We believe that this good God, after He had created all things, did not abandon them or give them up to fortune or chance,1 but that according to His holy will He so rules and governs them that in this world nothing happens without His direction.2 Yet God is not the Author of the sins which are committed nor can He be charged with them.3 For His power and goodness are so great and beyond understanding that He ordains and executes His work in the most excellent and just manner, even when devils and wicked men act unjustly.4 And as to His actions surpassing human understanding, we will not curiously inquire farther than our capacity allows us. But with the greatest humility and reverence we adore the just judgments of God, which are hidden from us,5 and we content ourselves that we are pupils of Christ, who have only to learn those things which He teaches us in His Word, without transgressing these limits.6
This doctrine gives us inexpressible consolation, for we learn thereby that nothing can happen to us by chance, but only by the direction of our gracious heavenly Father. He watches over us with fatherly care, keeping all creatures so under His power that not one hair of our head – for they are all numbered – nor one sparrow can fall to the ground without the will of our Father (Mt 10:29, 30). In this we trust, because we know that He holds in check the devil and all our enemies so that they cannot hurt us without His permission and will.7
We therefore reject the damnable error of the Epicureans, who say that God does not concern Himself with anything but leaves all things to chance.