Of Divine Providence
Chapter 5, Paragraph 4.
“…yet so, as the sinfulness of their acts proceedeth only from the Creatures, and not from God; who, being most holy and righteous, neither is nor can be, the author or approver of sin. “
1 John 2:16
Sinful actions abound in this world. There are few who deny this. Yet God created the world and everything in it. He has decreed all that comes to pass. He governs and directs by His providence. Doesn’t this mean that God created sin? Wouldn’t the existence of sin mean that God approves it?
It’s easy to think that if God created all things, then He created sin as well. In coming to that conclusion we miss some important points. Back in Chapter 3 of the Confession we were taught that God is able to decree all that comes to pass in such a way that He is not the author of sin. He doesn’t have any fellowship whatsoever with sin. So where does the sin come from? From men and angels. Remember, God also decrees all things in such a way that allows for men to act freely according to their nature. Sin does not have its origin with God. Sin is all of demons and humanity. Augustine wrote:
What happens contrary to his will occurs, in a wonderful and ineffable way, not apart from his will. For it would not happen if he did not allow it. And yet he does not allow it unwillingly but willingly. But he who is good would not permit evil to be done, unless, being omnipotent, he could bring good out of evil.
So why doesn’t God stamp out all sin immediately if He hates it so much? Does this mean that He actually approves of sin? Of course not! God can never approve of sin; to do so would make Him no longer God. His wisdom is not our wisdom, and His timetable is not our timetable.
Set before you the sovereignty of God. Eye Him as a being infinitely superior to you, at whose pleasure you and all you have subsist (Ps.115:3), which is the most conclusive reason and argument for submission (Ps. 46:10)….His sovereignty is gloriously displayed in His eternal decrees and temporal providences. -John Flavel, The Mystery of Providence
He is God; we are not. Let us submit to His judgment and care.
Questions to Consider
- Do you struggle with accepting God’s wisdom in permitting sinful actions?