Many people deny that
there is any such thing as providence. They believe that life is just
haphazard; that if anything does come out well, it is through luck or
their own cleverness. Others concede that providence may perhaps be
controlling the big events of history, but not the little things of
every-day life. Yet big things are made up of little things! Another
general idea is, that if something happens unexpectedly in our favour,
it is "providential", whereas the general run of events is not.
In his book Divine Providence Emanuel Swedenborg
expounds the laws regulating the operation of God's government in the
universe, showing clearly why a person's free-will is an essential part
of the Divine purpose, and why evil is permitted. 'Divine Providence'
looks to infinite and eternal ends, the chief of which is the creation
of heaven from the human race.
In paragraph 2 of
Divine Providence Swedenborg lays out the structure of the first section
of the book as follows:
In this section I will be dealing with
the way the oneness of divine love and wisdom (or of what is good and
true in divinity) is maintained in what has been created; and I will do
so in the following sequence:
1. The universe as a whole and in every
detail was created out of divine love, by means of divine wisdom.
2. Divine love and wisdom radiate from the
Lord as a single whole.
3. There is some image of this whole in
everything that has been created.
4. It is the intent of divine providence
that everything created, collectively and in every detail, should be
this kind of whole, and that if it is not, it should become one.
5. The good that love does is actually
good only to the extent that it is united to the truth that wisdom
perceives, and the truth that wisdom perceives is actually true only to
the extent that it is united to the good that love does.
6. If the good that love does is not
united to the truth that wisdom perceives, it is not really good, but it
may seem to be; and if the truth that wisdom perceives is not united to
the good that love does, it is not really true, but it may seem to be.
7. The Lord does not let anything remain
divided. This means that things must be focused either on what is both
good and true or on what is both evil and false.
8. If something is focused on what is both
good and true, then it is something; but if it is focused on what is
both evil and false, it is not anything at all.
9. The Lordís divine providence works
things out so that what is both evil and false promotes balance,
evaluation, and purification, which means that it promotes the union of
what is good and true in others.