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Tuesday, September 23, 2014


I read this the other day. It was written by a prominent theologian on the topic of the Sovereignty of God.
In sum, then, relational theology or theism is any view that imports the creation into the life of God so that God is in some way dependent on it for the whole or part of his experience.
This theologian preferred this view in explaining God's sovereignty. (The drop of the capital "s" in this use of "sovereignty" was not an accident on my part. I did it on purpose.) This version says that God "views us as genuine partners with and sometimes against God" and that a picture of an invulnerable God "undermines participation in the mission of God towards God’s kingdom". He argues that God's sovereignty is a relational one "that regards God’s will as settled in terms of the intentions of his character but open and flexible in terms of the ways in which he acts because he allows himself to be acted upon."

Me? I'm baffled. A God that makes Himself dependent on His creation cannot, it seems to me, be defined as God. Indeed, this being, whatever it is, doesn't align with the biblical version. In the biblical version God says, "If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the world and its fullness are mine." (Psa 50:12). When He introduced Himself to Moses with the famous "I AM THAT I AM" (Exo 3:14), it wasn't a Popeye concept; it was the idea of full and complete self-sufficiency. It doesn't align with logic. A God who can speak into existence light, matter, and all that is does not need the light, matter, and all that is to exist. In fact, the psalmist tells us, "Our God is in the heavens; He does all that He pleases." (Psa 115:3). He has made Himself dependent on His creation? In any sense?

If that's true, then God's "I the LORD do not change" (Mal 3:6) has lost its meaning. Jesus's "the same yesterday and today and forever" (Heb 13:8) isn't true. And the claim that God "causes all things to work together for good" (Rom 8:28) or "works all things after the counsel of His will" (Eph 1:11) are not reliable ... since His will and work are dependent on His ever-variable creation.

You may not buy that God is absolutely Sovereign as I think it abundantly clear in Scripture, but buying into a God who has made Himself dependent on His creation should be a place you're not willing to go if you're a Bible-believing Christian. It just doesn't make sense.

1 comment:

Ron said...

When we sing "Our God Reigns" with great enthusiasm and joy then we turn right around and teach that God does not in fact reign over the wills of humans. Many think that God is a gentleman and He will never force you to do that you do not want to do. God is sovereign but He allows Himself to be under the sovereignty of man - dependent you might say. Man decides and God responds. It is repeated so often that people believe it is a traditional biblical truth. This statement has been highly misunderstood though out much of evangelicalism. This view expresses a distorted view of God’s sovereignty and of man’s depravity.

Scripture is clear that God's willingness and ability to sovereignly control what course of action humans perceive to be the best choice is stated in Genesis 34-35. Jacob's sons slaughtered all the men of Shechem and plundered the city in retaliation for Shechem's defilement of their sister Dinah. Jacob accurately feared that he did not have the numbers or strength to defend his family should the other Canaanites and Perizzites seek revenge for this slaughter. Left to their own free will, there is little doubt that the remaining Canaanites and the Oerizzites would have pursued and killed Jacob and His family in revenge for the massacre at Shechem. However, we know that God's eternal purpose for Jacob was to bless him and make a mighty nation of him and his family and God had previously promised to be with Jacob until God's purpose was fully accomplished (Gen. 28:13-15). It is therefore no surprise that God conspicuously interfered with the free will of the Canaanites and the Perizzites. The people were caused to be unreasonably afraid to pursue Jacob when in actuality they possessed the superior strength to crush him.

Psalm 118:6 The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me. If we actually believe that God will not interfere freely and decisively with human will, then it is irrational to claim that we need not fear what humans may do to us when we in fact have every reason in the world to fear what they may do. On the other hand, when we know with certainty that our Father is sovereign over the wills of humanity and effectually works to accomplish His purpose for His own glory and for our good. It would be a great mistake to attempt to explain away the many accounts of God's interference with human free will and human desire with the human race. (1 Kings 12:15; 2 Chron 10:15; 11:4; 2 Sam.17; Gen. 24; Joshua 11:20).