The Purposes of God
Charles G. Finney: "Systematic Theology"
Lecture 77 (1851) - Page 2 of 5 pages

Part III {continued}
There must be some sense in which God's purposes extend to all events

III-5 The Bible also represents all creatures as dependent on the providence, and of course on the purposes of God.  
  • In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind. Job 12.10
  • {God said...} O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel. Jer 18.6
  • {Jesus said...} I am the vine, ye are the branches. He that abideth in me, and I in Him, the same bringeth forth much fruit. for without me ye can do nothing. John 15.5
  • And hath made of one blood all nations of men, for to dwell on all the face of the earth; and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation. That they should seek the Lord, if happily they might feel after Him, and find Him, though He be not far from every one of us. For in Him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we also are His offspring. Act 17.26-28
  • Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything, as of ourselves, but our sufficiency is of God. 2 Cor 3.5

III-6 The Bible also represents all creatures as preserved by the providence of God, from which also we must infer, that His purposes extend to them.


  • A- Thou, even Thou, art Lord alone. Thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all things that are therein, the seas, and all that is therein, and Thou preservest them all; and the host of heaven worshippeth Thee. Neh 9.6
  • I have sinned; what shall I do unto Thee, O Thou Preserver of men? why hast Thou set me as a mark against Thee, so that I am a burden to myself? Job 7.20
  • Thou hast granted me life and favor, and Thy visitation hath preserved my spirit. Job 10.12
  • If He set His heart upon man, if He gather unto Himself His spirit and His breath; All flesh shall perish together, and man shall turn again unto dust. Job 34.14-15
  • B- Thy righteousness is like the great mountains; Thy judgments are a great deep. O Lord, Thou preservest man and beast. Psalm 36.6
  • My soul followeth hard after Thee; Thy right hand upholdeth me. Psalm 63.8
  • O bless our God, ye people, and make the voice of His praise to be heard; Which holdeth our soul in life, and suffereth not our feet to be moved. Psalm 66.8-9
  • The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil. He shall preserve thy soul. Psalm 121.7
  • {Jesus, being...} the brightness of His {God's} glory, and the express image of His {God's} person, and upholding all things by the word of His {God's} power, when He {Jesus} had by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty {God} on high. Heb 1.3

III-7 The Bible also represents the Lord, as, in some sense, and in some manner, influencing the hearts of men. From this also we must infer, that His purposes, in some sense, extend to the moral actions of men.


  • Blessed be the Lord God of our fathers, which hath put such a thing as this in the king's heart, to beautify the house of the Lord which is in Jerusalem. Ezra 7.27
  • The preparation of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the Lord... A man's heart deviseth His way; but the Lord directeth His steps. Prov 16.1 & 16.9
  • The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water; He turneth it whithersoever He will. Prov 21.1
  • But now, O Lord, Thou art our Father; we are the clay, and Thou our Potter; and we all are the work of Thy hand. Isa 64.8
  • The burden of the word of the Lord for Israel, saith the Lord, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within Him. Zech 12.1
  • And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us. whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul. Act 16.14
  • Nay, but, O man, who art Thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to Him that formed it, Why hast Thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honor, and another unto dishonor? Rom 9.20-21
III-8 The Bible represents God as often, at least, controlling public sentiment.

From these passages
{listed alongside} we must infer, that the purposes of God extend to these events.
  But the Lord was with Joseph, and showed Him mercy, and gave Him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison. Gen 39.21
And I will give this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians.
Exod 3.21
Now God had brought Daniel into favor and tender love with the prince of the eunuchs.
Dan 1.9
And the patriarchs, moved with envy, sold Joseph into Egypt. but God was with Him. And delivered Him out of all His afflictions, and gave Him favor and wisdom in the sight of Pharaoh, king of Egypt; and He made Him governor over Egypt, and all His house.
Act 7.9-10

III-9 The Bible also represents the providence of God as extending to moral evils and delusions; from which again we must infer, that His purposes in some sense extend to them.

These passages {listed in 6 panels below} will show the general tenor of scripture upon this subject.



  • And I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and multiply my signs and wonders in the land of Egypt. Exod 7.3
  • And the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and He did not let the people go. Exod 9.7
  • And the Lord said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh; for I have hardened His heart, and the heart of His servants, that I might show these my signs before Him. Exod 10.1
  • And the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and He pursued after the children of Israel... And I, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians. Exod 14.8 & 14.17
  • But Sihon king of Heshbon, would not let us pass by Him. for the Lord thy God hardened His spirit, and made His heart obstinate, that He might deliver Him into thy hand, as appeareth this day. Deu 2.30


  • There was not a city that made peace with the children of Israel, save the Hivites, the inhabitants of Gibeon. All other they took in battle. For it was of the Lord to harden their hearts, that they should come against Israel in battle, that He might destroy them utterly, and that they might have no favor, but that He might destroy them, as the Lord commanded Moses. Jos 11.19-20
  • And the three hundred blew the trumpets, and the Lord set every man's sword against His fellow, even throughout all the host. Jud 7.22
  • And again the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and He moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah. 2 Sam 24.1
  • Now therefore, behold, the Lord hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the Lord hath spoken evil concerning thee. 1 Kings 22.23


  • For Thou hast hid their heart from understanding. therefore shalt Thou not exalt them. Job 17.4
  • He turned their heart to hate His people, to deal craftily with His servants. Psalm 105.25
  • Incline not my heart to any evil thing, to practice wicked works with men that work iniquity. and let me not eat of their dainties. Psalm 141.4
  • The Lord hath mingled a perverse spirit in the midst thereof. and they have caused Egypt to err in every work thereof, as a drunken man staggereth in His vomit. Isa 19.14
  • For the Lord hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes. The prophets and your rulers, the seers, hath He covered. Isa 29.10


  • I form the light, and create darkness; I make peace, and create evil; I the Lord do all these things. Isa 45.7
  • O Lord, why hast Thou made us to err from Thy ways, and hardened our heart from Thy fear? Return, for Thy servant's sake, the tribes of Thine inheritance. Isa 63.17
  • And if the prophet be deceived when He hath spoken a thing, I the Lord have deceived that prophet; and I will stretch out my hand upon Him, and will destroy Him from the midst of my people Israel. Ezek 14.9
  • For before these days there was no hire for man, nor any hire for beast; neither was there any peace to Him that went out or came in, because of the affliction. for I set all men every one against His neighbor. Zech 8.10


  • They have not known nor understood. for He hath shut their eyes, that they cannot see; and their hearts, that they cannot understand. Isa 44.18
  • In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank Thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. even so, Father; for so it seemed good in Thy sight. Lk 10.21
  • Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again, He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them. These things said Esaias, when He saw His glory, and spake of Him. John 12.39-41
  • Therefore hath He mercy on whom He will have mercy, and whom He will He hardeneth. Rom 9.18


  • What then? Israel hath not obtained that which He seeketh for, but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded. (According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear), unto this day. Rom 11.7-8
  • And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusions, that they should believe a lie; That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. 2 Thes 2.10-12
  • For God hath put in their hearts to fulfill His will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast until the words of God shall be fulfilled. Rev 17.17
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