Views (3 broadly defined ways. There are variations in each group).
(From the TERCENTENARY EDITION of the Westminster Confession of
God’s Eternal Decree.
from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own
will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass: yet
so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin, nor is violence
offered to the will of the creatures; nor is the liberty or
contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established.
Although God knows whatsoever may or can come to pass upon all
supposed conditions, yet hath He not decreed anything because He
foresaw it as future, or as that which would come to pass upon such
By the decree of God, for the manifestation of His glory, some men
and angels are predestinated unto everlasting life; and others
foreordained to everlasting death.
doctrine that God eternally and unconditionally decreed all future
things necessarily follows from the fact that God is independent, all
knowing, and unchangeable, which is what chapter 2 of the confession
teaches. Since God is independent, it follows that His decree cannot
depend upon anything in the future or anything outside of Himself.
Since God knows all things, it follows that God must have first
decreed all things. And since God is unchangeable, it follows that
God must have an unchangeable decree at the foundation of all that He
How can God escape being the author of sin?
First general Calvinist answer: God decrees the highest desire and
the individual in their free will chooses that desire. This is
Second general Calvinist answer: Everything God does is holy, because
He is holy.
How can a person be judged and sentenced for doing God’s will?
is my view: God sovereignly decreed that man should be free to
exercise moral choice, and man from the beginning has fulfilled that
decree by making his choice between good and evil. When he chooses to
do evil, he does not thereby countervail the sovereign will of God
but fulfills it, inasmuch as the eternal decree decided not which
choice the man should make but that he should be free to make it. If
in His absolute freedom God has willed to give man limited freedom,
who is there to stay His hand or say, “What doest thou?” Man’s
will is free because God is sovereign. A God less than sovereign
could not bestow moral freedom upon His creatures. He would be afraid
to do so.
sovereignty of God is a vitally important truth Wesleyans badly need
to recover. This is not only because it is crucial for understanding
the biblical drama, but also because many Wesleyans have tended to
neglect it because Calvinists often give the impression that it is
one of their distinctive doctrines. But the sovereignty of God is not
a Calvinist doctrine, it is a biblical doctrine, and no one who wants
to be faithful to Scripture can afford to ignore or downplay this
what is the sovereignty of God? Simply put, it is the truth that God
is in control, that he has supreme power. It is the truth that he is
the Lord of the Universe and of everyone and everything it contains.
The sovereignty of God is not always appealing because it is sharply
at odds with the popular illusion that we are in control. It is a
common human conceit to think that our lives are our own, that human
beings are running the show and answer to no one higher than
Is God really sovereign if He allows (or decrees) a limited,
libertarian free will?
How do you explain free will?
Open Theism: I had a difficult time finding Open Theists who could
define Open Theism, and I don’t have the money to buy their books
and find a correct quote from them. So, I am turning to the Internet
for a reliable definition: Open
Theism is the thesis that, because God loves us and desires that we
freely choose to reciprocate His love, He has made His knowledge of,
and plans for, the future conditional upon our actions. Though
omniscient, God does not know what we will freely do in the future.
Though omnipotent, He has chosen to invite us to freely collaborate
with Him in governing and developing His creation, thereby also
allowing us the freedom to thwart His hopes for us. God desires that
each of us freely enter into a loving and dynamic personal
relationship with Him, and He has therefore left it open to us to
choose for or against His will. While Open Theists affirm that God
knows all the truths that can be known, they claim that there simply
are not yet truths about what will occur in the “open,”
undetermined future. Alternatively, there are such contingent truths,
but these truths cannot be known by anyone, including God.Anotherarticle
that may help.
First question: How can God be omniscient if He does not know clearly
everything in the future?
Second question: How can God not know every truth?
Personally, I choose the Reformed Arminian view as correct because of
the plain, normal reading and study of Scriptures. The other views
use systems of interpretation and/or prior presumptions as their
world view or theological standards. Please! Always interpret the
Bible in its plain, normal sense.
God can do what He wants and no one can alter His decision.
God truly gives a limited, libertarian free will.
Love is a choice, not a coercion.
Daniel 4:35 (HCSB) All
the inhabitants of the earth are counted as nothing, and He does what
He wants with the army of heaven and the inhabitants of the earth.
There is no one who can hold back His hand or say to Him, “What
have You done?
Matthew 19:25-26 (HCSB) When
the disciples heard this, they were utterly astonished and asked,
“Then who can be saved? ” But Jesus looked at them and said,
“With men this is impossible, but with God all things are
2 Chronicles 20:5-6 (NKJV) Then
Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem, in the
house of the LORD, before the new court, and said: “O LORD God of
our fathers, are You not God in heaven, and do You not rule over all
the kingdoms of the nations, and in Your hand is there not power and
might, so that no one is able to withstand You?
Acts 7:51 (NKJV) You
stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist
the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you.
Matthew 23:37 (NKJV) O
Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those
who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children
together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were
In view of the above verses, if God is sovereign, how can people
Isaiah 46:8-13 (NKJV)
this, and show yourselves men; Recall to mind, O you transgressors.
Remember the former things of old, For I am God, and there is no
other; I am God, and there is none like Me, Declaring the end from
the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done,
Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure,’
Calling a bird of prey from the east, The man who executes My
counsel, from a far country. Indeed I have spoken it; I will also
bring it to pass. I have purposed it; I will also do it. “Listen to
Me, you stubborn-hearted, Who are far from righteousness: I bring My
righteousness near, it shall not be far off; My salvation shall not
linger. And I will place salvation in Zion, For Israel My glory.
How does memory help us in our spiritual life/walk?
How can we know there are no other gods?
How does He know the future?
When God makes His mind up and makes a decision can it be changed? By
Why is God making an appeal to this group of transgressors? Does it
suggest there might be some form of free will?
What is foreknowledge?
What is the condition of those described as stubborn
Why are they stubborn? How does this kind of stubborness hurt people?
Where does righteousness come from?
Romans 10:3 (NKJV) For
they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to
establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the
righteousness of God.
Romans 1:16-17 (NKJV) For
I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God
to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also
for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from
faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”
A few more questions:
How do you realize God’s sovereignty in your life?
Does God’s sovereignty give you a sense of peace or restlessness?
How does God’s love demonstrate His sovereignty?
How can we explain the occurrence of evil, calamity, and trouble in
this world and our lives?