God is Sovereign over Free Will

‘If the will is free, is not God confronted with that which he cannot control? The answer is no; he is confronted with that which he will not control. There is a tremendous difference between “cannot” and “will not.” And in saying that God will not determine man’s will, we come to the second point in this section, the notion of God’s sovereign decree of self-limitation. The idea of self-limitation means that God has created man with the ability to make his own choices and has sovereignly decreed to suspend his own control in the realm of man’s will. If God is limited, it is only through a sovereign act of self-limitation, a self-imposed suspension of his control at this particular point. Man does not limit God; God limits himself. The self-limitation is itself a sovereign and free choice on the part of God; he was not forced in any way to limit his control. The fact that he freely chose to so limit himself shows that he is sovereign, that he does have control over the entire situation. Thus it is not that God cannot control man’s will; in this case God would not be sovereign. It is the case rather that God freely chooses not to control man’s will, and thus maintains his absolute sovereignty.’

source: Jack Cottrell, Sovereignty and Free Will (Volume IX – Number 3 – Spring 1963), quoted from dabar.


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