There is no conflict between Free Will and God’s Sovereignty
If you have not read God’s Sovereignty or Man’s Free Will Part 1 – Click here for Part 1
Proverbs 16:9 (KJB) “A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.”
Some people have never heard of Calvinism. This unbiblical doctrine is known by several names such as Doctrines of Grace, Monergism or Reformed Theology. This false belief system is an ever-morphing phenomenon, and there are likely new names that we are not aware of currently.
In our last article, we discussed God’s sovereignty and man’s free will. We concluded that article by saying “Calvinism destabilizes the very basis of salvation and man’s loving, trusting relationship with God through Jesus Christ – but only if you allow it. Believe God’s word which is our final authority.” There are hundreds of verses in the Bible offering salvation to all who believe. Calvinism disagrees that we have any choice in salvation because they believe that by accepting the gift of God we provide the final say in our salvation. Hence, where the Bible says that God wants all men to be saved the Calvinist must limit this to only the elect, and they must have no choice. Calvinism once again must change the plain meaning of words and scripture to make the Bible conform to their doctrine.
John 1:12-13 (KJB) “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.”
Rest easy because the sovereignty of God is not in question. Calvinist content that some sinful men through rebellion can frustrate God’s will and overturn His sovereignty. Because of this faulty view of God’s sovereignty, the plain meaning of many Bible verses must be once again changed to support this defective doctrine. Because of the Calvinist extreme view of Sovereignty, they cannot allow a man to say yes to Christ any more than they can let themselves deny Christ. This error destroys the basis for genuine salvation and creates a false one. To support this false salvation, Calvinism has invented the five points otherwise known as the Tulip.
Man’s Free Will and Foreknowledge
Psalm 139:4 (KJB) “For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether.”
Is there a conflict between man’s free will and God’s foreknowledge? Calvinists believe that God orders what will occur before it happens, in this way He can foreknow what will happen. That being the case how could anyone be free to make any choice?
Biblical foreknowledge states that God knows everything that will happen before it happens. Psalm 139:4 above tells us that God knows every thought and word before we utter it, and God has known this forever. But it does not say that God’s foreknowledge causes these thoughts and words.
Acts 15:18 (KJB) “Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.”
To know everything, He would do God must have known every thought, conversation, an event that would ever happen. This truth is essential if God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent, the Creator and Sustainer of all there is.
Calvinism’s view of foreknowledge maligns God’s omniscience by claiming that God can foresee all things that will happen because He has ordered all things that will ever happen. This claim is made without any scriptural support. Nowhere does the Bible say or even remotely infer that God knows all beforehand only because He has foreordained and caused it.
How can God be sure that what He foreknows will happen and that something will not step in to change the future? God is omniscient, and hence the future is as plain to God as the past. If God had to plan and cause everything that happens or had to control each event to know it was going to take place, then He would be limited in His foreknowledge and not the infinite, omniscient God that He is.
If Calvinism’s view of foreknowledge is correct, then God foreordains every detail of every crime, all diseases, the destruction of property, all human suffering, the loss of life and limbs and all natural disasters. Otherwise, God would be ignorant of the future.
Time is a part of the physical universe which God created from nothing. God is outside of time. 2 Peter 3:8 (KJB) “But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.”
Psalm 90:4 (KJB) “For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.”
The phrases “with the Lord” and “in thy sight” are essential to understanding this simple statement.
John 8:58 (KJB) “Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.”
God does not say, “I was,” or “I will be.” God affirms, “I am.” God is self-existent ever present to all events, past, present or future from our viewpoint.
God knows the future without His foreknowledge manipulating it because He views it from the outside. God is wholly separate and discrete from space, time, and matter. God examines the universe from outside, so He sees past, present, and future from outside, knowing it all at once. We are limited, and God is immeasurable how could we pretend to understand how He knows the future. God has given us enough intellect, however, to realize that He must know the future.
Psalm 139:6 (KJB) “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.”
What about evil in our world?
Notwithstanding God’s foreknowledge and sovereignty, evil is everywhere in worldly affairs. We also know that God is not the cause of evil as stated in the Bible:
James 1:13-14 (KJB) “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: 14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.”
Psalm 5:4 (KJB) “For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee.”
Deuteronomy 32:4 (KJB) “He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.”
