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THEOLOGY > God > Providence > All Things 


The scope of God’s Providence is defined by a single word: “all.” God is not the King of no things or of some things, but He is the King of “all things.” The exercise of His Sovereignty is without limits. Consider the following texts from both the Old and New Testaments, which lead to two observations:

        For Your word’s sake, and according to Your own heart, You have done all these things,
        to make Your servant know them (II Sam. 7:21);

        You have made heaven . . . the earth and everything on it . . . and You preserve them all
(Neh. 9:6);

        in whose hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind (Job 12:19);

        He is a great King over all the earth” (Ps. 47:2);

        You have set all the borders of the earth (Ps. 74:17);

        YHWH has established His throne in heaven, and His kingdom rules over all (Ps. 103:19);
        YHWH is high above all nations (Ps. 113:4);

        And our Lord is above all gods (Ps. 135:5);

        YHWH has made all for Himself (Prov. 16:4);

        I saw all the work of God (Ecc. 8:16);

        I YHWH do all these things (Isa. 45:11);

        I will direct all his ways (Isa. 45:13);
        I will do all My pleasure”(Isa. 46:10);
        Take this wine cup of fury from My hand and cause all the nations, to whom I send you,
        to drink it (Jer. 25:15);

        I am YHWH, the God of all flesh (Jer. 32:27);

        He is the Maker of all thing” (Jer. 51:19);

         All authority has been given to me (Matt. 28:18);

        who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and all things that are in them (Acts 14:15);

        the Lord who does all these things (Acts 15:17);

        known to God from eternity are all His works (Acts 15:18);

        since He gives to all life, breath, and all things (Acts 17:25);

        And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to those
        who are the called according to His purpose (Rom. 8:28);

        Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us (Rom. 8:37);

        For of Him, and through him, and to Him, are all things (Rom. 11:36);

        all things are from God (I Cor. 11:12);

        but it is the same God who works all in all (I Cor. 12:6);

        Now all things are of God (II Cor. 5:18);

        In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according
        to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will (Eph. 1:11);

        And He put all things under His feet (Eph. 1:22);

        one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all (Eph. 4:6);

        the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself (Phil. 3:21);

        And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist (Col. 1:17);

        that in all things He may have the preeminence (Col. 1:18);

        . . . upholding all things by the word of His power (Heb. 1:3);

        for whom are all things, and by whom are all things (Heb. 2:10);

        that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ (I Pet. 4:11);

        . . . for You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created (Rev. 4:11).

The above verses teach that God:

           Was before all things
           Knows all things
           Made all things
           Made all things for Himself
           Upholds all things
           Preserves all things
           Is over all things
           Has all authority
           Works all things according to His will
           Is the source of all things
           Holds all life in His hands
           In all things He is to be glorified

In these representative verses the comprehensiveness of God’s relationship to every facet of Creation is clearly delineated. Nothing is outside of His direction and control. And because of this unassailable and immutable fact, the believer can sleep at night and not dread the coming day. Two observations are appropriate:

One, a reader’s reaction to these two words, all things, and the similar words marked above, will reveal the reader’s basic attitude toward the text, the entire Canon. Is the text to be taken seriously? That is, is the text considered to be of normative value, or is it merely suggestive and at times mythological, therefore, making it possible to offer an interpretation that denies the unmistakable?

At issue is the position of the text in relationship to the cognitive processes of man. Does the text judge thinking and determine thinking, or is the text adjusted to coincide with human reflection brought to the text? Of course, one must examine and investigate the text to determine the meaning of the text. But at stake is the perspective by which one approaches the Word of God initially, and continually in the study of passages. Is the approach seeking to know the text in order to submit to its instruction, or is the approach seeking to critique the text in light of modern worldviews? Again, the position taken on these two words will reveal the reader’s basic attitude toward the Revelation (see: Significance of Truth and Starting Point).

What does the combination, all things, mean? Does it mean “all things”; or is an interpretation to be sought that mollifies and in someway limits the obvious meaning and implication of these two simple words that have theological significance? The question is neither deep nor puzzling; it is forthright and plain. In the answer, therefore, there is no room for evasion. Do all things mean “all things”? One’s orientation to the text is reflected in the answer given to this question.

The fundamental issue is the type of God we confess: One who has His way in all things, or merely with some things, or possibly no things. The question extends from the words themselves to belief about the essence and work of God Himself. Is the God of our thinking indeed the God of the Bible?

Two, nowhere does Scripture suggest directly or indirectly that God is removed from His Creation in its history and development or that there is some sort of Divine limitation by God in His relationship to the world—manifested by His self-limiting His knowledge or activity, or both. Direction and control by God do not relate uniquely to the broad course that Creation assumes, with God merely providing some kind of general oversight; but, rather, Providence extends to the smallest detail: the hairs of heads are numbered, sparrows do not fall to the ground apart from His will, and He determines the blowing of the wind. His Providence is particular and precise; it is universal and total. Suspension by God of His Sovereignty cannot be entertained by the believer, for God “works all things according to the counsel of His will” (Eph. 1:11).

Total determination by God of all things is a concept that is impossible for the humanists to contemplate, much less embrace (see: Theistic Determinsim). It is contrary to their worldview that begins with some sort of imagined autonomous freedom, by which every aspect of reality is then evaluated and interpreted. Lost in their perspective is the voluminous testimony of the Scriptures regarding the absolute Sovereignty of God in everything that transpires. The Revelation of God is forced to surrender to the reason of man. And in the end man is left with only himself.

There are only two starting points: Theism or Humanism. You begin with God and interpret man in terms of God, or you begin with man and interpret God in terms of man. You cannot have it both ways, for the two cannot be synthesized. Either the words—all things—reflect accurately the working of God in the affairs of the world, or the words must be adjusted, thereby harmonizing the words with the perceived prominence of man in the scheme of things. (See: The Starting Point and Foundations)

Must God be humanized in order that man may be deified? God forbid!

The combination “all things” means “all things!”

See: The God of the Bible and The Problem of Evil

Return to Providence; Next Article: Preservation

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