I have attributed sovereignty to God as long as I can remember. I have always believed that God was in control. That belief has framed how I see things; however, I know that God being sovereign is not readily embraced by all.
But before we go on, what is meant by the sovereignty of God?
The Theopedia defines it as:
The Sovereignty of God is the biblical teaching that all things are under God’s rule and control, and that nothing happens without his direction or permission. God works not just some things but all things according to the counsel of His own will (see Ephesians 1:11). His purposes are all-inclusive and never thwarted (see Isaiah 46:11); nothing takes him by surprise. The sovereignty of God is not merely that God has the power and right to govern all things, but that He does so, always and without exception. In other words, God is not merely sovereign de jure (in principle), but sovereign de facto (in practice).
I don’t find this hard to believe and accept because I have seen this control factor, throughout my life beginning as a child with my parents, and elders. My mom called the shots. Things were to be done according to her own will. The same can be said for my dad, though his involvement in my life was limited.
Don’t you remember being a child and thinking that your mom had eyes in the back of her head? This literally happened to me once with my son when he was about 3 or 4 years old, and I must have anticipated what he was about to do, and warned him before he put his hand to it. He was super surprised that I caught him in the act with my back to him.
If we, in our limited capacity, are able to exercise control and even anticipate certain situations, how much more would God who knows all things? Of course, I must state that I am also a believer that God is the Creator of the Universe, and because he created the world and all that exists within, why wouldn’t God have control? It’s his world. Yes, he calls the shots. In fact, in the parable Jesus was sharing of the householder and the laborers, Jesus says:
Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Matthew 20:15a
As stated earlier, we actually are used to seeing control and rule being exercised as a part of life. As parents, we exercise it over our children, employers over employees, and then governments over its citizens. So why not God?
Our God is in the heavens, He does whatever he pleases. Psalm 115:3
The LORD does whatever please Him, thoughout all heaven and earth, and on the seas and in their depths! Psalm 135:6
The earth is the LORD’s and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. Psalm 24:1
What makes this doctrine difficult? Is it because we only want to see him as a God of love? God’s attributes are not limited to love, he also is a God of righteousness, justice and wrath. I believe that because we have it ingrained in us that God is a God of love; our minds cannot fathom how a God of love can be the author of calamity, our loved ones’ demise, allowing some to thrive, while others live in desperation.
How can a God of love allow evil? For a deeper look, theologian John Piper offers a few articles on the sovereignty of God including Can God Be Sovereign Over All Sin and Still Be Good?. This audio transcript offers insight how the sovereignty of God works in the realm of man and free will.
This emphasis on the sovereignty of God, does not negate man’s responsibility. Man will have to answer for their sins. (Romans 3:23) God commands all men everywhere to repent of their sins. (Acts 17:30)
This truth of God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility is seen in the Apostle Peter’s sermon:
“Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know–23 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.”
I agree that this doctrine is difficult to understand, much less explain. However, in my reading, author, Anthony Carter used Wayne Grudem’s analogy, which I found helpful. Mr. Grudem uses the Shakespearean play Macbeth, where the character Macbeth murders King Duncan. Grudem asks: “Who killed King Duncan?”
Grudem states that on one level it would be correct to state that Macbeth killed King Duncan, but on another level, it would be correct to state that playwright, William Shakespeare, killed King Duncan. Yet because we say that Shakespeare killed King Duncan, does not mean that Macbeth did not kill King Duncan. In fact, both are correct; Shakespeare as the creator of the play, and Macbeth, as the character in the play.
Grudem explains, “In similar fashion, we can understand that God fully causes things in one way (as Creator), and we fully cause things in another way (as creatures).
Although it is difficult for my finite mind to fully comprehend or reconcile, I fully believe it, embrace it, take comfort in it. I will discuss this in my post, Living Under God’s Sovereignty.
I agree with Dr. R.C.Sproul who says: “There are no maverick molecules running around loose. God is sovereign.”
What do you say? Do you believe in the sovereignty of God?