Home Podcast Thomas Jay Oord: What If God Is Not Absolutely Sovereign?

Thomas Jay Oord: What If God Is Not Absolutely Sovereign?

thomas jay oord

Thomas Jay Oord is a theologian and philosopher most widely recognized for his contributions to research on love, science and religion, and relational theology. He is a twelve-time Faculty Award winning professor and teaches at institutions around the world. Tom has written several best-selling and award-winning books, including his most recent, God Can’t. He and his wife, Cheryl, have three daughters, a son-in-law, and a granddaughter.

Key Questions for Thomas Jay Oord

-How does God’s uncontrolling love relate to the idea that God is unable to stop evil or suffering?

-What would you say to people who ask why God performs miracles in one situation, but not another?

-How would you help ministry leaders who believe in God’s absolute sovereignty to understand your theory?

-Where do you find scriptural support for your theory?

Key Quotes from Thomas Jay Oord

“God simply does not have the power to override free will. In fact, I want to claim God doesn’t have the power to control nature and the natural processes.” 

“If you look carefully at the Christian tradition, we find many theologians, in fact the majority of Christian theologians who have said that there are certain things God can’t do. God can’t do what is illogical. God can’t decide to stop existing…God can’t sin.”

“My proposal is that God’s love is always uncontrolling.”

“I prefer the word ‘almighty’ over ‘sovereign,’ [to describe God] although I could use sovereign if I wanted to.”

“God simply cannot override the freedom and agency of creatures in creation, can’t withdraw it, can’t fail to provide it. And so this uncontrolling love is the way that God acts moment by moment at every level of creation and has been doing so, in my view, everlastingly.”

“I say, God doesn’t allow evil, as if God could stop it. God in fact is working all the time, moment by moment to overcome evil, but God simply can’t prevent evil singlehandedly.”

“We know that perfectly loving humans who could stop evils would do so. Why don’t we think a perfectly loving God would stop the evils if God could do so?”

“I do believe in miracles…but I don’t think that word ‘intervene’ is a very good word to use.”

“I think miracles do occur and God is the primary actor, but they’re always occurring when creatures cooperate or the conditions of creation are aligned for that miracle.”

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Jason serves as the Chief Strategy Officer at PastorServe, a ministry committed to strengthening the Church by serving pastors through personal coaching and church consulting. He also hosts FrontStage BackStage, a podcast and YouTube show, that helps pastors embrace healthy, well-balanced leadership as they develop a sustainable rhythm for life and ministry. Prior to joining the PastorServe team, Jason served as Vice President of Ministry Mobilization at Outreach, Inc., and as the Executive Director of the National Back to Church Sunday movement. Additionally, Jason served for nearly two decades in pastoral leadership, primarily as a lead pastor, in several contexts, including church plant re-launch, multisite church, multiethnic urban church, and an established suburban church. His experience as a lead pastor has provided numerous opportunities to coach and mentor pastors across the country. Jason and his beautiful wife, Monica, are the proud parents of six children and live on Anastasia Island, Florida. @jasondaye