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THEOLOGY > God > Providence > Foundation for Providence  


The foundation for Providence resides in two realities: one is Supernatural (Theism) and the other is natural (Creation), the One is without origination and the other has a beginning. Theism is the source of Providence, while Creation is the arena of Providence. And it is in Theism and Creation that the justification for Providence resides.

Theism establishes Providence. God is the only Necessary or Absolute Cause. To state that God is the Absolute Cause is to affirm that God is uncaused, that is, the reason for God’s existence resides within Him not outside of Him. He is because He is; only He can affirm: “I Am.” To state that God is the Absolute Cause is to state that God is the only cause—all other causes are because of Him and find their ultimate origination in Him. Everything outside of God is because of God.

Theism assumes and, more than just assumes, requires Providence. If God alone is uncaused and God alone is the only Absolute Cause, then it follows that these facts concerning God establish His rule over all that exists. God cannot be and not rule. To affirm God is also to affirm His right to rule and the fact that He does indeed rule (See: Definition of Sovereignty).

Theism and Providence stand or fall together. If Theism is rejected then there is no Source for a personal providential care of the universe; man is alone and at the mercy of some sort of impersonal and powerless fate that is unknown. If Providence is rejected then the Theism of Biblical thought is undermined and brought into question, for the Canon affirms that the God of the Bible is not removed from His Creation, but is directly involved in the preservation and administration of His Creation.

It should be noted that the Theism spoken of here is the Theism of the Bible. And really there is no other theism. The Theism asserted in Scripture is consistent with and requires Providence.

Atheism is not only the rejection of Theism, but it is also the elimination of Providence. If there is no God, then there is no supernatural control over Creation and man is not responsible. Perhaps this is the existential challenge facing the modern thinker—the fact that he is ruled by Someone and is accountable to that Someone. And in this accountability is an intolerable infringement upon his perceived autonomous freedom. This undesirable truth prohibits him from accepting the God who reigns. If the real issue in atheism is the Providence or Sovereignty of God, then this reinforces the argument that atheism is really a moral problem and not an intellectual consideration. (See: Foundations, The God of Creation, and The Foolishness of Atheism)

Providence conditions every subject, whether academic or practical. As an illustration, consider the concept of history. If Providence is true, then history cannot be explained solely in terms of events, personalities, movements of people, rise of nation-states, geography, or meteorology; that is, a philosophy of history cannot be so narrow as to consider only the linear dimension, because the linear can only be understood in terms of the vertical. Reality is not a closed system, a system that is self-contained, self-directed, and self-conditioned, but is an open system, open to Him who is Sovereign over the system. So, history, the life or story of man and his dealings with God, must be interpreted in terms of Providence or the interpretation will be invalid.

What is true of history is true of all topics that can be discussed. Without an interpretation of all things from the perspective of Providence, nothing cannot be understood nor properly appreciated.

Apart from Providence there is no meaning and direction; without Providence life is devoid of an ultimate and concluding Purpose. With no Providence, there is be no assurance of a tomorrow, no guarantee of continuity between the past and the present, with an anticipation of the future. Today could be characterized by a degree of order, but next week there could be anarchy; structure could evolve into annihilation, with the race of man and beast being totally destroyed. Without Providence, there is no promise of the next day.

Creation establishes Providence. Creation is not a necessary cause but is an effect—it has been caused. Creation exists because of the Creator, therefore, it is contingent. And in this contingency resides the necessity of Providence, a Providence that is sustaining and governing, and also extending to every facet of Creation, the microscopic and macroscopic, the atom and the galaxies. Without Providence Creation would cease to be; it would return to nothingness.

Initially, God created; and now, subsequently, He maintains and directs what He created. The former is past and complete; the latter is present and continuing. In other words, Providence assumes Creation, and Creation is dependent upon Providence. The two are complementary, with each requiring the other. In this relationship there is no place for a deism that improperly separates God from the world, or a pantheism that merges God with the world thereby removing a providential care by God of the world.

To think of the Creator is to think of the providential care of the Creator for His Creation. He made the Creation dependent upon Him; or, worded differently, because the Creation has been made, it is reliant upon the Maker—Creation is the arena of Providence. The one flows from the Other. If God brings Creation into existence, then God’s Providence of Creation becomes essential; therefore, contemporary with God’s work of Creation is the establishment of His Providence.

It is illogical, in fact, to think that God created without the intention of preserving and guiding that which He had created to some Divine conclusion. To entertain the concept that God created is to entertain the companion concept that He will continue His Creation until His purpose is accomplished with His Creation.

But according to Scripture, that is, according to Revelation, God is and God has created.  And in these two (Theism and Creation), Providence is established. God has a plan for His Creation, and that plan will come to fruition; it will not be denied. It is God’s Providence that assures the Eschaton.

(See: God's Existence and God's Essence; also Work of Creation)

Return to Providence; Next Article: Definition of Sovereignty 

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