Without a due sense of predestination, we shall lack the surest and the most powerful inducement to patience, resignation and dependence on God under every spiritual and temporal affliction. How sweet must the following considerations be to a distressed believer!
(1) There most certainly exists an almighty, all-wise and infinitely gracious God.
(2) He has given me in times past, and is giving me at present (if I had but eyes to see it), many and signal intimations of His love to me–both in a way of providence and grace.
(3) This love of His is immutable; He never repents of it nor withdraws it.
(4) Whatever comes to pass in time, is the result of His will from everlasting, consequently
(5) my afflictions were a part of His original plan, and are all ordered in number, weight and measure.
(6) The very hairs of my head are (every one) counted by Him, nor can a single hair fall to the ground but in consequence of His determination. Hence
(7) my distresses are not the result of chance, accident or a fortuitous combination of circumstances, but
(8) the providential accomplishment of God’s purpose, and
(9) designed to answer some wise and gracious ends, nor
(10) shall my affliction continue a moment longer than God sees fit.
(11) He who brought me to it, has promised to support me under it, and to carry me through it.
(12) All shall, most assuredly, work together for His glory and my good, therefore
(13) “The cup which my heavenly Father has given me to drink, shall I not drink it?” Yes, I will, in the strength He imparts, even rejoice in tribulation. I will commit myself and the event to Him, whose purpose cannot be overthrown, whose plan cannot be disconcerted; and who, whether I am resigned or not, will still go on to work all things after the counsel of His own will.
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth (Gen. 1:1). He did it by fiat, without any preexisting material; his resolve that things should exist (“Let there be…”) called them into being and formed them in order with an existence that depended on his will yet was distinct from his own. Father; Son, and Holy Spirit were involved together (Gen. 1:2; Pss. 33:6, 9; 148:5; John 1:1-3; Col. 1:15-16; Heb. 1:2; 11:3). Points to note are as follows:
(a) The act of creation is mystery to us; there is more in it than we can understand. We cannot create by fiat, and we do not know how God could. To say that he created “out of nothing” is to confess the mystery, not explain it. In particular, we cannot conceive how dependent existence can be distinct existence, nor how angels and human beings in their dependent existence can be not robots but creatures capable of free decisions for which they are morally accountable to their Maker. Yet Scripture everywhere teaches us that this is the way it is.
(b) Space and time are dimensions of the created order; God is not “in” either; nor is he bound by either as we are.
(c) As the world order is not self-created, so it is not self-sustaining, as God is. The stability of the universe depends on constant divine upholding; this is a specific ministry of the divine Son (Col. 1:17; Heb. 1:3), and without it every creature of every kind, ourselves included, would cease to be. As Paul told the Athenians, “he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else…. In him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:25, 28).
(d) The possibility of creative intrusions (e.g., miracles of creative power; creating new persons through human procreative activity; reorienting human hearts and redirecting human desires and energies in regeneration) is as old as the cosmos itself. How far God in his upholding activity actually continues to create new things that cannot be explained in terms of anything that went before, it is beyond our power to know; but certainly his world remains open to his creative power at every point.
Knowing that God created the world around us, and ourselves as part of it, is basic to true religion. God is to be praised as Creator, by reason of the marvelous order, variety, and beauty of his works. Psalms such as Psalm 104 model this praise. God is to be trusted as the sovereign LORD, with an eternal plan covering all events and destinies without exception, and with power to redeem, re-create and renew; such trust becomes rational when we remember that it is the almighty Creator that we are trusting. Realizing our moment-by-moment dependence on God the Creator for our very existence makes it appropriate to live lives of devotion, commitment, gratitude, and loyalty toward him, and scandalous not to. Godliness starts here, with God the sovereign Creator as the first focus of our thoughts.