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Don Stewart :: What Is the Providence of God?

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Don Stewart

The providence of God refers to God making all the events of the physical and moral universe fulfill His original design.

There Is A Difference Between God's Creating, Sustaining, And Providence

We need to make the distinction between God creating the universe, His sustaining the universe, and God's providence in the universe.

Creation Has Ceased

In the past, God created the universe. Creation has ceased. It is never spoken of in the Bible as something that is continuing. Thus creation has to do with the beginning of things.

Preservation Of The Universe Continues

Preservation, or sustaining, has to do with the continuance of things that God created. God has not only created the universe in the past, He is active in keeping it running.

Providence Deals With The Fulfillment Of God's Plan

Providence has to do with the development of and fulfillment of God's original plan that He devised. Providence fulfills the plan that God created

Stated another way, creation has to do with the existence of the universe, preservation the maintaining of the universe, and providence the care and control of the universe.

All Things Are For God's Purpose

Scripture speaks of God providing for humanity. He designs all things and guides events according to His perfect purpose. This is known as God's providence. Both great things and small things are under His care. There are no exceptions.

The universe, from its widest reach, down to its smallest details, is the object of the Creator's loving oversight. From the vast systems of galaxies down to the smallest particles are all under the divine care.

This Is Not The Same As Fate

Often people confuse the providence of God with fate. There is no such thing as fate. It is only a superstition.

Providence Is Not The Same As The Laws Of God

Providence is not the same thing as the universal laws that God has established in the universe. God is behind and above every law in the universe. The laws are the tools that God has made; they are not God Himself. Laws are not coequal with God neither are they some overruling force. They are an expression of His care for humankind.

There Are Four Categories Of God's Providence

The providence of God can be placed into a number of categories - God's general providence, God's special providence, God's conditional providence, and God's unconditional providence.

  1. General providence means that God is in control of the all the details of the physical universe.
  2. Special or particular providence is how God looks after the details of a person's life.
  3. Unconditional providence is given to everything in the universe regardless of behavior.
  4. Conditional providence is only given to believers who meet certain requirements.

Summary

The providence of God concerns God's control and care of things He originally created and now sustains. It is not the same idea as fate, neither is providence the same as the laws of God. It is God's intervening in the affairs of the universe to complete His plan. The providence of God can be placed into four different categories: general providence, special providence, unconditional providence, and conditional providence.

CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


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