By Akin Ojumu

If indeed God is sovereign, of what purpose is the human will? If God is in control of absolutely everything, how then are human beings held responsible for their deeds? If the future is already preordained, how is it that man is held culpable for an already predetermined outcome?

“Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?” (Romans 11:33-34).

Throughout the Bible, God’s unsearchable judgments leave us bewildered. As we journey through Scripture, we find ourselves befuddled with the inscrutable ways of God. In our voyage through God’s Word the seeming contradictions in the ways of God leave our puny minds puzzled.

Here are just a few of the divine paradoxes we struggle with as we traverse through the vast expanse of His Word in our odyssey of faith.

Pharaoh’s Hardened Heart
God hardened Pharaoh’s heart, yet He punished Pharaoh and Egypt for their hardened hearts.

“But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and though I multiply my signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, Pharaoh will not listen to you. Then I will lay my hand on Egypt and bring my hosts, my people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great acts of judgment. The Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring out the people of Israel from among them.” (Exodus 7:3-5).

“For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.”” (Romans 9:17).

Assyrians as the Rod of God’s Punishment
God used Assyria as a rod of His punishment against Judah, yet He destroyed Assyria for being used as a rod of punishment against His people.

“Woe to Assyria, the rod of my anger and the staff in whose hands is My indignation.” (Isaiah 10:5-19).

Jacob is Loved, Esau is Hated
By divine election, Jacob was chosen for love above Esau. Yet, Edom, the descendants of Esau would be utterly despised, pillaged, and destroyed.

“I have loved you,” says the LORD. But you say, “How have you loved us?” “Is not Esau Jacob’s brother?” declares the LORD. “Yet I have loved Jacob 3but Esau I have hated. I have laid waste his hill country and left his heritage to jackals of the desert.”” (Malachi 1:2-3)

“As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”” (Romans 9:13).

Predestined for Salvation
Whereas we understand that those who are saved and would be saved have already been predestined long before the foundation of the earth. Yet, those who reject the Lord Jesus are condemned to eternal damnation for they have rejected God’s salvation.

“For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.” (Romans 8:29).

“Even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will.” (Ephesians 1:4-5).

Saved by Grace through Faith Alone
Whereas we understand that no man is saved by the works of righteousness but by faith. 

“By grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so no man may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

At the same time, we are admonished to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling.

“So then, my beloved…work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:12-13).

These are divine paradoxes of consequential reverberations and mysteries of monumental implications. While they may seem contradictory to man, they are as plain as day to the Almighty God who knows all things. In the eyes of the natural mind, these are irreconcilable concepts, but to the one who looks with the eyes of faith, they are as consistent as the nature of God. 

“For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” (1 Corinthians 1:25).

Irrespective of the brilliance, the human mind cannot fully comprehend God. No matter the ingenuity, the ways of God are unfathomable to man. The ways of God are not the ways of man; His ways are past finding out.

May God, by His grace, grant me the faith to believe in Him and may He enable me to trust in His Word without a shadow of doubt.


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