Do we have free will to make our own decisions? If God is sovereign over all things, doesn’t that mean that we’re essentially robots carrying out what God has already ordained?
We don’t believe so.
The doctrine of Compatibilism declares that divine sovereignty and human responsibility are in fact compatible. They can, and do, coexist.
Listen to the episode for more information, but a summarization could be said like this: We are always free to do what we most desire.
It should be said that our desires can change moment by moment. But, until God first makes us alive in Christ Jesus, our desires are not for him (Romans 1:23-25).
After he saves us, we begin to have new affections and new desires because we are new creatures (2 Corinthians 5:17) who have been given a new heart (Ezekiel 11:19; Ezekiel 36:26; Jeremiah 31:33; Hebrews 8:10).
We are free to do what we most desire. Ever since the fall (Genesis 3), our desires have been tainted by sin. So now, until God radically intervenes, our sinful selves want nothing to do with him, and we make decisions based off of those desires. Decisions that we freely choose and are responsible for.
But after God intervenes, we begin to desire him more and more.
This is how God’s sovereignty and mankind’s freedom coexist. This is why God can be in control of all things and mankind can be rightly held responsible for their decisions. This is how those ideas are compatible.
Praise God for his sovereign intervention.
BOOK: Religious Affections by Jonathan Edwards