Sovereignty of God : LUSENET : HCDL-OLD : One Thread

Eve said this... **** > << This may be an interesting OLD if anyone is interested. > I don't believe in the sovereignty of God. >>

Heather said... *** I don't either. I used to, but I don't now.

One summer I got Lyme disease. I was totally baffled, "Why is this happening to me????" I asked the Lord, "Lord, where are you in all this?" The Lord pointed me to Elijah and in essence answered, "I'm not in this at all!" I don't receive everything that happens to me as from God. I don't accept all suffering as "His cross". Anyway... *****

You want to control someone? Tell them Its God will that this-or-that is happening or even explain what you are doing as this or even what you are saying is from God. Explaining you actions via a higher, or in this case, the actions the highest authority in this world and you have power.

Which institutional church has the most opresive hierachy and power in this world. The Catholic church. The father of the institutional church. The Catholic church is the bigest land owner in the world. The only Institution that comes close is Macdonalds. Both sell plastic food. One of them calls its food, spiritual.

Macdonalds has a most impresive training program for new employees but it allows NO creativity in their employees. They must smile a certain amount of times to the customer, say "have a nice day" and "enjoy your meal" at certain times and where certain clothes. A few similarities to the Instituional church eh? Catholic priests have to spend 8 years in training, perform mass in a certain way, where the right clothes and preach the right doctrine.

Does God speak and move through both instituionals? ( THE IC and Macadonalds?) Yes of course? Does this circumstansional evidence mean that God is for the Institution? ( Macdonalds and IC). NO, not in my opinion. It does speak for God being everywhere and being one who speaks into the chaos and evil of the day though.

You see, can God bring good things out of a Rape of a woman? Yes, of course and he does. A child born of a Rape may be a wonderfull blessing to this world and offer us a new aspect on life we've never seen and perhaps would never have seen otherwise. Does this mean God was in this horrid horrid power abuse? NO, of course not.

No, you see this soverrignty of God thing is another heresy propogated by a power hungry dominerying institution.

-- Martin Irwin (, November 26, 1998


First of all lets remember that these are issues that greater minds than our own have debated for almost 2000 years. There must be good stuff on both sides of the debate, to keep it going for so long.

The issue is sovereignty vs. free will. Or in other words if God totally controls everything, than I can't have a free will. Personally I believe in both free will and sovereignty (or predestination). I think the bible clearly teaches both.

Now I have heard the cute explanations ---- that I reject: basically God chooses and predestinates those whom he foreknew would choose Him. Too easy.

I think our problem with this is Greek logic, and linear reasoning. God is infinite, he is beyond our finite minds. There are aspects of Him we cannot understand. If everything about God and how he acts are understandable, then I could write a computer program, feed any situation in, and the program would tell you what God was going to do... NOT

We have finite minds. Our minds can only comprehend one aspect of God at a time. We can look at his sovereignty, but have not room in our minds to look at his judgement. The issue is soverignty and free will are 2 aspects of God. Aspects that cannot be comprehended together by our finite minds.

It is like 2 train tracks, they run parallel but never meet. But they do meet way off in the distance in eternity. Only on the other side of eternity will we understand predestination and free will.

If I could totally understand God, He wouldn't be God. I want to know Him, knowing Him does not mean totally understanding Him.

Or as Paul points out in Romans. You say how can God judge us if he predestined us to be the way we are. Does Paul give a logical answer, no, Paul says who are you to reply to God, shall the thing formed say to the potter, why did you make me like this.

The problem comes from applying predesination at the wrong time, or free will at the wrong time. A logical conclusion of predestination is not to preach the gospel, but the bible clearly says we are supposed to --- so it must be a wrong application.

There are times God reminds those who are weak in faith, that he has predestined them. But there are also times God reminds those who are wayward that they need to choose the right way.

It is a mystery, but as Paul says in Romans

Romans 11:33 (NKJ) Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable {are} His judgments and His ways past finding out!

-- Barry Steinman (, November 26, 1998.

Then, considering everything you have said, Do you believe it was God's will that Christ be crucified? The sin of those nailing Jesus to the cross was as bad as a rape so by your thinking it could not have been God's will. Yet Jesus stated over and over that this was the very reason He came. Look at Job. It was GOD who called Satans attention to Job. And It was God who allowed-aproved every thing that happened to Job, from the death of all his family to the boils. I could go on and on but to deny that God is in complete control comes from not understanding God. The only thing that God will not do is to cause or directly tempt you to sin. He leaves much to Satan but even that is allowed or aproved by Him. There is a purpose for sin. In no other way could the angels or man truly know the love of God.

