The ultimate end of God’s royal economy, above and beyond all other ends, governing all other ends, is God. He is the “omega,” the “last” (Rev 1:8, 17; 22:13). What might this mean?
Scripture repeatedly draws our attention to the connection between the oneness of God and the oneness of God’s agency in his external works. In response to God’s wonderful works in delivering Israel from Egypt, Moses and Israel exclaim, “Who is like you, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like you, majestic in holiness, awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders?” (Exod 15:11). The Lord’s unique and unprecedented works in the exodus reveal that he alone is God (Deut 4:32-35). In similar fashion, Isaiah appeals to God’s singular work of creation (Isa 44:24) as well as his singular works of providence to demonstrate the singularity of God: “I am the Lord, and there is no other, besides me there is no God; I equip you, though you don’t know me, that people may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none besides me; I am the Lord, there is no other. I form light and create darkness; I make well-being and create calamity; I am the Lord, who does all these things” (Isa 45:5-7). Psalm 86:8 draws the common prophetic conclusion: “There is none like you among the gods, O Lord, nor are there any works like yours.” What prophets proclaim, apostles confirm. The oneness of God’s being entails the oneness of God’s agency, and vice-versa. Though the New Testament, like the Old Testament, acknowledges the existence of many supernatural beings, called “gods” by religious custom, it confesses the absolute uniqueness of the Lord and his agency: “For although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth—as indeed there are many ‘gods’ and many ‘lords’—yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist” (1 Cor 8:5-6; Gal 4:8; Eph 4:4-6). According to the universal testimony of Holy Scripture, the Lord alone is God, the Lord alone does wondrous things.
God’s sovereign agency is one in an absolute sense; it is not one of anything. Transcending all creaturely agencies (Eph 4:6; James 1:17), God’s supreme and sovereign agency is uniquely God’s: “You who have done great things, O God, who is like you?” (Ps 71:19; Exod 15:11; Ps 113:5; Isa 40:25-26). God’s “ways” are not our “ways” (Isa 55:8). God’s sovereign agency is unbounded and independent (Isa 40:12-14; Job 22:2-3; 35:7; 41:11; Rom 11:33-35), simple (James 1:5; 1 John 1:5) and unchanging (James 1:17), perfectly wise (Ps 104:24) and utterly generous (Ps 145:9; James 1:17-18), always faithful (Ps 25:10) and altogether righteous (Ps 92:15), absolutely free and absolutely effective: “Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases” (Ps 115:3). God in his external works is God: singular, supreme, and sovereign, infinite and independent, simple and unchanging, all-wise, all-good, all-powerful. “Holy is he!” (Ps 99:3).
God’s singular sovereign agency, furthermore, is the “total cause” of all creatures: “From him and through him and to him are all things” (Rom 11:36; 1 Cor 8:6; 12:4-6; Eph 4:6). In more technical idiom, God is the first, formal, and final cause of creatures. We may more fully appreciate this claim by considering how God’s status as the “total cause” of all things addresses three questions: Who causes all things to be? How does he cause all things to be? And why does he cause all things to be? As we will see, in each instance, the answer to these questions is “God.”