The Sovereignty of God – a discussion on a very difficult topic…


#1

The Sovereignty of God

I believe God is completely sovereign over all things including natural disasters, salvation of individuals, appointing President Obama for a 2nd term, changing and directing the hearts of men and women, where and when we are to be born and die, etc. I would be very interested in a discussion on the sovereignty of God. I’m sure we would all be challenged on this topic which should help us grow in our trust in God in all cirumbstances in our lives.

Lamentations 3:37-38

Who has spoken and it came to pass,
unless the Lord has commanded it?
Is it not from the mouth of the Most High
that good and bad come?


#2

[quote="Christian_Unity, post:1, topic:307189"]
The Sovereignty of God

I believe God is completely sovereign over all things including natural disasters, salvation of individuals, appointing President Obama for a 2nd term, changing and directing the hearts of men and women, where and when we are to be born and die, etc. I would be very interested in a discussion on the sovereignty of God. I’m sure we would all be challenged on this topic which should help us grow in our trust in God in all cirumbstances in our lives.

Lamentations 3:37-38

Who has spoken and it came to pass,
unless the Lord has commanded it?
Is it not from the mouth of the Most High
that good and bad come?

[/quote]

You first need to distinguish between the active and permissive will of God.

When men do evil, God permits it, he does not actively will it.

God Bless


#3

[quote="bilop, post:2, topic:307189"]
You first need to distinguish between the active and permissive will of God.

When men do evil, God permits it, he does not actively will it.

God Bless

[/quote]

Good point... I think these categories of active and permissive wills are words developed by theologians who are trying to understand an Infinite God whose ways are not our ways. We should define what we mean by evil. Can we agree that God cannot do everything? Scripture testifies that God is light and in Him there is no darkness at all. Scripture all reveals that it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, it is impossible for God to do anything against His perfectly moral and holy attributes and character. God is the perfect moral being who can do no wrong.

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 1 John 1:5

...so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie… Hebrews 6:18


#4

[quote="Christian_Unity, post:1, topic:307189"]
The Sovereignty of God

I believe God is completely sovereign over all things including natural disasters, salvation of individuals, appointing President Obama for a 2nd term, changing and directing the hearts of men and women, where and when we are to be born and die, etc. I would be very interested in a discussion on the sovereignty of God. I’m sure we would all be challenged on this topic which should help us grow in our trust in God in all cirumbstances in our lives.

Lamentations 3:37-38

Who has spoken and it came to pass,
unless the Lord has commanded it?
Is it not from the mouth of the Most High
that good and bad come?

[/quote]

I agree and disagree. I believe that God has the capacity to control all these things, but I do not think he directly does. For instance, you cite the election of Obama for a second term. I believe that God's allowed this to happen because he allows us to enact our free will however we see fit; I do not believe that he personally made it happen.

Similarly, for the Weather, I believe that he created the systems, the physics, that result in the weather phenomena we experience. I do not think he decides when we're having a hurricane or tornado, or rain or sun. Not that he can't, just that he doesn't.

About this part:

changing and directing the hearts of men and women

Do you mean directly, flipping a light switch type changing; or do you mean revealing himself to us and allowing us to come to Him, no matter our state?

If it's the former, I disagree because that would negate free will. If it's the latter, then I agree completely.


#5

=Christian Unity;10093582]The Sovereignty of God

I believe God is completely sovereign over all things including natural disasters, salvation of individuals, appointing President Obama for a 2nd term, changing and directing the hearts of men and women, where and when we are to be born and die, etc. I would be very interested in a discussion on the sovereignty of God. I’m sure we would all be challenged on this topic which should help us grow in our trust in God in all cirumbstances in our lives.

Lamentations 3:37-38

Who has spoken and it came to pass,
unless the Lord has commanded it?
Is it not from the mouth of the Most High
that good and bad come?

While I agree completely in principle my friend,

One must note that while God IS IN charge; He does not in a direct manner "cause all things to happen."

