Once again, Heather entices us to play a dangerous game. This time, the question is as follows:
What does the sovereignty of God mean to you?
I’ll only be brief because I’m still cranking out a book.
The sovereignty of God is something that I think the majority of Reformed theologies speak too blithely about. For me, to say that God is sovereign is to make a statement of faith and hope, a statement which flies in the face of the evidence of my own experience and of what I perceive about the world. It is a radical statement because it seems so clearly untrue.
The basic questions of the problem of evil essentially preclude a God who is both good and sovereign in the way that we usually use the word. (Look into the eyes of a child dying of leukemia and tell them “God is good, and God controls everything, but God chooses not to save you from this”. If you can. I certainly can’t.) I think that in most cases, Reformed theology is willing to tone down God’s goodness while preserving God’s sovereignty, whereas, for example, process theology will hold to God’s goodness and redefine God’s sovereignty to the point where the term falls away.
Now, if God is not good, then I’m not sure there is any good reason to worship God except for perhaps the desire to placate God so that we won’t be struck down. I think the term sovereign gets in our way, because for us it is still a political term which means overt control.
If God’s sovereignty was overt control, then there would be no crucifixion. In fact, if you were brave enough, you might even be inclined to say that the cross is God’s absolute “no” to our ideas of sovereignty as domination or control. It is a very extreme no that seems to leave no room whatsoever for our alliance with the powers of domination in this world. You might say that, at least.
We forget that it was sovereign power that tortured and killed Christ, who seems to have rejected political power at every turn.
So, for me, if God is indeed sovereign, then the term needs to be radically overhauled. For the time being, when I do make that claim, it is as I said above a statement of hope.
I think that if we are to learn what it means that God is sovereign, we must depart our ivory towers forever, and go live among those who are being crucified in this world, right now, by the sovereign powers of domination. We need to go to them and learn the meaning of the word as it applies to the God who is known in Christ.