Introduction to the Concept of Sovereignty
The Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary defines the word ‘Sovereign’ as “highest power, without limit etc.” When used in reference to man, the meaning approximates to total independence, with absolute authority and supremacy. In the religious context however, which is our preoccupation here, sovereignty refers to the supreme authority of God over the whole universe. He has dominion over all things including man and man’s total dependence is on Him.
God is the supreme commander and controller of the entire universe, he created all things and without him, nothing was created. Despite the fact that in Genesis 1:27-28 God gave man authority over all other creatures, the supreme power of God supersedes the power he gave man. The book of Psalms 24:1 says: “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof; the world and all that dwell therein.” Thus, all earthly authority are therefore inferior and subordinate to God’s supreme power. In short, man is accountable to God in matters of how he exercises his authority. Man is simply, a messenger, God’s representative here on earth.
God manifested his supreme power over the entire universe by creating heaven and earth and everything in it out of nothing. All things were created by His spoken word as in Genesis 1:3 where He said “Let there be” and “there was”. According to the creation account, every other thing – living or non living, were created before man, who only came and met them, and received an order from the Maker, to “subdue and take dominion.” All man’s action must be guided by knowledge that one day, he will be called upon to give account of how far he carried out his master’s instructions.
God the Creator – Genesis 1 and 2
To understand and explain the roles and responsibilities of man in the work of creation.
As earlier stated, God created the universe out of nothing. However, two accounts of creation are contained in the Bible: the first is the creation of heaven and earth and all that is in it, including man while the second narrates specifically, how man was created, together with his dwelling place.
First Account: According to the book of Genesis, in the beginning, God created heaven and earth. The earth was void, without form and dark and the spirit of God moved upon the waters
On the first day, God created light by saying: “let there be light”. Of course, there was light. He therefore, separated light from darkness, and called the light day and darkness night.
On the second day, God created the firmament, that is, the heaven or sky. He separated the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament.
On-the third day, God created the seas and the earth by separating the waters from dry land. He called the waters seas; and the dry land, he called earth. He followed this up by creating grasses, herbs and trees that same day .-
On the fourth day, God created the sun, moon and stars to give light to the earth.
On the fifth day, God created all sea creatures as well as the fowls of the earth. He blessed them and ordered them to multiply.
On the sixth day, God created animals of different kinds. He also created man in his own image, male and female he created them. Man was made to have dominion over all the things created on earth.
On the seventh day, God rested, blessed it and made it holy to mark the end of his creation.
Second Account: The second account of creation as contained in Genesis 2:7-25 narrates the creation of our first parents, Adam and Eve. In those days, God had not made rain, since there was yet no one to till the soil. But there was mist or dew which fell upon the face of the earth. Then, God created man out of dust, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, thus making man a living soul.
Then, God made the Garden of Eden to be Adam’s dwelling place; and beautified it with trees, flowers, rivers, animals, birds, etc .,
God provided rivers to water the plants and the trees. The rivers were divided into four – Pishon, Gihon, Tigris and Euphrates.
Inside the garden of Eden was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God commanded him to eat all the fruits of the trees except the tree of knowledge of good and evil, else he would die.
The Lord made Adam to have a deep sleep. He pulled out one of his ribs from which he made Eve. Adam called her woman because she was taken out of man.
Lessons to Learn
- God created man in His own ‘image’ and ‘likeness’
- Hence man is different from all God’s creatures.
- He is the earthly Lord over all.
- God provided man with all he needs to make life easy.
- God has supreme power over all what he has created including man; hence man depends on God for his sustenance.
God the Controller of the Universe – Genesis 1:26-31
Man, no doubt, is the zenith (highest point) of God’s creation. This is underscored by the care, ceremony and rally that accompanied his creation. Again, God’s decision to contact the two other members of the holy trinity that is God the Son and God the Holy Spirit in the creation of man underlines man’s position in God’s scheme of things – “Let us make man in our own image … ” (Genesis 1:26)
Furthermore, the responsibility which God placed upon man shows his importance in the plan of God for the creation. Every other creation was handed over to him for supervision. Indeed man is the crown of God’s creation and the link between God and other creations. God stays in heaven, controlling and watching man as he carries out God’s instructions.
As the chief controller, the existence, nourishment and sustenance of the entire creation depend upon God, man is incomparable with Him. The highest responsibility of man is to assemble, organize or supervise what God has already made.
God had completed all the work of creation before man was created. In the light of this, man must not misuse the authority given to him by God for evil because he is accountable unto God on the day of judgement. He should not be power drunk because his life is subject to God’s control. Therefore, man should acknowledge the sovereignty of God all the time. Man has much to thank God for, if not for any other thing, for the position God put him and for the rapport existing between them.
How Creation Demonstrates the Nature of God and His Sovereignty
- God is the supreme controller of the universe.
- He is a perfect God: All he made was ‘good’.
- The sequence of creation makes Him God of pattern and order.
- His beautification of the Garden of Eden shows him as God of beauty and one who appreciates beauty.
- His ability to create the world out of nothing makes Him God of creativity, innovation and originality.
- His spoken word is real and potent.
- He created everything, but nobody created him – He is the Alpha and Omega.
- He has the image and likeness of man, as he made man in his own image and likeness.
God has the capacity to delegate some of his powers to man.
- No creature determines its own nature but God.
- He is God of continuity e.g. He orders man and all other animals to “multiply and fill the earth”
- God has some attributes of man — He rests.
- He has control even over man’s body chemistry— He can cause man to sleep.
- God has complete trust on man’s ability to control.
- God expects man to obey Him — “Thou shall not eat of it”
- Everything on earth can succumb to His command.
- Although he gave man authority, man is still under him.
- God creates and can take away life — “for in the day thou eatest thereof, thou shall surely die. (Genesis 2:17)
- God is sovereign and has absolute control and authority over the entire universe.
- God the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit all took part in all creation.
- Man is the controller of all earthly things God put under his control.
- Man must give account of all his activities to God as one who depends on Him.
Lessons To Learn
- Man must humble himself before the Almighty God who created him.
- With proper humility to God, man’s leadership is guaranteed, as he is protected by God who cares.