Monday, September 10, 2007

Souls and the sovereignty of God

As a long-time evangelical, I have not thought much about the creation of souls. I would imagine it was probably a topic of interest to the early church fathers, and may still occupy theologians of one stripe or another. It has not, heretofore, interested me. This all changed for some unknown reason several days ago, when I awoke thinking about the implications of the fact that souls are created by God.

I remember from my theology training that the question of the pre-existence of souls is one that occasionally pops up in Christian theology, but to me there is little to discuss. A simple syllogism summarizes it all: Primary Premise: God alone is uncreated; Corollary: everything else must be created; Secondary Premise: all things are created by Him. Conclusion: all souls are created by God.

Back to the main subject. My first thought on subject (I am going to move slowly through all the ramifications as I try and think through them all) is that the fact of God's active creation of souls implies that God exercises sovereignty over the structure, nature and disposition of every soul that He creates. This implies that He knows the soul - its capabilities, limitations, and potentialities - from the very moment of its creation. This does not constrain the actual freedom of the created soul; God may know it well yet still grant it real freedom to make choices (however, see my post on choice for more on this). For example, I know my children very well, but they still have the capacity to surprise me. God knows the details of a created soul to a much greater extent, and deals with that soul from a position of both love and power.

This may all sound either like silly philosophical nonsense or trivial tautologies to you, but I believe that it has profound implications on a number of subjects having to do with God's sovereignty, human freedom, and the nature of salvation. I intend to explore these implications in coming posts.

2 comments:

Andy said...

Reinhold Neihbur has, hands down, the best view of the soul when it comes to holding the sovereignty of God and free will of man in tension.

estuary as people said...

i have thought about these thoughts as well [along with thousands throughout history...]and their implications in difficult life situations. is God any less sovereign, or great, if there are situations which happen on the planet which clearly seem to be at complete odds at everything he/we are supposed to stand for? see my small blog on these thoughts and help me a bit if you can http://estuaryaspeople.blogspot.com

thanks, Joel