Wednesday, July 28, 2004

The Way Things Work

The reformed doctrine of the sovereignty of God teaches us that he does all things. That means that when something happens, God has done it. But He does not just ordain the end, but the means as well. And He has designed the world so that He does things best through certain ways.

Here's an example. When God wants to make bread, how does He do it? Countless of millions of times, He has done it by ordaining a farmer to plant seed in the ground, blessing that seed to sprout and grow, having that farmer harvest it, and causing a baker to mix the proper ingredients and bake it. Several times in history He has eliminated some of these steps and done it by what we might call a "miracle". Jesus with the four and five thousands come to mind.

But as we pray to God for our daily bread, we would do best to look for Him to answer through the established channels- by going to the supermarket, for example. Finding our bread there does not mean that we have provided it and God has not, or that the mundaneness of the answer to our prayers makes it any less miraculous. Gratitude and belief should never be conditioned on the "supernatural" quality of God's work. All of His work is both natural and supernatural at once.

Furthermore, we should seek to understand the means God has ordained for the end we want to pursue. Attempting to work to an end contrary to God's means is foolishness, and asking God to bless it is arrogance. Implications? Youth ministry and education should be done primarily by parents. Evangelism should be through worldview advancement. Cultural reformation should be accomplished through repentance and reformation in the Church.

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