If God is ruler of the universe and controller of all, then why is He not responsible for anything? And why are we held responsible for everything when we are not born knowing all that God is about. Why didn’t God create us knowing His word so we would have a real choice?

Answer: What a great question! From a human perspective it seems reasonable to think that if God made us, and if he is sovereign, he is responsible for anything we do. Therefore, logically, it seems unreasonable for him to hold us responsible for things he knew beforehand that we would do. Like Paul puts it in Romans chapter 9, "why does he still blame us?" The answer is that God, in his sovereign will, has chosen to give us human beings a limited sovereignty over our own lives. In other words, God has chosen to give us what is commonly called "free will." Now, either human beings have free will or they do not.

I love the way Thomas Aquinas put it. He said "God, therefore, is the first cause, who moves causes both natural and voluntary. And just as by moving natural causes He does not prevent their actions from being natural, so by moving voluntary causes He does not deprive their actions of being voluntary; but rather is He the cause of this very thing in them, for He operates ineach thing according to his own nature." In other words, God did not lose his sovereignty when he gave us voluntary will. This is hard to grasp. I can tell that you struggle with this. Well, so do I! However, one of the clearest teachings of the Bible is that God gives us a choice and that he holds us accountable for that choice. Surely that is the message of Genesis chapter three and an almost unlimited number of other passages. Biblically, God is "responsible" for his actions and we are "responsible" for our actions. God gives us real choice. He does not force us to do right. He does not force us to read the Bible. He does not force knowledge of his will on rebellious people who choose to reject the love he offers. He does give us a conscience and an innate desire to know him, but he does not force us to act on that desire. The God of the Bible is just. On Judgment Day I do not plan on blaming him for my own sinful behavior.

John Oakes

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