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The Invisible Hand: Do All Things Really Work for Good? (R. C. Sproul Library) Paperback – September 22, 2003
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"Not since I read one of Sproul's earlier books, The Holiness of God, has a book simultaneously shaken my soul and comforted it with the presence of God. . . . This is theology at its finest. It is truth for living." --Rob Taylor, Emmaus Journal
"Sproul does his usual workmanlike job of clarifying difficult topics and rendering them comprehensible to the lay reader. . . . The Invisible Hand throws welcome light on a neglected facet of God's action and human experience." --Christian Library Journal
About the Author
R. C. Sproul (Drs, Free University of Amsterdam) is founder and chairman of Ligonier Ministries. He has written more than sixty books, including The Holiness of God, Faith Alone, Scripture Alone, Chosen by God, What Is Reformed Theology?, The Glory of Christ, The Mystery of the Holy Spirit, and Getting the Gospel Right. He is also general editor of The Reformation Study Bible, which has been published with the New King James Version and the English Standard Version. Dr. Sproul was professor of systematic theology and apologetics at Knox Theological Seminary in Fort Lauderdale until 2004 and, before that, taught at Reformed Theological Seminary. He serves as senior minister of preaching and teaching at Saint Andrew's Chapel, Sanford, Florida, and teaches on the national daily radio program Renewing Your Mind.
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"God the great Creator of all things doth uphold, direct, dispose, and govern all creatures, actions, and things, from the greatest even to the least, by his most wise and holy providence, according to his infallible foreknowledge, and the free and immutable counsel of his own will, to the praise of the glory of his wisdom, power, justice, goodness, and mercy (p 19)."
Sproul tackles the sticky issues of sovereignty vs. free will (pp 80-86), the problem of evil and pain (pp 159-168) and the point of prayer in light of God’s providence (pp 201-207), and has to admit that these are unsolvable mysteries to our human minds, but of course not to God’s. Still, according to Romans 8:28, God promises to cause all things to work together for the good for His people. As Sproul writes, “For the Christian every tragedy is ultimately a blessing, or God is a liar” (p 174).
Sproul also discusses miracles, demonstrating that their purpose in Scripture was to serve to authenticate the agents of revelation. The question for modern times is, “Can they do less (p 193)?” While I think Sproul could have developed this idea better, nevertheless he asserts, “It is clear that however we define a miracle we must place the alleged miracles of today in a different class, or category, from those recorded in the Scriptures” (p 194).
I take exception with the author’s view that the invisible church includes angels (p 134) and that Peter is the “rock” upon which the church is built (p 136), but overall The Invisible Hand is a readable, helpful manual of the providence of God directed towards the average Christian.
Reviewed by Gary E. Gilley, Southern View Chapel