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Tech Specs: Catechism Calculus

05 April 2011 by Neil

Q. 14. How doth God execute his decrees?

A. God executes his decrees in the works of creation and providence, according to his infallible foreknowledge, and the free and immutable counsel of his own will.


Question 14 Double Prime:  How does [the Spirit God, in and of himself infinite in being, glory, blessedness, and perfection; all-sufficient, eternal, unchangeable, incomprehensible, everywhere present, almighty, knowing all things, most wise, most holy, most just, most merciful and gracious, longsuffering and abundant in goodness and truth], execute [the wise, free, and holy acts of the counsel of his will, whereby from all eternity, he has, for his own glory, unchangeably foreordained whatsoever comes to pass in time, especially concerning angels and men] ?

Surely this is a rhetorical query worthy of the great run-on master himself, Paul of Tarsus, or his grammatical deputy, Daniel of Doulogos.

We find in this question the most wise entity executing wise acts, the most holy entity executing holy acts, an eternal entity executing acts with eternal import, and an unchangeable entity executing acts that render all temporal events unchangeable.  We find an all-sufficient, omnipresent, omnipotent, and omniscient being ordering all of space-time for his own glory.  And we encounter a power that will only, ever, and always act according to truth and justice.  If Isaiah 9:7 says that "the zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this," (i.e. send a Wonderful Counsellor) then his zeal will do it.  If Ezra 8:22 says that "the power of his wrath is against all who forsake him," then the power of his wrath will be against me if I forsake him.

But you know what we don't find? We don't find the remotest room for a god who doesn't quite know what might happen, and we don't find a god that lapses into disinterested slumber. The hope-for-the-best improvisation of some lesser god is merely a more powerful difference engine with dextrous manipulating arms, and is simply not on the same floor as God. And this intentional God has no attention deficit disorders; he continues acting freely towards angels and men in a manner that is 100% consistent with his attributes and characteristics. Your steps are carefully ordered by the God whom nothing surprises.

The original question satisfies with a certain self-answering elegance, but we can't leave it as is. We aren't running the blog of redundancy blog here, so we need to employ some simplifying algebra.

Beginning with Question 14 Double Prime, we substitute Answer 7 to obtain Question 14 Prime:
How does God execute [the wise, free, and holy acts of the counsel of his will, whereby from all eternity, he has, for his own glory, unchangeably foreordained whatsoever comes to pass in time, especially concerning angels and men] ?

Still a little wordy! Continuing, we simplify with Answer 12 to bring us to:

Question 14
How does God execute his decrees?


Answer 14
God executes his decrees in the works of creation and providence, according to the infallible foreknowledge, and the free and immutable counsel of his own will.

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