God and the Cosmos

The Sovereignty of God I: God and the Cosmos

Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases… Whatever the LORD pleases, he does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps.

Psa 115:3, 135:6 ESV

Preliminary: Most modern evangelicals have a poor view of who God is and His absolute control over all things. They would rather highlight man’s autonomous and absolute freedom over God. Their God has then become someone who is subject to their own will and desires.

[Pink’s Foreword to the second edition of his book in 1921] We must “stress that side of the Truth which in these days is almost universally neglected… The fact is that those who undertake to expound the Responsibility of man are the very ones who have lost ‘the balance of Truth’ by ignoring, very largely, the Sovereignty of God. It is perfectly right to insist on the responsibility of man, but what of God?—has He no claims, no rights! A hundred such works as this are needed, ten thousand sermons would have to be preached throughout the land on this subject, if the ‘balance of Truth’ is to be regained.”

Point: The aim of this is study is to understand God’s absolute sovereignty over all things, and in His creation in particular, towards a greater appreciation of who God is and greater love to the LORD and King of our salvation.

This also serves as the foundation for our understanding of God’s sovereignty and human responsibility (Part 2).


  1. Sovereignty Defined
  2. Sovereignty Established
  3. Sovereignty Applied

Sovereignty Defined

God is God (It is the natural implication of His Omnipotence, Omniscience, Omnipresence, etc). We mean the supremacy of God, the kingship of God, the godhood of God. To say that God is sovereign is to declare that God is God (Pink, 15). It is God’s working power, where He works all, in all things. (Ames 1.6.1)

It is absolute

God’s sovereignty is not qualified or diminished in any way. It is total and something free from any restriction or condition, and something that is independent of some or all relations; something perfect or complete.

  • To say that God is sovereign is to say that He is the King and LORD of all. (Ps 29:10)
  • To say that God is sovereign is to declare that He is the Most High.
    • Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases… Whatever the LORD pleases, he does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps. ~ Psa 115:3, 135:6 ESV
    • When we say that God is sovereign we affirm His right to govern the universe, which He has made for His own glory, just as He pleases. We affirm that His right is the right of the Potter over the clay. (Pink)
  • God’s sovereignty means that His power is exercised as He wills, when He wills, where He wills.

It is irresistible

To say that God is sovereign is to declare that He is “The Governor among the nations” (Ps. 22:28), setting up kingdoms, overthrowing empires, and determining the course of dynasties as pleases Him best. The best of earthly powers is no match to God’s supremacy.

At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives forever, for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation; 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?” ~ Daniel 4:34-35 ESV

It is comprehensive

None escapes God’s sovereign authority (see below on Creation and Providence)
To say that God is sovereign is to declare that He is the Almighty, the Possessor of all power in heaven and earth, so that none can defeat His counsels, thwart His purpose, or resist His will (Ps. 115:3).

It is personal

Because God is tri-personal, His sovereign control is not impersonal or mechanical but is the loving and gracious oversight of the King of creation and redemption.
God’s sovereignty is His sovereign goodness.

Psa_36:7 How precious is your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings.

God’s sovereignty is the marrow (The inmost, choicest, or essential part) of doctrinal Calvinism—provided we understand that this sovereignty is not arbitrary but is the sovereignty of the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Joel Beeke (p..40)

This point is very important. Sometimes we are unable to take comfort in God’s sovereign because we separate it from God’s personhood. Our sovereign God is also our supreme and loving Father.

To say that God is sovereign is to declare that He is the “Only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords” (1 Tim. 6:15).
God “is free and independent of any force outside Himself to accomplish His purposes; that He knows the end from the beginning; that He creates, sustains, governs, and directs all things; and that His marvelous design will be fully and perfectly manifest at the end of the ages.” (Beeke, p. 39)
As Charles Hodge says: “God’s sovereignty is to all other doctrines what the granite formation is to the other strata of the earth. It underlies and sustains them, but it crops out only here and there. So this doctrine should underlie all our preaching, and should be definitely asserted only now and then.”

Sovereignty Established

God is sovereign in His Decree, Creation, and Providence.

Sovereign in Decree (more on the next blog)

In the working power of God, the Decreed of God obtains the first place; because this manner of working, being most perfect of all, chiefly agrees to the Divine Nature. The Decree of God is his determinate purpose of effecting all things by His almighty power and according to His will (Eph 1:11). – Ames 1.7.1-2

Sovereign in Creation

Creation (anything that is not God) is the exercise of God’s sovereignty where in the beginning he made the world from nothing, very good (Hebrews 11:3) (Ames 1.8.1)

Gen 1:1  In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 
Joh 1:3  All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 
Heb 11:3  By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible. 

From the above passages, we see that the Scriptures affirm the following.

  • God is the source of everything that exists.
  • God owns all things that exist.
  • God’s glory is the goal of all things that exist (Romans 11:36)

In Psalms 33:7-9, we read, “He gathers the waters of the sea as a heap; he puts the deeps in storehouses. Let all the earth fear the LORD; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him! For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm.” In verse 6, that the Word and the Spirit are with God (the Father) in bringing all things into existence where it declares, “By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, and by the breath of His mouth all their host.

