God’s Sovereignty and Man’s Free Will

Sometimes Calvinists will say that Arminians have a small God. I have been told by Calvinists that the Calvinist God is “bigger” and therefore superior to my “little” Arminian God. Usually this claim is framed within the context of whether or not God can truly “save” anyone in an Arminian framework. Since the Arminian believes that God requires the genuine response of faith on the part of His creatures, then He is apparently quite small compared to the Calvinist God who just overpowers His creatures with His grace and makes sure that they are saved, etc. etc…you get the point.

I find this to be a terrible misunderstanding of the Arminian position, but that is the subject for a future post. For now I want to ask the Calvinist which God is bigger in a different context. Is a God who can only control His universe through cause and effect bigger or smaller than a God who can allow for true contingency in His creatures and still accomplish His will? Picirilli makes the point effectively in Grace, Faith, Free Will:

Arminians believe that there is no threat to, or restriction of, God’s sovereign freedom, who runs everything (nothing omitted) as He pleases, by having another personal and free (although limited) being in the universe.

Arminians consider that this view magnifies God’s omniscience. In the Arminian conception of the universe, God foreknows true contingencies. Man really can choose either of two ways, and God really knows which he will choose.

Likewise, Arminians consider that this view magnifies God’s power, in at least two interrelated ways.

1. God was able to create a being who was not merely “determined,” but an actor who also “determines” things, a being who is free and in His own image. He of the only true sovereign will was able to endow man with a will that really has the power of decision and choice.

2. God is able to govern the truly free exercise of men’s wills in such a way that all goes according to His plan. A God who created a complex universe inhabited by beings pre-programmed to act out His will for them would be great. But one who can make men with wills of their own and set them free to act in ways He has not determined for them, and still govern the whole in perfect accord with His purpose is greater. (page 43, italics his)

He then goes on to quote Arminus:

If the divine Wisdom knows how to effect that which it has decreed, by employing causes according to their nature and motion- whether their nature and motion be contingent or free, the praise due to such wisdom is far greater than if it employ a power which no creature can possibly resist. (ibid.)

Arminians hold that God is wise enough to accomplish His will despite filling this world with creatures who are capable of free choice. We cannot explain how exactly God does this but are careful not to put limits on God’s omniscience and infinite ability. F. Leroy Forlines comments on the text that seems to best demonstrate God accomplishing His will through human free agents. Calvinists understand this passage through the lenses of their compatibilist assumptions, but Forlines well shows how these passages can harmonize with the libertarian understanding of free will and the Arminian understanding of divine foreknowledge:

It is important we realize that God did not foresee the future as a passive observer. He did not simply raise the curtain of time and look at a future that was already fixed before He looked. He planned the future. But when He planned the future with regard to human beings who were made in His image and thus were personal beings with a mind, heart, and will, He chose to work with them in accord with the influence and response model. He has a cause and effect relationship with the material universe, but such is not the case with human personality.

The cross of Christ was a predestined event. At the same time, numerous human beings were involved in one way or another in effecting this event. Since human beings with free will were involved, in the crucifixion event, we must understand the role of God’s foreknowledge in predestinated events…It is the kind of God that I have just attempted to describe [a God who was not a mere spectator] who foresaw the future from all eternity. As He foresaw the future, He saw it as it would progressively unfold from: (1) The result of His creative activity and His divine influence. (2) The result of the devastating influence of sin. (3) The result of the response that human beings would give as a result of the redemptive work of Jesus Christ, the ministry of the Holy Spirit, the ministry of the Word of God, and the ministry of the redeemed. (4) The result of all influences that would come from outside Himself. (5) The result of all influence that He would bring on people through His power and His infinite wisdom. He saw, then, everything that He sees and is doing now. He is the same God now that He was then. Everything that He is doing now is just as real as it would be if He had not known it in advance.

