<590117> James 1:17 ? ?the Father of lights, with whom can be no variation, neither shadow that is cast by turning.? To contrast with this Scripture McCabe?s statement in his Foreknowledge of God, 62 ? ?This new factor, the godlike liberty of the human will is capable of thwarting and in uncounted instances does thwart, the divine will, and compel the great I AM to modify his actions, his purposes, and his plans, in the treatment of individuals and of communities.?
(d) From the divine benevolence.
The events of the universe, if not determined by the divine decrees, must be determined either by chance or by the wills of creatures. It is contrary to any proper conception of the divine benevolence to suppose that God permits the course of nature and of history, and the ends to which both these are moving, to be determined for myriad of sentient beings by any other force or will than his own. Both reason and revelation, therefore, compel us to accept the doctrine of the Westminster Confession, that ?God did from all eternity, by the most just and holy counsel of his own will, freely and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass.?
It would not be benevolent for God to put out of his own power that which was so essential to the happiness of the universe. Tyler, Memoir and Lectures, 231-243 ? ?The denial of decrees involves denial of the essential attributes of God, such as omnipotence, omniscience and benevolence exhibits him as a disappointed and unhappy being, implies denial of his universal providence, leads to a denial of the greater part of our own duty of submission and weakens the obligations of gratitude.? We give thanks to God for blessings which come to us through the free acts of others; but unless God has purposed these blessings, we owe our thanks to these others and not to God. Dr. A. J. Gordon said well that a universe without decrees would be as irrational and appalling as would be an express-train driving on in the darkness without headlight or engineer, and with no certainty that the next moment it might not plunge into the abyss. And even Martineau, Study, 2:l08, in spite of his denial of God?s foreknowledge of man?s free acts, is compelled to say: ?It cannot be left to mere created natures to ply unconditionally with the helm of even a single world and steer it uncontrolled into the haven or on to the reefs; and some security must be taken for keeping the directions within tolerable bounds.? See also Emmons, Works, 4:273-401; and Princeton Essays, 1:57-73.
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