All "good" is caused by God

Less than good; even outright evil like Obomas reelection [IMO] are permitted; not caused by God. The reason's God permits such activites is not IMO, so much differnt than God allowing [permitting]; Natural Disasters. There exist at least a possibility that some good may flow fron such acts.

Humaity alone can and does emulate our Creator-God. ...Like God Himself we are given a mind, intellect and Freewill which are pernmately attached to our Souls. And Like God Himself; these are "Spiritual Things."

Because these Spiritual Things can only come form God; "Like to Like"], God obliagtes Himself to allow us to make use of them. Correctly: in accorcd with God's desire and Will; or incorrectly in accord with our OWN self-will: "Meism"; secular humanism that permitted even Catholics and Christins to reelect Oboma, despite their Party platform of baby-murder and gay "rights." being gravely OPPOSED to God's desires and Will.

God Bless,

pat /PJm


#6

[quote="Christian_Unity, post:1, topic:307189"]
The Sovereignty of God

I believe God is completely sovereign over all things including natural disasters, salvation of individuals, appointing President Obama for a 2nd term, changing and directing the hearts of men and women, where and when we are to be born and die, etc. I would be very interested in a discussion on the sovereignty of God. I’m sure we would all be challenged on this topic which should help us grow in our trust in God in all cirumbstances in our lives.

Lamentations 3:37-38

Who has spoken and it came to pass,
unless the Lord has commanded it?
Is it not from the mouth of the Most High
that good and bad come?

[/quote]

God is not sovereign over our free will to choose, otherwise He would not have said,

And to this people you shall say: ‘Thus says the LORD: Behold, I set before you the way of life and the way of death. (Jeremiah 21:8).

God's mercy is extended to anyone who will humbe themselves, other wise He would not have said,

God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble
(1 Peter 5:5)

Everyone has the freedom to choose life or death, good or evil. Everyone is offered the grace to carry out their choice for life and good, if they would but humble themselves before God.

*Say to them, As I live, declares the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel?
*
(Ezekiel 33:11)

May God's peace be with you

micah


#7

Here are just a few of the many Scriptures which reveals the sovereignity of God which is independent from the will of man. Please let me know what you think about them. There are so many more Scriptures too which we can explore together. God rules and reigns because He is on the throne.

The LORD brings the counsel of the nations to nothing;
he frustrates the plans of the peoples.
The counsel of the LORD stands forever,
the plans of his heart to all generations.
Psalm 33:10-11

all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing,
and he does according to his will among the host of heaven
and among the inhabitants of the earth;
and none can stay his hand
or say to him, “What have you done?”
Daniel 4:35

He covers the heavens with clouds;
he prepares rain for the earth;
he makes grass grow on the hills.
He gives to the beasts their food,
and to the young ravens that cry.
Psalm 147:8-9

The mind of man plans his way,
But the LORD directs his steps.
Proverbs 16:9

Who is there who speaks and it comes to pass,
Unless the Lord has commanded it?
Lamentations 3:37

Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.”
James 4:15


#8

[quote="mercytruth, post:6, topic:307189"]
God is not sovereign over our free will to choose, otherwise He would not have said,

And to this people you shall say: ‘Thus says the LORD: Behold, I set before you the way of life and the way of death. (Jeremiah 21:8).

God's mercy is extended to anyone who will humbe themselves, other wise He would not have said,

God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble
(1 Peter 5:5)

Everyone has the freedom to choose life or death, good or evil. Everyone is offered the grace to carry out their choice for life and good, if they would but humble themselves before God.

*Say to them, As I live, declares the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel?
*
(Ezekiel 33:11)

May God's peace be with you

micah

[/quote]

But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. - John 1

For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, - Philippians 1:29

No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another. - John 15:15-17

biblegateway.com/passage/?search=romans%209&version=ESV


#9

[quote="Christian_Unity, post:7, topic:307189"]
Here are just a few of the many Scriptures which reveals the sovereignity of God which is independent from the will of man. Please let me know what you think about them. There are so many more Scriptures too which we can explore together. God rules and reigns because He is on the throne.

