Sunday, 26 June 2011

Sovereignty and freedom

Arminians are convinced that God can be sovereign while his creatures have freewill; sovereignty being a state of rulership and not exhaustive control. The Calvinist struggles with this having a concept of sovereignty that means that nothing occurs outside the will of God, all things that occur are made to occur by God (even if indirectly) because they are aligned with one of the wills of God.

But if we concede that there are some things that God cannot do—things that are impossible for God to do—then why is sovereignty excluded from this consideration?

It is impossible for God to make 2 + 3 = 7. There are some things that God cannot do because they contradict logic. God cannot lie. There are some things God cannot do because they contradict his nature. If an attribute of love is such that it must be given freely and voluntarily, then God cannot make someone love him, nor can anyone else cause people to love them. Certainly God can influence people in a way that is conducive for people to love him. But if love must have a voluntary component (something I happen to think but have not proven) then it remains possible for some people to choose to reject God. It would be impossible for God to make them love him. If it is an intrinsic impossibility that God make people love him, then their refusal to do so does not limit God's sovereignty in the same way that God's inability to make 2 + 3 = 7 does not limit his mathematical prowess.

11 comments:

  1. I think that you forget - in his fallen state, man cannot love God. No one seeks Him, no not one.

    it is not that God "makes" us love Him, it is that the Holy Spirit touches us so that we CAN love Him.

    ReplyDelete
  2. MzEllen, no dispute there. This wasn't intended to be a full explanation of the Arminian view of salvation. Arminians think salvation is of God, in the God effects salvation. We just think that God's offer is resistible. I was merely addressing the quibble that resisting God impinges his sovereignty. If love intrinsically requires a voluntary component, then "forcing" love is not love.

    JCF, that was me above commenting from another computer. Do you wish for me to rewrite this slightly?

    ReplyDelete
  3. No, it is fine as is. I'll just include a link to this post. Are you a member? If not, I will also include that you are not a member.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Love it. "God's inability to make 2 + 3 = 7 does not limit his mathematical prowess."

    ReplyDelete
  5. JCF, Feel free to repost it there.

    No I am not a member.

    Thanks Kevin.

    ReplyDelete
  6. ---"If love intrinsically requires a voluntary component, then "forcing" love is not love."---

    Who has ever loved God "forcibly" or better put "unwillingly?"

    You are creating an unnecessary dilemma.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Joshua,

    Calvinism, teaches that we love God forcibly. In non-compatablist Calvinism, God just forces us to love Him period. In Compatablist Calvinism, God forces our will to want to love Him. In either case, God is forcing us. The question here, is that a good thing, or is that a bad thing?

    ReplyDelete
  8. Joshua, my comment to MzEllen was brief, stating that I generally agree with her comments. The quotes around "force" represent the brief response to a extensively debated question. While I agree with JCF, my post wasn't trying to address the entirety of the Calvinist debate, but to show how Arminian theology of resistibility and love does not conflict with a high view of sovereignty if certain things are necessarily so.

