One of the great comforts of the Christian faith is that God is intimately involved with His creation. In addition to being comforting, such a statement may be one of the most contested features of the Christian faith. Why is that the case? It unapologetically proclaims that every human exists first and foremost as a creature in God’s world. We are not the center of the universe. Instead, we are finite existing within the boundaries established by our infinite God.
As creatures living in God’s world, our chief desire must be to know Him rightly. This can only be achieved by hearing and believing what He has revealed both in creation and in His Word (cf. Psalm 19). As we look at Scripture as a whole we learn that God’s involvement with creation does not mean that He is one with creation. To put it simply, God is not the creation; creation is not God. To use the language so often echoed in our culture God is not synonymous with the universe.
Why is this so important? God is personal. He is personally involved with His world. From the tiniest of sub-atomic particles and below, to the greatest of galaxies and beyond, our God is actively involved with every part and parcel of His created order. As Abraham Kuyper once said, “There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, Mine!” As Creator-King all of it is His! The “all” includes us as well. God’s dominion stretches out to our decisions, actions, words, and thoughts.
Now this idea may be most foreign to many because the majority opinion of the American church denies such a meticulous involvement from God. But this is how Scripture speaks concerning Him. Let’s consider a single chapter of the Bible: Proverbs 16. Proverbs 16:1 reads, “The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the LORD.” (ESV) Proverbs 16:4 says, “The LORD has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble.” (ESV) Proverbs 16:9 teaches, “The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.” Lastly, Proverbs 16:33 proclaims, “The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD.” (ESV) What do we see from this litany of texts? God is at work in every decision, action, word, and thought of every person everywhere.
The ever present guidance of God in all things is often described in theology under the word “Providence.” And throughout the whole text of the Bible God is involved in such ways. Whether it be in providing Abraham and Isaac with a ram to sacrifice in Genesis 22, to utilizing the wicked intentions of Joseph’s brothers to accomplish His glorious plan of preservation and redemption in Genesis 50:20 all the while not being the author of sin (Hab. 1:13). In addition we see that God holds back the evil of Laban as Jacob said to his wives, “God did not permit him to harm me.” (Gen. 31:7 ESV) God even held back Abimelech king of Gerar from defiling Abraham’s wife Sarah as God said to him in a dream, “it was I who kept you from sinning against me. Therefore I did not let you touch her.” (Gen 20:6 ESV)
As you may have observed already only two books of the Old Testament let us consider the New Testament as well. We need only look to the cross of Christ. There the plan of God to procure a people to Himself for salvation was made most apparent. God allowed the wicked to pursue their wicked ends, but it was to accomplish His plan, “truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place.” (Acts 4:27-28 ESV)
From this limited survey of texts it is most obvious that God controls all things for His glorious ends. He changes men’s minds (Dan. 4:16; 1 Cor. 2:16). He hands them over to their sins to be consumed by them as an act of His justice (Romans 1:24f). He conquers the sin-enslaved hearts of some for His glory in their salvation (John 3:1-21; Rom. 9:18; Eph. 2:4-10). He uproots kings and kingdoms and uses them for His ends (Isa. 44:28-45:1). He makes the sunrise and set, and brings nature along His course (Matt. 5:45). If we deny these things, we deny the very teachings of Scripture. If limit God, we place someone or something else over Him. None of this is easy to comprehend, and we may only see glimmers of its fullness but thanks be to God that His ability is not contingent upon our full comprehension. The God of Scripture is free, and in His freedom and providence we see His power, glory, and wisdom on display throughout all of creation.