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providence

literally means foresight, but is generally used to denote God's preserving and governing all things by means of second causes (Psalms 18:35; 63:8; Acts 17:28; Col. 1:17; Hebrews 1:3)

God's providence extends to the natural world (Psalms 104:14; 135:5-7; Acts 14:17), the brute creation (Psalms 104:21-29; Matt. 6:26; 10:29), and the affairs of men (1 Chr. 16:31; Psalms 47:7; Prov. 21:1; Job 12:23; Dan. 2:21; 4:25), and of individuals (1 Sam. 2:6; Psalms 18:30; Luke 1:53; James 4:13-15). It extends also to the free actions of men (Ex. 12:36; 1 Sam. 24:9-15; Psalms 33:14-15; Prov. 16:1; 19:21; 20:24; 21:1), and things sinful (2 Sam. 16:10; 24:1; Rom. 11:32; Acts 4:27-28), as well as to their good actions (Phil. 2:13; 4:13; 2 Cor. 12:9-10; Eph. 2:10; Gal. 5:22-25).

As regards sinful actions of men, they are represented as occurring by God's permission (Gen. 45:5; 50:20. Compare 1 Sam. 6:6; Ex. 7:13; 14:17; Acts 2:3; 3:18; 4:27-28), and as controlled (Psalms 76:10) and overruled for good (Gen. 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 (Psalms 103:17-19), particular (Matt. 10:29-31), efficacious (Psalms 33:11; Job 23:13), embraces events apparently contingent (Prov. 16:9, 33; 19:21; 21:1), is consistent with his own perfection (2 Tim. 2:13), and to his own glory (Rom. 9:17; 11:36).

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