Derek W.H. Thomas answers the question, “What is Providence?” with a deep biblical knowledge and an ability to connect with a wide range of people.

He begins by citing the Westminster Shorter Catechism: “God’s works of providence are, his most holy, wise and powerful preserving and governing all his creatures and all their actions.”

Thomas emphasizes the word “all” in the confession, namely, everything from the smallest atom to a renegade army are subject to God’s providence.  He is providentially in control of every event.

The author moves to the Bible and discusses a few key stories that illustrate the truth of divine providence including the stories of Naomi and Ruth, Joseph, and Job.

Thomas summarizes three prominent views of providence including the Augustinian/Calvinistic view, the Arminian view, and the Molinistic view.  He deals with human free will and includes a helpful biblical definition of free will (a rare commodity in a culture that places a premium on so-called libertarian free will, what I refer to as the “love affair with free will).  Built into this discussion is a terrific refutation of openness theology (open theism).

Thomas proceeds to present eight biblical pieces of evidences that help bolster the case for the doctrine of divine providence.

Finally, the author answers key questions that pertain to suffering, sin, and human responsibility.

At the end of the day, the doctrine of divine providence leads Christ-followers to trust his grand plan; it enables them to place confidence in his ability to preserve and govern all things.

This volume is perhaps one of the best introductions available on the subject of providence.  It is short, lucid, biblical, and thought-provoking.  My hope is that Thomas’ work will motivate readers to consider further works on this subject as noted below:

All Things for Good – Thomas Watson

The Mystery of Providence – John Flavel

God’s Lesser Glory – Bruce A. Ware

The Invisible Hand – R.C. Sproul

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