WCF 5.1 God the great Creator of all things doth 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.
1. \u201cWhat are the decrees of God? A. The decrees of God are, his eternal purpose,
according to the counsel of his will, whereby, for his own glory, he hath
foreordained whatsoever comes to pass\u201d (S.C. 7).
a. God\u2019s Decree includes all things: \u201cAlso we have obtained an inheritance,
b. Even the final destination of every soul: \u201cBlessedbe the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlyplaces in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him\u201d (Eph. 1:3-4).
2. \u201cHow doth God execute his decrees? A. God executes his decrees in the works
of creation and providence\u201d (S.C. 8).
a. Creation and Providence are the outworking of His decree.
b. Creation is the arena in which God will fulfill His decree/plan.
c. Providence is His governing all things according to that plan. \u201cWhat are the
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\u201d (S.C. 11).
3. Providence covers much ground. In this section, we will answer the following
a. What is Providence?
b. How can our decisions really be significant if God is the One who ultimately
d. If God is sovereign and has determined absolutely whatsoever comes to pass,
does this mean that He is also responsible for our sinful choices, as well as
those of all men?
b. Webster\u2019s dictionary defines it as \u201cforesight; care; especially the foresight
and care of God for His creatures\u201d (777). This is true, but we need to be
careful how we understand this.
a. First of all, can all the things God made exist by themselves? Do the things
He made need Him anymore? Do we need Him? If God no longer existed \u2013
which is unthinkable \u2013 would we still exist?
(i) No. God must constantly uphold all things or they will vanish into the
b. But is upholding all things enough to carry out His plan?
(i) No. God must also direct, dispose and govern all things.
(ii) He must have control of what He made to make sure that everything
(ii) Christians believe that God is intimately involved in the Creation.
(a) We call this God\u2019s immanence.
(b) This is especially true in the Incarnation where God the Son actually
(ii) In Daniel 4:34-35, we read, \u201cBut at the end of that period I,
Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven, and my reason returned
to me, and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who
lives forever; for His dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His
kingdomendures from generation to generation. And all the inhabitants
of the earth are accounted as nothing, but He does according to His will in
the host of heaven andamong the inhabitants of earth; and no one can
ward off His hand or say to Him, \u2018What hast You done?\u2019\u201d
(iii) The psalmist writes, \u201cFor I know that the Lord is great, and that our
Lord is above all gods. Whatever the Lord pleases, He does, in heaven
and in earth, in the seas and in all deeps. He causes the vapors to ascend
from the ends of the earth; who makes lightnings for the rain; who brings
forth the wind from His treasuries\u201d (Psalm 135:5-7).
(v) Even something as insignificant as a sparrow doesn\u2019t fall to the ground
apart from the will of the Father. He even knows the number of hairs that
are on our heads, because He has determined them.
3. Is God\u2019s plan spontaneous? Does He make it up as He goes along, reacting to
the decisions of His creatures?
a. No. TheConfession says that God is working all things in this world
b. Do the authors mean the same thing as the Arminians here? Does God know what\u2019s going to happen because He looks down the corridors of time and sees what will happen and make His choices based on what He sees?
c. No, God doesn\u2019t need to look ahead. He knew what was going to happen.
He knew it from all eternity because it was a part of His eternal plan, a plan
which He has always known perfectly and comprehensively.
(i) When God does anything, it is according to this sovereign plan: the
(ii) \u201cAlso we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined
according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His
will\u201d (Eph. 1:11).
4. The last question is, Why did God plan to do what He did? What was His goal?
a. It was to reveal His glory (His wisdom, power, justice, goodness and mercy)
to His intelligent creatures \u2013 to men and angels \u2013 that they might praise Him
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