R. C. Sproul
On God's Authority

"In the Scriptures we see that God creates the universe and owns the universe. It is His possession, and He governs it by His own authority. The authority by which God governs all things is His autonomous authority. To say that Godís authority is autonomous is to say that God is a law unto Himself. He is not bound by some abstract system of law that exists outside of Himself or independent from Him. Nor is God under some external law; rather, He is a law unto Himself. This does not mean that He acts or behaves in an arbitrary manner. Rather, Godís activity is directed by Godís own character. And His character is completely righteous. All that He does flows out of His own internal righteousness. His external authority comes from His internal righteousness. In this sense Godís authority is intrinsic. It is found within Himself. It is not borrowed, delegated, or assigned from any other source."

"In the same manner, all lesser authorities on heaven and on earth are only as valid as they are delegated by Godís authority. Whatever authority we possess is extrinsic rather than intrinsic. It exists only by delegation. This was the issue in the garden of Eden. The primal sin of Adam and Eve could be described as the grasping for autonomy. They sought to take for themselves the authority that belonged only to God. To act on oneís own authority against the authority of God is the essence of disobedience and of sin. When we grasp authority ourselves and do what is right in our own minds, we are attacking the very foundation of life and of the welfare of human beings."


Compiled by Thomas George











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