It is held that God is All Powerful and has Supreme Authority over His creation and is Sovereign. I have long pondered on the relation of these three aspects of His Nature, and wonder: are any of these three more or less essential in the Nature of God?

If we look first at the example of Man: if he gets powerful enough, he can seize authority, and/or sovereignty. Also, if he has authority, he can amass power. But there are those with authority who lack imperium, and there are those with imperium that lack authority, and nowadays we have so-called Sovereigns who lack both power and authority.

Concerning God there is none above Him in Power, and no power in any but by Him. And there is no Authority above Him, and no authority in any but by Him.

But can one of these two be considered more essential to His nature?
Can His power be thought to precede His authority?
Could His authority be thought to precede His power?
Could His sovereignty be considered the souce of His power and authority?

Has this matter been addressed in Classical scholarship? If so, what were their different conclusions concerning this?

  • 1
    Gonna go out on a limb here and consider the tag "systematic-theology" as the same as addressed in "Classical Scholarship" if I'm wrong, please edit out the tag, but I think this question needs to be scoped so as not to attract random answers.
    – Peter Turner
    Aug 22, 2018 at 14:21
  • What is classical scholarship, in your mind? Oct 11, 2018 at 4:59
  • Also, please don't make trivial edits just to bump your question. If you want it to get more attention, earn a bit more reputation by asking and answering questions, and then place a bounty on this one. Oct 11, 2018 at 5:00
  • @Nathaniel Anything. Bible itself. Thomas Aquinas. Eastern Orthodox. Anything which properly deals with this question. I'm guessing there are scholars of various classical traditions on this Stack Exchange. I'd be interested in what any of them have to say.
    – Johan88
    Oct 11, 2018 at 8:36
  • @Nathaniel OK. Didn't know that was against the rules. Thought it was a pretty good idea to bring attention to unanswered questions. Perhaps Stack Exchange should make a bumping feature. Like: For every 3 months that your question goes unanswered you can bump it once. I'll discuss it on the Meta. I have enough reputation, just not on this account. Lost the password to my old account.
    – Johan88
    Oct 11, 2018 at 8:42

1 Answer 1


In order to be Sovereign, God would have to be All-Powerful, or Omnipotent. That means God can do anything that pleases Him, but His actions will always be in accord with the rest of His character (Revelation 19:6; Jeremiah 32:17, 27). The word omnipotent comes from omni- meaning “all” and potent meaning “power.” To say God is All-Powerful is to say God is Omnipotent.

In order to be Sovereign, God would have to be the Supreme Authority, meaning that all of His creation put together cannot thwart His purposes (Psalm 93:1; 95:3; Jeremiah 23:20).

God is, by nature, sovereign. He is judged by no one and has absolute authority over the entire universe and everything in it. His sovereignty is expressed in many ways, including His omnipotence. All of His ways are right (Psalm 145:17), and whether mankind believes God’s ways to be “fair” is irrelevant. The Lord God is not constrained by time or place. He has a plan, He has had it from eternity past, and His purpose will be accomplished (Daniel 4:37; Psalm 115:3). The Almighty’s sovereignty speaks to His right to do whatever He wishes, and His omnipotence speaks to His ability to do so.

All three attributes work together in perfect harmony. God’s Power and God’s Authority are what make God Omnipotent and Sovereign.

However, the most important element of God’s nature is His holiness. Holy means “set apart” and God is clearly separate from His creation based on His nature and attributes. Holiness is the foundation of all other aspects of God’s character. More here: https://www.gotquestions.org/nature-of-God.html

  • That link says "Holiness is the foundation of all other aspects of God’s character." That's a massive claim. And while two quotes talk about God's Holiness, not one of them qualifies the claim that Holiness is the most essential aspect of His Nature. Revelation 15:4 “You alone are holy.” Revelation 4:8 “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.” Hebrews 12:29 doesn't even mention Holiness making the website's claim there seem unfounded (i.e. that His Holiness is what makes Him a consuming fire in this verse).
    – Johan88
    Sep 2, 2018 at 13:24
  • The starting point for understanding who God is, from a human perspective, is His holiness (see Isaiah 6:3). God’s holiness means that He is set apart from mankind, that He is something other than we are, in a radical and fundamental way. He is perfection, without a hint of unrighteousness. Before anything else about God makes sense, we must understand that God is holy. I will look for an article that goes into that in more detail.
    – Lesley
    Sep 2, 2018 at 16:39
  • Perhaps this article will explain the importance of God's holiness: gotquestions.org/holy-holy-holy.html
    – Lesley
    Sep 2, 2018 at 16:42
  • No where in the article does it say Holiness is the most essential element in His Nature. It says again and again that it is essential, but not the most important element of His Nature. Also, the article (rightly or wrongly) categorises it with other essential elements that we 'do not share with God', among which are omnipotence, omniscience, etc. Also, why is being set apart from mankind (and the creation) the most important part of His nature if He is Eternal whereas we are created and man didn't exist but for a short time? When nothing but God existed, He was still Holy.
    – Johan88
    Sep 2, 2018 at 17:22

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