Primary and Secondary Causes
The truth lies in the biblical doctrine of providence. That doctrine is summed up in the following answer of the Shorter Catechism:
"God's works of providence are, his most holy, wise, and powerful preserving and governing of all his creatures, and their action."
The theologians speaking of those forces truly operating in the world as "secondary causes". God is the first cause, but the forces of nature and free actions of personal beings whom God has created are second causes; and it is extremely important, if we would be true to the bible, that the existence of secondary causes should not be denied.
Only, it is important to observe that the two causes are not on the same plane. They are not coordinate, but one is completely subordinate to another. In every event in the natural world God has completely accomplished what he willed to accomplish. He is not limited in any way by the forces of nature or by the free actions of his creatures. They act truly; but they truly act only as he has determined they shall act. The correct way, therefore, expressing the relation between secondary causes and God, the great First Cause, is to say that God makes use of second causes to accomplish what is accordance with his eternal purpose.
Second causes are not independent forces whose cooperation He needs, but they are means that He employs exactly as He will.
The Christian View of Man by J. Machen (Pg. 90-101)