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Author Topic: "Shaped Will", a look at God's sovereignty and man's will  (Read 1055 times)


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"Shaped Will", a look at God's sovereignty and man's will
« on: May 02, 2006, 09:38:34 AM »
Hello all.  I have been burdened with studying the issues of God's sovereignty and man's will for the past couple of years.  This came about as I came to see that nearly every one of my Christian friends and relatives were very skeptical of the idea that our will is providentially controlled by God.  My efforts resulted in a first draft of a book which I hope to improve over the next few years so that it becomes something readable, accurate, and beneficial.  Currently, I have compiled the material in blog form, with individual entries that readers can leave comments on.  My hope is that some here would find it worthwhile to look at some of the material and provide any feedback that seems appropriate.  If anyone is interested, please stop by for a look: http://www.hessionweb.com/godissovereign

Here is the introduction from the website.  If this does not tickle any interest, then feel free to pass it over, but my hope is that some at least would find that it is worth a look.

Why Talk About Godís Sovereignty And Manís Will?
Posted by J. P. Hession

What pops into your head when I use the term free will? Perhaps you picture Adam and Eve eating an apple. Or maybe the memory of that misbehaving child pulling things off the shelves in the grocery store is what comes to your mind. Whatever the image might be, when I mention free will, we all think of something.

What compels me to think about this issue and causes me to encourage others to do the same is that many in the body of Christ have largely ignored the Biblically confirmed reality of our will and Godís sovereignty, and reverted instead to the deceptively attractive attitude of our prevailing culture, which basically asserts that we are in complete control of ourselves.

In other words, we are far from becoming saturated with the Bibleís teaching on this matter despite the numerous tomes in existence. All indications show that we are in danger of losing our clarity of vision to see Godís total sovereignty over every life, and when we become blinded to Godís glory, how are we to praise and declare His name to all the nations in a meaningful way?

I have been amazed over the last few years as I have talked to Christian brothers and sisters about these issues. What I found was more disagreement and confusion than I ever expected. I would even call it a significant schism in the church today (as it has been for as long as the church has been around).

I feel like Iím caught somewhat between a rock and a hard place. One the one hand, not all disagreements should be dwelt on. Sometimes we can get so caught up in arguing what is true to us that we forget to pursue Christian unity. On the other hand, I am convinced that this is not just another issue that we needlessly bicker over, but that it touches deeply on our understanding of who God is and ultimately, our cause for worship.

Another difficulty with taking up this issue is that I also want to prioritize it correctly, giving these questions the weight they demand, but being careful to realize that there is something of higher importance still. The questions of our freedom of will should be pondered and struggled over, but a Christian can believe in Christ as their Savior even if they are mistaken about who caused their belief. Even though the realities of human will intersect dramatically with salvation, it is more important that we have salvation than that we know how we got it. But certainly we can agree that for those who have it, it is appropriate for us to have a solid understanding of how we got it (to the extent that God has revealed in Scripture).

I think good teaching has been lacking in some circles regarding Godís sovereignty and our will, and when good teaching is absent, it is our tendency to settle the matter in our own minds with our own reasoning rather than with what God has said is true in His word. No wonder there is so much confusion in this world! How can we, a fallen and sinful and selfish people, possibly land upon the right teaching by our own sense of what should and should not be? Only if our reasoning is grounded in and backed up by Godís Word can we say with confidence what is right and what is wrong.

I tremble as I say this because I am going out on a limb when I suggest that I have some truth that some others might not. As humbly and respectfully as I can, though, I hope to ground all that I say in what Godís Word says, because the only Words that have any weight or power is Godís holy, inerrant Word as revealed in Scripture.

In this blogspace, I hope to introduce the topic of free will and shaped will and establish definitions of human will. I will also try to make the best case I can that free will, as I will define it, is not supported by the Bible. I will alternatively propose a way of understanding the doctrine of Godís sovereignty that helps us make sense of this complicated topic. What I will suggest is that our will can be thought of as shaped rather than as free. Finally, I will try to answer some of the hard questions that come up when we accept this doctrine of Godís sovereignty over our will. I will also try to show some inconsistencies that must be explained if our will is free. Lastly, I will enumerate some reasons why the doctrine of free will is so dangerous and why the doctrine of Godís absolute sovereignty is so glorious.

In other words, this blogspace is about definition, proposition, resolution, and application in regards to Godís sovereignty and manís will.
A friend and servant of Jesus


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