-- Chris Hayes (, November 26, 1998.

My issue is simply this. ( I like simple things.)

If God is Love and the most powerfull thing in the universe then he can make it so there is not pain, suffering, rape, Sons dieing on the cross, tears, knashing of teeth etc.

God is Love. Love is GOd. Without God there is no love. ( quote.. Martin of the Stream Dec 1998) God made the earth ( so scripture says... Oops, quote the bible) so that to me means he is the most powerfull, creative, most logical and wise person in the universe.

Now, where did sin come into it? From the choice we were given in the garden of Eden or from the snakes lies and deceptions? Did God say now ADam and Eve watch out for dem snakes, dem can really ruin a couples day! He asked them not to choose the tree of knowledge. Some say the tree was put there by Satan? I don't know....

Now for those of you who think God allows things to happen in his sovereign rule.... ISn't that just as bad as doing it? IF I allow my daughter to be brutaly murdered isn't that the same as doing it myself. How can God disobey is own laws? IF its for the best ( like someone might be converted because of her death) then Can't a all powerfull God make the same thing happen another way?

YOu can't have your all powerfull God and your God of love and then just have him allowing this and allowing that to happen. He is intimately involved in this world. He doesn't just flit off to a holiday when something bads going to happen or turn a blind eye as someone gets murdered or some baby aborted. He grieves over this world and its evil.

So my point is this. ( I've read the book "HOw long Oh lord" bTW...) I believe, as Barry put it, it defys our linear logic and our greek thinking. ITs both Man and God that works this world towards the end of time. Yep, if we're going to be mathematical about it ( ie linear..) Its %100 man and %100 God that works this world out. Its what man does and its what God does.

Whatever man does God will work it out for the best. (Rom 8:29 Another oopsie Quote from scripture)


P.S. SO you think I changed sides didn't you? Well I'm neither for or against it.... I'm both. tehe

-- Martin Irwin (, November 26, 1998.

Hi everybody reading this!

This mail is way to long and without proper sequencing, but I am a writer of small prowess. Sorry.

First off, I find great comfort in knowing that God is Sovereign(as I know it.) It means a lot to me; it give me peace and hope. If nothing else, THIS is what I'd like to try to share with you, along with WHY it does.

Fundamentally, if God is NOT Sovereign, then God is NOT GOD. By definition. If God is not God, then my hope is in vain. Period. :) If faith is like a cheque, then my check can bounce if God is not sovereign!

I believe God is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. If there is any power(satan) not under His control then my salvation is not sure because maybe satan will over-power Him?! But Satan is crushed. Why? Because God is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. There is NO OTHER 'King of Kings'. (Thanks Kenny for mentioning the phrase.)

However, there are many definitions of 'sovereign,' and I don't end up in any of the places Eve mentioned: I end up in a logical bind - God is in complete control but also that we are completely responsible - but this is OK because God is above(Lord of) the logic He created. (Yeah, you've already touched on this.)

Engelbrite wrote: > Dear Chip, > > I totally agree with your definition of sovereignty ("God's absolute > right to do all things according to his own good pleasure").

I believe that this is true, but not that it's sufficient: God is also in total control of everything. He doesn't SOMETIMES choose to do His good pleasure. He ALWAYS does His Good pleasure... ALWAYS If He doesn't, He's _not God_, but just a petty demi-god or something. You can't be in control and not in control. To be able to _sometimes_ control implies that you are always in control.

* Here's an analogy I've been thinking on, The Operating System:

Think of a a true multi-tasking operating system(eg. Win95.) Is it in total control? Yes. Does it chose to give power to the different programs/tasks? Yes. Is it responsible for bugs in the programs? NO. But did it give power to those buggy programs? Yes. Does it allow those bugs to happen? Yes. Ahh, and now the hard question, "Where do the buggy programs come from?" Well, the programmers rebelled against the rules of the computer chip. They made a divide-by-zero rebellion, or an eternal-loop rebellion. If the programers hadn't rebelled, everything would have been fine. *

I believe man and satan REBELLED against God. More and more I'm coming to see Sin as rebellion against being made in _God's_ image and attempting to be made in another, or our own, image. (Unlike the Westminster Confession's definition.) When God created the world (and also heaven-angels), he could have created it sinless, without the possibility of rebelling. But He didn't. Why? Is a loving God capable of such a thing? Is this God's 'good pleasure?'

