The Great Biblical Antinomy

Wesley and Whitfield debates
And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.  But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe. (John 6: 35-36 NKJV).
Some of you who just read the title, are saying to yourselves, “what does that mean?” Don’t feel bad, the first time I heard the word, antinomy, I had to look up the definition.  Antinomy is a contradiction between two beliefs or conclusions that are in themselves reasonable.  Side by side, we see the sovereignty of God and the responsibility of man.  How do we reconcile these two?
God seems to have created a dynamic tension between two opposite theological truths.  Pastor Alistair Begg, says they are “seemingly irreconcilable, yet, both irrefutable.”   A nightmare for those who write systematic theology.  Or is it?
Most Christians choose one side or other of this issue.  In doing so, they either over or under emphasize God’s sovereignty or man’s responsibility.  They asked Charles Spurgeon how he reconciled the two. His answer was, “I don’t. You never have to reconcile friends.”  It is possible that in God’s divine wisdom they are not contradictory.
Man is free, and God is sovereign.  How does that work?  I don’t think the Bible tells us.  “The secret things belong to the Lord our God,” Deuteronomy 29: 29 NLT.  What God has not revealed we should not try to explain.  It is irrefutable that the Bible teaches that God is sovereign and man is responsible.  Stray too far in one direction, excluding the other, and you may never be able to “rightly divide the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15 NKJV).

Image used with permission by Microsoft.

Ken Barnes the author of “The Chicken Farm and Other Sacred Places”  YWAM Publishing

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