Wednesday, October 3, 2018

God's Active Providence

"He is before all things, and in him all things hold together" (Colossians 1:17).

One of the dominant ideas in Western thought during the past several centuries is that we live in a closed mechanistic universe. The universe, we are told, is like a machine that functions according to natural laws intrinsic to itself. The earlier form of this view, called deism, said there was a God who set up this mechanistic universe. Nowadays, God is written out of the picture altogether.

The Christian view is quite a bit different. Christianity does not teach that God created the universe and then turned His back on it, or that He simply sits in heaven and watches His machine run. Rather, Christianity teaches that God is not only the primary cause of the universe, He is also the primary cause of everything that takes place in the universe. Nothing in the universe has intrinsic causal power. All of our power is derived from God’s activity.

God is the first or primary cause of every event that happens. If it rains we can rightly say that God sent the rain. At the same time, God has established the universe in such a way that secondary causes are also real. These are the kinds of cause and effect processes that science studies. Thus, it is also correct to say it is raining today because of certain meteorological factors.

What God creates, He sustains. Accordingly, one of the important subdivisions of the doctrine of divine providence is the doctrine of divine sustenance. Colossians 1:16 says God created all things. The following verse says “in Him all things hold together.” God actively and eternally works to guide and sustain what He has created.

The heart of the doctrine of divine providence is that God governs His creation. He governs it actively. His government is permanent and cannot be revoked or changed. The second psalm says when the nations rage and the people's plot to overthrow God’s reign, God roars in laughter at their insane dreams (Psalm 2:1–6).

Consider the fact that God brings to pass and sustains all things. List some different things God is bringing to pass in the world and in your life. Consciously thank God each day this week for His sustenance we take for granted.