Somehow, when I see sin as rebellion, the whole bind lessens. And those stories of God commanding a spirit to go out and deceive - somehow they ease the tension. They make me believe that there _is_ a way God can command us to sin, and not be sinning thereby. It's _us_ who rebelled!

(Eve still) > There's fatalistic "sovereignty" -

Yes, it's true 'what will happen will happen' but that doesn't mean that God doesn't command obedience - on the contrary! This is the bind I am happy to live with because... "God is a bind."

(still Eve) > There's omniscient/predetermined "sovereignty"

But we're instructed to pray. What can I say? This is not a right interpretation of God's sovereignty.

Chris H. Wrote:

> Hmmm. I wonder then, was it God's will for Jesus to be crucified? > Seems alot of people had to commit alot of sin for it to take place > just as prophicied for thousands of years. This is the bind I see Eve (et al :) ) getting into. How do you folks deal with this and the stuff Kenny wrote? I can't handle the thought that God is not in complete control. (I don't mean that in a cop-out sense - I mean it in a WHO-do-I-have-faith-in? sense.) How about you? I'm curious. :)

Kenny wrote: > Did not God harden Pharaoh's heart? Did not Jesus speak in > parables to keep the wise from understanding the Truth? Matthew > 13:10-17 Wasn't a few of the prophets picked out before they were > born? And what about Judas Iscariot?? What about Job?? Think about > the man who was blind from birth - the Pharisees all asked why - > Jesus' reply? The man was 'made blind' for the glory of God to be > revealed! > > What about droughts and famines? Even earthquakes and hurricanes... > seems like the OT surely speaks of God directing those sort of > things... This has always been my point - people seem to think I am > harsh & unloving - how do these people view God?? Is God the Potter & > we but the clay - or are we both & His job is merely to paint pretty > flowers on the fine ornamental vases we have made of ourselves?? (snip)

> This is my view - but what do I know? After all it's God who is in > charge!... ;-)

Amen, Kenny! This is one of those matters beyond my full comprehension.

And yes, "How _DO we_ view God?" The differences between the answer to that question and the answer to "How does _Scripture_ view God?" can be very revealing... "I will be what I will be."

God's sovereignty, for me, boils down to a faith issue. Who am I believing in? What good is it to place trust in an un-sovereign _god_? In this case I am indeed a lump of clay that God molds and Satan poke's his fingers in, destroying God's work; I am indeed left the the winds of 'chance' in the fight of the two powers; indeed, God can't securely hold me in his hand and care for me as the pupil(apple) of his eye!

All I can say (to echo Greg Bahnsen) is that God has sufficiently good reason - a good purpose - for all the evil that happens. I can't explain it. But was Christ (and all the Sin involved in God's plan for Christ's work) a morally good thing? I'm inclined to think so. ;)

You folks - Eve and those of similar persuasion - don't seem to live as though God isn't sovereign. You rest in his care! An un-sovereign God can't give that care, to _my thinking_. Ahh, but if my thinking is N/A elsewhere, why not here too? I guess it comes down to where scripture declares reason to be N/A?

"Humble thyself in the sight of the Lord() and He() will lift() YOU UP! ........."

Thanks EVERYBODY for your (im)put-into-this-head. Please _bear_ with me. :)

In Christ,

Joel Kidd.

-- Joel Kidd (, November 26, 1998.

Chris H., you said:

"There is a purpose for sin. In no other way could the angels or man truly know the love of God."

I must admit that it is at this very point where my thinking gets fuzzy. It _is_ the _logical_ conclusion one reaches when arguing that as you say, God controls everything. But.... take your statement to the next logical step.... and God becomes the author of sin. There's no way to reason around it as far as I have seen. If you've got something here though, tell! I understand what you mean when you say that God's love would not be known (I assume you mean 'love' in the sense of 'gracious love'.. I believe Adam knew God's love!) if there was not sin....but 'perishing' would not be known either if there was not sin, and God does not 'desire that any should perish' (2 Pet). Paradox yes?

