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Jesus Lives! - The Lord God Jesus Christ: Creator, Sustainer and Redeemer of Heaven and Earth

DP, sections 1 ff
DP, sections 27 ff
DP, sections 46 ff
DP, sections 70 ff
DP, sections 71 ff
DP, sections 100 ff
DP, sections 129 ff
DP, sections 135 ff
DP, sections 154 ff
DP, sections 175 ff
DP, sections 191 ff
DP, sections 214 ff
DP, sections 221 ff
DP, sections 234 ff
DP, sections 241 ff
DP, sections 249 ff
DP, sections 254 ff
DP, sections 262 ff
DP, sections 275 ff
DP, sections 279 ff
DP, sections 285 ff
DP, sections 308 ff
DP, sections 322 ff
DP, sections 331 ff
DP, sections 341 ff


Divine Providence  ·  Sections 234 ff previous  ·  next


DP 234. There are no laws of permission by themselves or separate from the laws of the Divine Providence: they are indeed the same. When, therefore, it is said that God permits, this does not mean that He wills, but that He cannot avert on account of the end, which is salvation. Whatever is done for the sake of the end, namely, salvation, is according to the laws of the Divine Providence. For, as was said before, the Divine Providence, keeping this end continually in view, is constantly moving in ways different from and contrary to man's will. Therefore, at every moment of its operation or at every step of its progress, when it perceives man to deviate from this end, it directs, bends and disposes him in accordance with its laws by withdrawing him from evil and leading him to good. It will be seen in what follows that this cannot be done without permitting evil. Moreover, nothing can be permitted without a cause, and such a cause is only to be found in some law of the Divine Providence which explains why it is permitted.

DP 235. He who does not acknowledge the Divine Providence at all does not in his heart acknowledge God, but instead of God he acknowledges nature, and instead of the Divine Providence he acknowledges human prudence. It is not apparent that this is the case, for man can think in two different ways and speak in two different ways. From his inner self he can think and speak in one way and from his exterior self in another. He is like a hinge on which a door can turn either way, one way when a person enters and the other when he goes out; and like a sail by which a ship can be turned either way as the captain sets it. Those who have confirmed themselves in favour of human prudence to such a degree as to deny the Divine Providence observe nothing else when they are in this way of thinking, whatever they see, hear and read; nor indeed can they, because they receive nothing from heaven but only from themselves; and as they form conclusions from appearances and fallacies only, and see nothing else, they can swear that it is so. Moreover, if they acknowledge nature alone they may be angry with defenders of the Divine Providence, provided these are not priests, for in their case they regard their defense as part of their teaching or function as priests.

DP 236. Some of the things will now be enumerated which belong to permission and yet are in accordance with the laws of the Divine Providence, by which the merely natural man confirms himself in favour of nature against God, and in favour of human prudence against the Divine Providence. For example, he reads in the Word that:

1. The wisest of men, Adam, and his wife suffered themselves to be led astray by a serpent, and God did not avert this by His Divine Providence.

2. Their first son Cain killed his brother Abel, and God did not withhold him at the time by speaking to him, but only after the deed cursed him.

3. The Israelitish nation worshipped a golden calf in the desert, and acknowledged it as the god which led them out of the land of Egypt. Yet Jehovah saw this from Mount Sinai nearby and did not seek to prevent it.

4. David numbered the people, and in consequence a pestilence was sent upon them, by which so many thousands of men perished; and God, not before but after the deed, sent the prophet Gad to him and announced punishment.

5. Solomon was permitted to establish idolatrous worship.

6. Many kings after him were permitted to profane the temple and the holy things of the Church.

7. And lastly, that nation was permitted to crucify the Lord.

In these and many other passages in the Word he who acknowledges nature and human prudence sees nothing but what is contrary to the Divine Providence. Therefore, he can use these as arguments to deny it, if not in his exterior thought which is nearest to speech, still in his interior thought which is remote from it.

DP 237. Every worshipper of himself and of nature confirms himself against the Divine Providence:

1. When he sees in the world so many wicked people, and so many of their impieties in which some of them even glory, and yet no punishment of such by God. He confirms himself still more against the Divine Providence when he sees that wicked designs, cunning devices and deceit are successful even against the pious, the righteous and the sincere; and that injustice triumphs over justice in the courts and in business.

2. Especially does he confirm himself when he sees the impious advanced to honours and become great in the state and leaders in the Church, and that they abound in riches and live in luxury and magnificence; while, on the other hand, he sees the worshippers of God living in contempt and poverty.

3. He also confirms himself against the Divine Providence when he reflects that wars are permitted, and in them the slaughter of so many men and the plundering of so many cities, nations and families.

4. Moreover, that victories are on the side of prudence and sometimes not on the side of justice, and that it makes no difference whether the general is an upright man or not. He sees besides other things like these; and yet they are all permissions according to the laws of the Divine Providence.

DP 238. The same natural man confirms himself against the Divine Providence when he regards the religious conditions of the various peoples. He sees, for example,

1. That there are some who are totally ignorant of God; that some worship the sun and moon; also that some worship idols and even monstrous graven images; and also that some worship the dead.

2. He sees especially that the Mohammedan religion is accepted by so many empires and kingdoms.

3. He sees that the Christian religion is accepted only in the very small part of the habitable globe called Europe, and is in a state of division there.

4. That some there claim for themselves Divine power, and desire to be worshipped as gods, and that they invoke the dead.

5. That there are some who place salvation in certain phrases which they must think and say, and not at all in good works which they must do; and that few live their religion.

6. Moreover, he sees the heresies, of which there have been many, some of which exist at this day, as those of the Quakers, the Moravians, the Anabaptists, and others.

7. Also that Judaism still continues. From these things he who denies the Divine Providence concludes that religion in itself is nothing, but still that it is necessary because it serves as a restraining influence.

DP 239. To these arguments more may be added at this day by which those can still further confirm themselves who think interiorly in favour of nature and human prudence alone. For example:

1. The whole Christian world has acknowledged three Gods, not knowing that God is one in Person and in Essence, and that He is the Lord.

2. Hitherto it has not been known that in every particular of the Word there is a spiritual sense from which it derives its holiness.

3. Further, it has not been known that to shun evils as sins is the Christian religion itself.

4. Also it has not been known that a man lives a man after death. For men can say to themselves and to one another, Why does the Divine Providence, if there is any, now reveal such things for the first time'

DP 240. All the things enumerated in numbers (n. 236-239), have been presented to the end that it may be seen that all things in general and in particular that take place in the world, both with the wicked and with the good, are of the Divine Providence; consequently that the Divine Providence is in the most individual things of man's thoughts and actions, and therefore that it is universal. But as this cannot be seen from the things presented unless each is explained separately, therefore a brief explanation of them will be given in the order in which they were presented, beginning with 236.

Divine Providence previous · next Author:  E. Swedenborg (1688-1772). www.biblemeanings.info