and our experiences and our environment. If a man is dying of thirst, does anyone have to force him to drink a glass of water? No.

Same with God's love. When God reveals himself to someone in their heart, they cannot choose to say no, because there would be no reason to say no. Now of course there are people that have heard the gospel but choose to ignore it. They have heard with their ears but not with their heart. They have not been enabled by God. And of course there are still struggles with the flesh and Satan even after we have heard in the heart.

Case in point: Saul/Paul. He was "chief" amongst sinners (1 Tim 1:15) by his own admission. He was the worst sinner ever. Yet he was truly converted to Christ in probably about 5 seconds on the road to Damascus (Acts 9). A flash of light appeared and he fell to the ground trembling while the Lord spoke to him. So, did he choose Christ of his own free will, or did he choose him because he saw the light (literally) and had his eyes opened? Now not everyone is converted with as much flash or as quickly as Paul was. But the process is the same.



For God to force, or script out our very lives, we cannot either be free to love Him with the same Godly love He extends to us. That is the same love that caused the Father to send the Son. The same Son that freely died for the love of the Father which we are also called to live within, so that you can claim then that our lives lived as not free within that love? All Christ had to have done is call upon the Father and He would have been spared the death He died. He laid down His life freely for the love of the Father and for the sheep. Essence of the gospel stuff here.
Do you think Christ had the option to not be crucified on the cross? Even Christ did not have free will. Jesus came to do the will of the Father. Jesus was the lamb to be slain from the foundation of the world. Jesus' sacrifice was God's plan from the beginning to save the world from its sin. There is no way Jesus would not have fulfilled his destiny.



What is it you fear, legoman? What is it that keeps you from the freedom of that love?"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom"

TBR, what is it you fear? Are you afraid of what it might mean if you really do not have free will and God is in control of everything?

Peace in Christ,
Legoman