"Idolatry is a religious exercise." --R.C. Sproul, discussion on "Creation and Providence" at the Ligonier Leadership Conference
Dr. Sproul opened the Ligonier leadership conference with the words of Acts 17:16-28, the well-known account of Paul in the Areopagus. When Paul came into this city, instead of being overwhelmed by its art or Aristotelian philosophy, he was rather distressed in spirit over the idolatry in the city. Paul made a statement that was dripping with sarcasm: "Men, I see that in all things you are very religious." He was not commending their attempts at worship, he was showing them the futility of their idolatry. They were essentially religious idolaters.
In the course of his exposition, Dr. Sproul explained the religious attempts of Greek philosophers to structure the world in which we live. Tracing the history of philosophical thought, Dr. Sproul demonstrated the insufficiency of their attempts and the inescapable necessity for a God who not only creates but also sustains all things. The questions of "being," "motion," and "life" can only be answered by the doctrine of the God of Scripture. This is Paul's message when he says, "In Him we live and we move and we have our being." The answers that modern secular scientists give to this question fall miserably short of explaining the initial inertia behind the coherent world in which we live. These same scientists have no one to thank for this eternal inertia blowing up on its own.
Dr. Sproul emphatically explained, "Without God we are stagnant. Without Him we are arrested. He alone brings to this universe life--the greatest mystery and most precious phenomenon. And He has life in and of Himself. If you know anything about yourself as a human you know that you are finite, dependant, and mutable. What is resurrection to the Author of Life? He has life in Himself. Resurrection is no difficulty for Him. "
We must return to this truth on a daily basis. There is no moment of our lives that is not upheld by the powerful word of the Creator of heaven and earth. The doctrine of creation and providence are reason alone to worship the one "in whom we live and move and have our being."
Nicholas T. Batzig is minister of New Covenant Presbyterian Church (a church plant of the PCA) in Richmond Hill, Ga. He is a contributor to Feeding on Christ and Christ the Center, a weekly Reformed podcast.