We must resolve that God in His sovereignty has given man moral accountability to be worked out with free choice. It is also clearly explained in God’s Word that men’s hearts are evil and we choose to sin.
John 8:44 (KJB) “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.”
Mark 7:20-23 (KJB) “And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. 21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, 22 Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: 23 All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.”
Galatians 5:17 (KJB) “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.”
John 3:19-21 (KJB) “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.”
The Bible plainly describes evil as the result of man’s free will preferring to choose for self instead of for God. Calvinist deny that men have moral freedom making God the source of all evil.
Quote from Calvin’s Institutes Book 3 Chapter 23 – 8
“The first man fell because the Lord deemed it meet that he should: why he deemed it meet, we know not. It is certain, however, that it was just, because he saw that his own glory would thereby be displayed… Man therefore falls, divine providence so ordaining, but he falls by his own fault.”
Calvin here excavates a pit that no Calvinist to this day has been able to climb their way out of. This statement is irrational and unbiblical insisting that God can only foreknow what He foreordains:
Quote from Calvin’s Institutes Book 3 Chapter 23 – 7
“The decree, I admit, is, dreadful; and yet it is impossible to deny that God foreknew what the end of man was to be before he made him, and foreknew, because he had so ordained by his decree.”
Calvin babbles on for pages with absolutely no support of scripture. Calvin never provides a single verse that is even near his hypothesis.
Proverbs 4:20-21 (KJB) “My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. 21 Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart.”
Is it possible that God could stop Evil and sin?
Man, and Satan are responsible for sin as we have shown in these articles. God is perfect, Holy, and it is impossible for that God has predestined every evil act that has taken place in this world. Calvin in his Institutes writes on for chapters attempting to prove that God foreordains everything we do including heinous sin, but we are guilty, and God rightly punishes us for doing the very evil that God has ordained!
Quote from Calvin’s Institutes Book 1 Chapter 18 – 1
“That men do nothing save at the secret instigation of God, and do not discuss and deliberate on anything but what he has previously decreed with himself and brings to pass by his secret direction, is proved by numberless clear passesages of Scripture.”
There is no scripture such as Calvin refers to and, in this example,, it only applies to some men and not to all.
If Calvin’s theory was anywhere close to being correct then why couldn’t sinners blame God for their sin and eternal suffering in Hell? After all, if God would only allow a sinner to choose evil and not right would God not be to blame? But Romans answers this question:
Romans 9:19-22 (KJB) “Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? 20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? 21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? 22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction.”
If God is sovereign and monocratic, then why doesn’t He intercede and stop all evil? This question is somewhat meaningless for the Calvinist because God has decreed all evil and suffering and the plagues of humanity. Why would God undo what He has foreordained? However, Calvinists contend that God could stop all crime and evil if He desired because He controls everything. But how could God modify what He has predestined?
Numbers 23:19 (KJB) “God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?”
Isaiah 55:11 (KJB) “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.”
Here is an unavoidable contradiction in the teachings of Calvinism.
Why would God decree evil and suffering for billions not only during their lifetime but for eternity? This question is embarrassing to many Calvinists because they have no answer. There is a biblical answer to the problem of sin that satisfies man’s God-given conscience. That answer is that humanity has a moral responsibility to God because, from Adam to today, “all have sinned” by our own free will, not by an imposed Godly decree.
Ecclesiastes 7:20 (KJB) “For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.”
If the Bible is right, and it is, and we have all sinned anything short of eliminating all of humanity would not solve the problem of evil, because evil comes from the heart of man.
Jeremiah 17:9 (KJB) “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”
The only solution excluding destroying all of humanity is to change the human heart. Calvinist say that God can do this through a sovereign “regeneration” of whomever He pleases without any faith or understanding on man’s part. If that were true, then God could have changed the hearts of Adam and Eve and all humanity, eliminating sin and suffering in humanities complete history. If sin is all God’s doing, then He could undo it just the same – but not if He has foreordained it! Wow, what a complicated mess!
But if sin entered the world by man, the solution simply is found in Jesus Christ!
Romans 5:12 (KJB) “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:”
Jesus Christ died on that horrible cross to pay the penalty for our sins. Salvation is God’s gracious gift to us and to any who will receive the gift through believing the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Romans 6:23 (KJB) “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
To believe the gospel and to receive Jesus Christ requires a free choice on man’s part, a decision that Calvinism will not allow.Top