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THEOLOGY > God > Providence > Administration 


It has already been stated that Providence is two-dimensional: Preservation and Administration. In Preservation God maintains and sustains His Creation; in Administration He governs or rules His Creation, with a determination to fulfill His purpose for Creation.

God’s Administration (His rule, reign, control, government) is the administration of God. He does not delegate to another, and He does not abdicate His right. “The Lord’s throne is in heaven” (Ps. 11:4) and He “sits as King” (Ps. 29:10). Several times the psalmist simply affirms: “The Lord reigns” (93:1; 96:10; 97:1; 99:1). From His position on the throne He “rules by His power” (Ps. 66:7), and in His glorious prominence “the Lord shall reign forever” (Ps. 146:10). Let it be stated again: God’s rule is the rule of God, and the rule of no other.

It is impossible to read Scripture and not be confronted with the repetitive fact that God reigns, and His reign is neither restricted nor contingent—it is free and absolute. He is neither passive nor inactive, but rules with Divine determination to execute His will. In His reign “the counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of His heart to all generations” (Ps. 33:11); and “whatever the Lord pleases He does, in heaven and in earth, in the seas and all deep places” (Ps. 135:6). For verses in both Testaments that affirm the totality of God’s government, see: Scriptural Support for Sovereignty.

GOD’S RULE IS COSMIC. “His kingdom rules over all” (Ps. 103:19); not only is He “a great King over all the earth” (47:2), but “He counts the number of the stars” and “calls them all by name” (Ps. 147:4). His government reaches to the end of the vast and unfolding universe and to the microscopic space and particle of each atom—all-encompassing is His ruling. It is “He who sits above the circle of the earth” (Isa. 40:22); and He who stretched out the heavens, calls to them, and “they stand up together” (Isa. 48:13). “He does according to His will in the armies of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth” (Dan. 4:35).

GOD’S RULE IS NATURAL. By “natural” is meant the forces of nature, the laws that govern the earth and the heavens; and these laws are simply the means by which He accomplishes what He pleases. He is the One who “made a law for the rain and a path for the thunderbolt” (Job 28:26); “He covers His hands with lightning and commands it to strike” (Job 36:32). He has “made summer and winter” (Ps. 74:17), and “He turns rivers into a wilderness and the watersprings into dry ground” (Ps. 107:33). “He calms the storm” (Ps. 107:29) and “brings the wind out of His treasuries” (Ps. 135:7). God “sends out His command to the earth” (Ps. 147:15) and the fire, hail, snow, clouds, and the stormy wind fulfill His word (Ps. 148:8). Thus, “the forces of nature” plainly refer to the ruling of God in His Creation; they are the secondary causes by which God administers what He has made.

GOD’S RULE IS NATIONAL. “He rules over the nations” (Ps. 22:28; 47:8), even as “His eyes observe the nations” (Ps. 66:7). A general oversight is not the scope of His administration of the kingdoms of earth, rather, He determines individual events and thusly governs the affairs of peoples, guiding each individual and the corporate group to the end determined.

Numerous Scriptures attest to this: “YHWH had closed up all the wombs of the house of Abimelech” (Gen. 20:17); “YHWH struck the Ethiopians . . . and the Ethiopians fled” (II Chron. 14:12); “YHWH stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia” (Ezra 1:1); “He destroyed the firstborn of Egypt” (Ps. 135:8); and “when seventy years are completed, I will punish the king of Babylon” (Jer. 25:12).

The above verses and comparable verses affirm that “the Most High rules in the kingdom of men,” and “gives it to whomever He chooses” (Dan. 4:17). “All nations before Him are as nothing” (Ps. 40:17); He has “defeated many nations” and has slain “mighty kings” (Ps. 135:10). “His kingdom is the one which shall not be destroyed” (Dan. 6:26).

Additionally, Scripture affirms that God “makes nations great and destroys them” (Job 12:23); “YHWH brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; He makes the plans of the peoples of no effect” (Ps. 33:10). The least that can be said is that it is impossible to understand history apart from this Theistic consideration; the rise and fall of nations cannot be explained merely from political intrigue, economic deprivation, forceful personalities, selfish pursuit for power, the migration of people groups, and similar factors, but must be interpreted from the perspective given in the Revelation (see: Revelation). And in the Revelation, even though there are secondary causes and factors, the Primary Cause behind all historical events is the God who reigns. Further insight is given by Job: “He enlarges nations and guides them” (12:23). According to Prov. 21:1 “the king’s heart is in the hand of YHWH . . . He turns it wherever He wishes.” Decisions made by rulers are not arbitrary and do not occur by chance, but the choices reflect the immutable and inscrutable will of God.

GOD’S RULE IS PERSONAL. “The life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind” (Job 12:10) are with YHWH. In a general sense the psalmist affirms: “my times are in Your hand” (Ps. 31:15). Additionally, the writer speaks of the days of his life that were written in a book before any of the days came to be (Ps. 139:16) and also that God “fashions” the hearts of all men “individually” (33:15).

Speaking to the citizens of Athens Paul affirms that for all men God has “determined their preappointed times” and “the boundaries of their dwellings” (Acts 17:26); in saying this he is declaring two things: God determines when you live—“times” and where you live—“boundaries.” Man cannot change these things; in fact, it is impossible for him even to add “one cubic to his stature” (Matt. 6:27).

GOD’S RULE IS REDEMPTIVE. Both Testaments inform that God’s administration involves the redemption of His people; perhaps, the very essence of His rule should be understood in this sense. There is a general as well as a limited factor in His redemption: general, in the sense that He is redeeming all of Creation from the curse pronounced at the Fall ((Rom. 8:20-22); and specific, in the sense that only those chosen before the foundation of the world will experience full and final redemption (Eph. 1:4). Throughout history there are those who are blessed because God chooses them and causes them to come to Him: “Blessed is the man You choose, and cause to approach You, that he may dwell in Your courts” (Ps. 65:4). Confirmation of this truth is found in the New Testament: “And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed” (Acts 13:48). Bringing in the elect is the redemptive intention in God’s government of His Creation.

GOD’S RULE IS PURPOSIVE. YHWH declares that He “appointed the ancient people” and “the things that are coming and shall come” (Isa. 44:7). Consider His declaration in the following verses:

Remember the former things of old, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure,’ calling a bird of prey from the east, the man who executes My counsel, from a far country. Indeed I have spoken it; I will also bring it to pass. I have purposed it; I will also do it (46:9-11).

God speaks of His “counsel,” His “pleasure,” and the fact that He has “spoken it”; these words indicate a purpose in what He does, a mysterious and unrevealed reason for His actions. Unmistakably, He proclaims: “I have purposed it; I will also do it.”

Creation is not administered by chance, luck, some evolutionary principle, or an unknown fate, but by Him who has a purpose, a plan, a will. Even the words He speaks accomplish His purpose (Isa. 55:11). “He does according to His will in the armies of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth” (Dan. 4:35); it is His “will” that He does, and His will is His purpose.

GOD’S RULE IS ETERNAL. What more needs to be said than what the psalmist says: “YHWH sits as King forever” (Ps. 29:10), and “YHWH is King forever and ever” (Ps. 2:4; 10:16). He is the “King of kings and Lord of lords” and “alone has immortality” (I Tim. 6:15). Before there was anything, He ruled; and when there came to be everything, He continued to rule; and while everything is existing, He is ruling; and in eternity, He alone will rule. “He rules by His power forever” (Ps. 66:7; see: 146:10).

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