Are the Sovereignty of God & the Free Will of Man Compatible or Mutually Exclusive?
Dr. Michael Floyd

Are the Sovereignty of God & the Free

Will of Man Compatible or

Mutually Exclusive?


by Dr. Michael Floyd, Dayspring Bible College &

Seminary, 60 Quentin Road, Lake Zurich, IL 60047


A.W. Pink in his book, The Sovereignty of God, says, "To say that God is Sovereign is to declare that He is the Almighty, the Possessor of all power in Heaven and Earth, so that none can defeat His counsels, thwart His purpose, or resist His will." He goes on to declare, "To argue that man is a free, moral agent and the determiner of his own destiny, and that therefore he has the power to checkmate his Maker, is to strip God of the attribute of omnipotence." Thus, according to a notable Calvinist, if man has a free will, God is not omnipotent or sovereign.

However, Pink says in the same place that God "... is under no rule or law outside of His own will and nature ..." This is precisely the reason why man must have a free will.
Let's consider the following scenario that purports to explain what God is doing with mankind:

1. God created the world, angels, and mankind. God determined that certain of the angels and all men would sin. God must have caused them to sin because He is sovereign and there is no will but His own. If man is a free, moral agent, then God is not sovereign. Therefore God is the Author and direct Cause of sin.

2. God chose to send His Son to Earth to redeem a limited number of men whom He chose to save. He chose to condemn the rest: they spend eternity in Hell without ever having a choice in the matter. God professed that this plan of limited redemption was motivated by His love for the world.

3. God then commanded those whom He caused to believe to “... go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15b), that “... he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2). We are to announce that salvation is available to "whosoever believeth." Of course, since man has no free will, no one can believe except the few whom God has chosen to cause to believe. So the offer of salvation is not genuine.

4. God then condemns men to the Lake of Fire forever to pay for sins that God made them commit and for rejecting the salvation that God chose in eternity past not to give them.

There are many things wrong with this scenario:

God is not the author or cause of sin. The Bible says that “... God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man” (James 1:13). The Bible frequently declares that God is holy. If God is holy, then man must be a free, moral agent who chooses to sin. If man has no free will, then God willed him to sin and God is not holy.

Is it loving for God to choose to save a few when He could have chosen to save all just as easily? I think not.

To say that Christ died for all when He really died for just a few, or to invite all men to believe in Christ and be saved when you know that they cannot believe, is both deceitful and cruel. God is not capable of either of these things.

God is just in condemning unbelievers to Hell because He neither caused their sin nor their unbelief. Man has a free will and chose to sin and reject the salvation that God offered him.

Calvinism sacrifices God's holiness, righteousness, honesty, justice, and love to maintain a mistaken view of His sovereignty. The Bible is clear that a sovereign and all-powerful God who is also holy, just, and loving created man and gave him a free will. He created a plan to save man by the death and resurrection of His only Son, and offers salvation to all on the basis of faith alone. All men will stand before that sovereign, omnipotent God and give account for the decisions they have made. Our sovereign, all-powerful God is “...just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus” (Romans 3:26b).

God's sovereignty and man's free will are perfectly compatible.