The LORD brings the counsel of the nations to nothing;
he frustrates the plans of the peoples.
The counsel of the LORD stands forever,
the plans of his heart to all generations.
Psalm 33:10-11

[/quote]

This one is saying that the ways of God are opposed to the ways of man, and will always win out in the end; not that he dictates the affairs of man. Since there is evil in the world, we can concluded that men are left to govern themselves by their free will.

all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing,
and he does according to his will among the host of heaven
and among the inhabitants of the earth;
and none can stay his hand
or say to him, “What have you done?”
Daniel 4:35

I actually don't really see how this one is related to the subject... God's will is supremely powerful, true, but that does not mean he forces it on us...

He covers the heavens with clouds;
he prepares rain for the earth;
he makes grass grow on the hills.
He gives to the beasts their food,
and to the young ravens that cry.
Psalm 147:8-9

Poetic license, as with most of the psalms, they are artistic attempts to relate God's power. It is by God's will that we exist, and through his word that our reality came into being; that does not mean that he sits there making every drop of rain fall individually...

The mind of man plans his way,
But the LORD directs his steps.
Proverbs 16:9

Again with the poetic license, but even taken literally this means that the Lord acts as a guide. People don't always listen to their guides, as indicated every time you disobeyed a parent.

Who is there who speaks and it comes to pass,
Unless the Lord has commanded it?
Lamentations 3:37

This is the conclusion to a passage in a which a man, the writer, focuses on the troubles of His life, and how he has given them up to God, and places his trust in God above all else, because if all that -is- comes from God, then all that -is- is God's to take. Your particular interpretation is the result of a strictly literal interpretation of the Bible, void of context or culture.

It could also be concluded that this passage is referencing the fact that without God there would be no existence, and so without God nothing would come to pass, therefore it is necessary for God to command reality to exist.

This answer is convoluted, I know. I hope someone who is better at explaining it steps in >_>

Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.”
James 4:15

Please reference more of the passage below:

This verse is dealing with the fact that our lives may be cut off at any point, and therefor it does not do to dwell on the things of this world, but rather to place our focus on God and the great eternity he welcomes us to. While I agree that this verse does support that God will call us home at the end of our lives, and that we don't know when that will be, it does not support your assertion of absolute control over every minute facet of existence.

[BIBLEDRB]James 4:10-17[/BIBLEDRB]


#10

This is why I believe God appointed President Obama for a 2nd term for our good. I don’t think God is passive in the affairs of men, rather He governs us according to His infinite wisdom and our good. Granted, this is very difficult topic.

The sentence is by the decree of the watchers, the decision by the word of the holy ones, to the end that the living may know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will and sets over it the lowliest of men.’ - Daniel 4:17

who brings princes to nothing,
and makes the rulers of the earth as emptiness.
Scarcely are they planted, scarcely sown,
scarcely has their stem taken root in the earth,
when he blows on them, and they wither,
and the tempest carries them off like stubble. - Isaiah 40:23-24

“O LORD, God of our fathers, are you not God in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. In your hand are power and might, so that none is able to withstand you. - 2 Chronicles 20:6

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. – Rom 13


#11

This almost seems to be a debate relying on perspective.

In the face of evil, we are to have faith. Consider this paper on a prophecy made by one of God's prophets that wasn't completely fulfilled:

Chisholm Robert B. Jr., «Israel’s Retreat and the Failure of Prophecy in 2 Kings 3» Vol.92 (2011) 70-80
This is not a story of failed or deceptive prophecy, but rather an account of Israel’s failure in the face of opposition. YAHWEH’s promise was inherently contingent upon Israel’s willingness to bring it to completion. Their failure to do so is not surprising. Jehoram’s partial success in battle ironically mirrors his partial commitment to YAHWEH (vv. 1-3). As such, the concluding report of Israel’s retreat combines with the introductory report to form a thematic* inclusio *for the chapter: Those whose commitment to YAHWEH is half-hearted invariably forfeit his blessing.

