How would you define the sovereignty of God?


How would you define the sovereignty of God?   By R.C. Sproul

    I have a close friend who came to this country from England. His name is John Guest. He is an Episcopalian priest in Pittsburgh. When he first came to the United States, he visited an antiquarian in Philadelphia, and there he saw some slogans and mementos and poster boards that actually date back to the eighteenth century, during the American Revolution. He saw signs like “Don’t tread on me” and “No taxation without representation,” but the one that caught his eye was the one that said in bold letters, “We serve no sovereign here.”   When John looked at that, as an Englishman, he said, “How can I possibly communicate the idea of the kingdom of God in a nation that has a built-in allergy to sovereignty?”

    As Americans we’re used to a democratic process of rule. When you’re talking about sovereignty, you’re talking about government and about authority. From a biblical perspective, when the Scriptures speak of God’s sovereignty, they reveal God’s governmental authority and power over his entire universe.

    In my classes in the seminary, I raise questions like, “Is God in control of every single molecule in the universe?” When I raise that question, I say, “The answer to that question will not determine whether you are a Christian or a Moslem, a Calvinist or an Arminian, but it will determine whether you are a theist or an atheist.” Sometimes the students can’t see the connection. And I say to them, “Don’t you realize that if there is one molecule in this universe running around loose outside the scope or the sphere of God’s divine control and authority and power, then that single maverick molecule may be the grain of sand that changes the entire course of human history, that blocks God from keeping the promises he has made to his people?” It may be that one maverick molecule that will prevent Christ from the consummation of his kingdom. For if there is one maverick molecule, it would mean that God is not sovereign. Maverick Molecule? If there is any element of the universe that is outside of his authority, then he no longer is God over all. In other words, sovereignty belongs to deity. Sovereignty is a natural attribute of the Creator. God owns what he makes, and he rules what he owns.

Reprinted by permission of Ligonier Ministries from “Now That’s A Good Question” by R.C. Sproul.This book and others are available at 


One Response

  1. I appreciate your post. I am fascinated by the way the Biblical Narrative paints the Sovereignty of God. I just posted on my blog at about the Sovereignty of God in the book of Esther. I invite you to comment on it.

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