Research Paper-Sovereignty_FINAL_ - LIBERTY UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF DIVINITY Research Paper The Character of God The Sovereignty of God and the Free Will

Research Paper-Sovereignty_FINAL_ - LIBERTY UNIVERSITY...

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LIBERTY UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF DIVINITY Research Paper The Character of God: The Sovereignty of God and the Free Will of Man Submitted to Dr. Richard Elligson, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the completion of the course THEO 525 – D06 LUO Systematic Theology I by December 18, 2015
Thesis Statement 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. 2
Contents Introduction 1 The Character of God 2 God’s Sovereign Foreordination 2 God’s Sovereign Predestination 3 God’s Sovereignty and the Concept of Freedom 5 Exploration of the Problem 6 Popular Solutions 10 Open Theism 10 The Best Possible World Solution 11 Passive Knowledge 11 Molinism 12 A Solution in Compatibilism? 13 Conclusion 14 Bibliography 16 3
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Introduction The French author, philosopher and Noble Prize winner Albert Camus once stated, “Life is a sum of all your choices.” 1 In 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 the Christian 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.” 2 George reinforces the ongoing controversy stating few “people in the history of Christianity have been as highly esteemed or as meanly despised as John Calvin.” 3 This historical conceptual understanding is a helpful preface to the biblical exposition of God’s sovereignty and the resulting proportional extent of mankind’s free 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. 1 Albert Camus, . 2 John Calvin, Translated by Henry Beveridge, Institutes of the Christian Religion. , accessed on December 15, 2015.

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