Drinking Deeply

Monday, July 10, 2006 at 10:11 PM

Attributes of God (2)

A walk through A.W. Pink's Attributes of God. Feel free to read along and comment.

Ch. 2: Decrees of God -


This chapter discussed God's “decree” or his purpose and determination of the future. To begin with, we confess that we are sequential, finite creatures, and God is infinite. With an infinite knowledge and an infinite understanding, His thoughts are not like ours, it does not proceed by steps. God knows all, and He knows all now. His decrees are of what is to come. Whatever is done is foreordained before time began. Yeah, we know this as God's sovereignty. =)

One thing I did kind of go “eh” at was how he depicted sin. “While God is the Orderer and Controller of sin, He is not the Author of sin. Sin could not proceed from a holy God by positive and direct creation, but only by decretive permission and negative action.” What is “permission and negative action” with God? The issue I might take with this is that it implies some outside force that causes “sin” that God “allows.” Yet, we know that it is God who is the final force, as Pink later makes clear in this section. That God has not only created man and set him upon the earth, but has “fixed all circumstances in the lot of individuals, and all the particulars which will comprise the history of the human race from its commencement to its close.” Yeah God!

What are these decrees like? They are foreseen by an all-knowing an unchanging God, and thus eternal. They are wise. Though we have but a glimpse of God's glory (manifested), it is enough for us to recognize His wisdom and trust Him with the rest (and where else can we go?! Heh). Free, in a way that nothing else can be free. Everything we do is contingent. We are dependents. If God wills, then. But with God, it's just “Let there be light.” Now that's free will for ya. Conditioned upon God and God alone. God decrees the ends, the means to the end He works faith, He works His pleasure. This is the God we worship. This is the God who has made all things, who sustains all things, who works all things for His glory.

It was really the last section that I greatly enjoyed where Pink entertains the objections against the decrees of God by pointing out that “every objection made against the eternal decrees of God applies with equal force against His eternal foreknowledge.” I agree whole-heartedly, and I don't know where Pink is on the time line, but it seems to be a direct attack on Open-Theism, people who deny God's decrees and predestination to the point where they refuse to even acknowledge God's foreknowledge (on the basis that a choice foreknown could not be free).

Then Pink makes the marvelous point “to deny the Divine decrees would be to predicate a world and all its concerns regulated by undesigned chance or blind fate. Then what peace, what assurance, what comfort would there be for our poor hearts and mind?”

Indeed, it seems almost like a psychological move. How can I comprehend being in control of my own salvation, knowing my sinful nature? How can I trust in God if He's left it “up to me?” As Paul proclaims, “we know all things work together for good for those who love Him.” How do we know? Because God has ordained it, in His wisdom, He has decreed it, and in His purpose and almighty power, He is carrying it out.

Glory to the Lord in the Highest!

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