Jim Bell calls me “Miss Sovereignty 2005” because it’s a doctrine that I have really latched onto. I’d like to talk a little bit about the apparent contradiction (which it isn’t, really) between free will and God’s sovereignty. If God decides all things, then how can man have free will?
Let’s look at it. First, a God with infallible foreknowledge can sovereignly will to accomplish things through the free will of his creatures. Norman Geisler says, “Just the fact that God infallibly knows what each creature will do with his freedom in advance is sufficient to assure that HE has complete sovereign control over every event and the final outcome. Otherwise He would not have willed to create such a world, that is to say nothing of the power that God has to persuade and even overrule free choices, which He does on occasion.”
Another way to explain it is to realize that God can give us free will without giving away his power. He is/has infinite power.
So Joseph’s brothers could freely choose to sell him into slavery, thus setting into motion the divine plan that would take Joseph to Pharaoh’s throne and guarantee the survival of Egypt and Israel. God infallibly knows how we are going to use our free choice. Augustine said it this way: “A man does not sin because God foreknew that he would sin. Nay, it cannot be doubted but that it is the man himself who sins when he does sin, because He whose foreknowledge is infallible, foreknew . . . that the man himself would sin, who if he will not, sins not. But if he shall not will to sin, even this did God foreknow.”