Part 4 Biblical Theism Divine Decrees -- By: Lewis Sperry Chafer

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 096:382 (Apr 1939)
Article: Part 4 Biblical Theism Divine Decrees
Author: Lewis Sperry Chafer

Part 4
Biblical Theism
Divine Decrees

Lewis Sperry Chafer

(Series continued from January-March Number, 1939)

[Author’s Note: This another division in the general field of Biblical Theism will appear in two articles. The present article, being the first, is to be followed by the second in the next issue of Bibliotheca Sacra and will conclude the discussion on the Divine Decrees.]


In its theological implications, the term Decree betokens the plan by which God has proceeded in all His acts of creation and continuation. That He has such a plan is not only the justified deduction of reason-He being perfect in wisdom-, but is the clear testimony of the Bible. Those numerous passages which assert the decree, the purpose, the determinate counsel, the foreknowledge, the foreordination, and the election, by which God is said to act, combine to establish the truth that, either directly or indirectly and as stated in the Westminster Confession, He originates and executes “Whatsoever cometh to pass.” No deductions concerning God could be more dishonoring or misleading than the suppositions that He is not sovereign over His works, or that He is not working according to a plan which articulates the dictation of infinite intelligence. Could the imagination of man picture a situation before any creative act of God was wrought, when God, as it were, had before Him an infinite variety of possible plans or blueprints from which to choose-each and every one of which represented a possible program of divine action as far-reaching and elaborate as the

one now being executed-, it would be reasonable and honoring to God to conclude that the present plan as ordained and as it is being achieved is, and in the end will prove to be, the best plan and purpose that could have been devised by infinite wisdom, consummated by infinite power, and that which will be the supreme satisfaction to infinite love. Such an exercise of the imagination would be at fault in the one particular, namely, that it supposes that the plan and purpose of God which is now in process has not been in anticipation from all eternity. This fact but serves to emphasize the point in view which is that the present plan is as perfect as its Author. It is most essential to clear thinking on the part of devout minds that all suggestions which tend to imply that God is not following a plan which is worthy of Him, or that He is but partially in authority, or that He has failed and is seeking to salvage something out of the wreckage, or that He is conforming to existing things over which He has no control, shall be rejected; and that, in spite of the immediate proble...

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