Human Autonomy vs the Sovereign Will of God
by Robert Randle
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Several opinion polls have been taken over recent years regarding the viewpoint of the average American citizen pertaining to their view of the afterlife, and by an overwhelming majority, nearly three out of five believe in the existence of 'heaven.' Those same polls, however, by about roughly the same margin, reject the belief in a place called "hell."
To the many respondents, it is inconceivable that a God of LOVE could actually create such an awful place, and not only that, but condemn someone to suffer in agony and torment for all eternity; to wit, how could the righteousness, justice, and holiness of God our heavenly Father who is ‘Love’ be satisfied with such an outcome since it states in I Timothy 2: 4, that it is God’s will for all men to be saved.
Romans 9: 14, 17-19
What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not! For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” For the Scripture says to the Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in [against??] you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.” Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills, He hardens (Cp. Exodus 4: 21b; 8: 32). You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?”
This serves as a perfect introduction to the concept of freewill and predestination; that is the idea that humans have a ‘choice’ in their lives and social interactions independent of divine intervention, design, or effect in the decisions they make; and the consequences based upon acting or not acting upon the exercise of decisions independent of the influence of God, and the circumstances planned by Him in advance to bring about a certain desired outcome; whether good or bad.
Freewill 2: The freedom of humans to make choices that are not determined by prior causes or made by divine intervention [or will??].
Predestination 2: The doctrine that God in consequence of His foreknowledge of all events infallibly guides those who are destined for salvation.
NOTE: The converse of this is that God does not guide those who are not destined for salvation and allows them to choose a path of living which leads to damnation.
Again, continuing in Romans 9:21-23
Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor? What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known (Cp. 17b), endured with much longsuffering, the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand [before the foundation of the world??] for glory.
Romans 8: 29
For whom He knew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.
Ephesians 1: 5, 11
Having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will. In whom we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will.
Proverbs 16: 4
The Lord has made all for Himself, yes, even the wicked for the day of doom [evil; destruction??].
Isaiah 45: 9a, b
Woe to him who strives with His maker . . . Shall the clay say to him who forms it, what are you making?
But now, O Lord, You are our Father, we are the clay, and You are our potter, and we are the work of Your hand.
Jeremiah 18: 1-6
The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying: “Arise and go down to the potter’s house, and there he was, making something at the wheel. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred [ruined; imperfect??] in the hands of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make. Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying: “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter?” says the Lord. “Look, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel!”
Some of the greatest thinkers, Philosophers, Intellectuals, and Theologians who ever lived, have debated and wrestled within their own conscience and spirit in an attempt to explain one of the most perplexing as well as fundamental questions of human existence.
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