God is sovereign, period. Challenges to the contrary are often interesting and fiery, like an argued third strike in a close contest. Voices will be raised, faces brought into close proximity and colorful words and phrases will pepper the debate but, in the end, the conclusion is the same. God is sovereign, the plate is vigorously swept and it’s ‘batter up!’
God is the supreme, superior being accountable and subordinate to no other. If any of these were not true, He would not be God. It is primary among His attributes as we consider the nature of God. “He is before all things and in Him all things hold together.” (Col 1:17) In the course of theological discourse, particularly with respect to election, Calvinists aver that Arminian theology strips God of his sovereignty and the Arminians in turn, accuse Calvinists of viewing sovereignty as God’s exclusive attribute, dismissing other aspects of His character. Neither extreme is true, of course, but it is the various forms of this argument that comprise one of the major components of the superheated rhetoric that serves as theological discussion in the world of the Theobloggers.
God’s sovereignty means that he is completely free to act in any way He wishes in accord with His own nature. He can create, order, and ordain anything in any fashion that he wants to. At the same time, he cannot do what is not possible (according to the way he has ordered the universe) such as making a circle a square nor will he act in any way contrary to His character. We can agree with the plain reading of the following section of the Westminster Confession of Faith which states:
God, from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatever comes to pass”
Given the truths that God rules over all things (1 Chron 29:11-12, Ps 29:10) and He is in control of all things (Job 42:2, Dan 4:35) why then is the issue of human free choice often portrayed as a despicable attempt to wrest His sovereignty away? The answer, which sounds odd, is that it cannot be, because the sovereignty of God need not be established and therefore cannot be contested. It simply is. As I stated earlier, it is an essential attribute of who and what He is. Because it [sovereignty] is not contingent upon any action that He takes, God’s sovereignty is not challenged by whether he elects or not, whether he elects some or all, and whether that election is conditional or unconditional. It is not contested by the free will of men nor is it opposed by the belief in limited atonement.
Now, we can begin the discussion without the threat of that canard.