A. Arguments a priori from the divine attributes.
(a) From the immutability of God. This makes it certain that he will execute his eternal plan of the universe and its history but the execution of this plan involves not only creation and preservation, but also providence.
(b) From the benevolence of God. This renders it certain that he will care for the intelligent universe he has created. What it was worth his while to create, is worth his while to care for. But this care is providence.
(c) From the justice of God, as the source of moral law, God must assure the vindication of law by administering justice in the universe and punishing the rebellious. This administration ofjustice is providence.
For heathen ideas of providence, see Cicero, Be Natura Deorum, 11:30, where Balbus speaks of the existence of the gods as that, ?quo concesso, confitendum est eorum consilio mundum administrari.? Epictetus, sec. 41 ? ?The principal and most important duty in religion is to possess your mind with just and becoming notions of the gods. You are to believe that there are such supreme beings and that they govern and dispose of all the affairs of the world with a just and good providence.? Marcus Antoninus: ?If there are no gods or if they have no regard for human affairs, why should I desire to live in a world without gods and without a providence? But gods undoubtedly there are, and they regard human affairs.? See also Bibliotheca Sacra, 16:374. As we shall see, however, many of the heathen writers believed in a general, rather than in a particular providence.
On the argument for providence derived from God?s benevolence, see Appleton, Works. 1:146 ? ?Is indolence more consistent with God?s majesty than action would be? The happiness of creatures is a good. Does it honor God to say that he is indifferent to that which he knows to be good and valuable? Even if the world had come into existence without his agency, it would become God?s moral character to pay some attention to creatures so numerous and so susceptible to pleasure and pain, especially when he might have so great and favorable an influence on their moral condition.? <430517>John 5:17 ? ?My Father worketh yet until now, and I work? ? is as applicable to providence as to preservation. The complexity of God?s providential arrangements may be illustrated by Tyndall?s explanation of the fact that hearts-ease does not grow in the neighborhood of English villages.
1. In English villages dogs run loose.
2. Where dogs run loose, cats must stay at home.
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