Dan 4:17 NIV.
"'The decision is announced by messengers, the holy ones declare the verdict, so that the living may know that the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone he wishes and sets over them the lowliest of men.'
Dan 4:25 NIV.
You will be driven away from people and will live with the wild animals; you will eat grass like cattle and be drenched with the dew of heaven. Seven times will pass by for you until you acknowledge that the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone he wishes.
(Job 25:2 MSG)
"God is sovereign, God is fearsome-- everything in the cosmos fits and works in his plan.
Rom 11:33 NrIV
How very rich are God's wisdom and knowledge! How he judges is more than we can understand! The way he deals with people is more than we can know!
I am writing this article in response to the question I am asked so frequently when I share my faith in universal reconciliation or the salvation of all. The question is “what about my free will?” Can someone not choose to go to an eternal burning everlasting torture pit? Do you really think they would, given the chance and ability to understand as you do? Well I do agree that we do have free will but it is limited by the sovereign will of almighty God. As my good friend Dr. Lovelace once said to me “yes I have free will, just like my free will to get up and go to the restroom when I’m on an airplane” but you’re not getting off the plane. Like any loving parent we will put limits on our childrens activities for their good and safety; while allowing enough freedom to learn to make wise decisions.
I believe God as a loving Heavenly Father has given us a free will as a necessity for the process of maturity that we all must go through. We have to be able to make choices to learn which ones are right and which ones have let’s say, uncomfortable results. We must learn through discipline, which is the purpose of all allowance of mistakes and the following consequences. But I do not think our loving Heavenly Father sits back and just carelessly watches His children send themselves to an eternal everlasting burning hell saying “my hands are tied, I gave them free will that rules over my will to save them, and they have made their choice, there is nothing I can do.” What a absurd picture of Almighty God. Some will say well yes but when your children are grown and out on their own there is nothing you can do; they are making their own decisions. That is true for you; but let remind you that you are not God; He has a little more power than you do over the circumstances that will change the child’s mind than you do. We all are guilty of making the mistake of lowering God to our level of reasoning within the paradigm of this physical realm. God says “my thoughts are not your thoughts and my ways are not your ways says The LORD; as the heavens are higher than the earth so are my thoughts than your thoughts and my ways than your ways” Isa. 58:8-9. God lives in the realm of omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence where the possibilities are limitless and so are God’s mercy, grace, and love.
The captain of this earth ship has a steady strong hand at the wheel. There is no storm so strong or waves so high or passengers so rude, unruly and disruptive that He will ever lose control or get off course. We will all come to our desired haven. Now who is on the captains crew, who the officers are, who have special earned privileges, who eats in the executive dinning room, and who is just along for the ride and who is barely hanging on to the rail is another topic for another time.
Be careful with words like....luck.....accident......and......chance. To use these words to describe any occurrence is to show our ignorance of all that is involved in the initiation of the situation at hand. Just because we do not know how or why or cannot explain how something happens does not mean that it happened be chance. It means we are ignorant of the facts. The very nature of creation is that for action or event there is a cause. To reason any event to chance is to say that there is no design or plan to the moral of physical world and universe. Therefore a lack of trust in the creator’s ability to create a sound and sane creation.
Wind it up ?
Some think that the world was created by God; that He just wound it up and let it go; but that He still intervenes in the BIG things. They believe that He pretty much leaves the small stuff to chance or human free will; and is not concerned with the small stuff. After all "God did give us our free will to handle these things; and it is up to us to work it out" so they think. To think this way is to completely ignore the established reality of how things happen. All Big things or Great things begin with a small occurrence; an oak tree does not grow overnight. A scientist does not know the answer to the big questions until he goes through a series of small experiments leading up to the discovery of how the larger picture fits together. Jesus started what we call Christianity today with twelve students and he even began that group by picking the first one. All things have a small beginning somewhere back down the line. So then I submit that God must be involved in the small things in order to be involved in the big things.
We must not forget that Jesus said that God numbers the hairs of our head and knows when a sparrow falls to the ground. God feeds the birds and causes the lily’s to grow. Yes God is intimately involved with the small details of the daily on-goings of planet earth and our personal lives. And this leads to the fact that everyone who knows God is aware that they have a daily personal relationship in which they know that God has done very small things for them. Just because He loves them.
(Mat 10:30 MSG)
He pays even greater attention to you, down to the last detail--even numbering the hairs on your head!
THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD:
To say that God is God; is to say that He is sovereign; He is the most high ruler over all. And to say that He is not sovereign; is to say that He is not God. Actually the very word Sovereign cannot mean a partial rule or control. The meaning of sovereign according to Webster’s dictionary is: Supreme in power; possessing supreme dominion; as a sovereign ruler of the universe. The bible calls God - The LORD, "absolute sovereignty" is the meaning of the underlying Greek word used for "LORD". The definition in the Complete Wordstudy Dictionary says: "Adonay"; A masculine noun used exclusively of God. An emphatic form of the word "adon", It is often used in place of the divine name YHWH This designation points to the supreme authority or power of God. The word was often combined with the divine name to reinforce the idea of God's matchlessness. He is either Lord of all or not Lord at all.
