The Decree of God
"Gods decree, in as much as it concerneth man, is called Predestination: which is the decree of God, by the which he hath ordained all men to a certaine and everlasting estate: that is, either to salvation or condemnation, for his own glory."
—William Perkins, A Golden Chain: or, The Description of Theologie. (1608).
God from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin, nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures; nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established.
Westminster Larger Catechism Q3
God did not simply decree to save sinners without determining the means to effectuate the decree. The means leading to the predetermined end were also decreed (Acts 2:23; Eph. 2:8; 1 Pet. 1:2). The absolute character of the decree follows from its eternity, its immutability, and its exclusive dependence on the good pleasure of God. It is denied by all Semi-Pelagians and Arminians.
Louis Berkhof Systematic Theology pg. 105
God "works all things after the counsel of his will" (Ephesians 1:11). This "all things" includes the fall of sparrows (Matthew 10:29), the rolling of dice (Proverbs 16:33), the slaughter of his people (Psalm 44:11), the decisions of kings (Proverbs 21:1), the failing of sight (Exodus 4:11), the sickness of children (2 Samuel 12:15), the loss and gain of money (1 Samuel 2:7), the suffering of saints (1 Peter 4:19), the completion of travel plans (James 4:15), the persecution of Christians (Hebrews 12:4-7), the repentance of souls (2 Timothy 2:25), the gift of faith (Philippians 1:29), the pursuit of holiness (Philippians 3:12-13), the growth of believers (Hebrews 6:3), the giving of life and the taking in death (1 Samuel 2:6), and the crucifixion of his Son (Acts 4:27-28).
“It is true, God’s will cannot be hindered of its effect, for then God would not be supremely blessed, but unhappy and miserable : all misery ariseth from a want of that which a nature would have, and ought to have : besides, if anything could frustrate God’s will, it would be superior to him : God would not be omnipotent, and so would lose the perfection of the Deity, and consequently the Deity itself ; for that which did wholly defeat God’s will, would be more powerful than he. But sin is a contradiction to the will of God’s revelation, to the will of his precept: and therein doth naturally tend to a superiority over God, and would usurp his omnipotence, and deprive him of his blessedness. For if God had not an infinite power to turn the designs of it to his own glory, but the will of sin could prevail, God would be totally deprived of his blessedness. Doth not sin endeavor to subject God to the extravagant and contrary wills of men, and make him more a slave than any creature can be? For the will of no creature, not the meanest and most despicable creature, is so much crossed, as the will of God is by sin (Isa. xliii. 24): ” Thou hast made me to serve with thy sins:” thou hast endeavored to make a mere slave of me by sin. Sin endeavors to subject the blessed God to the humor and lust of every person in the world.”
- Stephen Charnock