In discussing sovereignty from the Reformed perspective with those unfamiliar with it, many have never encountered the arguments contained within, and as a result, can sometimes hear things not being said. For instance, when we say God “ordains whatsoever comes to pass,” this is not doing away with secondary causes and forces at work that bring about an ordained end, such as the free agency (will) of the creature. As the Westminster Confession makes abundantly clear, that God “ordains whatsoever comes to pass,” underlies and enforces those very secondary choices or events.


The problem in this discussion is people who haven’t dealt with this explanation have a hard time with it precisely because the category of both/and, or paradox, isn’t present, and this category is all over the Bible. The short answer is yes, God “ordains whatsoever comes to pass” and at the same time, men have a will that makes the choices they desire. They’re free to choose that which they desire most.

From Monergism.com under the Sovereignty of God section:


“God from all eternity did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass; yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin, nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures, nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established” — Westminster Confession of Faith, 3.1.

  • God is sovereign over the entire universe: Ps 103:19; Rom 8:28; Eph 1:11
  • God is sovereign over all of nature: Ps 135:6-7; Mt 5:45; 6:25-30
  • God is sovereign over angels & Satan: Ps 103:20-21; Job 1:12
  • God is sovereign over nations: Ps 47:7-9; Dan 2:20-21; 4:34-35
  • God is sovereign over human beings: 1 Sam 2:6-7; Gal 1:15-16
  • God is sovereign over animals: Ps 104:21-30; 1 Ki 17:4-6
  • God is sovereign over “accidents”: Pr 16:33; Jon 1:7; Mt 10:29
  • God is sovereign over free acts of men: Ex 3:21; 12:25-36; Ez 7:27
  • God is sovereign over sinful acts of men and Satan: 2 Sam 24:1; 1 Chr 21:1; Gen 45:5; 50:20