Of Divine Providence
Chapter 5, Paragraph 2.
“... yet by the same Providence he ordered them to fall out, according to the nature of second causes, either necessarily, freely, or contingently.“
Knowing that God has decreed all things, and that He upholds, directs, disposes and governs all things by providence, it is important to make some clarifications. While God’s decree is the first cause by which all things come to pass, He uses second causes to enact His providence. Thus while God may decree that you will receive a sunburn, He uses the sun’s light to hit your skin in order for the sunburn to happen.
God orders all things to fall out either necessarily, freely, or contingently. There are physical laws that usually produce the same result. If you throw an apple up, it will necessarily come back down. We freely choose to throw that apple, although it is part of God’s providence. And the growth of that apple is contingent upon it receiving enough light, food, and water. All those things happen as a result of God’s providence.
How does this affect us? While God has decreed all that comes to pass, we are not to sit back and let life pass us by. As Christians we are charged with obeying His commands, all the while trusting that God will use us to fulfill His purposes. One great example is in sharing the Gospel. While God causes the growth, He uses second causes to do so:
How then shall they call upon Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?….So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. -Romans 10:14,15,17
May God use us by His providence to bring glory to Him!
Questions to Consider
- What second causes has the Lord used in your life?