God’s omniscience and wisdom furnished Him with all the information and the ‘know how’ that was needed for Him to arrange the death and sufferings of Jesus Christ as the means of atonement for the sins of the world. With the aid of His infinite knowledge and wisdom, the determinate counsel was able to predetermine the crucifixion of Christ in eternity past. In this arrangement foreknowledge was aiding, but foreknowledge as foreknowledge did not bear a causal relationship to the plan for the crucifixion to occur. Without foreknowledge, the determinate counsel could not have prearranged and predetermined the plan. (The Quest For Truth, pg. 396)

I find this explanation far more satisfying then the “compatibilistic” approach of Calvinism. While there is mystery in how God can perfectly arrange an event like the crucifixion without violating the free will of His creatures, it is a true mystery on par with the Trinity, incarnation, and creation Ex Nihilo. It is not hard to accept given God’s unfathomable wisdom. Compatibilism, on the other hand, wants us to accept two completely contradictory assumptions under the umbrella of “mystery”. It tells us that God causes people to engage in sinful activity, and yet also tells us that God is not the author of sin. It tells us that the one who sins in accordance with God’s infallible decree is responsible for that sin while the God who ordained that sin is not. That is not a “mystery”. That is a flat contradiction and an abuse of normal human language.

It seems to me that when it comes to the scope and nature of God’s sovereignty, the Arminian God is far wiser than the God of Calvinism. A God who controls His universe like a puppet master is not that impressive to me. A God who can control His universe and accomplish His will without having to override or meticulously control the will of His creatures seems far more impressive and worthy of worship. I believe that Calvinism does not exalt God’s sovereignty but rather limits it by not properly incorporating God’s infinite wisdom into the equation. The Arminian view exalts God’s sovereignty within the balanced context of His omnipotence and omniscience. It also allows for divine mystery within its proper context and definition, without expecting us to accept disturbing contradictions.

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23 Responses

  1. “It also allows for divine mystery within its proper context and definition, without expecting us to accept disturbing contradictions.”

    I think you meant to say glorious tensions rather than disturbing contradictions :^D

    Good post!

  2. When did God know that he would have to send his Son to the cross?

    i must be honest in that from your article I can not see that big of a difference from the Calvinist God. I must be missing it, but I can not see it yet.

    In the article it says that we are personal and free beings in the universe although limited. It seems that is the Calvinistic position as well.

    Am I right to say that the Arminian thinks that faith comes first and the Calvinist says that rebirth comes first? If so i still struggle with understanding Arminianism. If I have free will and if I am a slave to sin and not want to do anything that brings me to true repentance and belief due to my bondage to sin, then how can I choose Him before rebirth? i understand about prevenient grace and all, but does that grace free us from the bondage of sin and instead of being a slave to it, I am free from it and can make an independent descision with the help of His grace and the Holy Spirit?

    I do struggle with understanding that. How can i be a bondservant to one and then choose another?

    If my questions are off topic please forgive me and I will not be offended if you do not reply, nor take it as a sign of Calvinistic doctrine prevailing.

    I am learning a great deal from my self-study and reading not only different sites, but great theologians of the past.

    magnus

  3. As I was reading your post, which was excellent, I could not help but to remember Paul’s words to the Romans, “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor? Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to Him again? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.” (Rom. 11.33-36, NASB).

    (Hello Magnus. Good to see you still studying away at the doctrines. God bless.)

    Billy

  4. billy,

    good to hear/read from you again. I must say that it is looking like I will be studying for the rest of my life with these things lol.

    If you could help me with this w would appreciate it as i have come to trust and respect your opinion from our previous exchanges.

    magnus

  5. I liked the quote:

    It seems to me that when it comes to the scope and nature of God’s sovereignty, the Arminian God is far wiser than the God of Calvinism. A God who controls His universe like a puppet master is not that impressive to me.

    That’s quite true. I’m a computer programmer, being the ‘puppet master’ of a miniature universe is pretty easy actually, whereas an algorithm that can act in an unexpected/inconsistent fashion for a given input or make a truly non-deterministic decision is impossible for us thus far (even ‘random’ numbers are based on an input such as time). In short: We can make robots –even virtual worlds full of them– but we can’t produce anything on the level of free will. The fact that we are given just that says a lot for the awesome creative power and wisdom of the God of the Bible.

  6. Magnus,

    Thanks for your comments. It is refreshing to see that you are still seeking. I will try to answer your questions as I understand them.

    I guess God always knew that He would send His Son. Sin did not take Him by surprise, but He did not cause it.

    The Calvinist view differs in that it can only comprehend God’s sovereignty within the context of cause and effect. If His creatures are free in a libertarian sense, then He is not sovereign. The only *freedom* in Calvinism is a freedom to do what God causes us to do. The Calvinist will say that we choose according to our desires, but our desires are ultimately determined by God, so in the end we are only free to do what God causes us to do.