Sovereign in Providence

William Ames defines providence as “the exercise of God’s sovereignty where He provides for His creatures now made, in all things, according to the counsel of His own will.” (Ames 1.9.1)

Our confession dedicates a chapter on this sovereign exercise of God’s power forcefully:

[1689 BCF 5.1] God the good Creator of all things, in His infinite power and wisdom does uphold, direct, dispose, and govern all creatures and things, from the greatest even to the least, by His most wise and holy providence, to the end for the which they were created, according unto His infallible foreknowledge, and the free and immutable counsel of His own will; to the praise of the glory of His wisdom, power, justice, infinite goodness, and mercy.

God’s sovereignty in providence is exercised in three closely related yet distinct acts.

  • Preservation (conservation). God makes all things, both universal and particular, both in their Essence and existence, and in their strength to persist and continue (Ames 1.9.15).
    • Psalms 104:19-20 ESV He made the moon to mark the seasons; the sun knows its time for setting. 20 You make darkness, and it is night, when all the beasts of the forest creep about.
    • See also Acts 17:28; Heb. 1:3, Neh 9:6
  • Governance (gubernation – the act of governing or ruling). God directs and leads all His creatures to their proper ends. “The government of all things ought to be by God. For they would never certainly attain the end to which they were created unless they were governed by the same power by which they were created.” (Ames 1.9.20)
    • Ps. 29:10 The LORD sits enthroned over the flood; the LORD sits enthroned as king forever.
    • Colossians 2:9-10 ESV For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority.
  • Concurrence. It speaks of the same providence as an activity that affirms and maintains the distinct existence of creatures… Hence, “the providence of God does not cancel out secondary causes or human responsibility” (Bavinck, 302-302). God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility are compatible.
    • Gen. 50:20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. 

Sovereignty Applied

Contrary to the common idea that this doctrine is impractical. We’ll see that this doctrine brings true comfort to one’s soul.

Let us meditate in the exercise of God’s sovereignty in the death of the Father’s obedient Son. (READ: Acts 4:24-28)

[Beeke, p. 40] The sovereign grace and love that went to Calvary has the whole world in its hands. God’s fatherly sovereignty in Christ is the essence of who God is.

Let us occupy our minds with no other object than God. Psalm 115:3, the verses that follow is mockery against the idols that cannot speak and bid Israel trust in the Lord (v. 9).

[Pink, p. 12] …let it be said very emphatically that the heart can only rest upon and enjoy the blessed truth of the absolute sovereignty of God as faith is in exercise. Faith is ever occupied with God. That is the character of it: that is what differentiates it from intellectual theology. Faith endures… the disappointments, the hardships, and the heart-aches of life, by recognizing that all comes from the hand of Him who is too wise to err and too loving to be unkind. But so long as we are occupied with any other object than God Himself, there will be neither rest for the heart nor peace for the mind. But when we receive all that enters our lives as from His hand, then, no matter what may be our circumstances or surroundings—whether in a hovel, a prison-dungeon, or a martyr’s stake—we shall be enabled to say, "The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places" (Ps. 16:6). But that is the language of faith, not of sight or of sense.
[Jonathan Edwards, “The Christian Pilgrim,” ] The enjoyment of God is the only happiness with which our souls can be satisfied. To go to heaven, fully to enjoy God, is infinitely better than the most pleasant accommodations here. Fathers and mothers, husbands, wives, or children, or the company of earthly friends, are but shadows; but God is the substance. These are but scattered beams, but God is the sun. These are but streams, but God is the fountain. These are but drops; but God is the ocean.

Let us find comfort in Christ’s sovereign invitation to rest in Him (Mt 11:25-30).

[Pink, p. 6] Nothing is so tranquilizing and so stabilizing as the assurance that the Lord Himself is on the Throne of the universe, "working all things after the counsel of His own will".
[Kingdon, p. 13] "Enjoy His presence in your immediate circumstance, and forsake the folly of rebelling against God's providence. The way of wisdom lies in accepting God's providence, not in kicking against it." 

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.

William Cowper (1731-1800)

To God be the glory!


  • Bavinck, H., & Bolt, J. (2011). Reformed dogmatics. Baker Academic.
  • Jones, M. (2020). God is : a devotional guide to the attributes of god. Crossway.
  • Ames, W. (1642). The marrow of sacred divinity, drawne out of the holy Scriptures … Pr. By Edward Griffin For Henry Overton.
  • Beeke, J. R., Ferguson, S. B., & Al, E. (2013). Living for God’s glory : an introduction to Calvinism. Reformation Trust.
  • Pink, A. W. (2018). Sovereignty Of God.
  • Kingdon, D. (2004). Mysterious ways : the providence of God in the life of Joseph. Banner Of Truth Trust.

Published by Jeff Chavez

Sinner saved by grace

2 thoughts on “God and the Cosmos

  1. The alternate view is not “man’s autonomous and absolute freedom over God”. That sets up a straw man. The real problem is Genesis 3. Did Adam and Eve have enough free will to sin or is God responsible for the evil in the world?


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