The Providence of God

I think a very helpful definition of the providence of God comes from the Westminster Shorter Catechism. It says this "God's works of providence are his most holy, wise, and powerful preserving and governing, all his creatures and all their actions. It encompasses everything in this universe. All as under God's sovereign preservation and governing.


How does God preserve creation?

Creation depends on God, not only for its initial creation, but also for its ongoing existence. It's in God we live and move and have our being and what is true of us is true of all that God has made. God upholds all things by his powerful word. Creation is never independent of the power and preservation of God. God governs creation with absolute sovereignty and authority. There is not a thing that happens in this world that is outside of His control and that has not been ordained by Him from before the creation of the world. All the mammoth events of world history have been orchestrated by Him. All the small details of life have been designed and directed by Him. There's not an atom that moves, except that God determines that. Remember how the Lord Jesus said that not a sparrow falls to the ground without the will of my heavenly Father. So, that God's sovereignty and authority encompasses absolute everything. There's nothing that happens outside of His plans and purposes. Nothing can thwart his intentions. Everything is absolutely under the control of God. And what has been helpful for me over the years, as I think through this, is to think of the sovereignty of God in the death of Christ. Obviously, that was the most horrific event that has ever occurred. That sinful men put the the God man, the Son of God to death. An innocent, holy man, to death on the cross. But, the apostle Peter says that this happened, that Christ was delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God. Wicked and lawless men crucified and killed Him but they were carrying out God's eternal plan.

What about fate, luck, and chance?

Sometimes, interestingly the bible does speak about certain events as fortuitous or happened by chance. For instance in the the lovely story of Ruth the Moabitus, she went to glean in a field in order to provide for herself and her mother-in-law Naomi. The bible says that she happened to come to a part of the field of Boaz, who as it turns out, was her kinsmen redeemer. And so it seems like it was just "lucky" but I think it's written that way in order to startle us and say no it wasn't luck at all, couldn't be luck but it was God's sovereign orchestration of all things so that Ruth would be introduced to Boaz, so that she would be redeemed, and then of course that our Lord Jesus Christ would ultimately come from that line. So, nothing is by chance. Nothing is just luck or fortuitous. All is designed by God from eternity past, to carry out His purposes, His own glory, and the good of His people


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