    Arminians also believe that we choose according to our greatest desire. We also believe that we are the ones who decide what that greatest desire will be. We ourselves give weight to the options presented to us and choose accordingly. We do not believe that motives and desires push us around, but rather that we determine what our greatest desire will be and which motive will ultimately become the strongest, etc. The freedom of Calvinism is more like the freedom of a falling rock to keep falling, or the freedom of a man hooked up to a respirator to keep breathing.

    You are correct that the Arminian believes that faith precedes regeneration. I have written several posts that give the Biblical basis for that belief.

    i understand about prevenient grace and all, but does that grace free us from the bondage of sin and instead of being a slave to it, I am free from it and can make an independent descision with the help of His grace and the Holy Spirit?

    That is a pretty fair assessment.

    I do struggle with understanding that. How can i be a bondservant to one and then choose another?

    Do you have some specific verses in mind. I think it might be helpful to examine those passages in their contexts. I have an idea what passages you may have in mind, but I will give you the opportunity to cite them, and then we can examine them more carefully. Billy actually did a very helpful post on this subject. I will try to locate it and give you the link when I get the chance.

    Till then…

    God bless,
    Ben

  7. We as believers are, when attempting to get some satifactory handle on God’s sovereignty, dogs scratching at a door but without the means to turn the knob and enter. Whatever we can glean about God’s sovereignty will be as a gracious revelation of the Spirit and surely not by getting our heads together and by compilation figure God out. The glory of God’s sovereign essence resides not within the cerebral kindergarten of man, neither can it be discerned by the mental apparatus birthed by the residual disobedience of one called Adam, no, it is a mystery of the Spirit and God condescends to let us feed off the crumbs that fall from His sovereign table.

    As a commited Arminain I will admit God could have elected without concern for man’s will, but the usual Calvinist will boast as knowing the sovereign working of the Spirit without any mystery and Scripture verses to the contary. Many of our reformed brethren look down their theological noses at the poor Arminians who have not as yet had the Calvinitic epiphany.

    Those demonstrative attitudes are well within the parameters of the definition of the word “pride”. Any pride about one’s understanding of God’s sovereignty is by definition an abrogation of the sovereignty that one claims to understand.

  8. Hey Magnes, Maybe I can help. I wrote about it here

    http://ancientchristiandefender.blogspot.com/2007/09/prevenient-grace-and-ability-to-resist.html

    But to make it short I will say this.

    1.) The Darkness blinds our eyes

    John 2:11

    “But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.”

    2.) Light allows those who are in darkness to see

    Isaiah 9:22

    “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.”

    as well as

    John 12:35

    “”35So Jesus said to them, “For a little while longer the Light is among you Walk while you have the Light, so that darkness will not overtake you; he who walks in the darkness does not know where he goes.””

    3.) Jesus is the True Light that lighteth everyone

    John 1:9

    “That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.”

    4.)Before Jesus was lifted on the Cross the Father drew people and gave them to Christ. As seen in John chapter 6. But when Jesus was lifted on the Cross He was able to draw all to Himself so that he could re-unite people to the Father.

    As seen in John chapter 12 verse 32

    5.) Thus Prevenient grace gives us the power to come to Christ. It enables us to see……so that we can choose to believe or not. If we reject the Light then we are not able to believe, because we reject that which allows us to see so that we can believe.

    In John chapter 12 verse 36 it says:

    “36”While you have the Light, believe in the Light, so that you may become sons of Light ” These things Jesus spoke, and He went away and hid Himself from them.”

    The words “you may become” is “ginomai” and it’s mood is “Subjunctive” And according to the blue letter Bible it says:

    http://www.blueletterbible.org/cgi-b…6&strongs=5792

    “”The subjunctive mood is the mood of possibility and potentiality. The action described may or may not occur,depending upon circumstances. Conditional sentences of the third class (“ean” + the subjunctive) are all of this type, aswell as many commands following conditional purpose clauses, such as those beginning with “hina.””

    So as you can see……the potentiality is there. It is not automatic. We can resist it.

    I hope this helps.

    And yes….faith does come before Regeneration, however, there is a pre-regenerating grace in which many call prevenient grace, preceeding, enabling grace, as well as actual grace….but we all mean the samething. For this grace preceeds the will so that we can believe.

    INLOVE Jnorm

  9. thank you all for your guidance and help on this, if i may i need to clarify some things for my mind to stop spinning.

    Arminians believe that we have free will that we can use to stop resisting the Holy Spirit when prevenient grace is present. Am i right to say that even the Arminian does not think that man has sovereign free-will unless prevenient grace and the Holy Spirit is present? If those two are not there then man is subject to sin.

