God’s Sovereignty and Our Responsibility | Derek Thomas

from Ligonier Ministries

God is sovereign in creation, providence, redemption, and judgment. That is a central assertion of Christian belief and especially in Reformed theology. God is King and Lord of all. To put this another way: nothing happens without God’s willing it to happen, willing it to happen before it happens, and willing it to happen in the way that it happens. Put this way, it seems to say something that is expressly Reformed in doctrine. But at its heart, it is saying nothing different from the assertion of the Nicene Creed: “I believe in God, the Father Almighty.” To say that God is sovereign is to express His almightiness in every area.

God is sovereign in creation. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1). Apart from God, there was nothing. And then there was something: matter, space, time, energy. And these came into being ex nihilo—out of nothing. The will to create was entirely God’s. The execution was entirely His. There was no metaphysical “necessity” to create; it was a free action of God.

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God’s Sovereignty | Ligonier Ministries

“I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy” (Ex. 33:19b).
– Exodus 33:19B

Arminians (semi-Pelagians) know the Lord is all-powerful (Job 42:1–2) and can stop or start any event if He so desires. Arminians also affirm the Creator’s complete knowledge of the future (Isa. 46:8–10) even if they do not attribute causation to God in the same sense that Augustinians (Calvinists) do. Therefore, Arminians, no less than Calvinists, believe the Lord foreordains all things. For example, if God knows He will stop me from wearing every shirt I own today except my green one, then the Arminian has to admit that I must wear my green shirt. The event is established; it is foreordained.

As Dr. R.C. Sproul has said, “There is no maverick molecule if God is sovereign.” If He cannot control the tiniest bits of the universe, then we cannot trust Him to keep His word. The Lord vowed to bring Abraham’s sons out of Egypt (Gen. 15:12–16), but if Joseph was not the object of his father’s favoritism, his brothers would not have envied him. If they had not envied him, they would not have sold him to the Ishmaelites, Israel would not have gone into Egypt, and God could not have kept His promise to the patriarch (37–50). Continue reading God’s Sovereignty | Ligonier Ministries