Summary: God is intimately involved in the universe, creation, and your life.
God’s Involvement in the World- Providence
November 16, 2002
How involved do you believe God is in the world and in all creation? I, for one, believe that God is very involved in the universe, creation, and in my life. And you might imagine that to be a common belief or understanding, among Christians and believers. But, amazingly, it is not what all, like us, might accept. Maybe it’s not what you believe, but I think we can look at this today and find more than some reason to believe this.
Some believe that God created everything, then, essentially, abandoned it. It’s like He wound up the clock, then has simply left it to run on its own, while He watches, or doesn’t, from far away. This belief is called deism. I don’t accept this for several reasons. Maybe you don’t, either, or maybe you do.
Others believe that creation has no real, distinct existence in itself, but is only part of God. Everything is God and God is everything, in short. This is the belief of pantheism, and I don’t accept this, either. Maybe you do. Certainly, we all know people who believe this way.
Others believe, similar to deists, although this isn’t considered part of that school of thought, that events in creation are determined by chance. Everything is simply part of random happenings- just happening, without any design or purpose. I don’t accept this, either.
Finally, some believe that events are determined by impersonal fate. This belief is called determinism, and basically expresses the idea that there is no control anywhere, and events just happen because they are ‘meant’ to happen. It is very unclear who or what is behind that ‘meant’ to happen; some might believe that God is involved, but most don’t. So, you just go along with the flow, because you ‘can’t fight city hall’, as we use the expression, to express an idea of hopelessness about putting forth any effort in various situations. I don’t accept or believe in determinism, either. Maybe you do. Certainly, we all know people who live within this belief, and use it as a great excuse, oftentimes, to not put out effort in different ways.
This subject of how much and in what way God is involved in creation and life involves what is called the subject of God’s Providence. This is an exciting subject to me, because, in the end, as I understand how much, how fully, and in what minute detail God is involved in His creation, I am moved to express great appreciation toward Him. I am moved to worship Him. I am moved to want to have my life in accord with His and with His plan and purpose for me, more and more!
There are many scriptures that are deeply meaningful, as they speak to us about how God interacts with His creation! Let’s look at them, and consider what God’s Word tells us about His involvement in His creation. Let’s see what Scripture tells us about God’s Providence.
Heb. 1. 1-3- esp. v. 3- we are told, very clearly, here, that Christ is upholding the universe by the Word of His power.
The Greek word used for ‘upholding’- is phero, which means to carry or to bear. It is used several times in the New Testament, in addition to here in Hebrews.
Lk. 5.18- the word used here, for the idea of carrying something from one place to another- is this same word. The word used about the friends’ carrying the paralyzed man and getting him before Jesus is the same one used about Jesus’ upholding all things.
Jn. 2.8- the servants bore, or carried, the water, now turned to wine, to the steward of the wedding feast. They bore, or carried, just as Jesus bears or carries ALL creation by the Word of His power.
2 Ti. 4.13- Paul asked Timothy to bear, or carry, his cloke, left at Troas, when he came to see him. For Timothy to carry, or bear, the cloke carries the same intent, although on a higher level, obviously, as what Jesus does in carrying the entirety of the created everything.
This expression, in Hebrews 1.3, does not simply mean that Christ ‘sustains’ everything, in some sort of a passive and condescending way, but it carries the distinct sense of active, purposeful control over the thing that is being carried from one place to another. This is what the verb means, as it is used throughout scripture, and as it is used to speak to us about how Jesus, part of the triune God, is involved with the Creation. When someone carried something or someone from one place to another, as in these three examples, there was purpose, intent, even meaning involved. It wasn’t a random act of carrying something. So, it is with Christ’s involvement with all creation.