Friday, 29 June 2007

Sovereignty of God and the Free will of Man

The Bible makes clear three things about the fall. The first is that God is all knowing, i.e. he knows the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10). Therefore, the fall had to have been anticipated by God and, therefore, it is no surprise that provision was made “from the foundations of the earth” (Rev.13:8 KJV) to reverse the effects of the fall and consummate God’s plans.

Secondly, it is clear that God, in giving Adam a command regarding a prohibition on what fruit he could eat, was giving Adam a choice. Every argument regarding the sovereignty of God and the “free will” of man since has its foundations here. God is most certainly sovereign yet man is given a choice.

Thirdly, the Bible makes clear that man’s choice in the garden had disastrous and not providential consequences (Gen.3:23-24; Romans 5:12-13,18).The Mormon notion that, “Adam fell, but he fell in the right direction. He fell toward the goal…Adam fell, but he fell upward” (Sterling W Sill, First Quorum of Seventy) is bizarre!

This does not mean that God is not sovereign since it is God who gave man choice in the first place. But man is accountable for his choices. In God’s sovereignty he has provided a Saviour for all that turn to him in faith (John 3:14 c.f. Num.21:8-9).

Two things were in play here. Firstly the sovereignty of God which declares that God’s plan cannot be thwarted. Secondly, the sovereign will of God that man should choose to obey or disobey and experience the consequences of his choice. God’s sovereignty would not be compromised by man’s choice because God had ordained that man should choose and God’s plan could not be compromised or thwarted by man’s choice because God had already provided a Saviour.

Now all are saved who put their trust in him. Mormons present the rather hackneyed Mormon argument that, since you believe in Jesus all other things notwithstanding, therefore you must be “saved”. The problems with this argument are twofold.

First there is the problem of whether you have the right Jesus. The Bible tells us that there is a different Jesus and a different gospel (2 Cor.11:4; Gal.1:6). Do you have the right Jesus? Do you have the right gospel?

Secondly, there is the plain fact that putting your trust in anything in addition to the finished work of the Cross is adding to the gospel and, by adding, taking away from the gospel. If you trust in baptism, tithing, confessing Joseph Smith, temple worship, celestial marriage (all essential to Mormon salvation) then you are adding to the finished work of Christ and disqualifying yourself for the very reason that you are trusting in yourself and not in the Jesus of the Bible.

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