Of Divine Providence – 1689 5:1 | Sam Waldron

by | May 17, 2022 | Systematic Theology


In this brief blog post, we come to Chapter 5 of the 1689 which is entitled “Of Divine Providence.” Here is how paragraph 1 of its seven paragraphs reads:

God the good Creator of all things, in his infinite power and wisdom doth uphold, direct, dispose, and govern all creatures and things, from the greatest even to the least, by his most wise and holy providence, to the end for the which they were created, according unto his infallible foreknowledge, and the free and immutable counsel of his own will, to the praise of the glory of his wisdom, power, justice, infinite goodness, and mercy.

2LCF 5:1


This is the summary statement of the doctrine of God’s providence. In general everything said in this paragraph and, indeed, in this chapter is the outworking or expression of God’s decree as taught in Chapter 2. This is so because chapter 4 on creation and chapter five on divine providence are intended to tell us how God worked out His eternal decree by the works of creation and providence.

  • The author of providence is first emphasized: ‘the good Creator.’ It is crucial that we always recognize the goodness of the sovereign God of providence and never lose faith in that goodness.
  • The foundation of providence is next stated: ‘his infinite power and wisdom.’ The God of providence is not only good, but also infinitely powerful and wise. His goodness is not contradicted or arrested by anything in His providence.
  • The essence of providence is next stated: ‘uphold, direct, dispose and govern.’ Here is a simple definition of a word and concept increasingly foreign in our day. God’s providence speaks of His complete control of history for working out His eternal purposes
  • The objects of providence are next mentioned: ‘all creatures and things, from the greatest even to the least.’ God’s providence is completely universal. There are no “maverick molecules” as R. C. Sproul once said.
  • The nature of providence is not fatalistic, impersonal, or amoral. Rather the Confession says that God works out things: ‘by his most wise and holy providence.’ He is wise and holy in all He does in His universal providence.
  • The compatibility of providence (with his creation) follows next: ‘to the end for which they were created.’ God does not do crazy stuff with creation. He does not make pigs fly or fish walk on land. His providence deals with His creatures in a way that is according to the purpose for which they were created.
  • The determining causes of God’s providence are then identified. They are twofold. God’s mind controls His providence. Thus, the Confession mentions: ‘his infallible foreknowledge.’ God’s will also controls His providence: ‘and the free and immutable counsel of his own will.’ This makes explicit the relation of His providence to His decree.
  • The goal of providence is, of course, the highest goal. All is done “to the praise of the glory …” No less and no other goal is conceivable or consistent with who God is.


We may recognize and rest in a divine superintendence of history that controls and directs to a good end every detail of our lives.

Follow Us In Social Media

Subscribe via Email

Sign up to get notified of new CBTS Blog posts.

Man of God phone

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This