God! He run this motha! God! Did you think I’d say girls? Girls are awesome, don’t get me wrong, but girls make such terrible gods. Men do too. Think back on any bad relationship you’ve had, most likely things were so bad because one of you, or even both of you, expected the other to be God. To take care of you, to love you, to provide for you, to nurture your ideas, to work for your good in every situation. But we aren’t gods, and we constantly let each other down. We don’t run the world, and thank God we don’t!
God runs the world. This is the Christian doctrine of “providence”. Providence sounds so churchy, I know, but don’t let it stop you from reading on. In his book The Providence of God, Paul Helm addresses your initial boredom,”‘Divine providence’, or even ‘the providence of God’, appears to be a cold, academic abstraction, a matter of concern only to the systematic theologian of the philosopher rather than to the Christian believer. More than this, the word ‘providence’ is old-fashioned, and is very rarely used. This may reinforce the view that a discussion of the providence of God such as we are about to begin is a matter of academic or at best of historical interest. But it would be a mistake to draw this conclusion. For we are embarking on a study of God’s activity now.” (The Providence of God, pg.17).
I love that. Yes, providence is a doctrine of interest for philosophers and seminary professors, but it concerns us all, everyday. Therefore, we should all be concerned with it. God guides the events that take place in the universe, He guides human history, and that means He’s even in control of your life. Everything that happens is subject to God’s predetermined plan, God’s divine will. God sets up kings and tears down nations, God provides food for the young lions in Africa and the baby sparrows in your backyard. He run the world.
“Ok Park, very cute. We get that you’re referencing Queen B’s old song to prove a point, but where are you getting this doctrine from?” Good question, here’s a list:
- God brings about good events in spite of evil human intentions. (Genesis 50:19-21)
- God sustains all of His creation. (Nehemiah 9:6)
- God guides the nations wherever and however He pleases. (Job 1:12)
- God is in control over Satan. (Job 1:12)
- God does whatever He wants to do in and with creation. (Psalm 134:6)
- God’s plans will come to fruition. (Proverbs 19:21)
- God provides for His creatures, especially His image bearers, aka humans. (Matthew 6:26)
- God acts on His plan to transform people into the image of Christ. (Romans 8:28-29)
- Jesus Christ holds together the entire created order. (Hebrews 1:3)
- God’s providence even extends to perceived “chance”. (Proverbs 16:33)
- God provides and sustains all His creatures. (Psalm 145:15-16)
- God’s Word achieves all that He intends it to. (Isaiah 55:11)
- God does whatever He wants and no one can stop His plans or judge His purposes. (Daniel 4:35)
- God preordained the election of the saints through Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 1:4)
- No generation is outside of the control and purposes of God. (Psalm 33:11)
- God is in complet- “Ok Park! We get it. Nobody’s gonna look all of those up. You’ve made your point. Can you just summarize it for us?”
Yeah, ok sure, I mean you asked for proof, no need to be all aggressive. But I think the simplest definition I can give you is to sing “God run the world” in my best Beyoncé impression. “Park, get real! We need a better definition!” Ok, I’ll pull from a common systematic theology book, one sec… Alright, so, in speaking about God’s providence, theologian Wayne Grudem says, “God is continually involved with all created things in such a way that he (1) keeps them existing and maintaining the properties with which he created them; (2) cooperates with the created things in every action, directing their distinctive properties to cause them to act as they do; and (3) directs them to fulfill his purposes.” (Systematic Theology, pg. 315).
“Grudem? Really, Park? That’s so 1994. You can’t give us a fresher perspective?” Wow, someone is awfully picky. If you want a “fresher” perspective on providence I’ll give you a definition from “Mr. Perspectives” himself, Professor John Frame. Frame says, “In providence God expresses his Lordship attribute of control over the created world. God’s control is both efficacious and universal. but that isn’t all. Confessional and theological accounts of providence (with biblical support) also describe God’s providential control of the world in terms of government and preservation”. (Systematic Theology, John Frame, pg. 172). Happy now?
“I mean… that was a little highbrow, don’t cha think? No more waxing eloquent, Park. Give us something practical.” You know I have other stuff to do, right? “Yeah, yeah, make with the definition!” Ok, so in case Grudem is too “spiritual gifty” for you and Frame is too Presbyterian for you, here’s John MacArthur’s definition from his brand spanking new book, Biblical Doctrine, divine providence is “God’s care for the creation, involving his preserving its existence and meticulously guiding it to his intended ends.” (Biblical Doctrine, pg. 935).
“Ok, ok, so basically you’re saying God runs the world?” Uh, yeah! I’ve been trying to say- “Wow, God runs the world, how cool. What are the implications of that in your own life? Like why should I care about that today?” Well, like the Paul Helm quote above stated, providence is about God’s activity right now. That means God is in control of everything, today! God led me to write this, that doesn’t mean my words are inspired or infallible, but rather, that His providence led me to write to you and Lord willing, what i’ve written will honor Him. Buuuuut, it also means that by God’s providence, you are reading this blog post, annnd He’s led you to read this far into it, which is a miracle in and of itself! I can only assume 1 of 2 things from this fact, 1. God wants to teach you more about who He is, He wants you to grow in your relationship with Him by knowing more doctrine. If that’s the case then use what you’ve learned in this post as a spring board to propel you into further study and knowledge of the Lord.
2. God is in the process of wooing you. Maybe you’re not a Christian yet, maybe you haven’t surrendered your life to Jesus Christ and you haven’t turned from your sins to embrace God’s free give of forgiveness by faith. If that’s the case, then I’d encourage you to do that right now. Why not? Why not see this as a sign of God offering His forgiveness to you, today, through this silly blogger? Through God’s great providence, he’s worked out this situation, and He’s offering you life through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ, right now. Stop pretending that you’re in control of your life and turn to the God who actually is.
He run the world.