by Matthew J. Slick
Here Matthew presents a moderate view of God's Sovereignty.
The following is provided as food for thought. The logic is a bit deep here and there and who's to say the conclusions are correct? It is merely an exercise of the mind starting with the three main attributes of God and then drawing conclusions. The information is provided here to provoke your thought. Consider it if you choose.
The 3 Attributes of God are:
Out of these attributes flow His works:
- There are natural conclusions to be drawn from God's attributes.
- If He is omnipotent, then He has the power to accomplish anything He desires. He can create, alter, or destroy a universe and all that is in it.
- His omnipotence necessitates that He retain complete control over all objects that exist and events that occur; otherwise, He would not be omnipotent.
- Therefore He is able to Create whatever He desires and govern over all He has created.
- If He is omnipresent, then nothing is hidden from Him.
- This includes all dimensions; all time whether past, present, or future; and every form of existence either thought, action, or substance.
- Therefore God fully encompasses all that exists.
- If He is omniscient, then He eternally comprehends all things actual as well as potential.
- Furthermore, it is necessarily true that God comprehends all things from His eternal nature since omniscience, by default, is to know all things eternally lest there be a "time" when God did not know something.
- God comprehending all things actually means that He comprehends all things that do exist.
- This includes all objects in the entire universe, all thoughts, all actions, all motions, etc.
- God comprehending all things potential means
- all things that could exist but do not exist whether they be thought, motion, deed, object, energy, etc.
- all things that have existed but no longer exist whether they be thought, motion, deed, object, energy, etc.
- all things that will exist but do not yet exist whether they be thought, motion, deed, object, energy, etc.
- Logically, there are an infinite number of potential objects and events and combinations of objects and items that could have existed. But since they do not all exist, their knowledge is restricted to the mind of God, since only He could conceive of an infinite number of potential objects and events.
- Logically, there are an infinite number of potential object and events that were not chosen by God (through His creative action) to exist outside of His mind. Therefore, the present world is the world that God has chosen to exist out of an infinite number of possible existences.
- To deny God's omniscience is to deny His omnipresence. In order for God to know all things, He must be in all places at all times, past, present, and future.
- If God's omnipresence is denied, then this god is not the God of the Bible.
- If God voluntarily does not know all things (i.e., He chooses to restrict His knowledge of future free will choices of people), then, since He is omnipresent, He would have to know all the choices of people -- by default. To not know these things would be impossible for God since it would entail a type of "forgetting" where God would choose to not know something which He must, by nature, know. This is self contradictory and cannot be true. Therefore, God must know all things because He is omnipresent and because He is omnipresent, He knows all things.
- Therefore, since God is omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient, He is able to create anything He desires while retaining perfect knowledge and complete control of all actual objects and actions -- including perfect knowledge and complete control of all possible combinations of events of all those objects and actions.
- It necessarily follows that all things (actual and/or potential) that have been, are now, or will be in existence occur by the direct control of God and/or the permitted control of God.
Conclusion: With all knowledge, God has absolute control over all He encompasses.
- In creation God brought into being a finite set of actualities derived from an infinite set of potentialities.
- Having been created and set in motion by God the actual number of combinations of objects and events that will occur has been decided upon by God.
- It cannot be that these are unknown to God, lest that violate His omniscience.
- None of the actualities are accidental, nor can they be accidental,
- since accident would suggest something beyond God's omnipotence, omnipresence, and omniscience.
- since accident would imply another "god" outside the knowledge, presence, and control of God.
- None of these actualities can function in a manner that is outside the knowledge, presence, or control of God
- because they have been brought into being by Him.
- because God cannot make something greater than He.
- Therefore all that exists is under His knowledge and control.
- All that exists, exists not because of accident, but because God has ordained that it exist.
- By ordain, I mean to order by virtue of His superior authority and purpose.
- This includes any result of any combination of events.
- ....since that result would have been foreknown and, therefore, ordained by God as He selected and permits the causes that brought that result.
- Therefore, all results are foreknown; that is, they are known because they are ordained by God, and, by logic, must be what God has either caused or permitted to occur.
- This includes those events which are the results of creatures with wills because,
- no will could exist apart from the knowledge or control of God because God created all wills and/or the condition that provides for the existence of the will.
- human freedom (being able to make equal choices of right and wrong - libertarianism) cannot be unknown by God since He is in all places at all times. Because He is in all places at all times, He necessarily knows all the choices made by all people.
- It follows then that evil is something permitted by God, not caused by Him, yet is and under His absolute control.
- God cannot be the author of evil since God is holy and God cannot violate His own nature.
- If God violated His own nature, He would be self contradictory and, therefore, not be omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent since all three attributes are concurrent with self-absoluteness.
- Evil is the permitted rebellion against God.
- yet it is not greater than He, nor is it out of the reach of His control, nor beyond His knowledge lest it violate His attributes of omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence.
- God has created the circumstances by which rebellion against Him is permitted but it is not He who is the direct cause of the rebellion.
- God encompasses all that is, including evil. In other words, evil is permitted to exist within the infinite realm of God's existence.
- Evil, apart and separate from God, operates within His controlled realm, because nothing could exist outside God's control.
- Evil, then, operating within the realm of God, can be used by God for His good (Gen 50:20; Act 2:23).
- This is true since God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent and would have ordained evil's permitted existence in the universe for the purpose of accomplishing His ultimate will....otherwise, it would not be permitted to exist.
- Additionally, it also follows, then, that everyone is either elected or not elected into salvation.
- This is because in God's infinite control of all things in all time, nothing can exist that He has not brought directly into existence or allowed to indirectly come into existence.
- This includes the person with the will to choose or reject God.
- The human "freewill" cannot exist outside the knowledge, control, and purpose of God, lest God not be omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent.
- Each person is created by God with tendencies, preferences, and abilities.
- This includes the "tendency" to believe or not as some maintain.
- Each person is put, by God, in an environment that is helpful or not helpful to receiving the gospel.
- God is aware of all these variables, knows the outcome, and places the person there.
- Therefore, salvation is ultimately dependent solely upon God because God is in control of all variables of all situations including the wills of His creation.
It could be no other way.