There are basically three theological views on the Sovereignty of God which are included in the position one holds on the nature and character of God. That is, your particular theological position or belief system. Ninety percent of Christian churches teach one of the first two I will cover. If you don’t believe me ask your pastor or check out a book on theology. I am a little more outspoken in the way I express these views than some; but nevertheless here they are.
The three views on the absolute sovereignty of God and "predestination" (which automatically comes with sovereignty). Seeing that absolute sovereignty would include the control of all things therefore the destiny or the destination of all things under the control of the sovereign God = PRE-DESTINATION.
1) Calvinist: The teaching of Calvinist theology leads to believe that it is the sovereign will of God to save a few and send most of humanity to an eternal hell. The saved are predestined to salvation and cannot be otherwise. And the lost are predestined to go to an eternal everlasting burning hell and cannot be otherwise. This is where the doctrine of "once saved always saved" comes from but most will not admit it; just ask them if they believe that they were "predestined" to be saved. The flip side of that would logically be "once damned always damned".
2) Arminian: The second prevailing theological position is the arminian view that sees God as sovereign, but somehow gives up that sovereignty and allows man to be sovereign over God's will (what is called free will) therefore giving man the ability to "choose an eternal hell" which is totally illogical unless he didn’t know what he was doing, which would not be a choice but an accident. And God would no longer be in control and God of His creation but had "allowed" it to become a chaotic accident with mankind at the controls. So then it would still be by God's sovereign will that this all happened because it was by His sovereign will that "He chose" to allow it; and in so doing predestined most of humanity to this eternal everlasting burning hell they ended up in by choice or accident.
3) Universal Salvation: The third theological position is universal salvation, reconciliation or restoration; All just different ways of saying the same thing. This position believes that God is Absolutely Sovereign in all of His creation (He really is God) and is working out His sovereign will in the predestination of all things for the salvation of all, reconciliation of all and restoration of all. We believe this will take place because it is God's will for it to be so. And God being absolutely sovereign His plan and purpose of the ages cannot be thwarted by anyone or anything.
A) Because God is omnipotent - all powerful, He has all the power He needs to do whatever He wants, or sovereignty wills to do.
B) Because God is omniscient - knows all things, He would know exactly how a thing would work out before he began it and therefore would cause it to work to bring about his sovereign will.
C) Because God is omnipresent - is everywhere in all time, He is always present in all situations to work out his sovereign will; and sees that it is completed.
SOME LAST BUT NOT LEAST POINTS TO CONSIDER:
God is Love; and loves all. 1Jhn. 4:8-10 Jhn. 3:16
God sent His Son into the world to "save the world". Jhn. 3:17
Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil. 1Jhn. 3:8
Jesus said I have come to do the Father's will. Mat. 26:39,
Jesus came to take away the sin of the world Jhn. 1:29
God said that He would unify "all things in Christ" Eph. 1:10
God said that He "wills" all to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth. 1Tim. 2:3-6
God said that He is "not willing" that "any" should perish. 2Pet. 3:9
Jesus said that "if I am lifted up I will draw all people to myself" John 12:32 (the literal translation of "draw" here is "drag" I think it means "irresistible" in today’s language)
God said that there is coming a time when He will "restore all things" Acts 3:21
God said that the same people that were made sinners by Adams fall will be made righteous by Jesus Christ obedience. Rom. 5:18-19
God said He would have mercy on "all" Rom. 11:32
God said that "in Christ "all" will be made alive - given life 1 Cor. 15:22
God said that He will be "all in all". 1 Cor. 15:28
God said that He reconciled "the world" to Himself in Christ. 2 Cor. 5:19
God said that "works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will" Eph. 1:11
God said that, (through the church which is His body) in the ages to come He will fill everything in every way. Eph. 1:23 NIV
God said that Jesus ascended in order to "fill all things" Eph. 4:10
God said that by the working of His power He will "subdue all things to Himself." Php. 3:21
God said that nothing is too hard for Him. Jer. 32:17
God said nothing is impossible with Him. Luke 1:37
God said that He "made peace through the blood of Jesus cross, to reconcile all things to Himself through Him" Col. 1:20
God said that He was "the savior of "all" men". 1Tim. 4:10
2Sa 14:14 NET
Certainly we must die, and are like water spilled on the ground that cannot be gathered up again. But God does not take away life; instead he devises ways for the banished to be restored.
He will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove the disgrace of his people from all the earth. The LORD has spoken.
(Act 17:28 NIrV)
"In him we live and move and exist.' As some of your own poets have also said, 'We are his children.'
Well what do YOU THINK?
Did God do what He said He would do or did He just give it a good try but failed?
Do you think God is able to finish what He started? Do you think the devil will be victorious in bringing many more into hell than God can get saved? Or is Jesus victorious and the cross a complete success and His blood was not shed in vain but really did take away the sin of the world? Can we really trust God with all of this?
I trust "MY HEAVENLY FATHER" nothing is too hard for Him; He can do anything.
Rev. Dennis D. Caldwell