    ReplyDelete

Labels

abortion (8) absurdity (1) abuse (1) accountability (2) accusation (1) adultery (1) advice (1) afterlife (6) aid (3) alcohol (1) alphabet (1) analogy (5) analysis (1) anatomy (1) angels (1) animals (10) apologetics (41) apostasy (4) archaeology (22) architecture (1) Ark (1) Assyriology (11) astronomy (5) atheism (14) audio (1) authority (4) authorship (10) aviation (1) Babel (1) beauty (1) behaviour (4) bias (6) Bible (38) biography (4) biology (5) bitterness (1) blasphemy (2) blogging (12) blood (3) books (2) brain (1) browser (1) bureaucracy (3) business (5) calendar (5) cannibalism (2) capitalism (3) carnivory (2) cartography (1) censorship (1) census (2) character (2) charities (1) children (14) Christmas (4) Christology (8) chronology (46) church (4) civility (2) clarity (5) Classics (2) climate change (39) coercion (1) community (2) conscience (1) contentment (1) context (2) conversion (3) copyright (5) covenant (1) coveting (1) creation (1) creationism (36) criminals (8) critique (2) crucifixion (12) Crusades (1) culture (4) currency (1) death (5) debate (2) deception (2) definition (16) deluge (9) demons (3) depravity (6) design (9) determinism (24) discernment (4) disciple (1) discipline (2) discrepancies (2) divinity (1) divorce (1) doctrine (4) duty (3) Easter (7) ecology (3) economics (28) education (10) efficiency (2) Egyptology (9) elect (2) emotion (2) enemy (1) energy (6) environment (4) epistles (2) eschatology (6) ethics (36) ethnicity (5) Eucharist (1) eulogy (1) evangelism (2) evil (8) evolution (13) examination (1) exegesis (21) Exodus (1) faith (22) faithfulness (1) fame (1) family (4) fatherhood (2) feminism (1) food (3) foreknowledge (4) forgiveness (4) formatting (2) fraud (1) freewill (29) fruitfulness (1) gematria (4) gender (5) genealogy (10) genetics (5) geography (3) geology (2) globalism (2) glory (6) goodness (3) gospel (3) government (18) grace (9) gratitude (2) Greek (4) happiness (2) healing (1) health (7) heaven (1) Hebrew (4) hell (2) hermeneutics (4) history (21) hoax (5) holiday (5) holiness (4) Holy Spirit (3) honour (1) housing (1) humour (34) hypocrisy (1) ice-age (2) idolatry (4) ignorance (1) image (1) inbox (2) inerrancy (16) information (10) infrastructure (2) insight (2) inspiration (1) integrity (1) intelligence (3) interests (1) internet (3) interpretation (76) interview (1) Islam (4) judgment (19) justice (23) karma (1) kingdom of God (12) knowledge (15) language (3) lapsology (7) law (17) leadership (2) libertarianism (12) life (3) linguistics (13) literacy (2) literature (17) logic (28) love (3) lyrics (9) manuscripts (11) marriage (18) martyrdom (2) mathematics (10) matter (4) measurement (1) media (2) medicine (11) memes (1) mercy (3) Messiah (5) miracles (4) mission (1) monotheism (2) moon (1) murder (5) nativity (7) natural disaster (1) naval (1) numeracy (1) oceanography (1) offence (1) orthodoxy (3) orthopraxy (4) paganism (2) palaeontology (4) paleography (1) parable (1) parenting (2) Passover (1) patience (1) peer review (1) peeves (1) perfectionism (2) persecution (2) perseverance (1) pharaohs (5) philanthropy (1) philosophy (32) photography (2) physics (18) physiology (1) plants (3) poetry (2) poison (1) policing (1) politics (30) poverty (9) prayer (2) pride (2) priest (3) priesthood (2) prison (2) privacy (1) productivity (2) progress (1) property (1) prophecy (6) proverb (1) providence (1) quiz (8) quotes (436) rebellion (1) redemption (1) reformation (1) religion (2) repentance (1) requests (1) research (1) resentment (1) resurrection (4) revelation (1) review (4) revival (1) revolution (1) rewards (2) rhetoric (2) sacrifice (4) salt (1) salvation (26) science (43) sermon (1) sexuality (17) sin (16) sincerity (1) slander (1) slavery (5) socialism (4) sodomy (1) software (4) solar (1) song (2) sovereignty (15) space (1) sport (1) standards (6) statistics (13) stewardship (5) sublime (1) submission (5) subsistence (1) suffering (5) sun (1) survey (1) symbolism (1) tax (3) technology (12) temple (1) testimony (5) theft (2) trade (3) traffic (1) tragedy (1) translation (15) transport (1) Trinity (2) truth (26) typing (1) typography (1) vegetarianism (2) vice (1) video (10) warfare (7) water (2) wealth (9) weird (6) willpower (4) wisdom (4) work (10) worldview (4)