Though the scripture here remains open to debate, I think this scholarly exegete is closer to the mark, as his interpretation requires less awkwardness and is inherently more sensical and intuitive for faith to understand compared to other understandings that require a lot of gymnastics and leave many lingering questions.

My point is that God is absolutely Sovereign and the Lord of all history. He knows all things before they happen. He does enter our history and even intervene in it, preeminently in the revelation of Christ, which events inevitably change history. Moreover, our individual or collective cooperating or not cooperating with God's will or grace has consequences; but no matter how bad things might get, God retains his Lordship over all things.


#12

It comes down to free will and how we choose to use it.

Its like I have the free will to pick up a gun and shoot someone in the head. If God gave me free will to do this evil, how can he stop me from doing it, and still give me free will.

So by my using the grace of free will and choose to turn that good grace into a bad thing, how can God be to blame?

Its like saying here are the keys to the car, but you can’t drive it. Then why give me the car?

God gives us a choose in this world to do good or evil. But back to the point, while God will not take away our free will, he can make a good out of it.

So say I shoot someone inocent in the head, and they are a very good person. What Good can God do out of that? Simple eternal bliss and happiness in heaven, No suffering, no pain, only a sheer happiness that can never be had in this world.

On the same token People blame God because he gives us free will, but then does not take it off of us. Makes no sense does it?


#13

[quote="rinnie, post:12, topic:307189"]
It comes down to free will and how we choose to use it.

Its like I have the free will to pick up a gun and shoot someone in the head. If God gave me free will to do this evil, how can he stop me from doing it, and still give me free will.

So by my using the grace of free will and choose to turn that good grace into a bad thing, how can God be to blame?

Its like saying here are the keys to the car, but you can't drive it. Then why give me the car?

God gives us a choose in this world to do good or evil. But back to the point, while God will not take away our free will, he can make a good out of it.

So say I shoot someone inocent in the head, and they are a very good person. What Good can God do out of that? Simple eternal bliss and happiness in heaven, No suffering, no pain, only a sheer happiness that can never be had in this world.

On the same token People blame God because he gives us free will, but then does not take it off of us. Makes no sense does it?

[/quote]

Okay, do you think man can have free will, yet God is still sovereign? I personally don't believe we can have the sovereignity of man and also have the sovereignity of God at the same time. Either God rules and reigns by governing His entire creation, or God is passive in His creation, and is just sitting back watching mankind do it's thing. Consider this verse:

And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. - Matt 10


#14

[quote="Christian_Unity, post:10, topic:307189"]
This is why I believe God appointed President Obama for a 2nd term for our good. I don’t think God is passive in the affairs of men, rather He governs us according to His infinite wisdom and our good. Granted, this is very difficult topic.

The sentence is by the decree of the watchers, the decision by the word of the holy ones, to the end that the living may know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will and sets over it the lowliest of men.’ - Daniel 4:17

who brings princes to nothing,
and makes the rulers of the earth as emptiness.
Scarcely are they planted, scarcely sown,
scarcely has their stem taken root in the earth,
when he blows on them, and they wither,
and the tempest carries them off like stubble. - Isaiah 40:23-24

“O LORD, God of our fathers, are you not God in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. In your hand are power and might, so that none is able to withstand you. - 2 Chronicles 20:6

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. – Rom 13

[/quote]

Why would it be God who let Obama in? It was the American People who voted for Obama not God.

God gave us free will to vote for who we wanted.

That would be like saying God wanted us to kill his Son. He did not want us to turn against his Son and have him cruficied. It was the greed, and sin of Man that had Christ Crucified.

Jesus knew he was going to be put to death, but only because he knew the evil in the hearts of Man.

You heard what Jesus told the authorities, as you put it, It was said do you not know I have the power to let you live or die. Jesus said you only have the power given to you by my Father.

Anotherwards Jesus said you have no authority over God. Jesus came in this world to die, no matter what the authorities did or said. He told the Jews long before he would tear down the temple and raise it in 3 days. It had nothing to do with the authoritys.


