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THEOLOGY > God > Providence > False Conceptions   


The sum of that which is, is not the cosmos. Before the cosmos, there was only God. Now there is God and there is also the cosmos: God brought the universe into existence, and God is in control of that which He brought into existence. In other words God is Sovereign over the universe, both in its origination, its continuation, and its history, a history which is unfolding according to His determination. All other conceptions of reality are false.

Deism is false. It separates God from the world, claiming that God initiated everything and then set it in motion. But once the processes were set in motion at the beginning, they do not in the present require continuing sustenance or government by God; therefore, the focus of Deism is more on the past event of Creation rather than the ongoing work of Providence.

In fact, Divine Providence is not part of the belief system of deists. The world is virtually a machine that has been put in motion and is now left alone by God, who is the proverbial absolute and absentee Watchmaker who never intervenes or interacts with the natural order.

Thus there is no place for miracles in the order of things, for natural law is the controlling entity and functions as an ongoing providence.

Pantheism is false. It merges God with the world, claiming that they are one and the same. As is often pointed out the composition of the word suggests the concept conveyed by the word: combined by forming two transliterated words (pan, meaning “all” + theos, meaning “God”), “pantheism” literally affirms that “all is God” or “God is all.”

So there is no independent Providence upon which the cosmos is dependent, for Divine Providence implies Someone set over against the Creation; since God is identified with creation then pantheistic providence becomes the self-revelation of God in and through the natural processes.

Because of the identification of God with the world, God is converted into some sort of impersonal spirit who created out of himself (ex deo) rather than out of nothing (ex nihilo). Therefore, the idea of God and a separate world is erroneous. There is no distinction between the two. God and the world are one.

Fate is false. “Fates” is the name for three ancient Greek goddesses (Moirae) that determined events by the threads they spun, and from them we get our words “fate” and “fatal.” Today fate is considered to be some kind of impersonal power or force that affects the turn of events and is responsible for the flow of history.

Since the events are inevitable, there is a finality to them that leads to the modern concept of fatalism. Implied in the idea of fate is the rejection of choice, meaning that the individual’s “fate” is certain, a sort of impersonal determinism. How amazing that the determinism of the Personal God is rejected, but the determinism of an impersonal something is accepted!

Adding to the mystery of this fate is the fact that some writers give it a capital—Fate. Does not the capitalization imply the need for something greater than simply the material, and perhaps for something that is more than just personal, even Personal?

Chance, or some would say “luck,” is false. By chance is meant that which happens spontaneously, or that cause of events which is non-intelligent and non-personal. In this scenario chance replaces God, and the explanation for all things cannot be explained; the explanation is some unknown unknowable that goes by the word “chance,” with chance being given the characteristics dictated by the worldview of the one doing the formulating.

But how can causal power be attributed to chance, which is a nothing, a non-entity? It seems that the real agenda is not so much the emphasis given to chance as the explanation for happenings as the fact that chance becomes a “reason” for removing God from the consideration. God is dispatched from His throne, along with His providential Sovereignty, and man is no longer bothered by Deity. Instead of certainty, man is enveloped by uncertainty and the resulting insecurity.

Evolution is false. Assuming that endless time plus unpredictable but statistical possibility results in all that is leaves no place for, nor need of, God and His Providence. Uniformity of natural causes and the struggle for survival on the part of all life forms remove Divine Providence from the discussion.

And besides, in the minds of many this evolutionary perspective has been proven by science and is therefore intellectually acceptable. A reference to God and His so-called Providence is antiquated and is a vestige of the earlier thought of man before man’s research and reflection evolved away from such obvious ignorance. To reject evolution is to display one’s narrow and truncated thinking. We have moved beyond God; He is simply not needed anymore. In evolution we have found our reason for being (see: Question of Evolution).

Mother Earth is false. Though the two words, “Mother Earth,” are currently used in a variety of ways, here the reference is to the earth as the mother of all and the sustainer of all. The earth is considered to be a self-organizing system that continually regulates and adjusts its systems in order to facilitate the emergence and continuation of life on the planet.

This is not a novel concept, for it reaches back to the beginning of history and is found in numerous ancient cultures, either referring to a goddess or used as a personification of nature. Some even view all the planetary systems as a single entity or being, referred to as Gaia, which oversees the evolving activity on earth.

Part of the discussion is the question of the awareness level of the earth. Whether a conscious entity or not, the preservation and sustenance of earth is dependent upon earth, for Earth is the Mother. As in the above options, God is not needed; the personal God and His Providence are rejected in favor of an impersonal Earth and her evolutionary oversight.

RESPONSE: The only response to all of the above foolish, irrational, and sinful conceptions is the declaration of the Biblical Revelation in Gen. 1:1 (see: Revelation, God is Sovereign, and Theistic Determinism).

Return to Providence; Next Article: Response to Sovereignty

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