Souvereignty / Souveränität [Gottes]

Sadly, we confront a deep conflict among Christians—a volatile difference of opinion over the sovereignty of God that we would rather avoid. Yet this vital issue can’t be escaped, for we face it throughout Scripture. The disagreement is not whether God is sovereign. Both sides agree that He has always been “in total control” of this e…ntire universe, still is, and always will be. The argument (yes, that is, unfortunately, what it too often becomes) involves the question: “What does it mean that God is sovereign and in control of His universe?”

Christians take great comfort in reminding themselves, especially in times of distress, “God is still on the throne—He’s in control.” That is true—but seemingly forgotten is the fact that God was on the throne and in control when Satan rebelled and took many of the angels with him. God was surely on His throne and in control when Adam and Eve disobeyed the one commandment He had given them, and by their willful, rebellious sin, brought suffering and death upon all their descendants even to this day. So it was when Cain murdered his brother, Abel, in cold blood, and when “every imagination of [man’s] heart was only evil continually…the earth [was] filled with violence” (Gen 6:5, 13), and wickedness was so great that God repented of creating man.

We all agree on God’s total sovereignty, that He is unquestionably still on His throne and in control of the entire universe. Yet at the same time, evil increases while sorrow, suffering, disease, and death ravage the creatures He made in His image and over whom He mourns in love and pity. Why should that be?

Surely God is not happy that evil plunders His creation! In fact, He was so unhappy at the wickedness in Noah’s day that He would have destroyed mankind had not Noah found grace in His eyes. No one could say that the universal fact of evil gripping all of creation like a fatal plague was just the way God wanted it or that He had predestined it to be so! He has wept for 3,000 years over the sins of His people Israel, sending His prophets day and night, year after year, warning them to repent so He would not be forced to pour out His wrath upon them (Jer 7:3, 25; 11:7; 25:4,5; 29:19; 32:33; 35:14,15; 44:4, etc.), pleading over and over, “Oh, do not this abominable thing that I hate!”

Surely, if God hates sin—and He does—it could not be something He wills. Yet this is the story of mankind throughout all of history, with wickedness only increasing in spite of God’s pleadings and warnings. Today’s advancing technology only gives man a loftier platform from which to shake his puny fist in his Creator’s face. Obviously, the fact that God is on His throne and in control of the universe doesn’t mean that rebellion can’t occur or that we may not suffer sickness, sorrow, pain, loss, and death. The question is, who is willing to surrender themselves to God to the point of saying with Job, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him…” (13:15)?

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