For God to be God, He has to be perfect in all His characteristics. Perfectly holy, perfectly just, perfectly loving and perfectly sovereign. Not many will argue that God is perfectly holy, nor will we hear objections to God’s perfect love. Some grumble about God’s justness, not understanding that it is closely related to His holiness and love. But the one characteristic that is consistently watered down, denied or ridiculed is the perfect sovereignty or omnipotence of God.
Unfortunately, this is not only the case amongst spiritualists, agnostics and atheists, but also amongst pastors and believers. God is only allowed to be sovereign if it is subject to the whims and will of man…thus placing a huge question mark over whether He can be perfectly sovereign. Somehow mankind has become the standard by which God’s perfect sovereignty has to be judged, and, judging by what I have been reading and discussing lately, things don’t look too good for God.
You see, man’s will has become more important than God’s will. Without man’s will, God cannot be perfectly loving or perfectly just, and if He cannot be perfectly just or loving, then He cannot be perfectly holy. So in the end, all characteristics of God depend on how free the will of man is to do as he likes. Yes, I know that the prevailing argument is that it is cooperation, not coercion, and that any other view makes God the author of sin.
To answer this issue, we have to examine that if man has any say, input or role whatsoever into the cause of his eternal destiny, what the human will is as it relates to God’s sovereignty. The faculty of choice is what determines the will, and the ability to make choices implies that there is some cause for a particular choice over another. If making choices by the will are determined by something else, then the will cannot be free. In the end, the will is coerced, whether we like it or not. There is simply no logical mechanism that can prove that the will is free without being viciously circular. Yet we continue to hear it, Sunday after Sunday, from pulpits and Christians alike, that man has libertarian free will and needs to choose God.
In addition, to deny the perfect sovereignty of God is to deny Scripture. There are simply too many texts, in both the OT and NT, that show that God is in perfect control of all of His creation to deny or explain away. There is a comprehensive list here, for example. Many have tried to object, offer weak alternatives to the clear reading, or simply disliked what the Bible has to say about the sovereignty of God, all in vain. God is control, from beginning to end.
How should we react then? As always, we should praise God for His love, holiness and justness, and thank Him for the sacrifice of Jesus, made so that we don’t have to depend on ourselves at all for our eternal destiny. The atonement on the cross was the perfect substitution on our behalf, taken on by the Son of God so that we don’t have to fear the outcome of our weak human nature and will, determined by the perfect sovereignty of God.
I will deal with some objections next time.