Thursday, January 05, 2012
THE LORD SCATTERED, THE LORD CONFUSED; SOVEREIGNTY, FREE WILL AND LOVE
In our effort to find the balance in the debate often referred to as Sovereignty and Free Will (a misleading name due to a limited definition of sovereignty), we must endeavor to allow the Biblical text to inform us as opposed to the other way around. In my morning reading, I found the interaction between those working on the tower of Babel project and God quite fascinating (Ge.11:1-9). The project and the motive behind the project appear to be initiated by people and contrary to God’s good pleasure. God responds with a strategy that clearly demonstrates His opposition to the project. Certain definitions and views of sovereignty are forced to see such passages as God playing chess with Himself. But the text, taken in the way we normally read such a text, represents a group of people freely using their God given abilities to do something of which God is not in favor. God responds. Not by removing their freedom or their abilities but by introducing a factor that increases the degree of difficulty involved in the communication needed to pursue the project effectively. This is very interesting providential activity on the part of God but does not, in any way, suggest that man is void of free will or that everything that happens is the will of God. Surely, both camps in this debate must practice textual sensitivity in an effort to avoid proof texting simply to support a preconceived position.
One final reflection. There is a growing contingency within the church who have no place in their perspective for a God who deals with people the way this passage demonstrates. There is a limited, incomplete concept of “love” that suggests that embrace is the only option. There is, in this view, no room for division under any circumstance. This will prove to be quite devastating.