God’s Sovereignty and Human Freedom

  • Throughout church history Christians have wrestled with the relationship between God’s sovereignty and human freedom.
  • The Bible teaches that God is sovereign over all. He is all-powerful, all-knowing, and is the author of human history (Psalm 103:19; 115:3; Job 42:1-2; Isaiah 46:9-10; Acts 17:24-28).
  • The Bible also teaches that human beings have free-will and moral responsibility. Scripture repeatedly affirms that our choices have consequences, both in this life and for eternity (Genesis 3; Joshua 1:8, 24:15; Mt. 15:18-20; John 3:16-18; Galatians 6:7-9; Revelation 1:3, 22:12-17).
  • Due to the perceived tension between God’s sovereignty and human freedom, Christians often tend to emphasize one of these truths at the expense of the other. Whenever we do this we err.
  • The appropriate way to understand both God’s sovereignty and human freedom is to simply accept God’s revealed truth on these matters. The same God who declares his sovereignty over history also declares that we humans bear responsibility for our choices.
  • One theologian described the relationship between God’s sovereignty and human freedom like this, “From humanity’s perspective we see 2 chains descending from heaven, one is God’s sovereignty and the other our free-will. However, if we could see these chains from God’s vantage point, we would actually see one great chain running through the pulley of the eternal nature and providence of God. As human beings, if we grasp onto one side of this chain over the other, we will surely fall.”

For more information on the nature and character of God please check out Dr. Carlson’s lecture, What Is God Like?, available in CD or MP3 in our online store.