God’s Sovereignty Vs. Our Free Will :: By David Cogburn

God’s Sovereignty Vs. Our Free Will aka Leo, the Hunter and the Goat 

Probably a better description of this article is Hornet’s Nest.  There might not be a more controversial topic in Christianity today and since the beginning than God’s sovereignty vs. our free will.  After all, who is in control?  Are we in control of our free will or is God in control of it?  At first thought it seems impossible to have free will and someone else be in control of it, right?  Let’s see if we can come up with an example that might demonstrate this.

I have always thought of God’s sovereignty as our free will “under” God’s control.  That seems like a contradiction in terms, but is it?  Let’s see how that might look in a way that makes sense.  This example is only a “microcosm” of the way things really are, and my desire with this example is “not” to create debate. And I realize many might see hundreds of ways to shoot holes in this example; nevertheless, let me present it.

Leo is a lion living in the wild on the plains of Africa.  He loves his life and enjoys his free will to do whatever he wants to do.  Leo is a lesser-species animal.  There is a Hunter who is a higher-species man who has a plan.  His plan is to go to the plains of Africa and capture a lion for the Fort Worth zoo.  He goes there, and one day He spots Leo taking a nap.  He decides Leo will be the lion He captures and takes back to the Fort Worth zoo.  So He takes a goat and ties him up to a tree not far from where Leo is sleeping, and He puts a net in the tree to capture Leo.

Finally Leo wakes up after a long nap and he is extremely hungry.  He looks over and sees this goat in the shade of a tree.  With his free will he desires to eat this goat for lunch and sneaks up on it.  Just before pouncing on the goat, a net falls down out of the tree, capturing Leo for the Hunter; and Leo ends up going to the Fort Worth zoo.

Okay, now what has just happened here?  The higher-species Hunter man has a plan to take Leo to the Fort Worth zoo.  Leo has free will and used it to go after the goat.  Did the sovereignty, if you will, of the higher-species Hunter “force” the lower-species animal Leo to go after that goat, or did Leo do that with his own free will?  This would be a “tiny example” of a lesser specie’s free will being under the control of a higher species’ plans.

If we are to “assume” that Hunter man is God in this example, then the Hunter, knowing the future, knows Leo is going to go after the goat and be captured by the net, even though Leo went after the goat with his own free will.

In reality, this example is microscopic compared to the way things truly are in terms of God’s “plans” and our free will.  We do what we do when we want to do it; but God always has a “way” to accomplish His plan despite us not having a clue He is involved.  Perhaps the Hunter, Leo and the goat can “finally” put an end to this great debate.  HA!  I wish.  But I hope you found it interesting anyway.

Thank you and many blessings.


David Cogburn