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A Review of The Invisible Hand: Do All Things Really Work for Good?

In a fallen world many will ask, “Do all things really work for good?” R.C. Sproul seeks to answer this relevant question as he examines God’s providence.

  • Byron Snapp,
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In a fallen world many will ask, “Do all things really work for good?” R.C. Sproul seeks to answer this relevant question as he examines God’s providence. He explains God’s governance of His creation by showing its outworking in many passages of Scripture. He includes a number of aspects of providence that are often debated philosophically, such as the role of primary and secondary causes, concurrence, the problem of evil, the place of miracles in providence, and whether individual prayers are needed in a world governed by God. By looking at and explaining Scripture texts, Sproul shows the importance of these topics on a practical level.

At the outset he looks at God taking the life of David’s newborn son, born to Bathsheba. Having explained the king’s adulterous relationship, his involvement in a murderous plot, and his God-given repentance, the author notes David’s response after the infant’s death. David worshiped God in faith. Sproul explains that Christians follow God, entrusting their future to Him.

You may never know why a difficult trial enters your life. But even in such a situation, you can worship God in the knowledge that He does all things well and with a purpose. Throughout, Sproul stresses the importance of worshiping the God of providence.

Sproul then turns to God’s mandate to Abraham to sacrifice his covenant child, Isaac. In this stress-filled scene, Sproul takes the reader with Abraham on the three-day journey to Mt. Moriah . He explains the importance of the child, the journey, and the surprising turn that God’s providence takes prior to the knife being plunged into Isaac. He doesn’t stop there. He points the reader to Calvary where there was no substitute for God’s Son as He went to the cross to die on behalf of sinners.

These illustrations show the author’s thrust throughout this volume. Sproul keeps this work God-centered, Biblically based, and laity-oriented. He regularly includes incidents from his own life and ministry that remind the reader of God’s ongoing providence even in the smallest events of life. His writing style is easy to understand.

Sproul writes humbly and honestly. He realizes God’s providence is often invisible in its particular design and purpose in our lives. Yet, His purposes are real and important. Candidly, the author admits that neither he, nor anyone that he knows, can explain the problem of evil.

This is a good volume to make available to Christians who are struggling with God’s providence or who have an inconsistent philosophy regarding it. It is also a good volume to help reinforce in a Calvinist’s mind the reality of God’s sovereignty. It is a valuable help to those in the midst of trials. It will not necessarily provide all the answers for one’s questions, but it will certainly point the reader to the God who does all things well and for His good purposes.

  • Byron Snapp

Byron Snapp is a graduate of King College (B.A.) and Reformed Theological Seminary (M.Div.). He was Associate Pastor at Calvary Reformed Presbyterian Church, Hampton, Virginia, from 1994 until his retirement in December 2014. He is a native of Marion, Virginia.  He has had pastorates in Leakesville, Mississippi, and Gaffney, South Carolina.  He served as Assistant Pastor in Cedar Bluff, Virginia prior to his ministry at Calvary Reformed. He has served as editor of the Presbyterian Witness and was a contributor to A Comprehensive Faith and Election Day Sermons. He is currently a member of Westminster Presbytery in the PCA. He and his wife Janey have 3 children and several grandchildren. 

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