Gregory Boyd on God as the Cause

‘(…) while everyone else at the time the Old Testament was written believed that the world was fashioned and ruled by many conflicting gods, the Old Testament emphasizes that everything ultimately comes from one Creator God. To drive home this highly distinctive belief, Old Testament authors consistently emphasize God as the ultimate source of everything that happens in creation. Even the consequences of free decisions are in a sense brought about by the Creator, in their view, for he alone created the people (or angels) who make their own decisions.

More specifically, Yahweh is depicted in terms of an ancient Near Eastern monarch who takes responsibility for what his delegates do, even if they do not carry out his own wishes in the process of doing it. An authority’s delegates are, in a sense, an extension of himself. In a context where the singularity of the cosmic monarch needs to be emphasized, such as we have in the Old Testament, the autonomy of the subordinate delegates is minimized and the Creator as the ultimate source of their authority is maximized. It is in this sense that everything humans and angels do is seen as coming from God.

But understood in an Ancient Near East context, this doesn’t entail that everything human or angelic agents do happens in accordance with God’s will, or that God is himself morally responsible for what the agents he creates choose to do. The heavenly and human agents Yahweh creates are the originators of their own free decisions and are morally responsible for these decisions. Yahweh is the ultimate source of their freedom, and he takes responsibility for the cosmos as a whole. But the agents themselves decide how they will use this God-given freedom. Hence, in this context, to say that something came from Yahweh, via another agent, is not to say that this thing was part of Yahweh’s own plan, that he directly brought it about, or that he in any sense wills it (though as the Creator he wills and brings about the possibility of evil deeds by creating agents free).


source: Gregory Boyd, “The Point of the Book of Job” (reknew).


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