“He burns part of the tree to roast his meat and keep himself warm…Then he takes what’s left and makes his god. Isaiah 44:16,17 NLT
It is a debate that has raged for centuries, and it shows no sign of slowing down. Each generation picks up where the last left off. With heels dug in, neither concedes any ground, and yet, I wonder what all the fuss is about?
I am speaking about the lively discussion (I use that term to be polite) concerning the sovereignty of God versus the free will of man in regard to salvation. To put it simply, did He choose us, or did we choose Him? To those who have tracked down this slippery slope, the names of John Calvin and Jacob Arminian are familiar.
The argument runs like this. Arminianism argues that if God’s sovereignly chooses men to be saved then He has stripped man of his free-will. Calvinism counters that if men exercise free will to be saved, then the sovereignty of God has been violated. It gets thicker, but I would spare you. I understand the tension inherent in the debate. The idea of reconciling the two positions seems impossible since it appears as if it were an either/or proposition.
I do not intend to enter the debate. Rather, I would ask both sides to pause long enough to let the dust settle and consider this question. Could both teachings be true? What if God’s sovereignty did not violate our free will, and what if our free will did not circumvent God’s choosing us? How can both true?
In Isaiah’s day God’s people had turned to idolatry. With the same block of wood, God declared that they cooked their meal and built their idols. They had created a god out of their reasoning minds, a god they could understand.
The attempt of these two opposing sides to reconcile sovereignty and free will is a prideful attempt to understand God with the rational mind. It is block-head thinking. I am not interested in a God that I can figure out. I worship a God who both sovereignly chooses; and yet, in His choosing he never violates our free will to choose him. Our wooden heads of rational thinking will never worship God.
Is it possible that God’s ways are so far above man’s intellect as to create a mystery so beautiful that our reasoning minds cannot wrap themselves around it? If a man tried to stuff Heaven into his head it would explode. I am suggesting that we embrace both positions and allow our heads to wander into the mystery of Heaven. I really don’t see what all the fuss is about.
A few months ago, I gave up eating chicken. I had become frustrated with trying to discover which came first, the chicken or the egg. It is true that I miss eating yard bird and that I would love some scrambled eggs; but my reasoning mind must be satisfied, and until it is, a piece of fried chicken will not pass my lips.
By trying to figure out sovereignty and free-will, we fail to enjoy the simplicity of Christ. Lay the debate down because you are missing the wonder of Christ. You have become too brainy about the whole thing. He chose you and you chose Him. Now quit all the fuss.