Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Traits of God's Will

The following is from Jonathan Edwards' Freedom of the Will.
The following things belong to the sovereignty of God: viz. (1.) Supreme, universal, and infinite power: whereby he is able to do what he pleases, without control, without any confinement of that power, without any subjection, in the least measure, to any other power; and so without any hindrance or restraint, that it should be either impossible, or at all difficult, for him to accomplish his will; and without any dependance of his power on any other power, from whence it should be derived, or which it should stand in any need of; so far from this, that all other power is derived from him, and is absolutely dependent on him.

(2.) That he has supreme authority; absolute and most perfect right to do what he wills, without subjection to any superior authority, or any derivation of authority from any other, or limitation by any distinct independent authority, either superior, equal, or inferior; he being the head of all dominion, and fountain of all authority; and also without restraint by any obligation, implying either subjection, derivation, or dependence, or proper limitation.

(3.) That his will is supreme, underived, and independent on any thing without himself; being in every thing determined by his own counsel, having no other rule but his own wisdom; his will not being subject to, or restrained by, the will of any other, and other wills being perfectly subject to his.

(4.) That his wisdom, which determines his will, is supreme, perfect, underived, self-sufficient, and independent; so that it may be said, as in Isaiah 40:14, ' With whom took he counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of judgment, and taught him knowledge, and showed to him the way of understanding? —There is no other Divine sovereignty but this; and this is properly absolute sovereignty: no other is desirable; nor would any other be honourable or happy and, indeed, there is no other conceivable or possible: It is the glory and greatness of the Divine Sovereign, that God’s will is determined by his own infinite, all-sufficient wisdom in every thing; and in nothing at all is either directed by any inferior wisdom, or by no wisdom; whereby it would become senseless arbitrariness, determining and acting without reason, design, or end. [source]