Apologetics Thursday – God makes Kings


Certain Calvinists attempt to use Daniel 2:21 as a prooftext in favor of the idea that God controls the rise and fall of all government. Daniel 2:21 reads:

Dan 2:21 And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise And knowledge to those who have understanding.

Just reading this verse does not suggest that God controls “all” governmental politics. Normal language would suggest that these are just things that God does sometimes. They are power acts that show the might of God’s decrees.

We can see similar language constructs in other kingly statements. The hedonist king Sardanapalus writes:

I was the king, and while I lived on earth,
And saw the bright rays of the genial sun,
I ate and drank and loved; and knew full well
The time that men do live on earth was brief.
And liable to many sudden changes,
Reverses, and calamities. Now others
Will have th’ enjoyment of my luxuries,
Which I do leave behind me. For these reasons
I never ceased one single day from pleasure.

We can notice the generalities and hyperboles just inherent in how language works. When the king “ate, drank, and loved” he did not eat everything ever, or drink everything ever, or love everything ever. Definitely Sardanapalus did cease from pleasure at least one day of his life. The statement is hyperbolic. These are just a characteristic acts of Sardanapalus. The intent is to show Sardanapalus’ hedonistic lifestyle.

In a similar way, when Daniel writes about God “raising Kings”, “changing seasons”, and “giving wisdom to the wise”, this is more a statement of God’s power. God regularly does these things that show how powerful God is. These are not universal and all-encompassing claims. The assumption needs to be against this sort of interpretation because that is not the natural assumption provided anyone was the subject other than God.

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