"Christians on the one hand defend the doctrine of creation but on the other hand remain almost silent on the doctrine of divine providence." --R.C. Sproul, discussion on "Creation and Providence" at the Ligonier Leadership Conference
Dr. Sproul appropriately kicks off Ligonier's Pillars of the Christian Faith leadership conference with a message on creation and providence, which are foundational elements of any worldview, let alone the Christian faith. His message on how we often forget the providence of God ought to strike a chord with all of us. We believers spend so much time defending and arguing about creation that we forget about how God not only worked long ago to get things started but He also works today to keep everything going.
Questions of the length of the days of the creation, age of the earth, and so on are not unimportant, but do we Christians unconsciously accept the naturalistic and mechanistic worldview of the nonbelievers around us once we have staked out our positions on these issues? For example, if people ask us what causes oceanic tides, we might say that it is the gravitational pull of the moon. That is absolutely true, of course, but it is not the whole story. The doctrine of providence would say God brings the tides to pass through the agency of the moon's gravitational pull. A naturalistic or "scientific" explanation is simply not the full explanation for any event that happens.
May we as Christians be always conscious of God's work to sustain creation. Everything happens because He is upholding and governing the universe. The understanding of His beneficent providence ensures that we do not become naturalists in practice if not in theory.
Robert Rothwell is associate editor for Tabletalk magazine.