Is God Sovereign?

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?  O 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?

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22 thoughts on “Is God Sovereign?

  1. Hi Barbara, excellent article.Can I mention some Biblical insight regarding Gods sovereignty? It’s also good to mention Gods sovereignty along with mans responsibility in the spirit of the Apostle Peter in the book of Acts:2:14 where he says “Jesus who was delivered up by the hands of lawless men by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God was crucified ” God is sovereign even in the actions of mans responsibility yet God is Holy and without blemish even in the sinful acts of mankind of which man is culpable and guilty.These true truths are not antagonistic yet mysteriously complex in the same manner of a Swiss watch with all its complexities on the inside while beautiful on the outside and giving out synchronized perfect timing.A balanced Biblical view will put things in clarity and in perspective with the help of the Holy Spirit.I hope this is helpful sister.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for reading and providing your feedback. The Acts 2:14 scripture account is a perfect account of God accomplishing his will while man went about doing what they wanted to do in crucifying Jesus. I agree it is mysterious. Such knowledge is too wonderful to me, I cannot attain to it. Thanks for commenting on my page!

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    1. Hi Barbara, excellent article.Can I mention some Biblical insight regarding Gods sovereignty? It’s also good to mention Gods sovereignty along with mans responsibility in the spirit of the Apostle Peter in the book of Acts:2:14 where he says “Jesus who was delivered up by the hands of lawless men by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God was crucified ” God is sovereign even in the actions of mans responsibility yet God is Holy and without blemish even in the sinful acts of mankind of which man is culpable and guilty.These true truths are not antagonistic yet mysteriously complex in the same manner of a Swiss watch with all its complexities on the inside while beautiful on the outside and giving out synchronized perfect timing.A balanced Biblical view will put things in clarity and in perspective with the help of the Holy Spirit.I hope this is helpful sister.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Of course, I believe in the sovereignty of God. But no more in the way some people have generally come to accept the teaching, namely that God is responsible for everything that happens to us – whether good or bad or that whatever would be would be as God controls everything.

    That would not true, in my opinion, because we are largely the product of our choices and the intervening forces around us. It is inappropriate for us to blame God when bad things happen in our lives or the lives of those we love.

    I accept that God can bring out ‘good’ out of our ‘bad’ experiences. But it doesn’t mean He would deliberately cause/allow bad things to happen to us so He can bring some ‘good’ out from them. That would paint God in a bad light (and unfortunately that’s what some Christians I know believe). I believe that “The Lord is the answer to all our problems. He is not the problem.”

    As Andrew Wommack explains in one article, “God is sovereign in the sense that He is paramount and supreme. There is no one higher in authority or power, but that does not mean He exercises His power by controlling everything in our lives. God has given us the freedom to choose. He has a plan for us. He seeks to reveal that plan to us and urge us in that direction, but we choose. He doesn’t make our choices for us.” I would highly recommend the article to anyone seeking to have a better understanding of the sovereignty of God. Please allow me to paste the link here: http://www.awmi.net/reading/teaching-articles/sovereignty_god/ . Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Victor – Thank you for reading my post and responding. I agree with you that God has given us freedom to choose, only our choice is limited due to our sin nature. Ephesians 2:1 says that we are dead in our trespasses and sins. We are born spiritually dead. All of our choices are within the capacity of being dead spiritually. Romans 3:10-12 Says that there are none that seek after God, not one. That would include all of us. We would never choose Christ until he first chooses us. John 6:44,65 Yet, we are responsible because calls all men everywhere to repent and believe on him. Acts 17:30.

      I agree that we cannot blame God, but as a result of sin, we are living under the curse of sin. I do not believe that believing God is in control is a “faith killer” as Andrew Wommack suggests. No the word sovereign is not mentioned, but nor is the Word “Trinity”, however, both are clearly taught in the scriptures. I have only cited a few of those scriptures that demonstrate his sovereignty.

      However Victor, I resign myself that we won’t agree on this one. Thanks for reading and providing your input. I do appreciate the discussion!

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  3. Here are my very honest thoughts.

    This is not a complaint with you, necessarily, but my big struggle with “sovereignty folks” is that they seem in such a rush to defend God’s plans that they ignore his heart. “Don’t hurt!” they holler with a big smile and outstretched arms. “God’s got a wonderful plan for all this! Rejoice in his will!” I would never tell that to the grieving young man who was beaten and shamed and abused by his father for his entire childhood. He would hear it as “God is indifferent to your pain”. That would only distance him from God, when in reality, God is furious about what’s happened to him. Why did it happen, then? I don’t know. But I know this: God is outraged and heartbroken over what is happening on this earth. If we’re going to preach God’s sovereignty, we must not do so at the expense of his heart.

    I do agree with “everything by his direction or permission”, but for me, there’s a huge distinction between direction and permission.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Brandon, Although I cannot comprehend the Sovereignty of God, I would absolutely never, ever use his sovereignty to tell someone in pain that this is God’s will for them. He tells us in his word to weep with those who weep, to let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, to consider others before ourselves. This is a truth that is not understood nor accepted by all. I count this as a truth that is too high, and too wonderful for me to fully attain. However, I accept it fully. My pea brain doesn’t have to be able to explain it or understand, mine is to believe that he is the Great I Am God and all things are in and under his control. So, I hope that you’re not counting me as the “sovereignty folks”. But if that is how I am identified, I will take it. Thanks for giving your input! I really do appreciate it.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Also, Job would be a great example of his permissive will, right? So he is ultimately in control of all things just as the Bible proclaims. I also just thought about Joseph and his brothers. Joseph last declaration to his brothers, “you meant it for evil, but God meant it for good.” God’s purposes are always accomplished.

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  4. God’s Sovereignity is frightening. If we believe He is sovereign de facto, then, is God evil? We have no problem judging human beings as evil, but if God is in complete control and made human beings as they are, what does that say about His nature?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kristen, too funny. I had just updated my post. I thought about this last night and thought that I had to give the contrast, and now I see you raise the very point. God is a god of love, but he is also a God of righteousness, justice and wrath. I just plugged it in, and was about to check out and saw that you commented. Thank you for reading and providing your input!

      Liked by 2 people

  5. This is a great post and timely with my journey. I do believe that God is sovereign de jure as well as sovereign de facto. My question after reading this is, “how do you completely and fully trust a God that is not sovereign?” This would certainly lead one to question the validity of trust in a God who is not sovereign to be able to control all areas of your life. Of course, this will lead to deeper discussions. With the current culture of doing things your way, being in control of your own destiny, not believing in the validity of hell or satan, New Age theology and other subjective alternatives, it is important as well as an eternal for believers. Believers have to accept the sovereignty of God.

    Liked by 4 people

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