God is sovereign and, in His sovereignty, has given man a free will to choose or reject Christ the Savior, a statement often made that seems to limit God’s sovereignty to man. Your thoughts.
Thanks for the intriguing question. Many have pondered it. Several thoughts speak into the matter.
First, when it comes to the sovereignty of God, there is no debate. God is sovereign. He reigns over all. The question is whether that reign is pre-deterministic or whether God in His sovereignty has given man a free will.
Second, that God in His sovereignty chose to give man a truly free will seems evident for several reasons.
God created mankind in His image (Gen. 1:27). To be made in the image of God includes freedom. God, in His infinite wisdom, chose not to make man a robot or an automaton because without free will, man could not be an imager.
Furthermore, in Genesis 2, God told Adam and Eve they could “freely” eat of every tree but one. They were free to exercise their will and choose among the vast variety of trees, but they were instructed to choose to not eat of the one tree. These choices provided an opportunity to show their love for and trust in God. Without free choice there could be no way to love God. God desired a love relationship, not robotic ritual. Without free will, love is impossible. That the choice was real is obvious based on Adam’s wrong choice.
Finally, making man truly free, capable of failure and rebellion, makes clear that God is not the author of sin. If humans are predetermined to sin from the beginning, then God’s goodness is in question.
Third, when it comes to “limitations,” it seems the answer is both yes and no. Yes, in the sense that God in His infinite wisdom chose to allow man’s choices to limit what He would or would not do based on their faith choices. Psalm 78:41 says, “Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel.” In Matthew 13:58, Jesus “did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.”
But, no, in the sense that God still operates beyond that which He gave man the responsibility to depend on Him for. The sun still rises. God sustains His creation regardless of man’s choices. God will still accomplish His overall purpose. But He does not need to make man robotic and move in such a way as to make man’s choices inevitable. That would be a small, not so sovereign God. Rather, God gives man a free will and yet still works His overall will through, and even in spite of, man’s choices.
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