Meditations on God 9

God intuitively and constantly sees the whole of this great and complicated system, and governs every particle and part of it in connection and conformity with the whole. He never suffers one link in this chain to be broken, nor one wheel in this machine to move slower or faster, or in any other direction, than he always intended. He governs all objects from the greatest to the smallest, and all creatures from the highest to the lowest; not as distinct and separate individuals, but as connected and constituent parts of his immense creation. Every dispensation of his universal providence, which is thus systematically administered towards any individual of mankind, may sensibly and deeply affect thousands and millions more. (Nathanael Emmons, Instructions to the Afflicted)

Ephesians 1:11 also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will.

In beholding the glory of God in His singular plan and purpose for all things being for His own glory, we see His perfection in all things. Not one thing is broken and nothing can move slower or faster or in any direction other than He intends. Even when people appear to be totally out of control, they are doing all that they do in accordance with His perfect wisdom, will, and eternal plan. Ever subatomic particle and the greatest solar system alike obey His every command and follow His perfect plan. Every earthquake, every tornado, and every “natural” event are in accordance with His plan and purpose. The planetary system cannot be understood as any one planet operating alone, but instead it must be seen as a system of all operating together. Our ecosystem does not operate one animal and one planet at a time, but it operates by the whole operating together. There is a reason (or reasons) that rabbits breed much faster than wolves.

As we think of human beings, we tend to think of famous people or perhaps politicians as having a lot of power. In one sense they do, but they are in the position they are in because God put them there to accomplish His purposes. Yes, even evil politicians carry out the greater good of the glory of God without wanting to do so and without knowing what they are doing. Yes, the famous people who were known for great acts of evil do all that they do in accordance with God’s great and holy plan. God has a plan for the whole of humanity, yet for each part as well, but each human must learn to think of him or herself as a small part of a bigger whole. This helps us to understand the Great Commandments as well. We only love others when we love God and we cannot love other human beings apart from loving God. It is never true love to join or assist people in their rebellion and sin against God because sin is against God and sin against God is a crime against all of humanity as well. As an older writer put it, there is no such thing as a little sin because there is no such thing as a little God to sin against. It is also true, however, that there is no such thing as a little sin because sin is against the good of the whole of humanity.

How can a finite mind understand that “very dispensation of his universal providence, which is thus systematically administered towards any individual of mankind, may sensibly and deeply affect thousands and millions more”? It may be that the previous statement by Emmons is one of the most profound statements uttered by any human being. While we may not comprehend such grandeur and majesty, we can try to apprehend little bits of it. When we think of Adam (the first man) we think of an individual, but when Adam sinned every human being to follow him (other than Jesus the Christ) fell in him. Here we can see how God’s providence toward one man affected billions and billions of people. We can see how God’s providence toward Pharaoh and Hitler affected millions of people in their own lifetimes and yet who knows how many in the generations to follow?

God is sovereign and He carries out His plans through His perfect providence, wisdom, and power. Nothing can alter or change in the slightest way His carrying out His perfect plan. However, this is not a horrid form of fatalism as such, but instead it should give His children great hope that in all of His acts toward them He is working the greatest good for His glory and His people as a whole. The Church that Christ is Head of certainly appears weak and almost as if it has virtually disappeared in our day. But we can know that it is all according to His plan who works all things in accordance with His purpose and according to the counsel of His will. All of those daily annoyances and great trials are not there by accident and are not there solely because someone hates me or His Church, but are there because He planned it and brought it to pass for His glory and the good of His Church. We don’t have to observe these things; we can know they are as true as the character of God is true. His promises are certain because He is certain and nothing can alter His carrying out His promises. He can literally move heaven and earth to carry out His promises. Once again, we should bow in utter humility and worship.

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