Providence

Easton’s Bible Dictionary

Providence : literally means foresight, but is generally used to denote God's preserving and governing all things by means of second causes (Psalm 18:35; 63:8; Acts 17:28; Colossians 1:17; Hebrews 1:3). God's providence extends to the natural world (Psalm 104:14; 135:5-7; Acts 14:17), the brute creation (Psalm 104:21-29; Matthew 6:26; 10:29), and the affairs of men (1 Chronicles 16:31; Psalm 47:7; Proverbs 21:1; Job 12:23; Daniel 2:21; 4:25), and of individuals (1 Samuel 2:6; Psalm 18:30; Luke 1:53; James 4:13-15). It extends also to the free actions of men (Exodus 12:36; 1 Samuel 24:9-15; Psalm 33:14,15; Proverbs 16:1; 19:21; 20:24; 21:1), and things sinful (2 Samuel 16:10; 24:1; Romans 11:32; Acts 4:27,28), as well as to their good actions (Philippians 2:13; 4:13; 2 Corinthians 12:9,10; Ephesians 2:10; Galatians 5:22-25).

As regards sinful actions of men, they are represented as occurring by God's permission (Genesis 45:5; 50:20. Comp. 1 Samuel 6:6; Exodus 7:13; 14:17; Acts 2:3; 3:18; 4:27,28), and as controlled (Psalm 76:10) and overruled for good (Genesis 50:20; Acts 3:13). God does not cause or approve of sin, but only limits, restrains, overrules it for good.

The mode of God's providential government is altogether unexplained. We only know that it is a fact that God does govern all his creatures and all their actions; that this government is universal (Psalm 103:17-19), particular (Matthew 10:29-31), efficacious (Psalm 33:11; Job 23:13), embraces events apparently contingent (Proverbs 16:9,33; 19:21; 21:1), is consistent with his own perfection (2 Timothy 2:13), and to his own glory (Romans 9:17; 11:36).