A Question I Was Asked:

Did Abraham Have a Choice?

The Question:

Genesis 17:7 "...as for me behold my covenant is with you..." It appears to me as though Abram had a choice in this. Or some say, that God is sovereign and that, it would have happened even if Abram didn't choose, that God's plan will come to pass no matter what in a person life. I don't see this in scripture. Surely covenant is based on the agreement of both parties. please let me know your thoughts on this. Please reply. I need some answers.

UK Apologetics reply:

Okay, first of all you need to stand back a little and realise that God is far above us in all knowledge and understanding (Isaiah 46:8-10). He knows the end from the beginning although He is capable of putting that aside in His everyday dealings with people.

Let us look at this. This is all about the Abrahamic Covenant, one needs to read from verse one of chapter 17. I won't quote it all here for reasons of space. Let's look at the questioned bit:

7. I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you.
8. The whole land of Canaan, where you now reside as a foreigner, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God. (Genesis 17:7-8).

This promise of land, wealth, prosperity and much more was expanded even more later. It was fulfilled in the physical people of Israel to a great degree, but it is only finally and conclusively fulfilled in the Church which goes on to inherit Heaven and Earth and Eternal Life itself. It was fulfilled through the line of Isaac, the child of promise who was so clearly typical of Christ. On the part of Abraham, faithfulness and obedience was needed, plus the physical rite of circumcision for every male child.

Did Abraham have a choice? Well, he had already chosen since he was a man of great faith and wished to walk with the Lord. Yes, a covenant is an agreement between two parties. It is true that the will of the Eternal God cannot be thwarted and, if not Abraham, it would have still come about through somebody else but it is surely written in infinity that it would be Abraham, a man who is a biblical type of God the Father, just as his son, Isaac, was typical of Jesus Christ. It is true that God's plan will come to pass no matter what, yet He is able to do things in more than one way.

So the biblical covenants only occur between God and Man where the correct attitude, and agreement, is present so a choice (to follow the Lord) is already made by those whom the Lord chooses to work with.

Robin A. Brace. February 16th, 2013.