Sound Teaching

This is the teaching site of the West Side church of Christ in Fort Worth, TX. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials were written and prepared by Stan Cox

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Sovereignty and Man’s Free Will

ImageIn Knowledge of the Holy, A.W. Tozer attempts to reconcile the seemingly contradictory beliefs of God’s sovereignty and man’s free will:

“An ocean liner leaves New York bound for Liverpool. Its destination has been determined by proper authorities. Nothing can change it. This is at least a faint picture of sovereignty.

“On board the liner are scores of passengers. These are not in chains, neither are their activities determined for them by decree. They are completely free to move about as they will. They eat, sleep, play, lounge about on the deck, read, talk, altogether as they please; but all the while the great liner is carrying them steadily onward toward a predetermined port.

“Both freedom and sovereignty are present here, and they do not contradict. So it is, I believe, with man’s freedom and the sovereignty of God. The mighty liner of God’s sovereign design keeps its steady course over the sea of history.”

Douglas G. Gerrard

The illustration above is relatively accurate, though limited as illustrations always are. It is true that God’s sovereignty has predetermined the victory of righteousness over evil.

It is equally true that God has granted each man free will in his life. However, there is one thing that is not noted in the story. It is possible, first, for a man to choose not to board the ship, and then for a man to jump off the ship, of his own free will, thus not reaching the destination! (cf. Mark 16:16; 2 Peter 2:21-22).