Does Providence Include All Things?

images-13We have now given a short explanation of the definition which we have given of the Providence of God, from which the following question naturally arises: Is it a providence that includes all things; or, in other words, does it extend to every thing? The answer to this question is evident, which is, that all things, even the smallest, fall within the providence of God, so that whatever is done, whether it be good or bad, comes to pass not by chance, but by the eternal counsel of God, producing if it be good, and permitting if it be evil. But as there are some who are ignorant of this doctrine, while there are others who speak against it in various ways, and so cast reproach upon it, we must explain it more fully, and show that it is in perfect harmony with the teachings of Gods Word.

The testimonies which prove that all things are embraced in the providence of God, are partly general, such as teach that all things and events generally, are subject to the providence of God; and partly special, such as prove that God directs and governs specially each particular thing. The former asserts and establishes a general, the latter a special providence. Those testimonies which are special have reference either to creatures or to the events which are daily occurring. As it respects creatures, they are either such as are irrational, whether animate or inanimate; or they are rational and voluntary agents doing that which is good or evil. As it respects events, they are contingent, or casual or necessary: for those things which occur are either casual or fortuitous, but only as far as we are concerned who are ignorant of their true causes; or they are contingent in respect to their causes which work contingently; or necessary in respect to those causes which work necessarily in nature. In respect to God, however, there is nothing that is casual or contingent; but all things are necessary, although it be in a different manner as it respects good and evil actions.

Zacharias Ursinus, Commentary on the Heidelberg Catechism, p. 154

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