Theology Thursday

Q. 8. How doth God execute his decrees?
A. God executeth his decrees in the works of creation and providence.

Westminster Shorter Catechism

Google docs doesn’t like executeth… how sad. The Westminster Catechism was written by a bunch of very intelligent and godly men in the 17th century (1647). And yeah they use some big words and different words than common speech today. But more importantly, what do they mean?

God, outside of time, has already decreed everything that is to come to pass. He knows the future, He created the future just as He did the past. How could God know that Israel would be exiled, Christ crucified or the Church spread to the ends of the earth? He knows because He is ensuring it. How?

Well. Through the ordinary means of creation and providence. Let’s break these two things down.

Why do empires rise and fall? Well, interestingly, it’s often because of climate change. No, not climate change like we mean today (human induced), but the natural climate change of our planet. Mini ice-ages, heatwaves and so on. They actually have a profound effect on the world. Not convinced, check this out

So by creation we mean that God works through the ordinary processes of the earth/sun/universe to realise His plan for the world.

What about providence? Well, providence can apply to creation also (climate change is a part of God’s providence). But I wonder if it would be helpful here to think of it as a bit more micro rather than macro. God is at work in and through every human decision/action.

The classic example of providence is that of Joseph and his brothers. Remember, Joseph is betrayed & sold into slavery by his brothers. But this actually results in their salvation from famine through Joseph’s rulership of Egypt. And what does Joseph say? What his brothers meant for evil, God meant and used for good.

It was God all along. At work through their decisions. So it is with every decision. Big and small. Billions every day. Our choices. God providentially working through them to His end. That’s how He executeth His decree/plan for the world and history.

And again. If God were an ogre. I bully. An tyrant. Then God’s power is bad for us. But because He is good, kind, merciful and loving. It’s good news for those who trust in Him. But if He was good, kind, merciful and love and yet powerless to do much - then that too is bad news. Thankfully, that’s not the case.

For Today:
  • Do you see God at work in all things?
  • Have you ever had God answer your prayers in a surprising way?
  • How does seeing this help you have have peace in God?

  • Praise the Father that He executeth His decrees through creation and providence.
  • Give thanks for Jesus Christ who shows us the goodness of God.
  • Ask God for His Holy Spirit to help you have peace in knowing the God who is in control.

Scriptures: Psalm 148:8, Daniel 4:35, Acts 4:24-28, Revelation 4:11

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