The Providence Debate
Barbara J. Best
July 3, 2013
When one defines God’s providence it is referring to the way God governs the world. Does God really sit on His throne and dictate or rule the world? It is not surprising that there is some disagreement in the evangelical world concerning the control of God, His dealing with salvation especially as affected by Jesus and the freewill of mankind. Some theologians think that the three are in contradictory of each other. Are they really in conflict with each other’s or can all three exist in full scriptural belief without doing any injustice to the other two?
When one talks about the sovereignty of God the actual word is not used in the bible but He is there throughout scripture instructing and directing. Although God is omnipotent and a lot of people constantly states that He is in control and has complete power over all that He created. In essence He can do whatever He determines is justice. Not everyone agrees with God being sovereign and all-powerful. Can one say that God is governing the evil in this world also? “Is our eternal destiny determined by God’s sovereignty, making meaningless our assumption that we have some choice in the matters that concern our existence”?
There are people who believe in God but cannot understand the Christian perception of Gods providence. The natural man wants to be in control of His destiny and is forever reasoning why the things and plans of God cannot be possible. At least the Christian view acknowledge that God is the creator of the world and that He is all powerful, a God who interact and knows His people. There is a scripture in the Old Testament that states that, “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!”
According to Boyd and Eddy they list two views which are opposing views on the Providence Debates. One is the Calvinist View and the other one Arminian View. The Calvinist View stands their ground on the thought that, “all things happen according to God’s Sovereign will.” Since all conclusions are based on the Word of God the authors of the written word of God portrayed Him as being able to do whatever He desired. This was His creation and He was going to run it the way He pleased. There are numerous scriptures to support that claim: Isaiah 44:24, I am Jehovah who makes all things...
Proverb 16:4 Jehovah has made all for His purpose; yea, even the wicked for the day of evil. Isaiah 54:16 Behold, I have created the smith that bloweth the coals in the fire, and that bringeth forth an instrument for his work; and I have created the waster to destroy. Revelation 4:11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. Romans 9:18 Therefore He has mercy on whom He will have mercy, and whom He...
Bibliography: Boyd, G. A. & Eddy, P. R. (2002). Across the spectrum: Understanding issues in evangelical theology. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic.
Bunker, Michael. "Calvinism and Arminianism." Reformed Journal. http://reformedjournal.blogspot.com/2008/01/calvinism-and-arminianism.html (accessed July 5, 2013
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Elwell, Walter. Evangelical Dictionary of Theology. Grand Rapid Michigan: BakerAcademic, 2001. (accessed July 8, 2013). P. 201.
God’s Sovereignty, God’s Providence, and Mankind’s Free Will." The General Council of the Assemblies of God. http://ag.org/top/Beliefs/topics/gendoct_21_free_will.cfm (accessed July 3, 2013).
Magnusson, Magnus (ed). Chambers Biographical Dictionary (Chambers: Cambridge University Press, 1995) 62
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Yuan, Sidney. "Calvinism Versus Arminian." YUTOPIAN ON LINE. http://www.yutopian.com/religion/theology/Calvinism.html (accessed July 8, 2013).
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