The Sovereignty of God
Unwanted Results of an Inordinate Emphasis on the Exercise of Sovereignty
Another difficulty of an inordinate emphasis on the sovereignty of God can be inconsistency of interpretation and application of scripture. The existence of rebellion, sin, and evil in heaven and the creation exposes a great inconsistency.
An inordinate emphasis on sovereignty accentuates the problem of sin’s existence. If God created all beings without any degree of self- determination then rebellion, sin, and evil, by course, must be God’s choice making God the sovereign author of all evil in heaven and earth.
For those who make sovereignty the attribute of God to which all other attributes must give way, the existence of sin has to be the quintessential challenge to their strongly held belief in God’s sovereignty. The rebellion of heavenly creatures and earthly man’s fall into sin would register the death of God’s claim to sovereignty. Inexplicably, the sovereignty group readily accepts that the existence of sin offers no challenge to God’s sovereignty. To the contrary, the depraved nature of man, totally “dead in sin and trespasses,” is the first element of the “TULIP.” They find great pleasure in stressing the existence of sinful nature, depravity, and spiritual deadness.
Even more inexplicable, the sovereignty group, with great vigor, opposes any allowance that God allows man free will to accept or reject God declaring in the strongest possible language that free will of man is an irreconcilable affront to God’s sovereignty. In fact, they would go so far as to say such an affront is a defection from the true God of Scripture.
They accept that the creatures of heaven and earth can rebel defying God’s will which is sin and God’s sovereignty is unaffected. Yet, they choke on the possibility that God could decree that man may choose life or death, for himself, without mortally wounding God’s claim to sovereignty. Why is this so?
It is very simple; existence of rebellion, sin, and evil does not allow latitude to challenge in scripture. Also, when you realize, total depravity is the bedrock teaching that God has to bring man to life so he can bring man to life; the reason for their lack of challenge becomes apparent. What is the scriptural position concerning both concepts being in harmony with the sovereignty of God?
It appears that the only true God-honoring explanation for rebellion, sin, and evil is free will to accept God or reject God. If Lucifer and his angels in heaven were not free to choose then God made Lucifer and the angels fall I cannot find this in the scripture. Lucifer and fallen angels chose their lot.
6 And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.
Angels had self determination will, intellect, and freedom to keep or leave. They chose to leave. Thus, sin was a consequence of choice. There is absolutely no indication that they were subjects acting under irresistible sovereign manipulation.
Even the angels in heaven following Satan choose to fight against God.
7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, 8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. 9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
There is no indication that God made Satan or angels rebel and sin against Him. To the contrary, as intellectual beings, they were given the ability to choose to fight God or serve God. They could accept obedience to God, their superior, or they could exalt themselves and leave their sovereign.
If this is true, then it is only reasonable that God gave all His creation free will. This is in keeping with clear, simple statements of scripture
6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
1 Timothy 2:14
14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.
The introduction of sin does not hinder God’s sovereignty nor does the free will of man make God less sovereign. Freedom of choice is a consistent interpretation of Scripture.