Posted by: Standing Solus Christus | August 5, 2006

General Revelation – Providence

Life is full of twists and turns, encouragements and disappointments, truth and error, ups and downs.  Just because one becomes a Christian one does not just encounter good experiences for the rest of their life.  I myself am currently in a time of reflection considering what to do with the future and wondering why past decisions are not working out.  The strange and mysterious phenomenon of God’s providence is perplexing at times. The way it unfolds in our lives is amazing to consider.  Some people may even think that God speaks to us through these events.  Although hesitant to affirm this, I am also hesitant to deny the truth of it also.  Extreme caution should be exercised when answering this, especially in light of what we will be covering in the next few weeks concerning special revelation, the canon of Scripture and the sufficiency of Scripture.     

It should be noted, however that it is not so much a question of “if” God speaks through providence, but “how” or “how much” He speaks.  Certainly, we must concede that God does speak through providence as it is affirmed in Article 2 of the Belgic Confession that the preservation and government of the universe reveals God.  The difficult question is how much can we rely on God to speak to us through events in life.  Since this is in the realm of general revelation the response should be nothing specific and return to His Word for direction (Deuteronomy 29:29). 

We have defined providence here other times (i-believe-in-god-part-two) and God’s sovereignty (almighty-god), however the following quote from Calvin’s Institutes is offered for another definition:     

For he is deemed omnipotent, not because he can indeed act, yet sometimes ceases and sits in idleness, or continues by a general impulse that order of nature which he previously appointed; but because, governing heaven and earth by his providence he so regulates all things that nothing takes place without his deliberation. 1.16.3 

The fact the “nothing takes place without his deliberation” everything within the universe displays order and purpose.  At times in history the order or purpose of some things may have been unknown, however upon closer examination these things can now be characterized with said attributes.  The Scripture testifies to God’s preservation and governance of the universe sometimes specifically (Psalm 65:5-13 and Psalm 104:14-27;) or sometimes broadly (Psalm 147:8-9 and Acts 14:14-17).  It is a wonderful manifestation of His glory and to consider the scope of God’s providence is amazing.  Even the minutest detail occurs at the orchestration of God from the grass growing to feed the livestock to the watering of trees used by birds for nesting.  The sustenance (Matthew 6:25-40) and even the life of the creature (Matthew 10:28-31) is within the governance of God. 

This general revelation along with the creation itself, are nothing less that God proclaiming to humanity of His glory.  As a result, mankind is without excuse before the Creator and guilty of condemnation for their disobedience towards Him.


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