Bible Doctrine Class
Chapter 8: Providence
"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose." - Romans 8:28
- Hebrews 1:3; Colossians 1:17
- Inanimate creation - Psalm 148:8; Job 37:6-13; Psalm 104: 14; Matthew 5:45.
- Animals - Psalm 104:27-29; Matthew 6:26.
- Seemingly "random" or "chance" events - Proverbs 16:33.
- Events fully caused by God and the creature as well - primary & secondary causes.
- Affairs of nations - Job 12:23; Psalm 22:28.
- All aspects of our lives - Matthew 6:11; Philippians 4:19; Galatians 1:15; Jeremiah 1:5; Psalm 33:14,15.
- Willing and responsible choices - real and eternal results.
- What about evil? - Joseph-Genesis 50:20; Pharoah-Romans 9:17; Job; Acts 4:27.
- Analysis of verses relating to God and evil.
- God uses all things to fulfill His purposes and even uses evil for His glory and for our good - Romans 8:28.
- God never does evil and is never blamed for evil - Matthew 18:7; James 1:13-14.
- God rightfully blames and judges moral creatures for their evil - Isaiah 66:3,4; Romans 9:19.
- Evil is real, not an illusion, and we should never do evil, for it will always harm us and others - Matthew 6:13; 1 Peter 2:11.
- We cannot fully understand God's complete sovereignty and our complete responsibility and sin.
- Do we have "free will"?
- Daniel 4:35; Romans 11:36
D. Importance of Our Actions
- We are responsible for our actions - The soul that sins, dies.
- Our actions have real results and do change the course of events.
- Prayer has definite results and changes the course of events.
- We must act.
- Do not worry about a full understanding of this doctrine.
E. The Arminian Position
- For human choices to be genuine, God cannot cause our voluntary choices.
- Verses cited do not describe how God ordinarily works. (It doesn't mean what it says).
- Calvinism makes God responsible for sin.
- Choices caused by God are not real choices.
- Arminianism encourages responsible Christian living, Calvinism encourages fatalism.
F. Response to Arminianism
- Scripture describes how God usually works (it means what it says). Hebrews 1:3; Ephesians 1:1.
- God is not responsible for sin.
- God choices are real choices.
- Calvinism is not fatalism.
- Other problems.
- How can God know the future?
- How can evil exist if God did not want it to?
- How can we know God will triumph over evil?
- How can God answer prayer for someone else's conversion?
Q11: What are God's works of providence?
A11: God's works of providence are, his most holy, wise, and powerful preserving and governing all his creatures, and all their actions.
Q12: What special act of providence did God exercise toward man in the estate wherein he was created?
A12: When God had created man, he entered into a covenant of life with him, upon condition of perfect obedience; forbidding him to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, upon the pain of death.
"Some providences, like Hebrew letters, must be read backwards." - John Flavel
1. List at least 5 verses that support the doctrine of providence.
2. How can an event be fully caused by God and fully caused by a creature at the same time?
3. How would you describe God's relationship to evil in the world?
4. In what way do people have free will? In what way do they not?
5. If God is in control of all things, are human actions important? Why?
6. What is the main difference between the doctrine of providence and the viewpoint of Arminianism?
Arminianism, Calvinism, concurrence, free choices, free will, government, preservation, primary cause, providence, Reformed, secondary cause, voluntary choices, willing choices.
Westminster Confession on Providence
Westminster Confession on Free Will
The Providence of God - by Paul Helm
Providence - John Flavel
All Things for Good - Thomas Watson
Trusting God - Jerry Bridges