    I struggle then with where one gets faith, let me try to clarify: either faith comes from us or it is given to us. Would that be fair to say?

    It seems that both sides say that God has brought people into the world that He knows will not come to him, in fact that number is larger than the ones that do come to Him. In one view God is the one to pick the people and in the other it is man that gets to decide.

    Now before you guys start saying I am wrong that God picks and it’s all by grace alone, I can not wrap my brain around the fact that ultimately it is me that plays the deciding role. Either I resist or I stop resisting. To me that is me doing something. i look at it like this, resisting and not resisting is/ can be hard work. It is hard to resist at times and it is hard not to resist at times, but it usually requires work on my part.

    I do not know why that is such a bad thing? I know that it is wrong to view it that way and hence my struggle with all of this. i must say that I thought that I was very happy 6 – 8 months ago and now this is on my mind all the time. I can not even enjoy football as much as last year because I think about grace, election, faith, repentance, etc.

    So with that being said, thank you all again for your patience and for sharing your beliefs and views with a complete stranger.

    magnus

  10. Magnus,

    The first bit of advice I need to give you is to relax. Your understanding of this is not of crucial importance. What matters is that you love God and follow Him with all your heart. Look at this as a doctrinal hobby that drives you to investigate God’s word. Your salvation does not hang in the balance. God loves you, and He will give you wisdom if you ask Him.

    I fully understand how consuming this debate can become. For me, it is important to know what I believe and why so that I can preach and teach with conviction. I also enjoy this debate because it drives me to closely examine God’s Word, and to question my own presuppositions, which is never a bad thing. I think I might also be a little fond of arguing as well.

    Anyway, the point is that your quest for truth should be an enjoyable venture. It should not cause you stress or frustration to the point of interfering with your relationship with God. If you can’t read Scripture and hear from God without constantly thinking about how a certian passage relates to Arminianism or Calvinism, then it is time to take a break and fall in love with God again, enjoy football, etc. [BTW I am a huge Steelers fan].

    I am going to be very candid with you and admit that I am still very much a seeker. I do not have it all figured out and I am OK with that. If I was not OK with that, then I would quickly lose my mind. Let me tell you why I am personally more of an Arminian than a Calvinist.

    1) I find that Calvinistic determinism will lead to the conclusion that God is the author of sin. I cannot accept this as I feel it is very inconsistent with the God revealed in the Bible. I find Calvinistic attempts around the conclusion that God authors sin in their system to be unsatisfying both Scripturally and philosophically.

    2) I believe the Bible is very clear that Christ truly died for all of mankind and that the offer of salvation is a genuine offer to all. I find the Calvinistic exegesis of the universal passages to very strained and artificial.

    3) I believe that the Bible truly warns believers against the very real possibility of falling away. This does not comport with Calvinism and I find that Calvinistic attempts to explain these passages away to be unsatisfying and often times ridiculous.

    Those are my main objections. The rest is just details regarding each point.

    I believe that the fall of man brought corruption on the entire race. I believe that we are unable to come to God without God first doing a supernatural work in our hearts. I believe that God does this work in evreybody who hears the gospel. I believe the gospel has real power to change any life.

    How God does this work in us, or how it is that we respond are details that are fun to discuss, but unimportant compared to the main point that the gospel offer is a genuine offer that all people can truly respond to. We can speculate on the details, but ultimately it is a mystery that we will never fully grasp.

    I believe that our response to God’s grace is faith and this faith is enabled by the Holy Spirit. In this sense faith is a gift. I do not believe that faith is an irresistible gift given only to some, or that it is something God does in us without our consent. We ourselves are the ones who believe. Faith is not part of the salvation package that God gives us, it is the way in which we receive God’s salvation. Faith, whatever it is, can never be called a work. It is a looking away from our works to the work and merit of Jesus Christ. Why some receive Christ and others reject Him is something I cannot fully explain, nor do I feel I need to.

    I also believe that when Paul speaks of “works” he has in mind the specific works of the Jewish law. His point was not that there is nothing at all that we can do to recieve salvation [as in believe], but that there is no works of merit that earn salvation for us. That is why faith is contrasted with works. It is not an act of merit by which we earn God’s favor. It is a turning to Christ as the only means of salvation. Faith is credited as rigteousness because we apprehend God’s righteousness through faith. If faith were an act of righteousness by nature then God could not “credit” it as righteousness, it would already be righteous.

