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The subject of God's sovereignty can be confusing for some. The problem begins with the definition of the word 'sovereign.'  A dictionary definition includes the words; supreme, superlative in quality, undisputed ascendancy, unlimited, enjoying autonomy, freedom from external control. In this definition there is no implication of sovereign meaning ‘active control over all events.’

God’s sovereignty means that God, not man, is responsible for creating and sustaining all things, and that God had the privilege of establishing the laws and boundaries of His creation. However, once created and established, God Himself is bound to what His word has decreed. This is where many are confused.

Some see God as capricious and without rules of conduct. They see Him as acting according to whims, intervening when it pleases Him and ignoring situations in which He is not interested. This line of thinking unjustly accuses God and attacks His very nature of love.

In order to understand how God's sovereignty affects His creation we must return to the beginning. In Genesis we see that God created all things by His Word. He established order and boundaries. All living things were given the ability to reproduce, but only after their 'kind.'  Pine trees will always produce pine trees and dogs will only produce dogs. Though God is sovereign, He will not change the order that He has established. To do so would disqualify Him as God, since His Word would not be immutable.

When God created man, He created him in His own image. Man was equipped to accomplish God’s purpose in creation. Man was given dominion and authority over the earth and the responsibility to govern the earth according to the nature of the Creator.

Man was created with God's identity (image), endued with His authority (dominion), blessed with His ability (blessing) and commissioned with His work (purpose) to subdue the earth and be fruitful and multiply. (Gen. 1:26-28)

Psalm 115:16 declares that God gave the earth to the children of men. His plan was for man to derive his life from God and to accomplish his purpose in harmony with God. However, man sinned. That sin effectively 'unplugged' man from God. He lost his identity, his authority, his blessing and his purpose. God now found Himself on the outside looking in, so to speak. He had given the earth to man, and man by sin had given it to the devil (see Luke 4:5-6). God is still the Lord and owner of His creation, but His 'tenant' had broken the lease.

For God to now intervene in the events of the world, he would have to make agreements or covenants with men. Without going into great detail here, we can find covenants throughout the Bible which enabled God to deal with man and at times judge sin. Blood must be shed for there to be covenant, and a system of sacrifices was employed. The first such sacrifice is found in the Garden of Eden when God clothed Adam and Eve with the skins of animals. Animals had to die and their blood was shed in order to cover the nakedness of Adam and Eve.

Because of sin, how does God now intervene in the affairs of men? Does God actively control our lives, or does He actively permit events in order to 'perfect' us?  Again we will return to the beginning for some help. Man, created in the image of God, had a free will. It was necessary that man be able to choose because God did not want a creation of robots, but of men and women who would love Him of their own volition. In order for that free will to exist there had to be an option for disobedience. That option was the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

We see that God did not intervene and stop Adam and Eve from sinning, nor did He even stop the serpent from enticing Eve. He did not because He could not. He had given the earth to man and told him to subdue it and guard it. It was up to Adam to take charge, and he failed. God did not stop Adam from failing even though He knew the horrible consequences that were being released into creation.

When Cain became jealous of his brother and slew him, God did not intervene. This was the first murder, the first tragedy recorded since the fall. Why didn't God stop this murder?  Why didn't He protect innocent and faithful Abel from a terrible death?  The fact that God didn't intervene reveals much. God is limited by His Word. He is not less sovereign, but His sovereignty had decreed that the earth belonged to man. And because of sin man was cut off from the life of God. Thus, God was bound by His Word to not intervene.

As we follow this reasoning throughout the Bible, we see God establishing covenants and exhorting men to choose life and to obey in order to be blessed. That was God's will, but man doesn't always (seldom) do what God wants. And so man suffers.

In order to redeem mankind and succeed in His purpose to have a family created in His image who loved Him of their own free will, God had to find a perfect man who could defeat sin (live a sinless life), defeat the enemy (Satan) and defeat death. No man is able. All are born with a nature separated from God and thus subject to sin, the devil and death.

Therefore, God became a man (Jesus) and was born sinless. He was tempted in all ways yet without sin. He defeated the devil in a face to face confrontation. And He defeated death by rising again.

This victory of redemption now opens the way for all those who believe to once again bear His image, have His authority, receive His blessing and accomplish His purpose.

BarryBennett.org
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Author Biography

Barry Bennett
Web site: Barry Bennett
 
Barry came to Andrew Wommack Ministries in 2007 and worked in the Phone Center as a prayer minister before accepting a position answering the scriptural and doctrinal questions that would come to the ministry via mail and email. Today, Barry serves as the Dean of Students and as an instructor at Charis Bible College in Colorado. Barry is passionate about teaching the practical truths of God's word.
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