28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
for [contributes toward] good
Doctrine of Concursus, Part Two:
God concurs with our choices (not agrees necessarily).
God may or may not allow man to make a choice. Man is never totally independent from Him. God continuously acts in conjunction with the action of man. God does not participate in man’s sin but superintends the limits of his sinning. He does more than watch when men sin and is more than a spectator of what man does; He influences everything that man does.
In some cases God allows or permits man to sin. Sometimes He overrules the situation and other times He does not. Thus, God does not leave man to his naked will but constantly intervenes into his decisions (concursus). This concurrence is immediate and not a mere secondary cause by God that leaves the creature to run without any superintendence. Thus, God permeates man in every thought, action, or situation. Concursus then is God’s continuous action in conjunction with the action of His creatures.
God’s immediate intervention into the decisions of man does not mean that God determines man’s actions. Although God’s providence extends to all actions of all men, He does not determine evil actions. God gives man the freedom to exercise negative volition toward Him. God is not casual or indifferent to what man does, but rather He gives man the right to go negative toward Him.
How does human volition work? The cause of volition is the free agent’s or the soul’s own disposition toward a value. This, however, does not mean that God puts occasions and situations in the life of a soul to add further influence on the will. God’s infinite understanding so thoroughly knows every disposition we have that He allows no action to go unnoticed and unsuperintended. If a person decides to sin, that sin operates under God’s permissive decree. That is, God permissively ordained the selling of Joseph into slavery. That act could not occur until God acted upon it.
Six functions of God’s concursus within His sovereign plan:
- God’s concursus gives man the power to choose and act.
- His concursus sovereignly preserves man’s being throughout his existence.
- He monitors and directs second causes to act within His plan.
- His sovereign plan directs man toward His goal or end of creation.
- Negatively, His concursus does not deny true or genuine choice.
- Positively, the Bible affirms the reality of second causes in God’s sovereign plan.