#15

[quote="Christian_Unity, post:8, topic:307189"]
But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. - John 1

For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, - Philippians 1:29

No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another. - John 15:15-17

biblegateway.com/passage/?search=romans%209&version=ESV

[/quote]

yes, no one can receive the Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ willy-nilly. Jesus said, "No one can come to me unless the Father draws him"

God the Father does not lead anyone to Jesus Christ, unless that individual has humbled himself before God, as it is written, "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble"

It all goes back to whether an individual chooses to humble their human pride, and ask God to save them.

God's peace be with you

micah


#16

[quote="rinnie, post:14, topic:307189"]
Why would it be God who let Obama in? It was the American People who voted for Obama not God.

God gave us free will to vote for who we wanted.

That would be like saying God wanted us to kill his Son. He did not want us to turn against his Son and have him cruficied. It was the greed, and sin of Man that had Christ Crucified.

Jesus knew he was going to be put to death, but only because he knew the evil in the hearts of Man.

You heard what Jesus told the authorities, as you put it, It was said do you not know I have the power to let you live or die. Jesus said you only have the power given to you by my Father.

Anotherwards Jesus said you have no authority over God. Jesus came in this world to die, no matter what the authorities did or said. He told the Jews long before he would tear down the temple and raise it in 3 days. It had nothing to do with the authoritys.

[/quote]

Okay... I believe Catholics and Protestants prayed to God prior to the election in regards to our next President of the United States. If you believe in the absolute free will of man, then why did we as Christians pray to God about the election? Through prayer, did God changed the hearts of men and women to vote whom God wanted to serve as our President?

Regarding the crucifixion, it was the will of the Father that Jesus was to die in that manner. Remember how Jesus rebuked Peter at the garden? It was the absolute authority of God that Jesus was to die on the cross.

Let’s do a simpler one. Is God sovereign over the weather and natural disasters, or does Mother nature have a will of her own? I believe the two hurricanes just prior to the election had an impact of the election (Sandy and the one at the Republican convention). Did those hurricanes happen by fate, or did God send them to secure the election results according to His sovereign will?


#17

So God sends people to hell, even though he could have saved them, being sovereign? Would you agree with that statement?


#18

[quote="Christian_Unity, post:13, topic:307189"]
Okay, do you think man can have free will, yet God is still sovereign? I personally don't believe we can have the sovereignity of man and also have the sovereignity of God at the same time. Either God rules and reigns by governing His entire creation, or God is passive in His creation, and is just sitting back watching mankind do it's thing.

[/quote]

There is only one possibility for reconciling the two. What if God's sovereignty in man is only possible through man's free will? And that man is not completely free until and unless God's will is actualized in the freedom of man? In other words, man can only attain a completely free will and become truly who and what he is meant to be when God's sovereign will is united with man's free will in a kind of merging of two freedoms. Man may think freedom can be attained unilaterally, but what if God is the necessary condition for the ontological freedom that is sought by man? Without God, man's perceived to be "free" will is necessarily encumbered, deficient and not truly free.


#19

[quote="mercytruth, post:15, topic:307189"]
yes, no one can receive the Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ willy-nilly. Jesus said, "No one can come to me unless the Father draws him"

God the Father does not lead anyone to Jesus Christ, unless that individual has humbled himself before God, as it is written, "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble"

It all goes back to whether an individual chooses to humble their human pride, and ask God to save them.

God's peace be with you

micah

[/quote]

Does God grant grace which enables us to be humble? Or do we generate our own humility by our own will power apart from the grace of God? If we generate our own humility, don't we become prideful in our own ability to be humble? What is our source of humility is it from us or from God?

But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” – James 4:6

Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” 1 Peter 5:5


#20

[quote="Christian_Unity, post:19, topic:307189"]
Does God grant grace which enables us to be humble? Or do we generate our own humility by our own will power apart from the grace of God? If we generate our own humility, don't we become prideful in our own ability to be humble? What is our source of humility is it from us or from God?

But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” – James 4:6

Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” 1 Peter 5:5

[/quote]

Humility is simply the realization and acceptance of contingency, that we are not self-sufficient.


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