The Antinomy of Divine Sovereignty and Human Responsibility


Taken from a GBF sermon on Romans 8:28-30

Divine sovereignty and human responsibility, which is it? It’s both. The key to a right view of divine sovereignty is also a right view of human responsibility, the Bible speaks unapologetically of both.

JI Packer, in his book Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God,  describes the existence of both divine sovereignty and human responsibility, an “antinomy”. An antimony exists when a pair of principles stand side by side, seemingly irreconcilable, yet both are undeniable.

Packer points out that modern physics faces an antinomy in the study of light. Evidence shows that light consist of waves, and equal evidence shows that light exists in particles. Well which is it? Light or particles? Both. Neither view can be ruled out in favor of the other. And you can learn from both. Because both are true.

We deal with divine sovereignty much the way that physics deals with light. Is man responsible? Yes. Is God Sovereign? Yes. It’s not something that our minds can fully grasp, but that doesn’t give us liberty to dismiss either principle.

Isaiah 55:8-9 offers a great reminder when we approach challenging truths of Scripture ...For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. 

Here is a link to JI Packer’s book, Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God



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