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Subject: Christian Religious Studies
Topic: The Sovereignty of God
Lesson Objectives: At the end of the lesson, learners should be able to:
i. Explain the meaning of sovereignty,
ii. Discuss the sovereignty of God over His creation,
iii. Explain what it means to submit to God’s sovereignty over our lives,
iv. Recognise their dependence on God,
v. Recognise the sovereignty of God in the affairs of man and nations.
Sovereignty has been defined in most English dictionaries as “supreme power and the right to exercise it: dominion, independent state etc”. These are interesting definitions but the sovereignty of God in the context of the scripture is seen in the light of God’s creation and the control of the universe. Sovereignty of God therefore means God’s absolute power over the universe. God is the creator of the universe and He has the supreme power and dominion over it. God is the Alpha and Omega, he created all things and nobody created Him. His position in the universe is unquestionable and unchallengeable. Almost all the creation work was through the power of the spoken word. “Let there be”, and it was so.
Man was created on the sixth day which was the last day of God’s work of creation. Man was given authority over all other creatures. The authority man exercised on Earth is a delegated authority from God. This authority was given to man by God when he said in Genesis 1:26 – 27:
“Let us make man in our image after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every creeping thing that creep upon the earth”.
Put simply, God is like the Chairman while man is on earth as the General Manager, overseeing the affairs of all other creatures, but still answerable to God for all his actions on earth. In this case, God has absolute authority over the universe. Although God gave man authority which is subordinate to His own, He expects man to obey Him in all things.
i. Sovereignty means dominion over a state, kingdom or within a designated area of authority.
ii. God is the creator of the universe. He therefore has absolute power ever it.
iii. God has absolute dominion over man and whatever man has on earth is provided by God. Man depends on God for his sustenance on earth.
God, The Creator (Genesis 1 and 2)
The account of God’s creation of the earth, as contained in the book of Genesis, is narrated in two ways:
The account of the first story of creation indicates that God first created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void and darkness was upon the face of the earth; and the spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters.
On the first day, God created light when He said “Let there be light” and there was light. God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light day and the darkness He called night.
On the second day, God created the firmaments in the midst of the waters.
On the third day, God created the seas and the earth. He made the water under heaven to be gathered together into one place and the dry land appeared. He called the dry land the earth, and the waters that were gathered he called them seas. God saw that it was good. He said let the earth put forth tree, plants and their fruits and it was so.
On the fourth day, God created the sun and the moon and the star to give light to the earth.
On the fifth day, God created the living creatures, the fish and all the sea creatures and the birds of the air. God saw that they were good. He blessed them and commanded them to be fruitful, the fish to fill the waters and seas and the birds to fill the earth.
On the sixth day, God created animals or different kinds. On the same day, he created man. He said ‘Let us make man in our image”. So man was created in God’s image, to control all the tings created on earth and he was given power to have dominion over them.
Important Facts About The First Creation Story
A. The sovereignty of God was established: The story of the first creation established the sovereignty of God in the following ways:
i. God has total power and control over all the things He had created.
ii. We can learn from the creation activities that all the things God created cane through the words of mouth, “let there be”.
iii. It equally shows that God is the controller of the universe.
B. It demonstrated the nature of God: The nature of God in the story of frizt creation was demonstrated in the following ways:
i. God has sovereignty over all creations God has control over situations.
ii. God’s spoken words translate into visible reality.
iii. No creature determines its own nature but God.
iv. God delegated power to man, e.g man was made in God’s image to have power over all creatures.
v. God was not created by anybody. He is the Alpha and Omega.
vi. God is a God of order, not of anarchy.
vii. Creative action did not stop, it continues with the innate power of creation.
viii. God is God of perfection; all that He created was good.
Second Story Of The Creation
After the heaven and the earth had been created, there was no plant on earth, no rain, except the dew that watered the earth from heaven and no man to till the land. God formed the first man, Adam; out of the dust from the ground, breathed into his nostrils and the breath of life and man became a living being. God created the Garden of Eden and made it a living place for Adam. The Garden of Eden was made beautiful with all kinds of trees, flowers and rivers to water the plants and the trees. The rivers were divided into four – Pishon, Gihon, Tigris and Euphrates. Pishon flows around the whole land of Havilah where there was gold. Gihon flows around the whole land of Cush. Tigris flows east of Assyria. Inside the Garden of Eden was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and God commanded Adam not to eat out of it or else he would die.
So that he should not be alone, other living creatures, the beast and the birds were created and man gave them names by which they should be called. To get helper fit for the man, He casued man (Adam) to fall into a deep sleep and He took a rib out of man and created a woman (Eve). Eve was called woman because she was created out of the ribs of a man.