    That is quite a mouthful, and there is much more that I could say. The bottom line is to keep seeking God and be open and humble enough to admit that you do not have all the answers. God loves you and does not want you to go crazy over this. It should not become an idol that takes your focus off your love for God and desire to see others come to know Him. Doctrinal studies can become an idol just like anything else. We need to carefully guard ourselves against that possibility.

    Relax magnus and enjoy some good football this weekend 🙂

    God Bless,
    Ben

  11. Ben,

    Thank you again for your thoughts, but I need to clarify. When I said I thought that I was happy 6 – 8 months ago it is only because I was very shallow in my beliefs and my Christian faith. I was more the type of Christian that goes to Church on Sunday and felt that I had did not my part for the week.

    When I say that I can not enjoy football as much or anything else because I think of this I did not mean the Arminian vs. Calvinist debate. You guys are impressive with your learning and understanding that I can not compare too. That is why most of the time I just read you guys and study to seee if I see what is being said and if it is biblical in its foundation. I never would of in a million years believed that reading the Bible or some of the great theological works would be something that I would do for enjoyment.

    Please forgive me if I came across as so wraped up in this debate that I gave the impression that it is my end all and be all. I agree that this is a nice distraction at times and that it causes one to seriously consider ones thoughts and beliefs.

    God Bless,

    magnus

  12. Magnus,

    I am not enjoying football recently either because Notre Dame is 0 for 4 😦

    Anywho . . . It seems to me, and I hope it is only my poor assumption, that the Calvinistic notion of regeneration preceding faith has taken quite a hold on you and you are trying to answer/debate it in your mind. Thus, when you read Arminian blogs, you cannot understand how we discuss faith because, obviously, regeneration must precede faith in order for anyone to believe.

    Let me ask you a question: In your own Bible study, have you encountered passages of Scripture which teach that one must first be regenerated in order to have faith in Christ? If that is the case, and it is troubling you, then believe the Bible, by all means.

    But, if that is not the case, and it is because Calvinists have taught you (via books, sermon series, etc.) that regeneration must precede faith, then may I plead with you to put that notion aside and simply read through the Gospels for yourself. Read the words of Jesus and see for yourself if that is something that He is trying to communicate to the masses. See if you clearly hear Jesus telling the multitudes: You must first be regenerated by God in order to believe in Me.

    Otherwise, view Arminian doctrines on this matter as Innocent until proven Guilty (rather than vice versa). Prove it for youself through your own study of the Bible and not through Calvinists trying to teach you logical deductions from presuppositions and proof texts. It is quite easy to teach a variety of wrong things by proof texts. Sit down and read the Gospel of Matthew. Discover for yourself what He is teaching.

    I love ya man and only want you to be free to experience God without the constraints of Calvinistic dogma. Remember, I have been there.

    Billy

  13. jnorm88,

    I love your study on prevenient grace in light [pun inteneded] of John’s contrasting darkness and light and its relation to spiritual blindness. Very enlightening [there I go again].

    Thanks,
    Ben

  14. Billy,

    Thank you for your encouragement and your thoughts on these matters.

    As you know I go to a Methodist Church that is extremely liberal in its teaching and beliefs. That was one of the reasons for me to try and see what is true and what is false. By being exposed to the we are all going to heaven crowd and that Jesus died for ALL, I got a sick feeling in my stomach after hearing it straight from one of the Pastor’s at my church. Since then I have read about Calvin, Arminius and Wesley.

    Part of my problem is that there are no true Arminians in leadership roles right now. At least that is the way that I see it. Usually people say that they are Arminian, but in reality they are Semi-Pelagian at best.

    When I read the Bible I see clear signs of man’s responsibility and of God’s sovereignty and while at times they seem to contradict it is only because I can not wrap my little brain around them. I will keep reading, mainly Scripture and as time permits some other works by the great men of the past. I still love to read Wesley though. Anyways, I do appreciate all of you that answer my questions.

    God Bless

    magnus

  15. Kangeroodort,

    no prob…anytime.

    Paul spoke of it in 2nd Corinth 4:3-6

    “”3And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,”made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.”

    In this scripture it seems as if Paul is saying the god of this world blinds men by taking the light away.

    I know in the parable of the sower the devil steals the seed or takes the seed away from some.

    Mathew 13:19-21

    “19When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed sown along the path.”

