Finding Comfort in Total Authority | The Institute for Creation Research
Finding Comfort in Total Authority
In the late afternoon on April 13, the White House Coronavirus Task Force updated the nation regarding the federal government’s plan for stifling the pandemic. During the briefing, Donald Trump made a surprising and shocking statement that caught the attention of many American citizens.

When asked to clarify his understanding of the authority he held, President Donald Trump said, “The authority of the President of the United States having to do with the subject we’re talking about is total.”1 In other words, President Trump believes that he has total authority (jurisdictionally speaking) to make governmental executive decisions over the pandemic, including the jurisdictional authority to make federal executive decisions that override foreseeable executive decisions to soon be made by state governors.

Merriam-Webster defines authority as “the power to influence or command thought, opinion, or behavior.”2 According to this definition, does the office of the president have total authority? Although Christians should appreciate the constitutional limitations of the presidents’ executive authority, it is even more important for Christians to realize that no man has complete authority over anything. In fact, that is a lesson many of us have already taken away from our confrontation with COVID-19. If the President of the United States doesn’t have “total” authority (ultimate control) over the pandemic, then who does?

Daniel said that the Lord “removes kings and raises up kings.”3 Paul warned believers to “be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.”4 It’s clear that the Lord has total authority over kings, governors, and any other human institutions. All earthly authorities are delegated and limited will always contingent upon God’s sovereign will.

Going a step further, the Lord spoke through Isaiah, saying, “I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create calamity; I, the Lord, do all these things.”5 Not only can God dictate what kings and rulers can do, but He can control what success and desolation can do. Therefore, only the King of Kings has total authority and power over all of creation.

Total authority is not necessarily a comforting idea, as evidenced by the reaction to President Trump’s statement. The determining factor for whether total authority makes people feel either comforted or terrified is the character and intention of the person making the claim.

In fact, some people are frightened when confronted with an all-powerful God who personally created the universe. However, when God perfectly created the world, He didn’t crush the pleasure of mankind with his authoritarian dictatorship. Instead, He delegated certain authority to mankind for their own enjoyment.

God blessed them [male and female] and said to them,

“Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

And God said, “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food.”6

God, in His infinite power, gave mankind authority over the earth, showcasing that He is good and kind. Not only do we have a Good Creator, but the Bible is clear that we have a Good Shepherd.

I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.

“Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.”7

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, used His authority to “lay [his life] down” and “take it up again.” In fact, “[God] made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”8

Christians can find comfort in God’s total authority because He uses that authority to lay His life down for His sheep. We serve a good God who can be trusted. He knows all things and has total authority and power over all creation,4 and we can rejoice in this because His character assures us that He will do what is good, kind, and right.

References
1. C-SPAN. Posted on c-span.com April 13, 2020, accessed April 13, 2020. Clip begins at 46:30.
2. Authority. Merriam-Webster. Posted on merriam-webster.com, accessed April 15, 2020.
3. Daniel 2:21b.
4. Romans 13:1.
5. Isaiah 45:7.
6. Genesis 1:28-29.
7. John 10:14-18. Emphasis mine.
8. 2 Corinthians 5:21.

*Robert L. H. Wegner is an Event Coordinator at the Institute for Creation Research and earned his Master of Christian Education from ICR’s School of Biblical Apologetics.
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