Knowing God: The Sovereignty of God, Part 2!

“My Counsel Shall Stand, and I Will Accomplish All My Purpose” – – Isaiah 46:8–11.

The sovereignty of God is the truth that all things are under His authority, and that nothing happens in this Universe without His control or consent. He is a God Who works, not just some things, but all things after the counsel and purpose of His own will (Romans 8:28; Ephesians 1:11). God’s purpose is all- inclusive and is never hindered or prevented (Isaiah 46:11) by anything or anyone. Nothing takes God by surprise! God does as He wills, when He wills, to whom He wills, and always as He wills.

The Westminster Confession of Faith states, “God from all eternity did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass; yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin, nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures, nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established.”

An historical attack upon the sovereignty of God is the philosophy known as Deism. Deism (derived from Latin “deus” meaning “god“) is a philosophical position that speculates that God (or in some cases, gods) does not directly intervene or interfere with world events. While the Deist affirms God as creator, he rejects divine revelation (the Scriptures) or divine intervention by God. In effect, the Deist claims that while God created the world, He then let it be and does not sovereignly involve Himself in the lives of humanity.

Deism gained popularity among intellectuals during the 18th century Age of Enlightenment, especially in Britain, France, Germany, and the United States. Deists were raised as Christians and believed in one God, but became disillusioned with organized religion and orthodox/biblical teachings such as the Trinity, biblical inerrancy, and the supernatural interpretation of events, such as miracles. It is widely held that Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin were Deists.

Regarding the sovereignty of God in human events and lives, John Calvin writes, “It were cold and lifeless to represent God as a momentary Creator, who completed his work once for all, and then left it. Here, especially, we must dissent from the profane, and maintain that the presence of the divine power is conspicuous, not less in the perpetual condition of the world then in its first creation.”

Calvin continues by saying, “If one falls among robbers, or ravenous beasts; if a sudden gust of wind at sea causes shipwreck; if one is struck down by the fall of a house or a tree; if another, when wandering through desert paths, meets with deliverance; or, after being tossed by the waves, arrives in port, and makes some wondrous hair—breadth escape from death — all these occurrences, prosperous as well as adverse, carnal sense will attribute to fortune. But those who have learned from the mouth of Christ that all the hairs of his head are numbered (Matthew 10:30), will look farther for the cause, and hold that all events whatsoever are governed by the secret counsel of God.”

One of my favorite actors is the late Rod Taylor. Australian by birth, he became a popular film star in the 1960’s with the television series Hong Kong and such film successes at The Time Machine, Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds, and one of my favorites, Fate is the Hunter, which is a 1964 American black-and-white aviation disaster film from 20th Century Fox.

The film’s storyline concerns the crash of a passenger airliner that killed all its passengers, with only one of its crew surviving. Pilot error seems to be the cause, until an airliner executive ramps up the investigation, refusing to believe that conclusion. Taylor portrays pilot Jack Savage who is initially suspected of drinking prior to takeoff and causing the crash that leaves flight attendant Martha Webster (Susanne Pleshette) the sole survivor of the flight.

Early in the investigation, it is found that Savage was seen in a bar as little as an hour before the flight. The captain’s wartime buddy, airline executive Sam C. McBane (Glenn Ford), is convinced of his friend’s innocence and doggedly investigates. Flashbacks deal with both Jack’s past and Sam meeting him, plus others they used to know, as well as Savage’s ex-wife and current girlfriend Sally Fraser (Nancy Kwan).

Jack Savage lives by a philosophy known as fate. During the course of the film he says to another wartime friend, “When your number’s up, why fight it, right? And if it’s not, why worry about it?” Sally introduces the idea of fate to McBane, who rejects it.

Fate, is the philosophy which is defined as an impersonal power or agency that predetermines and orders the course of events. Fate defines events as ordered or “inevitable” and unavoidable. This is a concept based on the belief that there is a fixed, impersonal, natural order to the universe, and in some conceptions, the cosmos.

The Bible says that the world is not ruled by impersonal forces such as fate or destiny. Rather, the Bible states unequivocally or plainly that God is in control of all that happens.

  • Exodus 4:10-11 – “But Moses said to the LORD, “Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.” Then the LORD said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the LORD?”
  • Psalm 115:1-3 – “Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness! Why should the nations say, “Where is their God?” Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases.”
  • Isaiah 45:1-7 – “Thus says the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have grasped, to subdue nations before him and to loose the belts of kings, to open doors before him that gates may not be closed: “I will go before you and level the exalted places, I will break in pieces the doors of bronze and cut through the bars of iron, I will give you the treasures of darkness and the hoards in secret places, that you may know that it is I, the LORD, the God of Israel, who call you by your name. For the sake of my servant Jacob, and Israel my chosen, I call you by your name, I name you, though you do not know me. I am the LORD, and there is no other, besides me there is no God; I equip you, though you do not know me, that people may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none besides me; I am the LORD, and there is no other. I form light and create darkness; I make well-being and create calamity; I am the LORD, who does all these things.”
  • Daniel 4:35 – “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?”

We may not understand why things happen the way they do, but we can place our trust in the LORD that He has a purpose for everything which occurs; even when we do not understand what that purpose is. This is because God is sovereign and he has determined that everything happens for a reason.

Oh, by the way, you may be wondering how the movie ended? Fate is the Hunter is available on You Tube. You may want to check it out. It is amazing how God can use seemingly insignificant items, like a simple cup of coffee, to play such a big part in people’s lives and to make a positive impact upon the lives of others.

Access monergism.com to find a host of free publications on the subject of the sovereignty of God.

Soli deo Gloria!

 

 

 

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