Arguments in proof of the Providence of God, drawn from His works
5. The rewards and punishments which follow the actions of men, testify that there must be some executioner of the laws of nature. There are more pleasant and favorable events accompanying the lives of those who live in moderation, even though they be without the church, than is the case with those who live in profligacy and sensual indulgence; for atrocious crimes are generally followed with severe punishment. Therefore there must be some judge who notices the actions of men, and rewards them accordingly. “The righteous shall rejoice when he sees the vengeance; he shall wash his feet in the blood of the wicked; so that a man shall say, surely there is a reward for the righteous: surely He is a God that judges in the earth.” (Psalm 58:10, 11) “He who chastens the nations, will He not rebuke, Even He who teaches man knowledge?” (Psalm 94:10)
6. A great part of the providence of God consists in the establishment, preservation and transfer of kingdoms and empires. These things, however, could not take place if there were no God. “By me kings reign and princes decree justice.” “That the living may know that the Most High rules in the kingdoms of men, and gives it to whomever He will.” (Proverbs 8:15; Daniel 4:25) . . . There is always a greater number of the wicked than of the good, and more who wish the authority of the law subverted than maintained. Yet civil order is preserved; and republics and kingdoms are perpetuated. Therefore there must be some one greater than all devils, tyrants and wicked men, who always preserves this order against their rage.
7. The excellent virtues, exploits and success of heroes surpassing the ordinary capacity of man, the singular gifts and excellency of artificers which God has conferred upon certain individuals, for the general good and for the preservation of human society, etc., testify that there is a God who has a care for the human race. For these are things which are far greater than any that can proceed from that which is merely sensual; and possess too great an excellence to be merely the acquirements of human industry. There is, therefore, a God who, when He wishes to accomplish great things for the safety of the human race, raises up men endowed with heroic virtues, inventors of arts and counsels; and princes that are brave, good and prudent; and other instruments adapted to the accomplishment of His purposes. And when He wishes to punish men for their sins, He takes away the same instrument which He raised up for their safety. “The Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus.” “The Lord does take away the mighty man and the man of war, the judge and the prophet.” “He gives wisdom to the wise.” (Ezra 1:1; Isaiah 3:2; Daniel 2:21)
8. A providence may be inferred from prophecy and the prediction of events. He is God who can declare to men things that are yet future, and cannot be deceived in His predictions. Therefore He does not only foresee future events, but also directs them that they come to pass, either by His effecting or permitting them: so that He has a regard for human affairs, and governs the world by His providence. “Has He spoken, and shall He not make it good.” (Numbers 23:19) Cicero says, “They are no gods that do not declare things to come.”
Zacharias Ursinus, Commentary on the Heidelberg Catechism, pp. 149, 150