Important Facts About The Second Account Of Creation
A. The Sovereignty of God was revealed: The second creation story portrayed the sovereignty of God as follows:
i. It portrays God as the creator of heaven and earth.
ii. God has every control what he created.
iii. God saw that it was not good for man to live alone; therefore, He made a helper for him.
iv. The Institution of marriage was established for the continuity of procreation.
B. The Functions Assigned to Man was Significant: The functions assigned to man in the second creation was significant as follows:
i. He was to act as God’s agent in furthering the act of creation of various types of vegetation.
ii. He was to give names to all creations. This is a very important function because by knowing the name of a person or thing, you know his or its nature and can therefore, exercise power over him/it.
iii. He was to eat of all trees and plants, but never the tree of knowledge of good and evil. This order reflects the dual nature of man, flesh and soul, good and evil. It is unfortunate that this dual nature was soon to play a negative role when flesh overtook soul while evil overtook good, leading to the fall of man.
iv. By his acceptance of Eve, woman, Adam acknowledge God’s institution of marriage.
v. Man now has right to choose between life and death.
C. It Shows How God Provided Comfort For Man
i. Provision of water to give constant supply to the garden.
ii. Provision of trees, beasts and birds for food among others.
iii. God also provided suitable environment in the Garden of Eden.
iv. He further gave them authority over all other creation, and also gave them names.
v. God made a suitable partner for Adam in the person of ‘Eve’.
Important Facts About Creation
i. God completed the whole creation in six days and He rested on the seventh day. The seventh day is called Sabbath. To mark this day, God commanded man not to work.
ii. Almost all the creation was done with spoken words of God.
iii. The creation of man was unique in that it required God carrying out action Himself, hence He made man out of dust from the ground.
iv. Man was the only creature God made in His own image and likeness.
v. Man was created to control all other creatures.
vi. God, being the creator, has absolute power and controls over the universe.
vii. Man is answerable to God for his actions on earth.
God, The Controller Of The Universe (Genesis 1:26 – 31)
In Genesis 1:26 – 27:
“God said: Let us make man in our image after our likeness and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the cattle and over all the earth and every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.”
The above Bible portion shows the importance God attached to man at the time of creation. God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit took part in the creation. Hence the word, “Let us”, meaning that there were more than one person involved in the creation of man. Man was created to have absolute control over all other creatures and he is therefore accountable to God his creator. God therefore owns and controls the universe. Although He created man in His own image and gave him authority, He does not share equality with man in any form. God has the final authority in all things.
God is equally a great provider. He provided for man in all things. He gave food to man every tree with its seeds and fruit; hence man depends on God for sustenance and existence. God is equally a God of beauty, for He made all things beautiful for His own glory and for the comfort of man on earth. He blessed all the creatures and commanded them to increase and multiply to ensure continuity. The power of God supersedes every other power under the universe.
i. God has absolute control over all His creatures. God created natural habitat for almost all living things on earth and provided source of food for their sustenance. He gave them power to increase and multiply to ensure continuity.
ii. Man is the apex of all that God created and he has been given power and dominion over all other creatures – the animals on the land, the birds in the air and the fishes in the sea.
iii. God has absolute power over man. Therefore, man depends on God for his continued existence and sustenance.
The Apostle Creed
I believe in God the Father, Almighty,
Maker of Heaven and earth,
And in Jesus Christ, His only begotten son,
Conceived by the Holy Spirit,
Born of virgin Mary,
Suffered under Pontus Pilate,
And was crucified,
He died and was buried,
He descended to Hades.
On the third day, He rose again from the dead,
And ascended into Heaven,
And seated on the right hand of God the Father,
From where He shall come to judge
Both living and the dead,
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
And the holy Catholic (Universal) Church,
The Communion of Saints,
The forgiveness of sins,
The resurrection from the dead,
And in the life ever lasting.
Done studying? See all previous lessons on Christian Religious Studies
Take a quick test for this lesson:
i. Narrate the first creation story in Genesis and explain how God established his sovereignty over his creation.
ii. Narrate the story of the second creation as contained in Genesis chapter 2. How does this story illustrate the sovereignty of God?
iii. Narrate the first account of the creation.
iv. In what ways does the account demonstrate the nature of God.
v. Recite the Apostle Creed.
Questions answered correctly? Bravo!!
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Enuofu, P.N. (2006). A Text of the Christian Religious Knowledge for senior secondary schools. Enu-Mary Petrus Publications.
Orovwuje, B.O., & Okoli, E.U. (Ed.). (2018). Essential Christian Religious Studies for Senior Secondary Schools. Tonad Publishers.