Meditation on God’s Providence (17)
One question that burns bright is why have history and predestination? It would appear that the latter renders the former irrelevant. There are so many others! It is here that we are wise to once again listen carefully to John Calvin.
First, then, let them remember that when they inquire into predestination, they penetrate the inmost recesses of Divine wisdom, where the careless and confident intruder will obtain no satisfaction to his curiosity, but will enter a labyrinth from which he will find no way to depart. For it is unreasonable that man should scrutinize with impunity those things which the Lord has determined to be hidden in himself; and investigate, even from eternity, that sublimity of wisdom which God would have us to adore and not comprehend, to promote our admiration of His glory. The secrets of His will which He determined to reveal to us, He discovers in His word; and these are all that He foresaw would concern us or conduce to our advantage.
We should take the most serious note that the Apostle Paul, though fully convinced of God’s predestining action still participated in history with the greatest of energy. If I had been there to ask all of my “but why” questions there’s no doubt in my mind that the Great Apostle would have finally answered something along the lines of:
But who are you, a man, to answer back to God? (Romans 9:20a).
Yes, indeed, who am I? The plain fact is that our Lord God has made history and placed us within it. The Scriptures clearly show that we are to be active participants in history’s unfolding. Those who came to understand God’s eternal decrees did so in the humility of accepting a hard and perplexing conclusion while continuing to live and act in the world.
The simple fact is that there are places forever beyond the reach of our intellects. With the continued wise application of theology, science, medicine, philosophy, economics and so forth we can continue to advance our well-being. However, in order for any of this to truly be wise we must recover the truth that we are, all of us, limited creatures under the authority of the infinite Lord God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)
If you would like to download God’s Acts of Providence, go to the Document Repository page.