Divine Sovereignty and Human Responsibility

Phil Johnson of Pyromaniac’s commented on Divine sovereignty and human responsibility in light of Acts 27:22 and Acts 27:31:

==How can both truths be simultaneously true? Simple. Because God ordained the means as well as the end, and the means He had ordained for saving that ship depended on the crew’s ability to steer the ship to the island of Malta and run it aground in the sand and surf. God’s sovereignty did not annul the sailors’ responsibility. In fact, God’s sovereignty is the very thing that established their responsibility.==

Chris: I responded to this comment by Phil Johnson in the Pyromaniacs comment box. I wrote:

God actively and directly caused the soldiers to cut off the ropes of the boat. God actively and directly caused the crew to steer the ship to the island of Malta, running it aground. God’s sovereignty does not annul the sailors’ responsibility because their responsibility does not presuppose their freedom from God’s irresistible, omnipotent, and active control over their thoughts, words,  and actions. Indeed, God’s absolute sovereignty is what establishes their responsibility: They are responsible because He is sovereign, NOT because they are “compatibilistically” free.

God actively and directly caused the obedience of rope-cutting soldiers AND He actively and directly caused the disobedience of crucifixion-performing soldiers. Is God the author of rope-cutting and ship-steering in the sense that He is the One who directly cut the ropes and steered the ship? Of course not. He, in fulfillment of His eternal decree, through ordained means, indirectly caused the ropes to be cut and the ship to be steered. He indirectly steers ships and cuts ropes by directly controlling minds and causing actions.

Now is God the author of the crucifixion-performing in the sense that He directly held the hammer in His hand? Of course not. He indirectly caused the crucifixion of His Son by actively and directly causing the soldiers to swing the hammer. The soldiers in crucifying Christ commit murder. God irresistibly caused them to do this. He made them do it in order to glorify Himself through the redemptive work of Christ for His people. Phil Johnson (and those like-minded) will then say to me: Why does God yet find fault? For who has resisted His will?

-Chris Duncan

P.S. Some say that God is the author of faith and repentance since God actively and directly works in the hearts of the elect to cause faith and repentance, but no one says that God is the One who is doing the actual believing and repenting. In the same way, no rational, thoughtful, God-exalting, Christ-honoring, man-debasing person would say that God is the one disbelieving and disobeying by virtue of His direct and active working of unbelief and rebellion in the hearts of the reprobate.

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