A Christian’s assumption about God’s sovereignty can cause further unbelief or despair among seekers they may influence. The word sovereign did not originate with the biblical languages. “Sovereign” doesn’t appear in the KJV translation, and the NIV version doesn’t define but often just replaces God with Sovereign and translates Lord God as Sovereign Lord. Since sovereignty is not a biblical word, we can only surmise how God would define His sovereignty. Most believe that God has unlimited authority, power, or control over His creation; people simply have different ideas how the Bible portrays God using such power.
Many believe that the will of the Omnipotent can never be opposed or defeated. Thus, God must predestinate some to eternity without God since many obviously to not end up believing in God. Has Hell been created so God can supposedly win? The popular concept of hell, where God is involved in the endless torture of people, is not found in the Scriptures. Hell is not a translation but a substitution for certain Hebrew and Greek words. Certainbeliefs or interpretations are necessary to defend one’s assumption about God’s sovereignty.
The Bible implies God, unlike humans, doesn’t have to control to be in control. God, unlike other gods, does not approve the killing of infidels. The biblical accounts seem to confirm that God’s will is opposed and yet God remains sovereign. God declares He is the King of kings and Lord of lords (I Tim 6:15), but God clearly created freedom thus His will can be opposed. People are not free unless able to oppose God. Some solve evil and God’s goodness by suggesting God has limits, but I cannot imagine the Creator of the universe not being all powerful. The truth is God is not One who merely loves to rule but rules in love.
Traditional theists tend to define God’s sovereignty in terms of God’s invulnerability. Some suggest God’s predestined plan included good and evil to protect the idea that nothing can happen outside God’s will. If God created evil in the beginning, we are suggesting God is declaring evil good: “God saw all he had made, and it was very good” (Gen 1:31). But, God says He hates evil (Prov. 6:16-19). Who says something is good that they hate? When God says He is Love, is He really saying He is Hate? Genesis suggests evil originates with the thoughts of the human heart and this grieved God (Gen 6:5-6). Evil is not some grand scheme by God! To suggest God foreordained evil ahead of time to accomplish His good purposes and declare His glory is intellectually and morally indefensible.
Few if any traditional theists, who argue God’s will is always done, believe God eventually saves all. Thus, traditionalists must accept that God can’t win over a person’s heart eventually or that God originally never desired to spend eternity with all His children. The latter is not a plausible view of a loving God. Suffering in the world is often defended by arguing that God’s standard is perfection and we all fall short as sinners, so we are all unworthy. Any good is grace! Such rationalizations are totally unsatisfactory in understanding or explaining a loving God to others.
The Bible’s emphasis is much more on God’s vulnerability than deciding history and everyone’s actions in advance. God choose to respect individual freedom, thus there must be the opportunity to love as well as to hate. Besides, a genuine relationship is only possible if one is free to choose to return one’s love in return. The only way God could have stopped evil was to not have risked creating. Perhaps the biblical writers didn’t attempt to explain evil because they understood we live in a free, self-centered world. We may not know all the reasons for why God allows evil to continue or be so random, but we know one reason is not because God doesn’t love us as evidenced by sending Jesus. God forbid our disputable interpretations or understandings of God drive people to unbelief or despair.