God is all-knowing (omniscient). So why did He put the tree of knowledge in the garden? Maybe He should have put it in a separate garden, behind gates, with cherubim guarding the gates and give them flaming swords. Why did He allow Satan to roam freely in the garden knowing that he would tempt Eve? He could have locked Satan away in a box and put Him behind the gates where Cherubim were guarding? Why did He put the forbidden tree, and Satan, in the same garden as He put man, having given man free-will?
God knew Eve would be tempted by Satan, and He knew Adam would follow suit. He knew the day, and the hour, and He knew they would need rescuing with a blood sacrifice to provide skins to cover their new state of nakedness. But that was not His plan.
God's plan is that we obey all of his commands (James 2:10; John 14:15). It was God's plan that Eve not sin, and that Adam not follow suit. God knew that His plan would have prospered, and not harmed, Adam and Eve (Jeremiah 29:11). Their free-will in choosing sin, over obedience, did not compromise God's sovereignty, but it did compromise His intended plan for them (and for humanity). 'Plan A' for humanity didn't last long!
Obedience is actioning God's will; disobedience is actioning our own will.
When we step out of God's will, we are actively changing the future plan for our lives. Yes, God is faithful, and He will steer us along, even when we choose to reject His perfect plan (Jeremiah 29:11), and step into Plan B (Genesis 3:14-19), and then Plan C (Genesis 4:10-11) . . . and Plan Z (Romans 14:11), however, we should never make a comfortable justification that God, being gracious and long-suffering, will provide for us when we are contemplating stepping out of His will.
Free-will versus determinism
We should not deceive ourselves that, because God knew our disobedience would occur, it was fated for us to step away. It is never God's plan that we step away from Him. It was not God's plan that Adam and Eve sinned, even though, in His sovereignty He knew of it before it happened. It was their free-will choice that determined their behavior - and this did not compromise God's sovereignty in the least.
Perhaps the issue of free-will and God's sovereignty has become confounded by the debate on free-will versus determinism. There is no enigma in this for Christians. God's word states that He gave us free-will (Genesis 2:16). In that free-will, we determine whether we step into God's perfect plan for us - the Jeremiah 29:11 plan - to prosper us and not to harm us; or we freely choose to not walk in that plan. Our disobedience does not compromise His sovereignty in any way. The fact that He is awesomely omniscient, and knows what we will choose, and when, and the consequences of our choices, is unrelated to our freedom to choose.
To summarize: to say "God is sovereign, therefore we have no free will" is a misstatement of logic and biblically incorrect. It is more accurately stated as "God is sovereign, and we have free will."
Our free-will is independent of God's sovereignty
Sadly, historically, we have done a poor job at remaining in His will. And He has allowed us that freedom. God knows that we will continue with this alternative path until He ushers in His Kingdom on earth. He is sovereign, and the story will end how, and when He says it will end, but how we get there . . . well, that's entirely up to us!
"For I know the plans I have for you" declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you," declares the Lord, "and will bring you back from captivity" (Jeremiah 29:11-14)
~ Reminder ~
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October 12th, 2019 8:30am - 11:30am
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