16 March 2003
Psalm 145:17, Hebrews 1:3 & Matthew 10:29
The Westminster Shorter Catechism
Q. 11. What are God’s works of providence?
A. God’s works of providence are, his most holy, wise, and powerful preserving and governing all his creatures, and all their actions.
The Westminster Shorter Catechism in Modern English:
Q.11. What is God’s providence?
A. God’s providence is His completely holy, wise, and powerful preserving and governing every creature and every action.
1. What is the meaning of the word “providence?”
The meaning of the word providence is that of care, the ability to forsee what is coming and to make provision for it.
2. What are the parts of God’s providence?
The parts of God’s providence are: 1. His preservation of things (Psalm 36:6). 2. His government of things (Psalm 67:4).
3. How do creation and providence differ?
Dr. Charles Hodge states, “Creation, preservation, and government are in fact different, and to identify them leads not only to confusion but to error. Creation and preservation differ - first, as the former is the calling into existence of what did not exist, and the latter is continuing, or causing to continue, what already has a beginning; and secondly, in creation there is and can be no co-operation, but in preservation there is a concursus (harmonious co-operation) of the first, with second causes. In the Bible, therefore, the two things are never confounded. God created all things, and by Him all things consist.” (Systematic Theology, Vol. 1, Pg. 578).
4. To what does God’s providence extend?
1. All His creatures, especially His children. 2. The actions of His creatures.
5. Does His providence extend to all the actions of His creatures?
Yes, it extends to all actions. To hold otherwise would be to say that the creatures would be independent in their actions and then God would not be the first cause of all things.
6. If providence includes all actions of men, does this mean the sinful actions as well as the good actions?
Yes, even the sinful actions of men are controlled by God’s providence but this does not make Him responsible for their actions. God permits men to sin (Acts 14:16). God limits and restrains men in their sins (Psalm 76:10). God directs and disposes men’s sins to good ends, beyond their own intentions (Isaiah 10:5-7).
7. What is the purpose of God’s providence?
The purpose of God’s providence is the manifesting of God’s own glory.