The argument over the nature of free will, divine sovereignty and its relation to the kind of world formed by God’s creation often leads to limitless disputation. Such topics fundamentally shape the Church and its mission of understanding salvation and promoting evangelism . Furthermore, the manner in which God exercises His holy will is a reflection of character and consequently serves as a guide to humanity’s understanding of theological concepts. Research into the nature of sovereignty leads to a common thesis that the deterministic perspective which often shares concepts from Calvinist soteriology will inevitably lead to contradictions with multiple attributes of the Creator in addition to the most elementary biblical scriptures regarding salvation, responsibility, integrity, and free will .
While the Bible quotes the Lord in stating that He is the one and only God for his purpose will stand against any opposition, determinism operates under the belief that prior conditions dictate the exact outcome of every single event in the universe. Given its definition, the concept extends well past the study of religion, as naturalistic determinism states that all happenstances are byproducts of the laws of physics; for every action is directed by environmental and pre-existing genetic conditions. One of the most well-known determinists that champions this very opinion includes William Provine, a Professor of Evolutionary Biology at Cornell University, a man who has stated that there is no true purpose for human existence, no true ethical foundation, and no free will. Conversely, theological determinists hold the same belief, but for a different reason. Instead of the physical world and its properties, God controls all that happens in the universe.
Generally speaking, theological determinism can be divided into two types: soft and hard. Despite the fact that soft determinants accept the concept as strongly as their hard counterparts and also share the philosophy that all events are predetermined by the divine will of God, they still differ. This is precisely because the soft perspective believes that humans are responsible for their actions. A position known as compatibilism is synonymous with such a perspective because it affirms that determinism and freedom are compatible and therefore interchangeable . Therefore, God is free from the responsibility of sin. Hard determinism proposes that all situations are rooted in an unbreakable and undeniable cause that is part of chain (karma) and that an act of free will is one that is not rooted in any sort of cause. However, as a result of their impossible conditions, free acts do not exist. Additionally, due to the fact that free acts do not exist under this belief, there is also no free will such that God overrides human control in order to enforce His will. Strangely enough, this also suggests that humans cannot be held responsible for their sins.
On the other hand, indeterminists which are the polar opposite of determinists propose the notion that although the Lord can predetermine any event desired, He chooses not to predetermine everything and consequently grants humans freedom to make decisions in absence of His own. This particular philosophy is defined as libertarian freedom, a perspective that does not insist on total free will nor does it suggest that God cannot meddle in the world’s affairs, but instead that our freedom to choose holds us responsible for our own actions. However, this argument only holds in the presence of contingency, as other alternatives for choices must be present . Unfortunately, Calvinistic determinism is proven to lack both logical and scriptural coherency and fails to establish grace and unconditional election. Therefore, it is more likely that while God created man in his image and of his own likeness, the basis of reality in which humans live is a test of free will to decide on our future in the afterlife.