A Parable on God's Sovereignty


But who are you, O man, to talk back to God?

"Shall what is formed say to him who formed it,

'Why did you make me like this?'"  -Romans 9.20


One day the great Shakespeare was working on his famous play and a friend walked in to find him looking intently at his script.  The friend asked, “What are you doing?’

“Waiting to see what Romeo will do.  He is in anguish over Juliet, and is contemplating suicide.  I don’t know how he will decide, and it would be unfair of me to decide the matter for him.  He must have free-will in this for it to be fair.”

The friend’s face took on an incredulous look and he says, “Have you lost your mind?  Romeo won’t do anything unless you write it.  This whole story, including Romeo, is your creation, and nothing happens unless and until you write it!”

“Who am I to decide Romeo’s fate?” replied Shakespeare.  “What will Romeo think of me if I determine every detail of his life?  Won’t he justly despise me for all the trouble I write for him?  Wouldn’t he have the right to say to me, ‘Why did you write me like this?'”

The friend begins seriously to doubt Shakespeare’s sanity.  “Who are you to decide Romeo’s fate?  You’re the author; that’s who you are!  It’s your play and everything in it is yours to do with as you please.  No character in your play has the right to question what you write.  They are mere characters, and you are the author.  You cannot wait for them to decide to act, for they do not decide or act without your writing it.  If you stop writing, the plot stops!  Your characters do not have an existence or will independent from you.  They will and do whatever you write; and if you write nothing, they do nothing.”

Shakespeare’s friend illustrates what many in religion fail to understand: God is the author of creation.  He is not just the Creator of the universe; He is the Author of all that happens in it.  Not only does He have the right to write (decree) history however He wants to; it is necessary that He “write” it, or nothing at all happens.  The moment that God waits to see what His creatures will do, they stop doing anything.  If God doesn’t "write" it, it doesn’t happen!

Someone will likely say, “I don’t like thinking of myself as a mere character in a play.  I’m no robot.”  Neither is God merely a human author like Shakespeare.  But, as Shakespeare is to his plays, so is God to His creation. 

When men have a problem with the doctrine of God’s absolute sovereignty, their real problem lies with Him being God at all.  Men see God as merely a superman: Someone with powers greater than ours, but fundamentally the same kind of being as us.  That is a pagan concept of God. God is not like us in His existence.  God is of an order of reality different from ours, just as an author is of an order of reality different from the characters He creates. 

Ever since Satan deceived Eve into thinking that eating the forbidden fruit would make her to be like God, men have been thinking that God is like us.  But He is not like us.  We are merely creatures; He is the Creator.  We are merely characters; He is the Author.

I am thankful He wrote grace for me.