Did the sin of Adam surprise God? No, definitely not! (IMHO of course... others may disagree). The farthest I'm freely willing (heh heh) to go on this based on what I see in Scripture, is that God designed Adam with a 'capacity' for disobedience, provided a means by which he could disobey, and allowed the conduit of the temptation (the Serpent) to be present with him in the garden.... yet I cannot believe it was God's heart-intent for the ones made in His 'image' to cut themselves off from him in rebellion. All of what I know of God's heart for his creatures through hearing scripture and His Spirit speaks against this.

The other big question in my mind (and there is scripture on both sides for support) is whether God's purposes ever anything. I personally believe that with regards to my salvation, they do not. If God is not a sure Rock, well..... what's the point eh? But with regards to everything else... the 'minutae' that Eve E. referred to in one of her posts... I'm beginning to think they can change without Him becoming less 'sovereign'. Of course, it's here where the tricky distinction between His foreknowledge and His will comes into play.... as Barry said, people have been debating these ideas for 2000 years or so! I like the analogy you gave Barry of the railway tracks never meeting except way off in the distance... sometimes I've just sat down on the tracks and given up on this apparent dilemma. I think God is pleased with our efforts to understand these things about His character though and that any movement, which does not cause us to 'break fellowship' with others, is better than sitting still.

Desperately wanting another closing analogy than 'fence-sitting' because it hurst my backside so much! (and because it poses the question in either/or terms.....again!)

Brian Wood

-- Brian Wood (, November 26, 1998.

Remember Job? God bragged on Job to Satan. Satan at that time still could come to argue with God (the son of the dawn/morning star is not so bright after his fall Isa 14). God can and does manipulate and bait Satan into doing the Will of God, but Satan thinks that it is his own idea (the conceit of Satan). Satan does attempt to hinder God's will, to the best of his several abilities ... and at times does God's will despite his (Satan's) intentions.

The Book of Job answers any questions that may from time to time form in my mind concerning the soverrignty of God.

By the way, in the Book of Job, we find that the earth is round, written well before the time of Christ. There is scientific knowledge/principles accurately described in the Book of Job, that is too advanced for the time of the writing of this book.

-- Charles Burgess (, November 27, 1998.

A couple of things you said Joel, please take them from someone who needs to be borne with too! (and from someone who will no doubt sound more sure than he actually is ;-)

You said: "He doesn't SOMETIMES choose to do His good pleasure. He ALWAYS does His Good pleasure... ALWAYS If He doesn't, He's _not God_, but just a petty demi-god or something. You can't be in control and not in control. To be able to _sometimes_ control implies that you are always in control."

Sounds like a tautological argument there brother! ."God is God because He always does His good pleasure... He always does His good pleasure therefore He is God!" I think this is the root question we're talking about (at least that's the page I'm on!) Does God always do His good pleasure? Is this the same thing as saying that everything pleases Him? It sounds like it to me!

I'm sure you can think of others but "You are not a God who takes pleasure in evil" (Ps 5:4), "I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent and live!" (Ezek. 18:32) That last one's actually quite an interesting passage actually  God questions his people "Why will you die, O house of Israel?""Turn away from all your offences".

I also take great comfort in the sovereignty of God as you do brother! However, in my mind (and this is probably going to sound really quacky), His sovereignty is not limited to single linear cause and effect outcomes. Why can't God have Plan A and Plan B in the garden for instance, and either result in equal glorification for Himself? They're still His plans! I'm believing more and more that sin/redemption was not God's highest purpose for His 'image-bearers'. We tend to see it as the greatest thing He could do for us, because as sinners it is! But what was God's highest purpose for the original two? I believe it was to reflect Him, love Him and be loved by Him....period (Plan A). Plan B (redemption) is the one which had to be put in motion so it's the one we know most about and rejoice in which is as it should be!

Another example from daily life (a non-salvation issue) you decide one morning that of all the options you have for getting to work that day, you will take the bus. You meet someone who, because of your conversation together, comes to the Lord. Wow! good thing God's will was accomplished in your decision about transportation that day! Good thing, you didn't take the bike in! Now you know and I know that there are Christians who think this way.. I don't. Dont' get me wrong, I do believe that it was God's sovereign will that you take the bus.. But I believe His will contains more possibilities / more avenues than just one. We look back at each turn we've made and see a single avenue because we live life linearly (for now:)  God is bigger than this!

