God Must Either Rule or Be Ruled

“Who is regulating affairs on this earth today—God, or the Devil? What do the Scriptures say? If we believe their plain and positive declarations, no room is left for uncertainty. They affirm, again and again, that God is on the throne of His universe; that the scepter is in His hands; that He is directing all things “after the counsel of His own will” [Eph.1:11]. They affirm, not only that God created all things, but also that God is ruling and reigning over all the works of His hands. They affirm that God is the “Almighty” [Gen.17:1], that His will is irreversible, that He is absolute sovereign in every realm of all His vast dominions. And surely it must be so. Only two alternatives are possible: God must either rule—or be ruled; God must either sway—or be swayed; God must either accomplish His own will—or be thwarted by His creatures. Accepting the fact that He is the “Most High God” [Psalm 78:35], the only Potentate and King of kings [1 Tim. 6:15], vested with perfect wisdom and illimitable power—the conclusion is irresistible, that He must be God in fact—as well as in name!”

– Arthur W. Pink, The Sovereignty of God, p.8

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11 thoughts on “God Must Either Rule or Be Ruled

  1. As for him being the Most high God (as it says in Psalm 78) and repeated in Psalm 82:1 which says, “God presides in the great assembly, he renders judgment among the gods”, I have just one question: Who are the other gods?

    • @chicagoja:
      Based on the fact that the author of Psalm 78 (Asaph) is recounting Israel’s history of being redeemed in Egypt (verse 12), it would seem that the gods he is referring to are the pagan deites of Egypt. It’s more difficult to say which gods are in mind in Psalm 82, but it’s safe to say that the gods of this psalm could be any god. The sovereign God of Israel, as the “Most High God”, would have the freedom and right to render judgement on any lower god.

      • Perhaps I am not understanding your questions. Could you elaborate a bit and be more specific?

      • The psalm says that “God presides in the great assembly; he renders judgement among the gods.” This infers that somewhere there is an assembly of gods and God is in charge. If this is a real portrayal of what went on then there has to be more than one god. You wouldn’t have an assembly of pagan gods with God in charge, would you? So who are the other gods?

    • @chicagoja:
      Thank you for being more elaborating.

      If I am understanding you correctly, it seems that are three things bothering you concerning this passage (Psalm 82:1):
      1. This passage is stating that there is more than one god.
      2. This passage is stating that God is meeting somewhere with these other gods.
      3. What are the names of the gods referred to this passage?

      In response to inference #1: The Bible is not afraid to acknowledge that there are other gods that exist in the world. In Old Testament, the first of the Ten Commandments is “You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3). In the New Testament, Jesus himself acknowledged that there are others gods when he quoted verse 6 of this very Psalm to the Jews (John 10:34-35) and the apostle Paul calls Satan, “the god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4). Although not gods are equal. As we both have mentioned before that there is only one living and true God and all the other gods are false gods and therefore subject to His sovereign rule. According to the first commandment we should not give any worship to any other god other than the true God revealed in the Bible.

      In response to inference #2: Perhaps you take this verse to mean that God is having a conference in heaven with Allah, Buddha and all the other deities of the world in order decide how to govern the world. I don’t think this is the picture that this verse is trying to paint. At first glance, it does seem odd that any false god would even be allowed in the presence of a holy God. It is recorded recorded twice in the book of Job that Satan (“the god of this world”) came into the presence of the Lord on two occasions (Job 1:6; Job 2:1). Satan had to get permission from God in order to do the things he wanted to harass Job. I don’t believe this is the type of interaction that is going on Psalm 82:1. The gods don’t appear to be making a request of God, but God is rendering judgment on them similarly how he executed judgement on the gods of Egypt when He sent the tenth plague on Passover (Exodus 12:12).

      In response to your third question: To be honest, I have no idea which deities that Asaph has in mind. The context of the rest of the Psalm doesn’t much evidence for any particular ones. On a somewhat side note, I thought it might helpful to define my terms when I write god. I believe that a god is anyone or anything that we devote our heart to and give allegiance to. I realize that this is broad definition that not only includes the gods of world religions (Allah, Buddha, Jesus, etc.), but also things of this world that we give our lives for (money, sex, or other material things).

      I look forward to read your response.

      • I have been blessed with his work “Eternal Security,” “Profiting from the Word,” “A Brief Refutation of Dispensationalism,” “Attributes of God,” and “Divine Inspiration of the Bible.” How about you?

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