@rla9316 I think it is a false dichotomy to say that this issue must be either a paradox or a contradiction. For example, J. I. Packer talks about the idea of antimony - something that seems to be a contradiction only because we lack all of the necessary information to understand.
Also, we really have to define the words sovereignty and free will carefully before we can have a meaningful discussion about them. And I think that Lennox has done a good job of defining his understanding of them in his book.
Everything below is a direct quote from J. I. Packer’s article. How do these categories of antimony and paradox help you make sense of these apparent opposites? Do they? I think Packer does a good job of giving examples of paradox in Scripture - which is just word play in a sense.
What is an “antinomy”? The Shorter Oxford Dictionary defines it as “a contradiction between conclusions which seem equally logical, reasonable, or necessary.”
For our purposes, however, this definition is not quite accurate; the opening words should read “an appearance of contradiction.” For the whole point of an antinomy — in theology, at any rate — is that it is not a real contradiction, though it looks like one. It is an apparent incompatibility between two apparent truths. An antinomy exists when a pair of principles stand side by side, seemingly irreconcilable, yet both undeniable. There are cogent reasons for believing each of them; each rests on clear and solid evidence; but it is a mystery to you how they can be squared with each other. You see that each must be true on its own, but you do not see how they can both be true together.
Let me give an example. Modern physics faces an antinomy, in this sense, in its study of light. There is cogent evidence to show that light consists of waves, and equally cogent evidence to show that it consists of particles. It is not apparent how light can be both waves and particles; but the evidence is there, and so neither view can be ruled out in favor of the other. Neither, however, can be reduced to the other or explained in terms of the other; the two seemingly incompatible positions must be held together, and both must be treated as true. Such a necessity scandalizes our tidy minds, no doubt, but there is no help for it if we are to be loyal to the facts.
It appears, therefore, that an antinomy is not the same thing as a paradox. A paradox is a figure of speech, a play on words. It is a form of statement that seems to unite two opposite ideas, or to deny something by the very terms in which it is asserted. Many truths about the Christian life can be expressed as paradoxes. A Prayer Book collect, for instance, declares that God’s “service is perfect freedom” — man goes free through becoming a slave. Paul states various paradoxes of his own Christian experience: “sorrowful — yet always rejoicing… having nothing — and yet possessing all things” 2 Corinthians 6:10. “When I am weak — then am I strong” 2 Corinthians 12:10.
The point of a paradox, however, is that what creates the appearance of contradiction is not the facts, but the words. The contradiction is verbal , but not real . A little thought shows how it can be eliminated and the same idea expressed in non-paradoxical form. In other words a paradox is always dispensable. Look at the examples quoted. The Prayer Book might have said that those who serve God are free from sin’s dominion. In 2 Corinthians 6:10, Paul might have said that sorrow at circumstances, and joy in God, are constantly combined in his experience; and that, though he owns no property and has no bank balance, there is a sense in which everything belongs to him, because he is Christ’s, and Christ is Lord of all. Again, in 2 Corinthians 12:10, he might have said that the Lord strengthens him most when he is most conscious of his natural infirmity.
Such non-paradoxical forms of speech are clumsy and dull, beside the paradoxes which they would replace, but they express precisely the same meaning. For a paradox is merely a matter of how you use words; the employment of paradox is an arresting trick of speech, but it does not imply even an appearance of contradiction in the facts that you are describing.
Also it should be noted that a paradox is always comprehensible . A speaker or writer casts his ideas into paradoxes in order to make them memorable and provoke thought about them. But the person at the receiving end must be able, on reflection, to see how to unravel the paradox — otherwise it will seem to him to be really self-contradictory, and therefore really meaningless. An incomprehensible paradox could not be distinguished from a mere contradiction in terms. The paradox would thus have to be written off as sheer nonsense.
By contrast, however , an antinomy is neither dispensable nor comprehensible . It is not a figure of speech, but an observed relation between two statements of fact. It is not deliberately manufactured; it is forced upon us by the facts themselves. It is unavoidable , and it is insoluble . We do not invent it, and we cannot explain it. Nor is there any way to get rid of it — save by falsifying the very facts that led us to it.