By Stephen W. Hiemstra
“I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth”
God’s humility expressed through the incarnation in Jesus Christ shines a light on His sovereignty (Matt 21:5;2 Cor 12:10). Truly powerful people can be fearlessly humble—they have nothing to prove and no one dares to challenge their authority. Their inherent strength and self-confidence makes them easy to work for. By contrast, the second and third tier managers often compete for more authority and always have their knives out. By analogy, an almighty God is generous and can be approached easily. Why should we be any different?
When King David wrote—“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork” (Ps 19:1), he did not just have creation’s beauty in mind. The order of the universe points to the glory and sovereignty of God. Everywhere that scientists have studied, the same laws of physics apply. Why should there only be one set of physical laws?
As David implies, the order and stability of the created universe testifies to God’s existence and sovereignty. Kurt Gödel, a Czech mathematician, who was born in 1906, educated in Vienna, and taught at Princeton University, is famous for his incompleteness theorem published in 1931. This theorem states that stability in any closed, logical system requires that at least one assumption be taken from outside that system.
An example of such a system in economics is price theory. The U.S. economy requires one price be set outside the economy (in the world market) to assure stability. In the nineteenth century, that price was gold, and the system was called the gold standard. Every price in the U.S. economy could be expressed in terms of how much gold it was worth. Now, the dollar functions that way.
If creation is a closed, logical system (having only one set of physical laws suggests that it is) and exhibits stability, then it too must contain at least one external assumption. God, himself, fulfills that assumption (Smith 2001, 89).
God’s sovereignty anchors His goodness. Three reasons can be cited. First, because God’s authority flows out of his creative work (not out of coercion, deception, or random events), it is legitimate (Jer 18:4). Legitimate authority is inherently good. Existence is good so the authority that made it happen must be good. Second, God’s authority as law-maker implies that if God says creation is good, then it is—by fiat—good (Gen 1:10). Third, in a practical sense, God’s sovereignty reduces uncertainty and increases stability—absence of conflict. Stability is good.
As sons and daughters of God, we are to take comfort in His sovereignty because, as heirs to His kingdom, His image is also our image (Gen 1:27). Therefore, we can be confident in our ability to deal with life’s challenges because God is for us and with us (Rom 8:28). What greater blessing could there be?
Smith, Houston. 2001. Why Religion Matters: The Fate of the Human Spirit in an Age of Disbelief. San Francisco: Harper.