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The Inconvenient Truth of God’s Sovereignty
Pt. 1

Eph 1:11 In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will


In 2006, former vice president Al Gore narrated a documentary entitled, “An Inconvenient Truth.” Regardless of your position on the issue of global climate change, the film was undoubtedly mistitled. According to many experts, the supposed “facts” in the presentation were all debatable – hardly qualifying as truth. What’s more, most of the projections for the supposed consequences of humanity’s impact on climate were grossly exaggerated – again, hardly qualifying as truth. No one disputes the fact of climate change. That’s observable. The question is whether or not humanity’s impact is detrimental to the environment and whether or not the dire consequences predicted as the result of humanity’s impact are certain. The point is that, even if the positions presented in the film were truly the consensus of hard science and considered accurate projections, they do not qualify as truth. As David Freedam has noted in his book, “Wrong,” the so-called experts are wrong the majority of the time. This is not a condemnation of humanity, simply recognition that we are mutable, finite creatures.

Therefore, the best science can say is that, at this particular time, this specific hypothesis seems to best describe reality. New findings continually overturn the scientific consensus of yesterday as better information becomes available. Therefore, the term truth is far too lofty a term to apply in such instances. In light of this, perhaps a more appropriate title for the documentary would be, “An Inconvenient Hypothesis,” with the subtitle, “Exaggerated Consequences Attributed to Human Activity’s Effect Upon Climate Change.” Nonetheless, the propaganda in the film has succeeded. Many people are relying on the positions presented in the film to set their agenda and panicking prematurely based on the exaggerations of devastation predicted in the film.

My point is that, whatever it might turn out to be, the positions presented in the film should not be described as truth. Truth conforms to reality, something that, in this case, could only be proven with time.

Speaking of truth with reference to God is a different matter altogether. Since God Himself is eternal and immutable, the truth about God is also eternal and immutable. It’s not something that changes with time. Therefore, according to Scripture, nothing could be more true than what God has revealed about Himself. In Scripture, God presents Himself as absolutely Sovereign. He is declared to be the Creator of all that exists, the sustainer of creation itself, the One who has authored the end of history from the very beginning and, as Eph 1:11 states, the One who works all things according to the counsel of His will. The sovereignty of God is an unchanging truth that stands outside the contingencies of time. For vain, self-aggrandizing human beings, God’s absolute sovereignty is an inconvenient truth indeed; a truth that many deny. How strange. We live in a society that assigns certainty to that which is vague and claims ambiguity about that which is certain.

God’s Sovereignty in the Current Cultural Climate

As hinted at above, today’s prevailing attitude toward God’s sovereignty is one of dubiousness. Sadly, this is true even among contemporary American evangelicals. However, such ambivalence on the matter betrays either an ignorance of Scripture or complete disregard for the authority of God’s written Word. Too many professing Christians today consider the doctrine of God’s sovereignty debatable, optional, or even negotiable. He doesn’t really work all things in conformity with the purpose of His will, does He? After all, this is modern America, the land of the educated, the home of the autonomous individual! This is the nation that gives new meaning to the notion of the “self-made man.”

Of course, it should come as no surprise that modern humanism finds the doctrine of God’s sovereignty offensive. But this is also the majority voice of evangelicalism in America! Surely, we’re told, “God’s sovereignty,” whatever it happens to be, does not extend too deeply into the course of natural and human events because, as modern, self-made people, we simply cannot conceive of such a thing. Should that really be our criteria for accepting or rejecting truth? Should we depend on the reasoning of creatures with such a consistent track record of misreading the facts?

But I Wanted to be God!

Fallen humanity finds it difficult to accept the absolute nature of God’s Sovereignty. It confronts the ubiquitous desire of sinful human nature that originated in Eden. Like Adam and Eve before us, we want to “be our own gods.” That’s common to all of humanity. A truly Sovereign God would spoil our plans. After all, there’s only room for one at the top! What’s more, a God that is involved in this world to such an extensive degree is dreadfully inconvenient. He’s much too close for comfort. God wouldn’t really invade my “personal space” and violate my basic human rights, would He? The question is riddled with unwarranted assumptions. Is there any such thing as a human being’s “personal space” where the omnipresent God is concerned? What are “basic human rights” before the God to whom we owe our life and breath? According to Scripture, God created us and maintains our existence moment by moment. Without His ever present, sustaining power we would instantly cease to exist. In light of such realities, “personal space” is impossible and “basic human rights” are an illusion.

The Comfort of a God Kept at Bay

There’s good reason for humanity’s apprehension concerning God’s absolute sovereignty. The world doesn’t want to think about the ramifications of a God who interacts with this world in a way they cannot control. Such a notion threatens the “would-be” autonomous mind of the individual. People aren’t all that concerned about a God “out there.” But they certainly don’t want a God that is imminent and sovereignly involved in His creation. Such a God is too close for comfort.

This is why people are generally tolerant of religion and religious experience as long as it has little bearing on the day-to-day functions of society. Believe what you will as long as you keep it in the attic where it doesn’t seriously impact the day-to-day activities in the house below. Have your religious beliefs but they must be held in isolation from the real world. They must not interfere with the secular world, especially the philosophical, scientific, ethical, and economic ideals that form the foundations for how we operate in our anthropomorphic society. You can be a New Ager, a mystic or an existentialist. You can have your own unique and bizarre religious experience! That’s ok, if that’s what you want to do. Everything will be fine as long as you keep it to yourself.


The biblical doctrine of God proclaimed in Scripture confronts the arrogance of the self-proclaimed autonomous mind. God is not just “up there somewhere.” As Paul told the people on Mars hill, “God is not far from each one of us” and “In Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:27-28). There is nowhere in this universe where one can escape His presence (Ps 139:7-10). God not only created this world, He also interacts with it in a Sovereign and intimate way. This proves to be a most inconvenient truth for those who want to protect the grandiose illusions of human autonomy.

Next month,we will consider specific ways our culture has made God’s absolute sovereignty seem implausible while lending credibility to the ridiculous claim of human autonomy.

- Stan McGehee Jr