Just How Sovereign Is God?
This was posted by Justin Taylor on his blog, July 22, 2015. I’m posting it here in case you failed to read it. Don’t fail twice! Continue reading . . .
[This was posted by Justin Taylor on his blog, July 22, 2015. I’m posting it here in case you failed to read it. Don’t fail twice!]
I believe that every particle of dust that dances in the sunbeam does not move an atom more or less than God wishes—
that every particle of spray that dashes against the steamboat has its orbit, as well as the sun in the heavens—
that the chaff from the hand of the winnower is steered as the stars in their courses.
The creeping of an aphid over the rosebud is as much fixed as the march of the devastating pestilence—
the fall of sere leaves from a poplar is as fully ordained as the tumbling of an avalanche.
Does Scripture really teach this? I believe the answer is yes. Here is just a tiny sampling:
God Is Sovereign Over . . .
Seemingly random things:
The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD (Proverbs 16:33)
The heart of the most powerful person in the land:
The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will (Proverbs 21:1)
Our daily lives and plans:
A man’s steps are from the LORD; how then can man understand his way? (Proverbs 20:24)
Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand (Proverbs 19:21)
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”—yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. . . . Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that” (James 4:13-15).
“I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy (Romans 9:15-16).
As many as were appointed to eternal life believed (Acts 13:48).
For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified (Romans 8:29-30).
Life and death:
See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god beside me; I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand (Deuteronomy 32:39).
The LORD kills and brings to life; he brings down to Sheol and raises up (1 Samuel 12:6).
Then the LORD said to [Moses], “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the LORD?” (Exodus 4:11).
The death of God’s Son:
Jesus, [who was] delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men (Acts 2:23).
For truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place (Acts 4:27-28).
Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief. . . . (Isaiah 53:10).
Is a trumpet blown in a city, and the people are not afraid? Does disaster come to a city, unless the LORD has done it? (Amos 3:6).
I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the LORD, who does all these things (Isaiah 45:7).
“The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong. . . . “Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips (Job 1:21-22; 2:10).
[God] sent a man ahead of them, Joseph, who was sold as a slave. . . . As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today (Psalm 105:17; Genesis 50:21).
[God] works all things according to the counsel of his will (Ephesians 1:11).
Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases (Psalm 115:3).
I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted (Job 42:2).
All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?” (Daniel 4:35).
And since compatibilism is true, none of this contradicts the equally biblical teaching that Satan is “the god of this world” (2 Cor. 4:4) and that human choices are genuine and significant.