    I’m still trying to understand Paul in this regard.

    But in general it seems as if “Light” makes it able for people to see.

    Ephesians 5:13-15

    “13But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, 14for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said:
    “Wake up, O sleeper,
    rise from the dead,
    and Christ will shine on you.”

    So in short it seems as if we can’t believe if we can’t see the light and we can’t see the light if the devil blocks it.

    This is the part I’m having a hard time with.

    Take care and God bless

    JNORM

  16. jnorm88,

    You bring up and interesting passage. I have heard Calvinists reference 2 Cor. 4:3,4 as evidence for the need of irresitible regeneration. I think 3:16 renders such an interpretation impossible.

    Paul says that the veil is lifted when one turns to [is converted to] the Lord. He does not say that the veil is lifted so that one may turn to the Lord.

    Just as Moses lifted the veil when he entered the tabernacle and the presence of God, so the Jews can only see clearly when they turn to Christ. Until they do, they will continue to be blinded by their law not seeing that it has its fullfillment in Christ (Rom. 9:31-33).

    It would seem, then, that those blinded in 4:4 have yielded themselves to the darkness and the god of this world to the degree that they have effectively secured the shutters of their hearts so that the light can no longer penetrate. This does not, however, mean that they were never exposed to the light, or had a genuine opportunity to respond, only that they have rejected that light to the point of total blindness (see 2 Thess. 2:10-12).

  17. I meant jnorm888- I am having trouble with that last 8 for some reason. My apologies.

  18. Kangeroodort,

    Thanks for that. You don’t mind if I print that out so that I can ponder over it do you.

    You brought up a good observation.

    When you say 3:16 do you mean John 3:16 or 2nd Corinth 3:16?

    I took it to mean John 3:16 but I just want to make sure.

    What you said here was very interesting:

    “”Paul says that the veil is lifted when one turns to [is converted to] the Lord. He does not say that the veil is lifted so that one may turn to the Lord.””

    At first I had a hard time picturing this in my head. But then I thought that a person can turn to the Lord by hearing Him. They don’t have to see Him in order to turn to Him. And after turning to Him the veil is lifted so that they can see the Light again.

    “”It would seem, then, that those blinded in 4:4 have yielded themselves to the darkness and the god of this world to the degree that they have effectively secured the shutters of their hearts so that the light can no longer penetrate. This does not, however, mean that they were never exposed to the light, or had a genuine opportunity to respond, only that they have rejected that light to the point of total blindness (see 2 Thess. 2:10-12).””

    Yeah I see what your saying and I agree with that as well.

    Good stuff

    Jnorm

  19. magnus,

    I would also like to add that just because you are a slave to something doesn’t mean you don’t have the freedom to “escape”.

    When we look at American slavery we see that some of slaves escaped, ran away…..ect.

    We also know that many of them had help when they ran away.

    In Arminianism

    You can look at Prevenient grace like this:

    If you are locked to a chair and God says get up. God cuts the chain to the chair so that you can get up.

    In Calvinism

    common grace is like this:

    If you are locked to a chair and God says get up. God doesn’t cut the chain to the chair and He punishes you for not getting up.

    This is the difference.

    Jnorm

  20. Jnorm888,

    I meant 2 Cor. 3:16 and not John 3:16,

    “Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.” [NKJV]

    I don’t mind if you print it.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  21. […] So it is with God.  He is not willing that any should perish.  He is also not willing to irresistibly cause his creatures to trust in Him.  God’s will is to have a relationship with them based on trust and love which springs freely from the creature.  His will is not violated if His creatures refuse Him because God’s will was for them to have the opportunity to either trust in Him or reject Him.  His perfect will is realized when His creatures trust in Him and enter into a loving relationship with them, and His permissive will is realized when His creatures reject Him and suffer the consequences of that rejection.  God’s freedom is not limited in Arminianism.  God gets exactly what He wants and He is not worried about the fact that His creatures have free will.  He is big enough and wise enough to accomplish His will despite allowing His creatures a measure of free will, as I stated in a previous post, […]

  22. […] scriptures that testify both of God’s absolute Holiness as well as the choices that He in His sovereignty allows men to freely make, rather than Calvinism’s incoherent train wreck of a doctrine that […]

  23. […] scriptures that testify both of God’s absolute Holiness as well as the choices that He in His sovereignty allows men to freely make, rather than Calvinism’s incoherent train wreck of a doctrine that […]

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