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WCF 5:3-4 God's Miracles and Bringing Good out of Evil

Westminster Confession 5:3-4

3. In his ordinary providence, God makes use of means, yet he is free to work without, above, and against them as he pleases.

Providence is the decree of God coming to expression in real time and actual history. It is the execution of God’s plan or blueprint for life. Almost exclusively, this happens by the use of means. Meaning, the laws of nature, and the exercise of the free will of man. Normals means, everyday things, the usual suspects. But, notice I said, “almost exclusively.” God can work miracles. He can immediately act, without ordinary means, as will direct healing; he can work above means like when he feeds 5000 this a few loaves of bread and fish; he can work against means like when the sun stands still and the day is lengthened. Regular providence is normal, expected, predictable, but God can work beyond the normal and regular as it pleases Him. Miracles are possible.

4. The almighty power, unsearchable wisdom, and infinite goodness of God manifest themselves so completely in his providence that it extends even to the first fall and all other sins of angels and men—not by a bare permission, but by a permission which has joined with it a most wise and powerful limiting, and otherwise ordering and governing of them in a varied administration, for his own holy purposes. However, the sinfulness comes from the creatures alone and not from God, who, because he is most holy and righteous, neither is nor can be the author or approver of sin.

God has decreed evil and sin for His own good purposes. He does not approve of sin nor does he do evil, but He orders and controls it, he limits and governs the slithery snake of sin in His own direction and for His own glory. He can and He does bring good out of evil as He did on the cross. Sin comes from the creature alone, from men and fallen angels. There is a great mystery here and the rise of sin is cloaked in a shadow that we cannot penetrate, but we have been given guidelines and parameters within which to think about sin and its purpose and eventual destruction by God. Sin is our fault, and it is God’s continuing clean up project.

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