God's Sovereignty And Free Will by Chris Donahue
Calvinists generally have a view that God sees (or has orchestrated) a singular future, i.e. God orchestrated that you would pick a Dr. Pepper versus a Mountain Dew for your lunch drink on Oct 10, 2014. This is basically their "Sovereignty of God" position, and reflects the "Domino Construct" viewpoint of God's creation; All occurrences, events, happenings are like a row of dominos set up and started in motion by God. From the Calvinist viewpoint, God’s sovereignty is in conflict with the idea that man has free will, thusly they side with God’s sovereignty, and discard man’s free will.From the non-Calvinist viewpoint, man’s free will is a product of God’s sovereignty. The support for this is found following:If God knows or orchestrated a singular future, then it makes no sense for him to be sorry (grieved) that he made mankind:Gen 6:5-6 The LORD saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain.God orchestrating a singular future is in conflict with the verse that God does not tempt anyone:James 1:13 (NIV) When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone;If God knows or orchestrated a singular future then there is no need for God to decide:Exodus 33:4-6 (NIV) When the people heard these distressing words, they began to mourn and no one put on any ornaments. For the LORD had said to Moses, "Tell the Israelites, 'You are a stiff-necked people. If I were to go with you even for a moment, I might destroy you. Now take off your ornaments and I will decide what to do with you.'" So the Israelites stripped off their ornaments at Mount Horeb.Exodus 33:4-6 (NASV) When the people heard this sad word, they went into mourning, and none of them put on his ornaments. For the LORD had said to Moses, "Say to the sons of Israel, 'You are an obstinate people; should I go up in your midst for one moment, I would destroy you. Now therefore, put off your ornaments from you, that I may know what I shall do with you.'"If God knows or orchestrated a singular future, why is God waiting or patient?:Nehemiah 9:29-31 (NIV) You warned them to return to your law, but they became arrogant and disobeyed your commands. They sinned against your ordinances, by which a man will live if he obeys them. Stubbornly they turned their backs on you, became stiff-necked and refused to listen. For many years you were patient with them. By your Spirit you admonished them through your prophets. Yet they paid no attention, so you handed them over to the neighboring peoples. But in your great mercy you did not put an end to them or abandon them, for you are a gracious and merciful God.1 Peter 3:20 (NIV) who disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water,2 Peter 3:9 (NIV) The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.If God knows or orchestrated a singular future, why is their rejoicing in heaven when one lost sinner is saved?Luke 15:7 (NIV) I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.All of these point logically that God's will is to give his creation free will to set the future, thusly God knows all possible futures, and if he wanted could "set in concrete" or "lock down" one singular future but the Bible shows he allows mankind to plot the course of the future (with parameters and limits of course). E.g. mankind cannot destroy the earth until God wants it to be destroyed.The question at the forefront, in the non-Calvinist versus Calvinist debate, is not about what God knows or does not know, it is simply this: did God by his sovereignty set up a construct in which He (God) orchestrates a man’s salvation (and vis-à-vis a man’s reprobation), or did God by his sovereignty set up a construct in which Man can *decide* (free will) his salvation destiny *influenced* by God’s orchestrations?