You also said: "...make me believe that there _is_ a way God can command us to sin, and not be sinning thereby. It's _us_ who rebelled! "

Huh? "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; but every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed" (Js.1) Case closed for me on this one brother. It would imply, would it not that God desires at times to be displeased with us?

"God's sovereignty, for me, boils down to a faith issue.

Amen! And so does every aspect of His character. It's just that our definitions of 'sovereignty' and how it plays out with His sometimes disloyal subjects are much harder to pin down. Whichagain is as it should be.

"Humble thyself in the sight of the Lord() and He() will lift() YOU UP! ........."

There's a condition in there somewhere Joel! similar to "If my people who are called by name will humble themselves. I will come and heal their land".. God really does choose to respond to us as we respond to Him. Does that make us in charge of Him? Nooooooo. His hand is never forced, His hand is one of sovereign grace.

Blessings all,

One foot on each train rail, Brian

-- Brian Wood (, November 27, 1998.

Could someone please tell me where we equate the idea of Leadership and being the head of something as being in utter control of the same? Ie lets use biblical language as some type of Cannon when we dialogue? Oops, there I go again asking for quotes from the bible.

Strong opinion here.... Where I'm coming from in the above question is this... I see that God is soverign over the world But without full control over evil in the world. And he is NOT just allowing evil either. Allowing evil to happen on an individual is just the same as doing it youself ie authoring evil. God cannot author evil.

God wants to be intimately involved in our lives and that means ultimitley ( spelling?) in control of it but he never insists he only 'stands at the door and knocks'. Does the image of him 'standing at the door' at the door and knocking sound like a God in complete control of everything? A good shepard enters the house by the gate and does not climb over the fence. A good shepard would not climb the fence by definition. He calls us by name. Does that sound like someone who controls everything? No, not to me.

-- Martin Irwin (, December 02, 1998.

Wow! Heresy City!

-- Christian (, February 04, 1999.

The most profound quality in God is His infinite understanding. It is interesting that in the whole Bible the word "infinite" appears three times and only in the Old Testament. Of these three occurrences, only one is connected to a special attribute in God's nature. But more interesting thing is that it is not connected to God's power, but to His understanding:

"Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite." (Psalm 147:5)

It is certainly that God is Great in Power, but that would not imply, in the rigour of logic, that God is absolutely All-powerful, meaning that God is infinite in power. We should not confuse the concept of the infinity in power with the concept of Omnipotence. The infinity in power would mean the absolute Omnipotence. Omnipotence per se does not imply the infinity in power. Nowhere in the whole Bible it is stated that God is infinite in power, although it is said that God is omnipotent (Rev. 196). It is certainly that God is omnipotent or almighty. However we should be very careful in attributing to God, in the name of Omnipotence, some properties which would render God in fact less perfect. With omnipotence we do not mean that God can do something against His nature, for instance, that He can sin or lie, since the Bible explicitly says that it is impossible for God to do such acts (Heb. 618). Therefore we should not say that God is absolutely omnipotent/almighty, confusing the infinity in power with omnipotence.

Instead, the word "infinite" is only once used in describing God, where God is described as infinite in understanding. It is strange that the Bible does not explicitly state that God is infinite in power, if it were true that infinity in power is a significant property of God, as some Christians would argue.

"Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite." In the very verse there is two mentioned attributes of God, namely power and understanding. Which of them has the quality of infinity? It is interesting that it is not connected to the power in the very verse, where "infinity" is mentioned. It is connected to an understanding. Why is our Lord great? Psalmist answers us: "His understanding is infinite."

What does this teach us? It teaches us that the Biblical God has an understanding of everything. That includes pain.

In the virtue of the infinity in His understanding, we observe the profound characteristic of the Biblical God: The Divine Empathy. The Empathy is an action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present. The Empathy is an act of understanding, and in God, this particular empathic understanding is infinite. Empathy is associated with an experience of every emotion and feeling, especially including those, which philosophers call qualia, the phenomenological raw feelings; the brute pain is a paradigmatic example per excellence in the contemporary discussion about the qualia within the philosophy of mind.

The God of the Bible is the Longsuffering God (Makrothumia of God), 1 Pet. 3:20, 2 Pet. 3: 9. Makrothumia of God demonstrates a profound quality, which we should more ponder about, namely the quality of Divine Vulnerability through manifested Divine Perfect Empathy.

-- Aleksandar Katanovic (, September 05, 2000.

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