God’s Providence vs. Fatalism

“A belief in providence understands that God has decreed the end from the beginning as well as all of the necessary in-between things that contribute to and ultimately accomplish the intended end. It operates according to the divine wisdom that knows the best possible way to achieve the best possible end. Nothing happens by chance; everything happens according to God’s wisdom. Here is a key component in the proper understanding of providence: Belief in the end that God has decreed requires our belief in and diligent use of the means that God has decreed to achieve that end. That is, proper belief in providence never breeds inactivity or fateful resignation but rather obedient and expectant activity. For instance, there ought to be no more fervent evangelist than one who believes in God’s eternal decree of election. Since the elect must exercise faith and faith comes by hearing the Word of God and hearing the Word of God requires the preaching of it (see Paul’s logic in Romans 10), believing in election necessarily generates evangelism. Only a perverted view of election fosters passivity. So it is in every sphere of providence. We must use the means that God has commanded to accomplish the end that God has ordained.”

Michael P. V. Barrett, God’s Unfailing Purpose: The Message of Daniel, (Greenville: Ambassador Emerald International, 2003) 116.

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