In my last post, I stated that our concept of love, sovereignty and eternity has a great impact upon the way we understand God and, consequently, human beings and their relationship with God and their role on earth. In this post, we will begin to consider what it means that God is sovereign.
As we investigate the nature and character of God, I will emphasize that He is supreme in each area considered. Sovereignty relates to authority. God is supreme in authority. Regarding His sovereignty / authority, we will look at two common views.
In this post, I will introduce the two views. In future posts, we will consider their Biblical legitimacy and their practical ramifications.
The first view can be referred to as Meticulous Providence. According to this view, God exercises absolute control over all details of life; everything is under some form of strict Divine cause and effect (“pan-causality”). This is a very deterministic approach. Some proponents of this view deny that man is free while others claim that it is compatible to say that God causes / determines all things, and man is free, a view known as compatibalism. In some way, everything that has happened, is happening and will happen is God’s will. Evil, then, is a mystery and must have a good purpose in the mind and plan of God.
The second view might be called General Providence / Sovereignty. Proponents of this view recognize that God is sovereign (though proponents of the previous view deny this). According to this view, God, in a sovereign choice, gave human beings a dimension of authority / sovereignty and freedom to exercise this authority. God is supreme in authority but not the only Being who exercises authority. All others who exercise authority will, consequently, give an account to the supreme authority for their free choices and actions. God is actively and dynamically governing, directing and providing, and human beings are accountable for their response. Along with this, we can add that humans are truly creative beings, able to initiate in some measure, not just respond.
One might ask how two significantly differing views might be drawn from Scripture. In our next post, we will evaluate passages of Scripture referenced in support of each view, attempting to find the balance needed to embrace a Biblical, reasonable and practical position.