Below you’ll find a collection of bible references where statements are made about God’s sovereignty that have broad implications. This is not a complete list of passages that describe God’s causing of all things. View the weather, nations, or people lists for example, and others for more specific ways that God is managing creation.
It seems that the apostle Paul believed God to be in absolute control over all of creation at all times and that God had even determined all events long before they happened.
And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place,Acts 17:26
It’s not uncommon that we accept God as creator as Paul does in the first part of Acts 17:26. However, the apostle goes further to say that by the time he created mankind, he had already decided when and how long they would live, and where their living would take place.
for ‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said,Acts 17:28
Paul knows his audience in Rome. So to explain his stance in verse 26, he uses a line they were familiar with. He cites a Cretan poet – Epimenides who’s original address, “For in you we live and move and have our being” was to the Greek god Zeus. It’s also important to note that Paul is not talking about Christians. First of all, he is not talking to Christians (Acts 17:22-23). Second, he mentions those who are “seeking” (have not found) God and feeling their way to him in the preceding verse (Acts 17:27). So even unbelievers have life, movement, and existence through God.
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.Romans 8:28
Paul tells us that “all things” work for the benefit of God’s people. How can this be? “All” means all – that is, good things and bad things alike work for good. This can only happen if someone is working them this way.
For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.Romans 11:36
All things (good and bad, small or big) come from God. All things (good and bad, small or big) happen via God’s power. All things (good and bad, small or big) are for (“to”) God.
In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will,Ephesians 1:11
predestined (chosen before they have the ability to choose him) but also, that this predestination is just a small piece of a larger truth – that God “works all things”.
And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.Colossians 1:17
I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession,1 Timothy 6:15
Though the scope of this particular mention of “all things” is limited to “living things”, a broad, sweeping statement nonetheless. Paul again, and this time more specifically, makes clear his stance on God’s sovereignty.
The word, “zōopoieō” is used throughout the New Testament for spiritual or physical existence. The word here for giving life is the same word used in John 5:21, Romans 4:17 are some of those “physical” examples, where it is being contrasted with physical death (raising the dead).
Spiritual life here wouldn’t make sense anyway since we know that God does not give spiritual life to “all things”.
One last note is that this is active. Paul isn’t simply referencing the fact that God created everything at one point in time and from that everything has sprung. He is saying that God actively gives life to all things.
My times are in your hand; rescue me from the hand of my enemies and from my persecutors!Psalms 31:15
David finds himself to be a sorrowful sinner (Psalms 31:9-10), an outcast (Psalms 31:11-12) and surrounded by people scheming against him (Psalms 31:13). Despite all of this, he declares that his “times” are in God’s hand. What does this mean? Certainly his life, but it’s also much more than that. The Hebrew noun, “`eth” is translated in the KJV as a general “time” (as in “…an appointed time…”) 257 times, but also “seasons” 16 times, “when” 7 times, and “always” 4 times. “My times are in your hand” is certainly a big statement that captures a lot. In case you’re tempted to dismiss this prayer as mere poetry, remember that Psalm 31 was quoted in Jesus’ own last words as well as Stephen’s (Psalm 31:5). The fact that they both referenced this writing as they were being brutally murdered should mean something.
Why should the nations say, ‘Where is their God?’ Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases.Psalms 115:2-3
In seemingly good or seemingly bad circumstances, the author shares Paul’s belief (Romans 9:20) that questioning the almighty creator God is unreasonable. He also believes that God is “doing” what he deems appropriate during these times.
Your faithfulness endures to all generations; you have established the earth, and it stands fast. By your appointment they stand this day, for all things are your servants.Psalms 119:90-91
Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.Psalms 127:1
Likely written by Solomon, we see a picture of a house being built and a city being guarded. Although it is our responsibility to strive to make the right decisions and to work, ultimately it is God who is over everything. Marriages cannot be fixed unless God does it. Addiction cannot be conquered unless God does it. Fill in the blank with anything else you can imagine.
Whatever the Lord pleases, he does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps.Psalms 135:6
Also henceforth I am he; there is none who can deliver from my hand; I work, and who can turn it back?Isaiah 43:13
This is God speaking. He does. And when he does, it is irreversible.
remember the former things of old; 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,Isaiah 46:9-10
and I will accomplish all my purpose,’
Who has spoken and it came to pass, unless the Lord has commanded it?Lamentations:3:37
This rhetorical question implies that nothing comes to pass unless God has told it to come to pass.
He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding;Daniel 2:21
“Times” and “seasons” are changed by God. This is a significant statement that captures just about anything. As if this were not enough, he goes on to say that kings are lifted up and removed, and even our brain activity is granted by God.
all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?Daniel 4:35
Again, we see this message that God does what He pleases and it can never be questioned.
Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit’— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.’James 4:13-15
And they prayed and said, ‘You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.’ And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.Acts 1:26
The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.Proverbs 16:33
The apostles themselves had likely read this piece of scripture as they literally lived out this belief in the scenario recorded in Acts 1:26 (above).
I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.Job 42:11
So Samuel told him everything and hid nothing from him. And he said, “It is the Lord. Let him do what seems good to him.1 Samuel 3:18