Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Doctrine of God’s Providence

The Belgic Confession of Faith

Article 13: The Doctrine of God’s Providence

We believe that this good God, after creating all things, did not abandon them to chance or fortune but leads and governs them according to the holy divine will, in such a way that nothing happens in this world without God’s orderly arrangement.

Yet God is not the author of, and cannot be charged with, the sin that occurs. For the divine power and goodness are so great and incomprehensible that God’s will is ordained and accomplished very well and justly even when the devils and the wicked act unjustly.

We do not wish to inquire with undue curiosity into what God does that surpasses human understanding and is beyond our ability to comprehend. But in all humility and reverence we adore the just judgments of God, which are hidden from us, being content to be Christ’s disciples, so as to learn only what God shows us in the Word, without going beyond those limits.

This doctrine gives us unspeakable comfort since it teaches us that nothing can happen to us by chance but only by the arrangement of our gracious heavenly Father. He watches over us with protective care, keeping all creatures, so that not one of the hairs on our heads (for they are all numbered) nor even a little bird can fall to the ground “apart from our Father” (Matt 10:29,30). In this thought we rest, knowing that God holds in check the devils and all our enemies, who cannot hurt us without divine permission and will.

For that reason we reject the damnable error of the Epicureans, who say that God does not get involved in anything and leaves everything to chance.

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