Is God sovereign over people's choices? If He is then how is "free will" actually free will?

The statement that “God is sovereign over people’s choices” is said by a preacher in my church. I don’t know the biblical references for that but I can entertain the thought based on the history of how God changed Pharaoh’s heart. Which is basically controlling the choice of Pharaoh. (I don’t know if my understanding regarding this is correct). So given this information how is free will actually free will when God actually has control over people’s choices and the converse if God doesn’t have control over people’s choices, His sovereignty is diluted.


Hello @LeviSatwik

I would like to share these thoughts that I had also sent to one of the questions (like yours) posted here.

Is God all knowing, all powerful?

Chech this out.
Thank you so much!

I hope this helps.

1 Like

@LeviSatwik Great Question :slight_smile: We must acknowledge that the Scriptures both (a) hold men accountable for their actions and (b) declare that God is sovereign over history. How exactly those two work together is an issue people have been debating for the last 2000 years and no one solution has been accepted as authoritative.

The below quote is taken from an article by William Lane Craig. To sum up, it basically states that the Bible is clear that God has foreordained history and that we, as humans, have the ability to obey or not obey God. How do we reconcile these two truths?

“The great 17th century Reformed theologian Francis Turretin held that a careful analysis of Scripture leads to two indubitable conclusions, both of which must be held in tension without compromising either one: that God on the one hand by his providence not only decreed, but most certainly secures, the event of all things, whether free or contingent; on the other hand, however, man is always free in acting and many effects are contingent. Although I cannot understand how these can be mutually connected together, yet (on account of ignorance of the mode) the thing itself is (which is certain from another source, i.e., from the Word) not either to be called in question or wholly denied ( Institutes of Elenctic Theology, 1: 512).”

Solution 1 - Accepting Mystery

It is clear in Scripture, as we see in Deuteronomy 29:29, that what God has revealed of Himself He has done so that we might enjoy relationship with Him. How to reconcile free will and sovereignty is often held as one of those mysteries.

Deuteronomy 29:29 - The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law.

Solution 2 - Molinism

Solution 3 - The Calvinist / Armenian Options

If you’re really interested, here is a debate on Calvinism vs Arminianism. I think it is edifying - the two brothers do not disrespect or question each other’s salvation, which too often can happen in these types of discussions. Also, a video from Tim Keller on this topic.

Book by John Lennox

Connect Threads

1 Like

great question @domingoosabel :+1: …and I love the resources that @SeanO has attached…thank you.
I agree that it is very helpful if we see the whole issue of God sovereignty and human responsibility as friends :smiley: rather than enemies because they are in the inspired text (Bible).

1 Like