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If God is sovereign - Do we truly have free will?

Updated on April 14, 2012
The Water Flows Through
The Water Flows Through | Source

Is God sovereign or do we truly have a free will? asked by Jangaplanet

Nature | Source

God is Sovereign

I believe that God is sovereign, yet he does not know the choices we will make. I think he knows the choices that will be possible for us to choose from, but he leaves the choosing to us thus granting Free Will. The idea seems to present a problem with God being omniscient, in the sense it is currently understood. If part of being omniscient means that God knows everything past, present, and future, then there is a problem with God not knowing what choice we will make. My perception of this is that God chooses to not know what choices we will make. He could know, if he chose to, but that would not merit free will. This may still cause a problem with the current definition of omniscient, but doesn't really force one to change their beliefs about God. If God has the power to do anything possible, then he could deny himself knowledge of our choices in order to allow us free will. Or you might say God knows all of our options, and knows the possible outcome of each of those options, but allows us to choose for ourselves. For example, God knows that Jones can choose to do A, B, C, or D at a given time (T1). He also knows the possible outcomes of each of those actions, but the choice is still up to Jones as to which choice is chosen. Perhaps 80 years ago, or at any point in time since God created man God has known that Jones may have been faced with this decision, but at some point Jones’ Grandfather made a choice that brought about Jones having never been born, but God still knew it as a possibility.

Science Vs Religion
Science Vs Religion | Source

Nonoverlapping Magisteria

Nonoverlapping Magisteria or NOMA is the idea that the teaching of science is of a different subject matter than the teaching of theology. I can relate to this idea, as it is how I have understood it for several years now. Science is based on facts relating to things that we can see and touch and measure, while theology is based on ideas that have been revealed to different prophets or visionaries through out history. The study of religion is of the spiritual revelations that have been given to man through out the ages. Each has its place in the fabric of society, and it is hard to imagine a world with-out either. I don’t believe that there is a problem with the existence and even truth in both areas of study. The argument is that some believe literally that God created the heavens and earth and all of life on Earth in 6 days and rested on the seventh, which does pose a problem to the idea that the Earth is millions of years old, and that man slowly evolved over hundreds of thousands of years. So, you find yourself in a situation where the two beliefs are contradictory. Therefore, either the science is wrong in some way or the religious text is wrong in some way. I find that admitting that the religious beliefs could just be metaphoric, rather than literal is the most logical answer. Of course, many will hold onto the idea that the word of God is absolute and complete, and that evolution could not have happened because of it. I do understand their fears, because if they admit that one portion of the divine word could be mistaken or misunderstood, than the entire work needs to be reevaluated, which would call for a possible change in many closely held beliefs.

Book of Interpretation !
Book of Interpretation ! | Source
Blue Skies
Blue Skies | Source

Religious Texts

I consider myself a very religious person, but I find that much of the Bible seems to be altered, manipulated, and or corrupted, just as everything that man has touched. I was raised as a faithful Christian, attended church every Sunday, and many Wednesdays, I went to church camp and studied the Bible in depth. I have since read it several times in its entirety, and prayed for understanding and guidance while doing so. Each time, I have felt that so much was missing or subjected to the ideas of man or perhaps Satan, that even the Holy Bible (KJV) may be susceptible to evil. I have prayed on this for years, and have slowly and very painfully researched the creation of what we know as the Bible today. I do understand that every possible precaution was taken to preserve and translate the writings that were used as the basis of the Bible, but the margin for error is enormous. To begin, almost all of the writings that were used had already been translated at least once, a few of the originals were supposedly available, but the records and footnotes of the group responsible for the translations show that there was much debate and uncertainty on literally thousands of passages. Many of these passages were left out altogether, along with many writings that could not be verified. The fact is that more of what was available was left out than what was included. On the other hand, you have Genesis the first book of the Bible, traditionally believed to be written by Moses, but never verified, and to top it off the belief is that he wrote it from stories that were passed down from generation to generation. I'm not saying that the Bible isn't the best we have, but it is still mans best effort and just as imperfect as we are.

Sovereignty | Source


God is sovereign, he is omniscient, he does know all, and we can still have free will. We can still examine everything from a scientific view to gain a better understanding of our world. We can choose to ponder philosophical ideas, or just accept what were told and go on about our business. We can develop our own understanding either from study or experience or both. Perhaps the experience is the point; maybe we are being primed for something else. I don’t really claim to have the answers; I’m just sharing some philosophical ideas as I have conceived them. I hope you have given the ideas expressed some thought, and if you feel so inclined please leave a comment. I also welcome sharing of all of my content so feel free to share if you would like. Thank you for reading and have an enlightening day.

