Monday, November 6, 2023

The Ultimate Cause (Acts 17:22-34)

“… for in Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28).

Thomas Watson wrote “there are three things in providence: God’s foreknowing, God’s determining, and God’s directing all things to their periods and events.” This perspective recognizes that God’s providence creates all things and sustains all things.

Foundational to this view of God is that God is the primary cause of the creation of the universe and the primary cause of the continued functioning of the universe. No created “thing” has intrinsic causal power, i.e., you do not have the power to create yourself or to sustain your own life. That power must come from outside of you, an ultimate source of existence. Modern man denies that God is that ultimate source and that He is the primary cause of all things. Instead, he focuses on secondary causes to explain the existence and maintenance of the universe. For example, if an earthquake topples a city in Japan, modern man will search for the “cause” of the earthquake through seismological studies, land movements, etc. These, however, are only secondary causes—God is ultimately in control of the land movements that caused the earthquake. Modern societies look for answers in science, but science can only discover answers in the secondary realm. Only in theology can we discover the ultimate cause, and in finding the ultimate cause we find purpose, comfort, and meaning as we struggle with the many facets of existence.

Through secondary causes, God sustains and preserves His creation. God alone is the author of “being” or existence. Man does not have the power of “being” within himself. The old argument for ultimate existence is that if anything exists now, something or someone must have the power of existence within itself, or nothing would “be.” Acts 17:28 points us to the source of our existence: “In God we live and move and have our being.”

God not only sustains His creation, but He governs it. Job recognized God as being the ultimate authority in governing the world, and in humble submission to that authority, Job appealed to God for relief and vindication. We, too, must recognize His authority not only in our creation, our existence, but in our daily lives. Because God is the ultimate ruler over all things, we owe Him obedience and allegiance in everything we think, say, and do.

The issue at stake in recognizing God as the ultimate cause and ruler of the universe is authority. Do you live in submission and obedience to that authority? Do you humble yourself to His will in everything you do? If not, begin today. Submit to Him as your Creator and your King.