Re: Vienna cardinal draws lines in Intelligent Design row

From: <>
Date: Tue Nov 22 2005 - 09:30:47 EST

I dont have my annotated copy of the WCF with me here at

But, it is helpful in interpreting what the divines
intended to look at the scripture that they reference for
each point.

So for "bounding" and "leave for a season his own
children" there should be specific scripture referenced,
which if not always convincing of their interpretation can
help in understanding what they mean.

On Tue, 22 Nov 2005 08:11:08 -0500
  "Mccarrick, Alan D CIV NSWCCD Philadelphia, 9212"
<> wrote:
> I feel that I have had similar thoughts to Ted's
>regarding God's impassibility. The Bible seems to often
>use terms that strongly imply God's changing as it were
>in response to events.
> As a member of a PCA church, we place great stock in the
>Westminster Confession of Faith not as true in of itself,
>but as a proper statement of biblical teaching. Our
>Sunday School class has been watching a video series on
>interpretation of prophecy. Last week a portion of the
>WCF was brought out that I had not considered before.
> Let me quote it here:
> Of Providence.
> I. God, the great Creator of all things, doth uphold,
>direct dispose, and govern all creatures, actions, and
>things, from the greatest even to the least, by his most
>wise and holy providence, according to his infallible
>foreknowledge, and the free and immutable counsel of his
>own will, to the praise of the glory of his wisdom,
>power, justice, goodness, and mercy.
> II. Although in relation to the foreknowledge and decree
>of God, the first cause, all things come to pass
>immutably and infallibly, yet, by the same providence, he
>ordereth them to fall out according to the nature of
>second causes, either necessarily, freely, or
> III. God, in his ordinary providence, maketh use of
>means, yet is free to work without, above, and against
>them, at his pleasure.
> IV. The almighty power, unsearchable wisdom, and
>infinite goodness of God, so far manifest themselves in
>his providence, that it extendeth itself even to the
>first Fall, and all other sins of angels and men, and
>that not by a bare permission, but such as hath joined
>with it a most wise and powerful bounding, and otherwise
>ordering and governing of them, in a manifold
>dispensation, to his own holy ends; yet so, as the
>sinfulness thereof proceedeth only from the creature, and
>not from God; who being most holy and righteous, neither
>is nor can be the author or approver of sin.
> V. The most wise, righteous, and gracious God, doth
>oftentimes leave for a season his own children to
>manifold temptations and the corruption of their own
>hearts, to chastise them for their former sins, or to
>discover unto them the hidden strength of corruption and
>deceitfulness of their hearts, that they may be humbled;
>and to raise them to a more close and constant dependence
>for their support upon himself, and to make them more
>watchful against all future occasions of sin, and for
>sundry other just and holy ends.
> VI. As for those wicked and ungodly men whom God, as a
>righteous judge, for former sins, doth blind and harden;
>from them he not only withholdeth his grace, whereby they
>might have been enlightened in their understandings, and
>wrought upon their hearts; but sometimes also withdraweth
>the gifts which they had; and exposeth them to such
>objects as their corruption makes occasion of sin; and
>withal, gives them over to their own lusts, the
>temptatoins of the world, and the power of Satan; whereby
>it comes to pass that they harden themselves, even under
>those means which God useth for the softening of others.
> VII. As the providence of God doth, in general, reach to
>all creatures, so, after a most special manner, it taketh
>care of his Church, and disposeth all things to the good
> There are several issues that we could consider, but the
>portion that caught my attention was the end of Section
>II "...he ordereth them to fall out according to the
>nature of second causes, either necessarily, freely, or
>contingently." If I can remember correctly, this was
>explained as meaning that God acts to fulfill prophecies
> 1. Necessarily - the decree has no options and will
>come to pass as spoken
> 2. Freely - (this one I am having the most trouble
>remembering/explaining) - God has established options and
>chooses among them at his pleasure
> 3. Contingently - God acts in different ways in
>response to man's response. Nineveh is spared the
>promised destruction that Jonah promised because of their
> This third categories sure looks like God is responding
>to man's repentance or lack.
> Items IV and V also weave a complex picture of God's
>actions. What do the divines mean by God's "bounding"
>(section IV) - is God establishing a locus of
>possibilities that man/the world operates within in a
>free way ? In what way does God "leave for a season his
>own children" ? Indeed, how is it that God can "leave"
>anything ?
> Al McCarrick
Received on Tue Nov 22 09:32:54 2005

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