Sir David Attenborough's view on Science & Religion

Free Will

Do you believe you have Free Will?

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    • dmop profile image

      dmop 5 years ago from Cambridge City, IN

      wayseeker, I'm glad you found and enjoyed my writing. I like thinking philosophically, I'm not sure any of my ideas are absolutely right, but that's the point I believe. I like your explanation and admit that it seems like a possibility. No one but God knows God's true nature, we can only speculate from what we read, think, and observe. Thanks for stopping by and I hope your day is awesome.

    • wayseeker profile image

      wayseeker 5 years ago from Colorado


      I'm so very pleased that you read my work, because it has helped me to find you. I like the way you think--deeply, thoughtfully, and openly about things that really matter in this world.

      I loved this discussion. For my own part, I agree both with the sovereignty of God and our free will because the Bible teaches us both (just to establish background, I follow Jesus). As to understanding how that would work, here's my take (with absolutely no research or evidence to back it up):

      We exist in time. God exists outside of time. Our decisions are made within the context of time, and so we watch the events and the consequences unfold in a very progressive and linear way. God is not subject to this linear view. He can see it all at once. Just because He knows the decisions I will make does not mean that He has made them for me. The fact that He does know the decisions I will make before I even make them (from my perspective) does, however, mean two things: 1) He already knows if I will be saved or not (as a result of my choices), and 2) He can very easily ensure that, one way or another, the progression of the world in general ends up where He planned for it to go. I can choose to get on board or not. Either way, He will ensure it happens.

      Thanks for a fun chance to think about some things I like to ponder,


    • dmop profile image

      dmop 5 years ago from Cambridge City, IN

      tirelesstraveler, the text is consistent, but the translation is forever being debated. This word should have meant this or it was used in this way, and many of these mysterious words have very profound effects on the entire message of the Bible. One such example is the word eternity, its used over and over in the Bible yet it was translated from three different words into that one word. One of the words translated to eternity is really thought to have meant for an unspecified period of time. The list of these kinds of problems with the Bible is longer than the Bible itself. Thanks for stopping, and I hope your day is fantastic.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 5 years ago from California

      Well written hub!

      One thing you you didn't mention about the bible; most of it was completed, and traditionally accepted before the last of the apostles and other eye witness would have died. The If it were not so the omission of the destruction of Herod's temple in 70 AD would have been heresy. What we have in the approximately 25,000 copies of the bible that have survived since around 300 AD is generally consistent text and content. Blessings

    • dmop profile image

      dmop 5 years ago from Cambridge City, IN

      gclitty, thanks for visiting and for your thoughtful comment. I agree that God will never be understood, not in this life time anyway. All we can do is have faith and try to be the best we can be by God's word. Thanks again, and have a fantastic day.

    • gclitty profile image

      gclitty 5 years ago

      Enjoyed the hub and your video. My opinion on God is that He will never be understood, number one. And that if there really is a God he does not interfere with the laws of nature nor intervene to help or influence people's lives. In other words, I take the deist view of God that Voltaire and others have elucidated in the past.

    • dmop profile image

      dmop 5 years ago from Cambridge City, IN

      SpanStar, Thank you for reading and leaving a thoughtful comment. It's funny at times I seem to be a bit long winded, while at other times at a loss for words. I will consider your advice, and as always continue to learn and ponder. Have a great day!

    • SpanStar profile image

      SpanStar 5 years ago

      Salutations Dmop,

      I read your "Is God sovereign?" It is well thought out, well written and presents your perspective. Reviewing the number of titles you have on at your hub site I would say you perhaps at this point have already reached a conclusion regarding the scope/abilities at writing.

      If I were to make a suggestion and this clearly is just a suggestion in an age of abundant information I believe articles that are shorter in length will get read faster than those that aren't. Like I said this is my point of view and one need not change anything about their writing simply because I expressed my opinion.

      Just between you and me Dmop the question you present regarding time differences from a religious perspective versus of that of a scientific perspective-' What if God created the universe in seven days after which millions of years transpired while the planets cooled down and eventually the rain came.' Just an idea to interject as a possible scenario.

      Take Care