Does free will exist given that God is sovereign?
There are many discussions about whether free will exists and if so, how can that be compatible (the concept of compatibilism) with a sovereign God?
Some argue that if God is indeed all-knowing, He should surely know what the future holds. Therefore, if He knows every action we make, aren’t we simply robots going along with His script? No, because if we were robots, why would God “script us” to sin? God would be the author of evil when, in fact, He only allows evil. Every single event is ordained or determined by God (determinism), yet we still have free will.
Though I won’t talk about them, there are three views related to this concept: Arminianism, Calvinism, and Open Theism.
In this post, I argue that compatibilism is indeed possible. Here is my thinking:
- God is all-knowing, omnipotent, and therefore must know the future.
- People have to use their own God-given mind to make their own choices voluntarily.
- However, since God knows everything, He knows exactly what choices we will make. He knows who will accept or reject Him.
- This Bible verse suggests predestination which is similar to determinism. God knew beforehand who would go to Hell, and who would go to Heaven.
This verse is Calvinistic by nature:
“All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast—all whose names have not been written in the Lamb’s book of life, the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world” (New International Version, Rev. 13.8).
Another verse that is Calvinistic:
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephs. 2.8-9).
Finally, this verse shows everything is determined beforehand:
“You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed” (Pslm. 139.16-17).
If everything is pre-determined and predestined, how can we have free will? We would only be able to do whatever God has ordained us to do and nothing else, right? Well, since God gave us a mind, body, soul, etc., we are responsible for our actions and do have free choice. We can choose voluntarily to do good or evil. However, from God’s perspective (who is outside of space, time, and matter), He just happens to know what we will do. As such, the two events aren’t mutually exclusive.,