The Baptist Catechism: Q. 11 (The Application of God’s Eternal Decree)

Keach CatechismQ. 11: How does God execute His decrees?
Answer: God executes His decrees in the works of creation and providence.
Scripture: [Scriptural testimony fleshed out in the next four Q/A’s]

Comment: By “executes” is meant the application of God’s eternal decree.  The “works” of God refer to the manifestation of His power in time, thus bringing about what He has decreed in all eternity.  These works may be summed up as creation (bringing the entire universe and all it contains into existence by His word) and providence (the sustaining and governing of the created order).  Questions 12 and 13 go into detail on God’s work of creation, whereas questions 14 and 15 go into detail on God’s work of providence.  One may wonder why the work of redemption is not included in the execution of God’s decree; for it certainly could be included, and it is often included by theologians.  It is not that the catechism denies this, but that it is slowly leading into the biblical testimony of God’s work of redemption.  This transition becomes evident with question 15 and those questions that follow, which speak of sin and the fall of man.  However, while God’s work of redemption may be thought of as distinct from His work of creation and providence, and therefore could be included as a third part to this answer, in reality, the work of redemption is made up of both creation and providence.  It pertains to creation because it consists of a new creation of the created order, especially fallen man (e.g. Rom. 8:19-25; 2 Cor. 5:17).  It also consists of providence because it may be considered a special or particular act of God’s providence, in the life and death of Christ, and the conversion of the believer, which is the realization of God’s gracious predestination in eternity (e.g. Acts 2:23-24; 4:27-28; 10; Rom. 8:28-30).

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2 thoughts on “The Baptist Catechism: Q. 11 (The Application of God’s Eternal Decree)

  1. I did not connect the statement of re-creation. “because it consists of re-creation of the created order, especially fallen man (e.g. Rom. 8:19-25; 2 Cor. 5:17)”
    I would use the word ‘submission’ of the created order unless one desired to apply a mystical metaphor upon the work of the Messiah.

  2. Michael,

    Thanks for commenting. I think “new creation” is better than “re-creation,” so I have gone ahead and changed that. However, would you mind elaborating on your preference for submission? While all of creation will indeed submit to Christ (e.g. Phil. 2:9-11), that’s not really the focus of the catechism, nor is it what the referenced passages discuss (Rom. 8:19-25; 2 Cor. 5:17). The focus is on all things being made new in Christ, which I suppose “submission” is an aspect of that, but not where my focus was. I also don’t see how you see “re-creation” as signifying some kind of mystical work of the Messiah. Could you explain that as well? Thanks.

    Blessings.

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