Venema and the Hiddenness of God

July 30, 2010

If God were to act arbitrarily, then we must renounce our confidence in his word, in all revelation, and in the whole of religion. For he may promise something to-day and deny it to-morrow. And who could repose reliance on a Being—whatever declarations he may make, whatever promises he may hold out—whatever command he may enjoin—in regard to whom there is a possibility that he may deceive us? We should be continually haunted with the suspicion that as he acts arbitrarily, he may be acting for the very purpose of deceiving us. But if it be said that he cannot so deceive us because he is unchangeably good and holy, we in saying this deny that he acts arbitrarily, for there is a something that limits him. He uniformly acts therefore not according to his mere good pleasure, but in consistency with his wisdom and other perfections.

Hermann Venema, Institutes of Theology, trans., Alex W. Brown (Andover: Draper Brothers, 1853), 190.

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