THEO 350 Research Paper 2_Heather Carrasquillo - PROVIDENCE...

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PROVIDENCEHeather R. CarrasquilloTHEO 350: Fundamental Theological IssuesAugust 21, 2015
The IssueWe must first understand and properly identify what theological issue is buried at the rootof this particular debate. When it comes to the providence of God, or also sometimes referred to as the “decree of God”1there are many misconceptions, misunderstandings and various positions, therefore both definitions will be explained in great detail. As with all theological issues, this particular issue also continues to stirs up much confusion among evangelists, just as itdid when it “began in the early sixteenth century.”2Subsequently, the two main perspectives will be discussed in this essay which are the Calvinist and Arminian views to include alternate view or a combination thereof that are supported among the theological community.It is, however, important to state that this matter is more concerned with how God controls what happens here on earth, and how humans choose to live and make decisions. The providence or decree of God has less to do with the doctrine of salvation, or how it is obtained bysinners, also known as soteriology. Of course, it is expressively imperative to have at least a general understanding pertaining to the issues of soteriology which include: predestination, election, atonement, and freedom of will, however these subjects will not be covered in depth in this study. In researching this issue, the following focuses will be addressed:1.The definition of the providence of God.2.The definition of the decree of God.3.The Arminian view.4.The Calvinist view.1 Towns, Elmer L. Theology for Today.(Mason: Cengage Learning, 2008, 2002), 137.2 Gregory A. Boyd, Paul R. Eddy. Across the Spectrum: Understanding Issues in Evangelical Theology.(Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2002, 2009), 34.2
Upon completion of this research, there will be a more thorough understanding “that the world and our lives are not ruled by chance or by fate but by God, who lays bare his purposes of providence in the incarnation of his Son.”3Understanding that the issue at hand is not whether God chooses to save us from ourselves, but rather it is that Christians disagree “as to whether God meticulously controls free decisions, they have always agreed that God is in some sense ‘in control’ of the world.”4In conclusion, there will be the opportunity to decisively gauge and choose which of the discussed positions holds truest to the nature and character of God. Definition of ProvidenceThe providence of God, as described in the Evangelical Dictionary of Theologyis expressed as such:“Providence” is one of the words which do not occur in the Bible but which nevertheless truly represent a biblical doctrine. There is no Hebrew equivalent for “providence,” and the Greek word translated thus, pronoia, is used only of human foresight (Acts 24:2; Rom. 13:14; for the verb pronoeō, see Rom. 12:17; 2 Cor. 8:21; 1 Tim. 5:8). Rather, the Bible used ad hocwords like “gives foodto every creature” (Ps. 136:25) or “he makes

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