Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Creation and Providence

Q 8: How doth God execute his decrees?
Answer: God executeth his decrees in the works of creation and providence.

In this question the shorter catechism moves from God’s eternal decrees to his work of carrying them out in history. God “works all things according to the counsel of his will” (Ephesians 1:11). He has a plan from eternity and he also make it happen in time. These works can be divided into two categories: creation and providence.

These two works are distinguished by Genesis 2:1-3. On the seventh day of creation God finished his work of creation and rested. Yet, he continued to work in another way. When Jesus was criticized for doing deeds of mercy on the Sabbath he pointed out that while God rested from his work of creation on the seventh day, yet he continued to work in a different way: “But Jesus answered them, ‘My Father is working until now, and I am working’” (John 5:17). God continues to uphold the world he made. Psalms like Psalm 104 and Psalm 136 describe both creation and providence in their praise of God.

Another place we find both of these works mentioned is in Hebrews 1:1-4. And not only does it mention both creation and providence - it says that both of them the Father does through the Son: “through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power” (Hebrews 1:2–3). Psalm 104 adds that both are also accomplished by the life-giving Spirit. “When you send forth your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the ground” (Psalm 104:30). Just as we see the Father, Word, and Spirit in the opening verses of the Bible, so they continue to be active in maintaining the world. And God's triune work will become particularly evident in the special work of providence known as redemption.

No comments: