Sovereignty vs. Free Will
So, I have to take this class as a part of my CPM (Committee on Preparation for Ministry) requirements. We were discussing Thomas Aquinas, Martin Luther, and John Calvin in the class and their views on Sovereignty of God and Free Will of man. The professor asked us to discuss if both of these statements can be true:
1) God is all-powerful.
2) Man is free (as in man has free will).
What our professor was suggesting, at least it seems to me, is that if God is all-powerful, man cannot be truly free. If Luther and Calvin’s understanding of Presdestination were to be true, is man truly free?
Well, here is the problem I have with that thought. Free will here is defined as choosing from many choices without any external forces or predisposition. I can do whatever I want to. But if this were to be true, there needs to be an infinite number of options and choices. I can’t be bound by anything. And we know that is not possible at all. I can’t jump off of the Empire State Building and expect to survive. So the discussion went as if man were not truly free.
But that’s not the real definition of Free Will, is it? If that were the defintion, then God can’t be free either. God is bound by something. Obviously not with the things that bound us, but there are certain things God cannot do. God cannot act against His nature or His wants and wills. For example, God cannot sin. God cannot create another god. God cannot make a rock so big that He can’t lift it (or can He?).
Free will is not choosing without any predisposition or limitation. Free will is simply acting in your nature and your wants. We all have free will. But the problem is that our free will leads us to sin, because by our nature, we are sinners. Unless there is an abrupt interruption to our nature, we will always choose to sin. That’s where grace comes in. God, graciously, decided to interrupt and enter into our lives to change our nature. That has to happen first, before we can come to God. God extends this grace to whomever He wants to. “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy,” the Bible says.
So, my being a follower of Christ, is not depend on my choice, but God’s sovereign choice to enter into our lives. And isn’t that a good news? Salvation does not depend on my choosing. It is in the hand of God. And I know that it is secure, because, unlike me, He does not make mistakes.