World Scripture


Here we have selected passages, largely from the monotheistic religions, on God's sovereignty over the affairs of the world. God rules over the affairs of men and women and decides their destinies; humans are therefore subject to the will of God: see Providence, pp. 1081-93. The teaching that God is omnipotent often includes the belief that God determines everything that happens in this world, be it for good or evil; this relates to doctrines of predestination and free will: see Predestination, pp. 494-97.

The Lord will reign for ever and ever.

1. Judaism and Christianity. Bible, Exodus 15.18

Unto God belongs the sovereignty of the heavens and the earth and all that is therein, and it is He who has power over all things.

2. Islam. Qur'an 5.120

The earth is wide, but God is the elder.

3. African Traditional Religions. Akan Proverb (Ghana)

All that are rulers, kings, potentates, lords chiefs, officials--
All are God's creation.
Their will is subject to God's;
On God are they all dependent.

4. Sikhism. Adi Granth, Bilaval-ki-Var 6, M.4, p. 851

The Wise One is the most mindful of the plans,
which, indeed, were wrought in the past,
By demons and by men,
and which will be wrought hereafter!
He, the Lord, is the sole decider,
so may it be unto us as He wills!

5. Zoroastrianism. Avesta, Yasna 29.4

Revere the anger of Heaven,
And presume not to make sport or be idle.
Revere the changing moods of Heaven,
And presume not to drive about at your pleasure.
Great Heaven is intelligent,
And is with you in all your goings.
Great Heaven is clear-seeing,
And is with you in your wanderings and indulgences.

6. Confucianism. Book of Songs, Ode 254

Akan Proverb: Cf. Ashanti Verse, p. 293.

I, even I, am he,
and there is no god beside me;
I kill and I make alive;
I wound and I heal;
and there is none that can deliver out of my hand.

7. Judaism and Christianity. Bible, Deuteronomy 32.39

All that is in the heavens and the earth magnifies God;
He is the All-mighty, the All-wise.
To Him belongs the Kingdom of the heavens and the earth;
He gives life, and He makes to die, and He is powerful
over everything.
He is the First and the Last, the Outward and the Inward;
He has knowledge of everything.
It is He that created the heavens and the earth in six days
then seated Himself upon the Throne.
He knows what penetrates into the earth, and what comes forth from it,
what comes down from heaven, and what goes up into it.
He is with you wherever you are; and God sees
the things you do.
To Him belongs the Kingdom of the heavens and the earth;
and unto Him all matters are returned.
He makes the night enter into the day
and makes the day enter into the night.
He knows the thoughts within the breasts.

8. Islam. Qur'an 57.1-6

The tree set up by Imana (God) cannot be blown down by the wind.

9. African Traditional Religions. Banyarawanda Proverb (Tanzania)

With men it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.

10. Christianity. Bible, Mark 10.27

Book of Songs, Ode 254: This is a classic statement of the teaching that rulers must pay regard to the Mandate of Heaven, without which their reign becomes untenable. It is one stanza of a longer poem given on pp. 1089f. Banyarawanda Proverb: Cf. Boran Prayer, p. 560.

If He so will, He can remove you and put in your place a new creation; that is surely no great matter for God.

11. Islam. Qur'an 14.19-20

The Creator of the heavens and the earth; and when He decrees a thing, He but says to it "Be," and it is.

12. Islam. Qur'an 2.117

For I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like me,
declaring the end from the beginning
and from ancient times things not yet done,
saying, "My counsel shall stand,
and I will accomplish all my purpose,"
calling a bird of prey from the east,
the man of my counsel from a far country.
I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass;
I have purposed, and I will do it.

13. Judaism and Christianity. Bible, Isaiah 46.9-11

Qur'an 2.117: Compare Genesis 1.3: "And God said, 'Let there be light'; and there was light," p. 126. Isaiah 46.9-11: The word and judgments of God will inevitably come to pass. The specific historical setting of this verse is the announcement by God through the anonymous prophet deutero-Isaiah concerning the coming of Cyrus of Persia, the 'bird of prey from the east,' to conquer Babylon. CF. Habakkak 2.2-3, p. 1043.