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LIBERTY UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF DIVINITYResearch PaperThe Character of God: The Sovereignty of God and the Free Will of ManSubmitted to Dr. Richard Elligson, in partial fulfillmentof the requirements for the completion of the courseTHEO 525 – D06 LUOSystematic Theology IbyDecember 18, 2015
Thesis StatementThis paper will prove that if the Bible clearly describes God as absolutely sovereign, then most popular views granting mankind free will to choose Him or reject Him are ultimately untenable and must be rejected.2
ContentsIntroduction 1The Character of God2God’s Sovereign Foreordination2God’s Sovereign Predestination3God’s Sovereignty and the Concept of Freedom5Exploration of the Problem 6Popular Solutions10Open Theism 10The Best Possible World Solution11Passive Knowledge11Molinism12A Solution in Compatibilism?13Conclusion14Bibliography 163
IntroductionThe French author, philosopher and Noble Prize winner Albert Camus once stated, “Life is a sum of all your choices.”1In making this superficial statement, Camus acknowledges the reasonableness of the popular position in which mankind controls his own destiny, but fails to address God’s sovereignty in his presupposition. This variable of God’s character as it relates to our self-perception of life and choice has proven to be rife with emotional, theological and vexing personal identity entanglements. Furthermore, the theological riff has contributed to denominational divides and continues to pit the less defensible, but largely popular liberal Christian viewpoint against those conservative Reformed Christians who do not fail to recognize the ultimate sovereignty endowed in our Creator. Reformer and Theologian John Calvin even believed in limited free will and defines the concept in an excerpt from his work, Institutes of theChristian Religion stating free will is, “a faculty of the reason to distinguish between good and evil, a faculty of the will to choose one or the other.”2George reinforces the ongoing controversy stating few “people in the history of Christianity have been as highly esteemed or as meanly despised as John Calvin.”3This historical conceptual understanding is a helpful preface to the biblical exposition of God’s sovereignty and the resulting proportional extent of mankind’sfree will. This paper will prove that if the Bible clearly describes God as absolutely sovereign, then most popular views granting mankind free will to choose Him or reject Him are ultimately untenable and must be rejected.1Albert Camus, .2John Calvin, Translated by Henry Beveridge, Institutes of the Christian Religion., accessed on December 15, 2015.