Systematic Theology

Doctrine of Providence- Part 4 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Calvin Fox   
Friday, 17 August 2012 14:25

Eph 1:22 [God] put all things in subjection under Christ's feet and gave Him as Head over all things

Word Study: “All” [panta] may be collective or individual

1) individual   1a) each, every, any, all, the whole, everyone, all things, everything

2) collective    2a) some of all types or categories

Mark 1:5 people from the whole Judean countryside [“all Judea” and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.

Did all Judea and all Jerusalem confess their sins? Was all Judea, or all Jerusalem, baptized in Jordan?

2 Cor 5:14,15- Did Christ die for all or for all the Elect? Did He redeem all people or all sorts of people?

Rom 14:2, 20- “all” means “all edible food”

Gal 3:22- “panta” refers to “all people” (NIV- (whole world”) not literally all things cf v.26, 28

Also Rom 3:9-20, 11:32

Eph 4:15- grow up in all ways (become mature) as Christians cf v.13, 24

Eph 6:21- “all things” is limited to all prophesies

Last Updated on Sunday, 19 August 2012 15:57
Doctrine of Providence- Part 3 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Calvin Fox   
Friday, 17 August 2012 14:16


Every single event and action (human and in nature) has a cause. That means each has a “necessary antecedent. There are four types of such antecedents or causes: Material (wood), Formal (table- determines what is going to be), Efficient (carpenter and tools) and Final (purpose, eg- flat surface with legs).

God creates and preserves and governs all things. That means all things are “caused”. Ultimately, The Formal, Efficient, Final and Material cause of all things is God. But yet, there must be contingencies. He God uses secondary “causes” to effect what He creates (Wood, carpenter and tools)

God is omniscient and His knowledge is immediate- He knows all things as they happen. Knowing something is how God brings it into being. God’s knowledge would be immediate. As soon as He knows some thing, it exists. He could not know something He has yet to think, to cause or create- some thing that does not yet exist.

Last Updated on Sunday, 19 August 2012 15:59
Doctrine of Providence- Part 2 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Calvin Fox   
Friday, 17 August 2012 14:09

Wayne Grudem has written a popular text, used in many seminaries. His Systematic Theology is written from (the) Reformed perspective. Here is what he says about predestination and providence. [My comments as well as direct quotes from Grudem]

God plans our days before we are born. He directs all our actions. Our success or failure in life is predetermined by God. –p.320f

“All things come to pass by God’s wise providence. Nothing just happens.” –p.337

God governs or directs all things to accomplish His will.  Human beings are not free, i.e. - outside of God’s control. All decisions are controlled by God. He is in control of our lives, inasmuch as God governs or directs all things to accomplish His will.

“Our words, our steps, our moments, our hearts are all from the Lord…” God causes all things that happen…” p.320f

Last Updated on Sunday, 19 August 2012 16:01
The Doctrine of Providence- Part I PDF Print E-mail
Written by Calvin Fox   
Friday, 17 August 2012 13:58

Westminster Confession, Chapter V - Providence [Defined]

I. God the great Creator of all things does uphold, direct, dispose, and govern all creatures, actions, and things, from the greatest even to the least, by His most wise and holy providence, according to His infallible foreknowledge, and the free and immutable counsel of His own will, to the praise of the glory of His wisdom, power, justice, goodness, and mercy.

II. Although, in relation to the foreknowledge and decree of God, …all things come to pass immutably, and infallibly; yet, by the same providence, He orders them to fall out,[play out] according to the nature of second causes, either necessarily, freely, or contingently.

III. God, in His ordinary providence, makes use of means, yet is free to work without, above, and against them, at His pleasure.

IV. The almighty power, unsearchable wisdom, and infinite goodness of God so far manifest themselves in His providence, that it extends itself even to the first fall, and all other sins of angels and men; and that not by a bare permission, but such as has joined with it a most wise and powerful bounding, and otherwise ordering, and governing of them, in a manifold dispensation, to His own holy ends; yet so, as the sinfulness thereof proceeds only from the creature, and not from God, who, being most holy and righteous, neither is nor can be the author or approver of sin.

Last Updated on Sunday, 19 August 2012 16:02
Saving Christ's Substitutionary Death PDF Print E-mail
Written by Calvin Fox   
Monday, 04 June 2012 14:44

"During a coffee break at a conference, I passed by some young pastors who were discussing the Atonement, a topic covered by the speaker at the session we had just attended. One of them said rather forcefully that he seldom mentions the substitutionary work of Christ anymore in his sermons. Instead, he said, he talks about how Christ encountered "the powers" of consumerism, militarism, racism, super-patriotism, and the like.

"Whatever the pastor's intention, his remark expresses a mood increasingly prevalent among younger evangelicals. They often show a genuine discomfort with substitutionary themes, favoring a Christus Victor approach.

"Much of traditional Christianity has strongly emphasized how the work of the Cross was a kind of intra-Trinitarian transaction. Jesus offered himself "up" to the Father; he paid a debt that we humans could not pay on our own; he hung in our place, offering himself as a sacrifice for sin.

"Each atonement theory highlights a truth about the Cross—but none more so than Christ's substitutionary death."


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