Behind all right thinking and a God-honoring view of the world stands an awareness that all things depend on God as their creator and ongoing sustainer. Yet, as important and obvious as this truth may appear, we don’t always appreciate it.
We are so accustomed to the elements of the universe operating in certain ways that we sometimes take God’s ongoing work of ordering and upholding it for granted, as if the physical laws of the universe can operate independently of His power. After all, everything seems to work the way it did yesterday, last year, or a thousand years ago. We fully expect to wake up in the morning as the same person, in the same house, with the same car we parked in the same driveway the night before.
We study the universe and develop accurate explanations of how it operates, including the stars in the sky, life on the earth, and the smallest building blocks of matter. We use this knowledge to the great benefit (and destruction) of mankind. Yet, we can forget that all these things continue and operate by the ongoing power of God. If God ever stopped exerting His power to sustain the universe for a moment, all things would cease to exist.
Believers exert great care to honor God in issues of piety and obedience, yet we sometimes miss how piety and obedience involve how we think about God and that which He created. We are mindful of spiritual opposition to our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and the necessity to “put on the full armor of God” to “stand firm against the schemes of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11), but sometimes forget that the devil’s schemes involve promoting wrong thoughts about God and His world. And promote he does—we are confronted daily with his lies as they increasingly form the fabric of our post-Christian culture. And since our sin displays a kind of practical atheism that exalts our will over God’s will, so we exhibit a practical kind of Deism by viewing the universe as begun by God but operating according to independent physical laws. In this we unwittingly echo the lie that God does not order and uphold all things. We need to take care that we do not affirm the desire of unbelievers to define life and the universe as existing and operating apart from God.
As Christians we acknowledge and study physical laws, but we know them to be the display of how God orders and sustains the universe. The alternative involves the absurd notion of random chance as the ground and explanation of a universe of ordered and uniform laws. Since when and where does random chance produce or sustain uniform and universal laws? God’s ordering of the universe allows believers and unbelievers to make great scientific breakthroughs and, viewed rightly, all such discoveries reinforce our faith in Christ. And so the more we understand the nature and need of God’s ongoing control of the universe, the more we will view the world in a way that honors God as its creator and sustainer, and our dependence on Him for all things. To Him be all the glory, forever.
© 2016 Craig Biehl, Adapted from Craig Biehl, God the Reason: How Infinite Excellence Gives Unbreakable Faith, Carpenter’s Son Publishing, 2015.
Yes, I Want a PDF of “The Danger of Practical Deism”
We respect your privacy. We’ll NEVER sell, rent, or share your email address. That’s more than a policy, it’s our guarantee!