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Series Introduction| Knowing God | The Revelatory God | Goodness of God | Holiness of God | Power of God | Omnipresent God | Exalted God | Faithfuness of God | Wisdom of God | Mercy of God | Wrath of God | Love of God | Sovereignty of God | Providence of God
– The Sovereignty of God –
Introduction: There are apparent contradictions between our understanding of God's sovereign will and what various aspects of what we see and experience. A chart like this is often used to clarify God's permissive will.
God’s Sovereign & Permissive Will
A common explanation attempting to answer many theological questions regarding evil is shown in the diagram below.
There are three essential aspects to explaining God’s permissive will as shown in this chart.
(1) God accomplishes all His sovereign (decretive) will. The yellow block represents all things which God fully exerts control over, which of course included all things that were, are and will be. He does all He pleases all the time. Pink appropriately says,
“Subject to none, influenced by none, absolutely independent: God does as He pleases, only as He pleases, always as He pleases. None can thwart Him, none can hinder Him. So His own Word expressly declares: “My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure” (Isa. 46;10).” The Attributes of God by Arthur Pink, p. 32.
(2) He allows some things, for a time, to function in a less than ideal way (permissive will). This blue block is purposely small and if we again looked at this chart in proper size, it would hardly be seen.
His permissive will represents such a small and temporary block of events, though seemingly great to us. To the Lord, a thousand years are as a day– a blink and it is gone.
This permissive will encompasses things like evil, rebellion against God, blasphemous words and thoughts, murder, lies and so forth. As if man’s deeds are not wicked enough, man, night and day, broadcasts his evil thoughts, filling our television and computer screens–not to mention our minds.
(3) In the end, all that happens fully carries out God’s larger purposes. We have great problems reconciling God’s sovereignty and those things that He allows to happen under His watch. He does not. God is greatly pleased with his glorious plan.
If we get tied up with the details, just step out into the full light of the teaching of His great care in doing all that He pleases. Don’t let the chart remove the joy of delighting in God’s ultimate control over all things. God’s will is “good, acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2).
￼=> Next: Prophecy & Sovereignty of God
Scriptures typically quoted from the New American Standard Bible unless noted:
(C) Copyright The Lockman Foundation 1988