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A Muscle-Bound God?

God's Sovereignty Free Will God's Power

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2022-08-07

Scripture: Jeremiah 32:17

Author: Mitchell Dillon
7

ILLUSTRATION

One of the debates in athletics, especially in boxing, is how much muscle is too much.  It is suggested that when a fighter becomes too muscle-bound, their flexibility, quickness, and endurance are all compromised.  

In a theological equivalent, some have suggested that there are certain ways that God is limited due to His sovereignty.  When you are as sovereign as God, it is argued, you can’t allow others to have genuine free will or allow life to just play out.  God is just too sovereign (muscle-bound) to allow such things.  But is God really limited by the prodigiousness of His own capabilities?  Are His capacities so great that they become self-limiting?  

 

APPLICATION

Following this logic, how does God allow anything to exist outside of Himself?  Since God is omniscient, does that mean that He can’t allow ignorance to exist?  Since God is omnipresent, does that mean that nothing else can fill any part of the same space?  Since God is omnipotent, does that mean that only He can wield power?  Of course, all of these things are allowed to exist outside of the personhood of God.  

Despite this, it is argued that because God is sovereign, He can’t create mankind to have free will.  This point of view turns God’s unlimited ability into a limitation, which is contradictory.  Isn’t it better to understand that God exercises complete control over His unlimited capacities?  Isn’t it more consistent to believe that there is no good thing that God can’t do?

This certainly finds support in the Scriptures which acknowledge both the unlimited nature of God’s divine attributes, as well as the reality of man’s free will.   

“Ah, Sovereign LORD, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you" (Jeremiah 32:17, NIV). 

The First and Last Letters Matter Most

Circumstances Meaning of Life God's Sovereignty

Source: READER'S DIGEST, Dec 2003, p. 79, by Johnathan Powell

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2022-02-21

Scripture: Revelation 22:13

Author: Illustration Exchange
18

ILLUSTRATION

Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at an Elingsh uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer is at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae we do not raed ervey lteter by istlef but the wrod as a wlohe.

APPLICATION

There's a lesson to be gleaned from this little exercise. We must learn to read life the way we read words on a page, resisting the temptation to focus too much on the individual events, choosing instead to take it all in as a whole.

Jesus claims to be the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and End. Among other things, this suggests that the beginning and the end of all things are exactly as they should be.

Unfortunately, it's in the middle where we live, and it's a jumbled mess!  But God has not left us to wallow in the chaos and confusion.  By making sure the beginning and the end of all things are what they should be, God restores meaning to what's in the middle.

When we read life as a whole, the chaos in the middle preserves its proper meaning.   

"I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End" (Revelation 22:13).

Illustration Exchange

Letting Go Of Your Expectations

Expectations Church/Body of Christ God's Sovereignty

Source: "The Broken Arrow"

Contributed By: Janet Malone | Date Posted: 2017-05-03

Scripture: Romans 8:28

Author: Janet Malone
2

ILLUSTRATION

The first time I watched John Travolta in the movie, “Broken Arrow,” I had a difficult time following the plot because I was used to seeing him in comedies, like “Look Who’s Talking." Then he pulled out a gun on his friend and forced him to eject from a jet plane over the desert. I finally came to the conclusion that he had to be a bad guy, something I was not expecting. This so took me by surprise that I had to rewind the movie and start over again to see the movie as it was, not as I expected it to be.

APPLICATION

Our preconceived notions can prevent us from seeing what God is really up to.  We can miss what is right “before our eyes” and find ourselves continually "dissatisfied, impatient, angry, dismayed or disgusted”(ibid). When this happens, what we need to do is rewind and start over again, viewing the church through the eyes of a faith that believes that God can cause all things, even the flaws of the church, to "work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them" (Romans 8:28).

Our Predetermined Destiny

God's Sovereignty Prophecy God's Promises

Contributed By: Louis Harrison | Date Posted: 2016-12-12

Scripture: Revelation 21:5

Author: Louis Harrison
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The Man Without A Brain

God's Sovereignty Faith God's Provision

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2015-09-01

Scripture: Matthew 28:20

Author: Illustration Exchange
7

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Perfect Numbers Always Add Up

God's Sovereignty Trials Circumstances

Contributed By: Larry Lewis | Date Posted: 2015-05-01

Scripture: Romans 8:28

Author: Larry Lewis
4

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When Our Behavior Changes

Accountability God's Sovereignty God's Care

Contributed By: Erik Estep | Date Posted: 2014-07-11

Author: Erik Estep
2

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Shuffled Seven Times

God's Sovereignty Purpose Circumstances

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2013-01-08

Scripture: Isaiah 55:9

Author: Francis E. Su, et al / Illustration Exchange
8

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Who's To Say If It's Good or Bad?

Circumstances Faith God's Sovereignty

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2012-12-27

Scripture: Romans 8:28

Author: uknown
14

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An Old "Oh That's Bad, No That's Good" Story

God's Sovereignty Circumstances Humor

Contributed By: Ron Berget | Date Posted: 2012-11-28

Scripture: Genesis 37 ff. and Romans 8:28

Author: Ron Berget
9

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