God Could Have Decreed to Create Nothing

This morning, my heart craved some time with the Puritans. Therefore, one volume I pulled off my shelf is The Christian’s Reasonable Service. My post-it note bookmark was in the middle of the chapter on general observations concerning the decrees of God, so I finished the chapter. My heart’s faith was nourished by remembering that God is both sovereign and good and, therefore, always to be trusted. In the opening pages of the chapter, Brakel defines the decree of God this way: “We understand the decree of God to be the eternal, volitional, all-wise, sovereign, and immutable purpose of God concerning all and every matter, comprehending both the time and the manner in which these matters will occur.

He explains: “Prior to the creation of the world there was only eternity, and thus matter, bodies, forms of life, and whatever else one may imagine, did not exist. God, who inhabited eternity, purposed to create a world, populate it with creatures, and maintain and govern them, thereby determining and stipulating the place, activity, and the course of events transpiring during the existence of each creature. This decree is the original cause whereby and according to which all things exist and occur in time, existing and occurring without deviation from this decree.”

Later, he applies the doctrine of the decrees of God to our lives by reminding us of the potter and clay analogy given to us in the Scriptures. “God could have decreed to create nothing; or if it were His will to create and govern, He could have created in a different fashion and have established a different course of events for His creatures. If a potter has power over clay to create a vessel purely by the free exercise of His will, if the head of a household has the prerogative to furnish his home as he pleases by placing one object here and another there, would then the sovereign Lord of all things not have the prerogative to deal with His clay and with His creatures according to His good pleasure? Would anyone be able to prevent Him, who is omnipotent, from doing so, thus having to adjust Himself to the whims of His creation? Would anyone be able to say, ‘Why has Thou decreed it to be thus and not otherwise?’ Would any creature be able to compel Him to establish a particular decree? This obviously cannot be so! His decree is the expression of His sovereign good pleasure, and it is for this reason that everything, transpiring as it does, is good because He wills it to be so. How blessed it is for the creature to acknowledge this, approve of it, and surrender His will to the will of God.”

Print this entry