From Exegetica Publishing and Dr. Christopher Cone, The Sofa Rule , an Amazon #1 Hot New Release Best Seller in its category,

proposes Biblical Resolutions to seeming paradoxes considered historically by Calvinism, Arminianism, the problem of evil, open theism, and more. The Sofa Rule examines what the Bible actually says, compares that with popular philosophical views and theological understandings, and then considers why these things matter in your everyday life.

Title: The Sofa Rule: A Biblical Approach to God’s Sovereignty and Human Responsibility

ISBN: 978-0998280530

Price: Paperback – $11 Kindle – $9

Publisher: Exegetica Publishing

Pages: 247

Author: Dr. Christopher Cone


Chapter 1

The Game is Afoot

For me it was a remarkable and memorable evening. I was in the room. It was the first day of the seminary’s semester, and the first day of my teaching ministry at this particular school. I was an eager twenty-three-year-old ready to test drive my recently attained seminary degree and to begin corrupting the next generation of seminary students. So for the first time, I was allowed in the room. It was sacred ground from my perspective. Others might have thought of it simply as a faculty lounge, but it was more than that to me. It was known to most as “the gold room,” named matter-of-factly for the aging furniture that accommodated its guests. But from my vantage point the room was golden for other reasons, namely due to the wisdom and character of the teachers that enjoyed it. In that room faculty would gather to pray and discuss the issues of the day before heading to class.

            Initially, I sat there quietly and respectfully, recognizing that there were others who had far more to offer than I. But as a discussion developed it was centered on issues pertaining to the sovereignty of God and human accountability. I saw an opportunity and I just couldn’t resist. “Did God predestine Adam to fail? I asked. The question punctuated the discussion, and there was a thoughtful lull. “That’s a tough question…” responded more than one in the room. We discussed for a while, with no resolution – only an uncomfortable tension, as each person wrestled with the implications of every possible answer. After all were suitably stumped, we prayed, thanking God for how incredible He is, and off to class we went.

            I will never forget that brief discussion in that room that evening, for it was in that moment that I found myself first dissatisfied with the proposed resolutions of the apparent paradox of God’s sovereignty and concurrent human responsibility. The two most popular explanations (Calvinism and Arminianism) were unsatisfactory to my skeptical mind, and I thought there had to be a better understanding. Now, I am sure that many have drawn the same conclusions over the years, and I don’t pretend to have anything unique to bring to the discussion, but those many years ago, I committed to seeking a Biblical resolution, rather than one grounded in historical theology or extra-biblical philosophy.

            On the one hand, we have Paul telling us how unfathomable and unsearchable are the ways of God,[1] and on the other, he prays that believers will grow in their understanding, and that they will be receptive to the breadth, length, height, and depth of His incredible love.[2] In another context, we have Jesus telling the disciples plainly about His impending death and resurrection, yet they were not understanding what He was saying.[3] Later, Jesus challenged other disciples with the reality that His death and resurrection had been revealed with clarity in earlier Scriptures.[4] Those things that the disciples had not understood about Him had not been understood because of our characteristic foolishness and slowness of heart to believe the word of God, and Jesus called them on it. Further, we are told that God’s ways and thoughts are so much higher and beyond our own,[5] but in that same context we are told about the effectiveness and sufficiency of His word.[6] This tells us much about where we should search for truth.

In short, if eternal life is ultimately to know God,[7] and we have that life right now,[8] then our quest to learn and to know Him does not begin at heaven’s door. It begins the moment we believe. At our new birth we begin a journey of learning and discovery – an adventure in which we can fathom any unfathomable things which His word has revealed. Our knowledge can extend as far as He has communicated, and we need not be lost in speculations and uncertainty when we can instead stand firmly and confidently in the truth that He has given us.

So, the game is afoot. Our grand adventure is to learn all we can of God from the eternal truth He has revealed. In our zeal for learning of Him, we must exercise caution only in not going beyond what is written.[9] We are given the creation to examine, and in it we discover many questions we ought to ask. Some answers lie within the creation itself. But many of the questions find their answers only in Scripture. So we must examine both the creation and His word tirelessly and humbly, eagerly receiving what we can know of our Lord, in His design. Our loving Father perhaps plays a bit of hide and seek with us, telling us we can find something of Him in creation,[10] and that we should search diligently to find more of Him in His word.[11] He has given of Himself freely and revealed Himself in such a way as to be understood. Of course, we have no means of knowing Him beyond the limits of His revelation, so we must be cautious about speculations that cannot lead to certainty. We cannot know (of Him) what He has not told us. But we can know what He has designed for us to know. Where the line is between the two is not our concern. Let us simply question and examine until the limits are exhausted.

The game is afoot. Let’s play it well! The prize is a greater and more certain knowledge of the One who loves us and knows us more than we could ever imagine. As you enjoy the game, I pray that Biblical resolutions to the apparent paradoxes will become evident to you. I believe they are resolutions communicated straightforwardly in Scripture and illustrated beautifully in many aspects of everyday life – even through a simple rule pertaining to a particular dark brown sofa – a sofa to which before this work is done, you will be introduced. 

[1] Romans 11:33.

[2] Ephesians 3:14-19.

[3] Luke 18:31-34.

[4] Luke 24:24-27.

[5] Isaiah 55:8-9.

[6] Isaiah 55:10-11.

[7] John 17:3.

[8] John 6:47.

[9] 1 Corinthians 4:6.

[10] Romans 1:20.

[11] E.g., 2 Timothy 2:15, John 5:39.