Sovereignty and Freedom

, posted by Martin Glynn

This was originally posted at True Paradigm, the author of which is not a member of SEA but has allowed us to publish this post. Please Enjoy.

Arminians are convinced that God can be sovereign while his creatures have free will; sovereignty being a state of rulership and not exhaustive control. The Calvinist struggles with this, having a concept of sovereignty that means nothing occurs outside the will of God: all things that occur are made to occur by God (even if indirectly) because they are aligned with one of the wills of God.

But if we concede that there are some things that God cannot do—things that are impossible for God to do—then why is sovereignty excluded from this consideration?

It is impossible for God to make 2 + 3 = 7. There are some things that God cannot do because they contradict logic. God cannot lie. There are some things God cannot do because they contradict his nature. If an attribute of love is such that it must be given freely and voluntarily, then God cannot make someone love him, nor can anyone else cause people to love them.

Certainly, God can influence people in a way that is conducive for people to love him. But if love must have a voluntary component (something I happen to think but have not proven) then it remains possible for some people to choose to reject God. It would be impossible for God to make them love him. If it is an intrinsic impossibility that God can make people love him, then their refusal to do so does not limit God’s sovereignty in the same way that God’s inability to make 2 + 3 = 7 does not limit his mathematical prowess.